Why I Love the Details

I love sensory input from other people. I love their specifics and their notable attributes that form their identity. In my opinion, it is just as interesting to be known for being intelligent or sensitive as it is to be recognized for your scent or your favorite pair of shoes. Whether we are a sum of our parts or greater than our whole, we are a combination of our experiences, sensibilities, and details. Maybe it is because I’m a writer, but I’m always looking at the small pieces of people that make them recognizable. These are often physical traits, mannerisms, or adornments. How you move your hands says just as much as if you wear one piece of jewelry every day.Thinking about my details is a self-indulgent activity. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to craft the perfect image of myself, but I do find myself wondering what impression I leave on someone. It more than whether they liked me, it is what they thought I sounded like or what they see when someone says my name. In recent years, I’ve discovered some of these things, some of my external details. I currently wear four silver bracelets on my left arm and two silver rings on my right hand. This organization has shifted over the years, but I’ve stayed with silver and I’ve mostly worn more than one of each. The rings are strictly visual, but the bracelets have another dimension. Except for one made of string, the four bracelets I wear are all metal. The jingle whenever I move my arm. That sound is one of my signifiers. I talk with my hands a lot, and every time I gesture to make a point it sounds like sleigh bells. I hardly hear it at this point, but people remember it about me.

Another sense that I focus on is smell. I love perfume. I don’t wear a lot of makeup if I wear any at all, but I always wear perfume. I put it on if I’m going to wedding or if I’m going to sleepover at a friend’s house. I like to smell like something and I hope that becomes what I smell like to other people. My mom always wore perfume, always had an excess of glass bottles on the table under her mirror. For special occasions, my dad still gets her whatever he preferred brand and scent are at this particular moment. Perfume, to me, feels like a worthwhile luxury. Currently, my favorite is a Sephora brand, Fresh, and the smell is Sugar Honey Lemon which I pair with a lemon extract essential oil. For a long time, I only wore vanilla scents, but it is very easy for a vanilla perfume to smell fake. I didn’t realize how layered the smell could be until my mom got me a sample of an expensive perfume brand that does a vanilla. It smells like baking and like money; you call tell that this is not something I can afford a whole bottle of. I have a jasmine that my sister bought me and an amber musk that’s almost out. The excitement of putting it on or choosing what I want today to smell like never gets old.

Identity is tricky. Most people don’t realize that it is constantly shifting, that you are constantly reinventing yourself by virtue of living different days. You can’t control much, but you can control yourself and your presentation. Security is comforting so I find it in my row of perfume bottles and the silver I put on my body every day. Ultimately, all of it is for me and my happiness. I feel better when I smell like lemons or cookies and that is a joy very easily accessible.


Image Credit: Lily Alig