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September Surrender: Day 28

What I’m Letting Go: No Nose About It

You probably know this, but I lost my sense of smell. I wrote about it shortly after first losing it, and again back in February. You’d think by now I’d stop harping on it, but I haven’t. It’s a very unusual thing to lose so early on in life, and I haven’t fully come to terms with it. But perhaps it’s actually time to stop, because I’m beginning to smell things again, so I can no longer call it a personality trait.

I went to one of New York City’s few legal weed shops. You know, just to “see.” I was originally going to one that was right off a nearby subway stop, but was greeted by myriad trans flags, and just didn’t feel like they needed my business. I googled and found one only a few blocks away, so I traveled further east to hit this one up. Just like they did when I went to a shop in Nevada, they asked for my ID and checked me in. It was a very nice establishment. Clean, inviting, professional. Everything for sale was grown in New York like it should be, unlike the illegal shops who import from God knows where. I’ve been a total of three times to the same shop, and the last time I went, I had to ask the question that’s been burning in me, just not in my nostrils.

“Does the vape smell?” I asked the two guys. They kind of looked at me like I was a little loony, but told me it has a sort of piney smell to it. “Not weed though,” I confirmed. “No,” the guy said, “Your neighbors won’t know the difference.” I told them I didn’t even remember what weed smells like, “Because I got bioweapon’d!” I exclaimed, pointing to my nose. “Oh, you had the Wuhan Special?” the guy asked me, which I never expected to hear in New York City of all places, and I was so stymied I couldn’t think of anything clever back to say. It was a nice little reaction, but really, what am I after by inviting people into my life like tis? To share someting so personal, what does it accomplish? Or am I just projecting some kind of stink everywhere, hoping to come out smelling fresh as a daisy?

So it’s time to stop thinking about it. Because there are things I do smell. Not all the way, but I’m starting to get scents again. Whiffs here and there. It’s incredibly slow going, but perhaps the more I stop thinking about it and keep bringing it to top of mind, the easier it’ll be for it to come back. I know at this point I won’t just wake up and smell perfectly again, but maybe it’s closer than I think. Slowly but surely, I hope to smell once more. And I’m not talkin’ body odor. Though I’d hope someone would be nice enough to tell me if that was the case.

What I’ve Discovered: Extract vs. Excretions

My best friend growing up was British. Her whole family came over when she was young when her father got a job here in the pharmaceutical industry. They all became naturalized American citizens over a decade later, the legal way, but growing up, things were very British around her house. Mom and dad still had accents, and she’d switch over to her accent when speaking to them. I loved hearing her talk English. I loved sampling everything about her heritage.

Except one thing. Marmite. Her mom loved it on toast. One night during a sleepover, I asked to take a spoonful of it to try. She gave me a bit. And oh how I hated it. I think at the time it was the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. Seven-year-old drama queen me just had to make a scene about it, wondering why this was made, and who could stomach it. And yet, it’s a British staple. Just not for my American taste buds.

Food still doesn’t taste great to me after the coof, but at least I maintained my sense. However, the loss of one sense usually heightens another, and now I’m tasting things I don’t think anyone was ever meant to. Things worse than Marmite, even.

Some things, not all things, have a distinct taste to them. It’s not quite sewage, it’s not a swamp. It’s more like…shit. Like literal shit. Fecal matter. I swear some processed or fast food just tastes like shit. I used to think it was insects. Nope. Shit. I’m sorry to be gross, but there’s no other way to describe it. And it’s not that I’ve ever tasted shit either. But you know how sometimes you can almost taste how something smells? Well, I still know what shit smells like (somehow), and it’s being put in our food. It’s horrible. It’s entirely unexpected. And all I can do now is avoid it and tell you to do the same. It’s a terrible revelation knowing that something that tastes like this is present, but now you know. You can’t unknow. I’d rather eat a scoop of Marmite every night before bed for the rest of my life than ever eat McDonald’s again. Good choices, bad way to get there. Directly from the poop chute.

What I Hope to Find: Why the Reach

My mom reaches out for something in her sleep. I can see her. I can hear her mumbling things, speaking to someone who just isn’t there. It’s like a baby reaching out from her pram. My dad and I wonder if it’s all part of the hallucinations. I like to think she’s talking to someone on another plane of existence. She’s in a world we can’t know right now, even though when I tell her I love her, she says back, “I love you too.”

I hear that. I see the love in her eyes. I just wonder what it is she’s reaching out for. I hope she can find it. Because no one deserves what she’s going through right now. I look at her and wonder why it had to be her. But then she reaches again in her sleep as a baby would. She seems at peace doing it. I only hope I can find that for myself too. To have the rest of a mind, body, and soul. Where if I reach out long enough, perhaps I can grasp something meaningful as I continue this journey. We’re all on an entirely new life path now, you see. I hear we’ve got what we need. It just doesn’t always come together as easily as touching a button.

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