Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Power of Smell

The power of smell.
How does it elicit such strong memories?

Rummaging around underneath the sink of my bathroom, I am praying to find some hairspray. I am out, had forgotten to buy some at the grocery store. My hand closes around something cold, metallic, cylindrical.
Oh good. My hair's a mess.
I spray a cloud around my head, can see the particles as they settle in my hair and on my shoulders. I inhale the sticky fog and am immediately transported back nine years:
The scene is nearly the same. I am fourteen, the same can of Volumax hairspray is sitting on the bathroom counter as I impatiently try to style my hair just as I want. I am directly in the middle of puberty, which has wreaked havoc on my appearance. I am two heads taller than the majority of the girls at school, over the summer I had gone up nearly four jean sizes that had me shopping at "woman" stores instead of Gap Kids and the Limited Too. I am pretty enough not to be considered a "nerd" or a "loser," but had not yet learned how to tame my beauty and harness it to my advantage like all the popular girls in my school.
The overwhelming feeling of being so big terrified me. My height, my hips, my hands, my feet. I wanted to be small and delicate like the girls at school.

But those were things I couldn't change.
So I do what I can to feel accepted, beautiful.
I do my hair.
And I spray what seems like half that can of hairspray on my hair before I feel satisifed with it. My hair is stiff, crunchy like dead grass.
My eyes are sadly hopeful.
I check myself in the mirror again: perfect hair, but everything else unperfect: pants too short on me, and small breasts that don't look right on my tall, woman-size body.
I sigh. I leave for school.

And I am back.
Back to the twenty-three year old Brie who has accepted her height and (mostly) her flaws.
And I cry.
And I throw that damn can of hairspray away.


Kate said...
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Kate said...

Ok, Brie? I highly suggest you write a novel. You are incredibly talented. Honestly, this post really got my attention and drew me in. By the end, I honestly had chills. Soooooooo good. So good.
And, OH, can I relate. Certain smells make me nausous due to the memories they trigger. It's amazing. It really is.
Way to chuck that damn hairspray!

KC Elaine said...

14's definitely a hard age. And I really relate about the height thing. Once again, beautiful writing.

KC Elaine said...

great that you threw it away!

KC Elaine said...

I can't wait till you write something new!