Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ansomia: an essay on smell

how is it that some can live with their sense of smell being only conceptual? Theoretical, almost. Maybe when she was young, she did smell. She learned the basics. Sweet... and bad. But what's life like if you couldn't smell or ever remember smelling anything?

Imagine. Your mom buys you a beautiful little doll. It's inside a clear vinyl bag outlined with pink ribbons. This doll is said to be encased in a strawberry scent and all you need to do is put your nose to the tiny hole at the bottom. It's such a mysterious and magical present! Your reyes fill with wonder. You start theorizing how it works. So you put your nose to it. And nothing happens. You try again. Sniffing as hard as you can. Maybe you just need to let your nose adjust to normal air before smelling this doll. Then you try again. Nothing. Like dying and realizing ghosts do exists and it's not as cool as everyone makes it out to be.

From that moment on, that little girl knew she could not smell. But since everyone else could without even trying, she never said a word. That little girl? That's me.

So why, if I cannot smell, am I still infactuated with candles? Febreeze? Scented soaps? It's the idea that they smell like what they advertise. Take this bottle. it says tropical island. So you think of what you know, a tropical island with cool refreshing breezes, warm sun, and soft sand, light friendly colors, the green palms, the crystal blue waters, the creamy tan sands. So this must be what it smells like. Beuatiful and refreshing. This is me. Growing up with concepts for smells.

After Rain. You've heard a bit about. The moist soils giving off au natural scents of earth and clean new rain sparkling on leaves, flowers, and roads. You've felt the cool humid air of after rain. You've touched the soft rich soils after rain comes. So after rain is clean and natural and refreshing.

Cake. You think of the sweet fine icing. The warm freshly baked bread. The rich flavor of real bread baked from scratch. So what does a cake smell like? Sweet and warm. Cold cake? Just sweet, with the taste of fine grains of icing.

So this has been my life. Faking the ability to smell. Then listening to what people have to say about the smells. Hearing how different environments, items, even people are described in smell. Then I myself would look at the items, touch it, taste it if I can. And that will forever be what the item smells like. Smells to me are not just odors and scents. They are a getaway. A mysterious fantasy of endless possibilities. They are ideas, stories, histories, and emotions. An intertwined web of 4 sense put together creating a whole world for each supposedly different scent.

This is why, though I cannot smell or remember childhood smells, I love candles. I love scented items. Scratch and Sniffs not so much because they don't tell you what it is and I can only guess and make a fool of myself if I'm wrong.

As I started to let my mom and friends know about it, I started to learn there's so much more to smells that I thought. Who knew food tasted different why your nose is clogged and you can't smell? Apparently it tastes different because the brain is used to smelling foods AS you eat them, and clogged noses throw your brain off. So how different do foods taste when you're sick? God only knows. They could be bad different, goood different, diferent in a way you can't quite judge yet, diferent as in it doesn't event taste the same.... Like I said. Endless possibilities.

First time I found out after rain is the smell of the earth and not rain itself? When I told my mother about wanting to smell rain, and she said it didn't exist. That it was only wet earth. That rain is water, and water doesn't smell. That I should know water is odorless colorless and heartless towards ansomics like myself.

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