October in Aspen
More specifically, let's talk about that time I was wandering through a strip mall on a sweltering October day in Shreveport, Louisiana about 4 years ago. Someone exited Ulta as I walked past, and as the door opened I caught a whiff of something. Something intoxicating.
The hairs on my arms stood up. Tears welled up in my eyes. It was the smell... of freedom.
Okay, that was dramatic. The smell was actually just pumpkin.
I doubled back and walked as casually as I could into Ulta. No, you cannot help me, I telepathically told the saleswoman. I do not need my mustache tinted or my eyelashes waxed or whatever tiny beauty products you have next to the register. I just need to get to your pumpkin candles.
When I reached the pumpkin candles I took a giant sniff and -- I'm not proud of this -- started to cry.
Because it was 90 degrees. In October. And it would likely be 90 degrees again in November. And I know you rolled your eyes up there when I said "it was the smell of freedom" but summer in Louisiana makes me feel trapped in this body that is so clearly not meant for summer. It burns, it peels, it sweats, it sticks, it makes me miserable. The smell of pumpkin represents me returning to my old self.
(Sorry, is this manifesto ruining all future pumpkin spice lattes for you? My deepest apologies. Maybe try a green tea? I think it's healthier.)
With the smell of those Ulta candles came the memory of what a breeze feels like. The long forgotten practice of snuggling. The thrill of exhaling and seeing your breath. The anticipation of actually feeling those things, combined with the realization that winter was not, in fact, coming to Louisiana anytime soon, and neither was fall?
That's why I cried in the corner of Ulta holding a pumpkin candle.
(And that's why you didn't scare me when you told me Minnesota was cold.)
All this being said, I'm giving myself permission to love fall without being classified as a "basic white girl." I have a doctor's note. Or something.
This post was sponsored by Ulta. Just kidding. But if any companies out there would like to pay someone to write about a time one of your products inspired a visceral overreaction, I'm your girl.