There are times I fall headlong into a place of internal darkness. Now, before you say anything, I need to tell you that I have tried all manner of exorcist attempts to rid myself of that place. I cannot. Not without huge expense to my poor brain. I have learned that I must take the dark with the brilliance. I find it is the people around me who cannot cope with my retreat into darkness.
Our culture isn’t equipped with ways to legitimise our darkness. Freud and Jung tried to make some repatriation with the depths within, and Wittgenstein and Nietzsche recognised it is a part of the human condition. Still, popular culture has made the dark night of the soul something to be afraid of and to rid one’s self of, more so. Our response has been to incarcerate people who tread the dark side, shock them with electricity and the current trend is to dope them up with pills to escape through numbing.
I trawled through my perfume collection to find something that speaks of my dark mood and to express, in olfactory terms, my need to sit in the dark for a bit. I found nothing. Zilch. Everything I own is bottled sunshine, an afternoon in a blooming garden or straddles the melancholy aura of a church congregation in contemplation. I picked up Antaeus but it is too upbeat masculine. My tuberose scents are either flirty feminine or morose. Not at peace with the dark. I had to settle for Floriental by Comme des Garcons. It is the closest I have to sombre deepness.
I don’t want a scent that mourns the passing of a loved one. I don’t want pseudo Goth black that really masks a love for rose and incense. I want a scent that says it is safe and okay to be still in the dark and to descend with full knowledge that I will return to the light eventually. It has to be the scent that Hades, Darth Vader or Osiris would wear. Something that symbolises their life on the dark side.
Life isn’t happy ever after. Life ducks and dives into places that makes us uncomfortable. We don’t celebrate our journeys into the darkness. We hide these journeys in the beer we drink, the pills we take and the silent tears at night.
Tell me of perfumes you know that tell of time spent in the underworld; ones that you took from your time there.
– Kate Apted ©2018