The other day as I was hugging my daughter goodnight she hit me with, “Mom, you don’t smell the same anymore.” I pulled back and looked at her sad face and before I could say anything else she said, “You don’t smell bad. You just don’t smell like… YOU.” My mind didn’t fully comprehend what she meant, but my heart understood just enough to be broken.
I am changed.
I did a wee bit of research to confirm what I suspected, and that is that we all have a unique scent. The jury seems to be out on whether or not your signature scent can change, but don’t bother telling my child that. Or myself.
I am different.
Since that night I have been thinking, in embarrassingly poetic terms, about the fragrance of my life. Fiddling with the idea that my life produces a scent that is uniquely mine, and that my scent is a reflection of all that I am absorbed in.
Everything about my life is new since I have moved out. Not just the immediate surroundings of my new home… new carpeting, new bedding & linens, new air (is that a thing?) but I’ve been purposely changing everything I can. I’m anxious to put as much distance between my pre-divorce life and this fresh, boundless lifestyle as I can. I’ve bought new clothes and from new stores, started shopping at a different supermarket, straighten my hair instead of curling it. I introduce myself by my full name, not my nickname and have a new job in a spa that sends me home literally smelling like heaven. I no longer stick my writing and art time in the leftover moments of the day but make them a priority, schedule them in. They are a part of me that I have neglected for far too long. I’ve detached from familiar friendships and interact with new people.
What is this new fragrance I produce? What will I have to offer the world that I haven’t before? It’s been easy for me to awfulize my situation. How I’ve ruined my kid’s lives forever, that I’m making one wrong choice after another, that I will never live down my mistakes. But maybe, just maybe, all these choices are beginning to produce a fragrance that wasn’t possible before. And maybe I’m not as broken as I think I am.