The Someone I Am

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

  1. 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,
    Jes Black

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