I found a box in my father’s basement. I was looking for a Christmas card of mine he’d accidentally packed up with the decorations. I was darting my eyes around the musty dark crannies of the room when I caught a familiar smell. It was a smell that hadn’t graced my nose in close to ten years…it was nothing fancy, only a candle in a broken glass holder. However, the smell triggered so many memories that I couldn’t help but follow it just to see what archives it might unearth. Suddenly I time-warped to 16 years old, listening to something like Audiovent or Finch (which no one would recognize today), pining over whichever boy I was denying I liked, but couldn’t get out of my head. With the scent of the candle came the fantom smell of a spring breeze infiltrating the porous lace sheers that covered my two bedroom windows. I was in another place…a young, raw place with many of my beginnings.
I followed the smell all the way to a dusty old box I found filled with general cheerleading paraphernalia, academic awards, school newspapers, posters the underclassmen had made me when I cheered my last game, and assorted flower petals and gummy bear wrappers from a boyfriend I had for about two months that I haven’t seen since then. Of all the junk, that if put in a blender would produce a live teenager, I found only one thing that really made me think. All of the things made me smile, but one thing reminded me that under all the superficial things I have always been the same person I am right now. I was a writer then too.
It was a circular wheel-like construction divided into four parts. When I saw it I remembered the project. We were to make a visual representation of who we are. In one corner were pictures of sunsets, beaches, and misty mountain mornings. In another corner was a collage of words, written in a whimsical fashion, that I felt described me. They were words like passion, dreamer, hunger, and dissatisfaction. In the third corner I had a drawing, which is a little strange, because I’m a horrible artist. However, if I ever drew one good thing, it was this. It was a face–mine I suppose, with a hand halfway over my mouth, and only one eye showing…maybe because then I only let a little of me show to everyone else, but I was on my way to exposure and a revelation. In the last section I only had one central phrase, “I’m a writer.”
I’m so glad the smell led me to that box. It helped to remind me that I’ve always known what I am. It’s been with me all along. Now on days I have trouble finding encouragement, or consider not writing another page because I’m truly scared to pull the trigger all the way on my dream, I have something to pull out of the cobwebs of my past. I can remind myself that a writer is not something I want to become, but is the someone I already am. It was resting comfortably in a box, but I’ve let it out. That box called to me, with nothing but a smell connecting us. I’m so glad I followed that smell of a cheap candle right back to myself…the someone I was, the someone I want to be, and the someone I am.
2 thoughts on “The Someone I Am”
I have a box like this too, filled with objects that defined me the summer between middle school and highschool. It was a class project and decorated in things that described me… Clippings from magazines, words, and paper cranes. And it’s true, no matter what’s changed since 4th grade I identifed as wanting to be a writer. Only in college though was I able to believe it when I said, “i’m a writer,” and what a powerful statement.
I love how this post is just like a story itself led by a smell. Thank you for sharing.
All the best,
Thanks for reading. Isn’t strange how blushingly we used to admit being writers and how long it took to believe it enough to say it?