A Plastic Bottle, Some Baseball T-Shirts, and A Kitchenaid Mixer
I look down at the plastic bottle in my hands. It’s from Victoria’s Secret – their PINK line which is aimed at teenage and college girls. I’m 32.
The first time I smelled it I was in Orlando staying with a friend and her daughter for a few days in the fall. Her daughter was wearing it and I remember that I couldn’t stop thinking about that scent the entire time I was in their house. When I got home I went to buy it online; they didn’t make it anymore. So I searched on eBay, and bought it there; I didn’t care because it smelled like heaven.
I used to wear a perfume by Ralph Lauren for many years. After that, it was Juicy Couture and then something by Dior that Charlize Theron endorsed on television wearing several versions of a gold dress and walking effortlessly through pools of water underneath the sun. Commercials like this cause endless amounts of eye rolls from my direction.
I scan my eyes across the bedroom floor. There are clothes in several different piles – some because I don’t have enough room in the dresser and closet in my childhood bedroom where I’m currently residing, some because they aren’t technically “clean” anymore, but not yet dirty and I never know what to do with them. So into some form of a pile they go.
This past year I got rid of a LOT of clothes, for different reasons. A few things no longer fit, a few I just didn’t want, many the energetics of where I got it or who gave it to me bothered me and thus they had to go. Much of it was “good” brand name clothing. As I’m searching mentally through the piles at the moment, I realize that I’d spent years asking for and buying things in certain stores because of the name, and not much else. This year I went back to being me, and buying things for comfort and style that have little to do with where I bought them.
I have six of the same baseball t-shirt in different colors because I love them so much. I found them on accident one day while I was meandering around Wal-Mart. They’re so comfortable it’s like wearing a cloud.
As I’m looking around the room considering the choices we make about what we have and how we live, and more importantly, why, a thought occurs to me about a choice I made when I got divorced and moved out of my house last year.
When I got married, one of the things I’d registered for was a Kitchenaid Mixer. It’s something like $400 after taxes. I loved it because it was turquoise. But beyond that there were two major problems with it: 1) It was the heaviest, most difficult thing to maneuver in the entire world, and one of my highest values is ease. And 2) I don’t like to bake. At all.
When I packed up all my things into a storage unit, I left the mixer on the counter. Not only because I would never use it, but also because it represented something I’d been doing for years – making choices about who to be and how to live that weren’t my own. I’d registered for that because other people said I should. Because it was “the best.” I had done once again something I’d later come to spend the entire year of 2019 working on changing – asking and taking other people’s opinions over my own. Nevermind that a $50 mixer would have worked just fine in the event that someone had a gun to my head requiring that I bake them bad see-through chocolate chip cookies.
I look at myself in the mirror as I straighten my hair. I don’t stray into new experiences much these days, I tend to prefer a chill atmosphere with a bonfire and some good friends. But tonight is different and where I’m going the people there will be new, and I’m slightly nervous. The clothes I chose are nice but not I’m not overdressed, and definitely comfortable. If I’m gonna get a little uncomfortable in meeting a bunch of new people, I at least need to be comfortable in my clothes.
I’m still working on finding and staying grounded in myself. In who I am, in how I show up, in using my voice to both self-advocate as well as stand up for things I believe in. Meeting a handful of new people and navigating a new experience all at once always brings up self-consciousness even in the most confident of us all.
In looking at my reflection, and remembering all that I’ve worked on this year and how far I’ve come in rebuilding my own foundation, I feel good about me. And the best part is, I’m actually totally ok if anyone’s opinion of me tonight is less than stellar.
Because for the first time in a long time, I like me.
And that matters more than anything.
I lift the bottle of Victoria’s Secret body mist, push my finger down on the nozzle, and walk out the door.