Perfume for a second, thicker skin

This week has been hell as far as work is concerned, bringing out the worst parts of remote working and, unfortunately, the worst in me. Only nobody is in the office to see it. I think back to the days when we could hear and see each other’s stress and frustration and be able to offer help or encouragement, rather than suffering alone collectively. I seem to recall one of my performance evaluations from past years mentioning “grace under pressure” and can only laugh because it’s all gone out the window now. It turns out there is a limit to the amount and type of pressure a person can reasonably take, and this week has exceeded it.

It started in earnest last weekend, when I attended a virtual conference for work that lasted into the week. In previous years, I would travel to this conference, and timelines and meetings would take these “away” days into account. However, with no travel time needed and all the sessions being provided as videos on demand after their scheduled presentation slots, it made no difference to my usual lineup of obligations, which were already intensified due to arbitrary end-of-year deadlines. It was simply piled on top of everything else. (Not enough live sessions coincided with my meeting times, so I didn’t feel I could justify skipping those meetings.)

At the conference, I happened to learn some new words such as “catastrophization” and “awfulization” in contexts that varied from the outlook of some people living with debilitating diseases to tendencies that we all sometimes need a reminder to avoid. I may have slipped into some of those -izations… sleep deprivation and a drained emotional tank can do that…

The news late Friday night of the COVID-19 vaccine being authorized for emergency use by the FDA was a silver lining, though.

While my mood may have stunk, my person did not, at least in my opinion. Needless to say, I’ve reached for “tougher” fragrances to get me through the days—and even though I never particularly considered these as “personal armor” perfumes, in retrospect they do lend some grit.

  • Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Chyprée: The bold, juicy opening of this chypre floral, with its big dose of cinnamon and citrus swirling into a tenacious, ambery rose, is a scent with which to go forth.
  • Jeroboam Vespero: A new favorite of mine, a smooth leather for that extra coat of protection, which curls into an intimate woodiness and musk that will outlast me any day.
  • Chanel No 19: Probably one of the most acknowledged armor perfumes, green and assertive, but never compromising the inner delicate flowers. (Jacomo Silences fits the bill here, too, but I didn’t wear it this week.)
  • Le Labo Ylang 49: I’ve mentioned this favorite several times before, but never in this context. However, it is a power chypre floral, unapologetic and upfront with its gardenia-rose glory.

The roses shine because they have not forgotten their sizeable thorns.

Und mein Kopf schreit hey (And my head is screaming hey)

Und der Mond, und der Mond lacht über uns (And the moon, and the moon laughs at us)

—Mine, “Der Mond Lacht” (The Moon Laughs)

(Who knew the moon laughs at us in so many languages?!)

4 thoughts on “Perfume for a second, thicker skin

  1. I’m sorry your holiday season got that stressful and packed with work. And I’m sorry I wasn’t “here” to offer a word of support and sympathy: I was also swamped under work prior to the vacation I made myself to take not to forfeit, again, my “unlimited vacation.” I want to mention that what you described reminded me of the previous two December’s in my work life. It was awful.
    I hope you’re better now. Just remember it for the next year and try to push back before everything work-related is piled on your holiday season.
    I have perfume for tough meetings – Serge Lutens Boxeuses. Luckily for me, I felt like wearing it only twice during this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Undina, that’s so kind of you to stop by during your holiday! Sorry to hear that you were also swamped, and I am glad you are taking a well deserved vacation. It’s funny because none of those whose bad planning becomes our “emergencies,” to borrow the saying, are newbies, and yet the cycle inevitably repeats.

      Enjoy the last few days of 2020 for what they’re worth!

      Liked by 1 person

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