A Vanilla Lime State of Mind

I just about cried from happiness when we found a store here in Milan with an entire Yankee Candle department. In fact, Dan snapped this Instagram of me looking suspiciously misty-eyed the moment we stepped off the escalator:

Spotting the Yankee Candle display

[Not pictured: The actual Yankee Candle display. Possibly because within seconds, I was thrusting Citrus Tango and Coconut Bay under my husband’s nose saying charming things like, “Have you smelled this one yet? What about THIS? Oo, I don’t think you’ve gotten to try Fluffy Towels yet…”

I bought a tiny tart-sized Vanilla Lime in honor of my favorite chapter of Dandelion Wine* and only after unwrapping it at home realized it wasn’t a candle at all but a “wax melt,” presumably requiring some form of proprietary decorative Bunsen burner to use. Ah well. I’m keeping it at my desk and treating it as a Bradbury-themed scratch-and-sniff. Just call me Pollyanna. (And maybe keep it between ourselves that I’ve taken to huffing wax melts while I write.)

*Do you know it? If not, get yourself a copy no later than Saturday so you can spend every day of this summer in the magic of 1920s Illinois.

I’m finding it harder than I’d expected to get into a summery frame of mind this year. Granted, summer is technically still five days away, but considering that the temperature here soared to 100° last week and people have been using the #summer hashtag for something like four months now, I think we can agree that the season is here in spirit if not in person.

I’m trying, truly. I’ve been buying popsicles and napping under the ceiling fan and playing the 2014 World Cup album while I work out, but something in me seems reluctant to switch into holiday mode. Maybe it’s the workaholic troll in my brain that never, ever thinks I’ve accomplished enough to earn myself a break. Perhaps, instead, it’s the grumpy old geezer in my perspective that always takes forever to adjust to a new setting. It could just as easily be the scaredy cat in my soul that shies away from the whoosh of passing time, or maybe it’s something else altogether, something I haven’t yet identified or learned to face.

I wrote a few weeks ago about how I was going to work on feeling my feelings this summer instead of disconnecting from myself, but that’s proving easier said than done. Everything seems so complicated once I start peeling away the layers. Something as small as a Vanilla Lime wax melt leaves me sifting through the character files of my psyche, and that’s one of the easy ones, one of the emotive cause-and-effects that I feel capable of sharing right now. Can’t I just be… I dunno, simpler? More Buddy the Elf and less Lisbeth Salander?

I suspect that one cannot become less complicated simply by wishing herself so—and more’s the pity—but I do know that meeting every complicated facet head-on is a healthier response than ignoring it and hoping it goes away. That’s why I’m here today, feeling my feels and huffing the scent of summer and guiding my perspective with plenty of hand-holding and eye contact into the present.

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  1. I love that you’re complicated. 🙂 I love that you write out your whirring thoughts because they help the other complicated folks in this world sort out their own whirl. Myself most definitely included. 🙂 I love that you found a Yankee Candle display. That would make me misty eyed too. My misty eyed moment came at a Living History event I went to where a bloke with a strooooong Alabama accent spoke about the Civil War. I could’ve listened to him all day. 🙂

    • That’s often how I feel when reading other people’s whirring thoughts too–grateful and understood. 🙂 And speaking of accents, I got to spend my morning today with a friend from my hometown, and though I had a billion other things to get done, I couldn’t tear myself away for over an hour. It’s like soul-medicine. 🙂

  2. I love that picture of you. Isn’t it amazing what can strike that slightly homesick chord? Smells are tops on the list and yes, that Yankee Candle smell is close to heart, hearth, home. Glad you found it! But I think you might be limiting yourself just a tad with the examples you’ve listed for the emotional spectrum – Buddy the Elf and Lisbeth Salander?? Good grief, woman – give yourself a tiny little break, okay? (Very funny line, I will admit, however. 🙂

    • I can never resist an opportunity for hyperbole. 😀 It makes my heart sing and my husband groan that our daughters have inherited my love for ridiculous, polarizing comparisons! Thanks for your kindness. All exaggeration aside, I really do appreciate the chance to feel more… well, normal.

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