beauty on the outside: what now?

It’s time to fill in some blank spots.

Life is much more than cool pictures on instagram; I feel lucky to be where I am right now, but to be honest, the picture I’ve shared has been unbalanced. Here’s to finding balance.

BOTO began while I was finishing my BS at PSU.

It was born on a gloomy day during Spring Break, sunlight tentatively peeking through the blinds of our SE Portland townhouse. It was just a few months before my wedding, and it was during one of the most challenging periods of my life.

School was tough: I was trying to finish my pre-med requirements, and prepping for the MCAT. Seasonal Affective Disorder was still clinging to me with it’s cold, vise-like grip. Out of nowhere, my formerly supportive fiance dropped a bomb– he didn’t want to be married to a medical student, or to a MD. Suddenly, I had to choose between the thing I’d been working towards for years, and the man I loved. Invitations had been out for months, plane tickets and travel plans had already been made by my family. What choice did I have?

I felt utterly helpless.

I sat down and started a blog.

Later, after the wedding, BOTO evolved into a perfume blog and I deleted most of my early posts. I channeled my energy into exploring something beautiful, something safe–no dangerous introspection about my emotional state: just beautiful perfume! While my world was crumbling, I focused on a pleasure I could access– fragrance.

He broke up with me before the wedding. He broke up with me again after we got back from the honeymoon. Few people know this. He broke up with me whenever I got out of line. I almost didn’t survive him, and have the hospital bracelet (9/19/09) to prove it. What gave me hope, what got me through, was the writing.

BOTO was the thing that helped me get through–the people who came into my life because of it gave me courage and hope. After the divorce, I walked away from this space. I think maybe because I wanted a fresh start. My personal policy has been, No looking back! But that’s not quite right: BOTO tugs at me, as it always has.

Beauty on the Outside is a tool: I used it to focus on something I could control–pleasure for pleasures sake, and what that pleasure experience did for my internal self. Ultimately, it helped me find freedom.

What now? The answer eludes me. Perfume remains a major part of my life: yesterday I wore Puredistance Black, and I bought a bottle of CK Dark Obsession off eBay for 30-bucks. I’ve managed to convince Josh Meyer to work with me again on a new perfume project, and I’ve got The Guy wearing Kilian.

What any of this means for BOTO, I’m still figuring out. It may evolve into something completely different, but I’m still here. I’m hitting the reset button, and I’m hopeful about whatever comes next.

SOTD: L’Artisan’s Coeur de Vétiver Sacré, from Birgit.

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About dee

I love perfume, horses, science fiction, and experimental electronic music!

31 responses to “beauty on the outside: what now?”

  1. Olfactoria says :

    It is lovely hearing from Dee again. Thank you for this honest post. I miss you.

  2. Kim says :

    thanks for being so raw and honest. Love your blog and missed it. So glad you have found your way back. I look forward to your reviews!

  3. Lavanya says :

    What can I say- that was…ok- I am not going to say anything except big hugs!!

    P.S. I agree- perfume does feel safe (safer than something like music which seems less controllable somehow) ..and also.. distracting enough to keep us sane.. lots of love and do whatever feels right with the blog. I will anyway be following you on the other one..:) but this feels like a different kind of homey.

    • dee says :

      Homey is a good way to put it Lavanya! I was working on a post last night for the other blog, about identity, and I couldn’t finish it–I realized that there was something I had to share here first. BOTO is home, no matter what else I do <3

      Thank you so much for your support, wherever I am!!! It means so much to me. xoxox

  4. Tara says :

    Wow dee, what a post. I had no idea how badly your spirit was being crushed. I’m so sorry to hear it.

    I can completely understand how perfume helped you through. The fact that it has no other purpose than to bring pleasure can be fortifying for the soul. I hope you can eventually get back on to the track you were forced off. It’s never too late.

    • dee says :

      A person can be anything online–what’s great about that is online I found a place for my spirit to soar! Which ultimately led to positive changes (thank god for perfume!!!). Pleasure for pleasures sake is way underrated. ;)

      I agree Tara, it’s never too late! But I don’t see myself pursuing that path, at least not now–I’m pursuing another dream, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have been diverted! They say “if one door closes another opens,” and I think that publishing is really a better fit for me anyway ;)
      <3

  5. flittersniffer says :

    Goodness, Dee, you’ve had a rough time and a half. Glad that writing brought you a creative outlet and some solace in the hurly burly that was raging around you. Oddly, I feel I have got to know you better since you appeared to be shifting focus to your personal blog and Facebook. Well, I have certainly enjoyed posting silly remarks on your status updates, which may not be the same thing at all! Oh, and I wore Black yesterday and love it. ;-)

    • dee says :

      Life gives us as much as we can handle, right? :) I’m pretty sure BOTO saved my life!

      V, I feel like I’ve gotten to know you better in the in-between too–I love the immediacy of Facebook! Seeing what you’re doing and saying in real-time is awesome. <3

      Isn't Black awesome????

  6. susan says :

    hey, yay! glad you’ll be back in this space. I’ve been reading your other blog, not always commenting…

    sorry to hear about the roughness. :(

  7. bloody frida says :

    I just want to jump through the internet and hug you!

  8. kittomalley says :

    Dearest Danielle, I had no idea. What a controlling, emotionally abusive jerk. Good for you in seeking freedom and honesty. I wish you the best of luck in your latest endeavors. Who knows, some day I may be needing a publisher. Love, Kitt

  9. allison says :

    long time reader, first time (double) poster: your last couple of posts are so amazingly wonderful, i agree with the other comments about the sense of freedom and honesty that is flowing freely here. we all wish you well and are rooting for you!

  10. Undina says :

    Dear Dee,

    I missed you (even though I had my “fix” through your other blog and FB posts from time to time). I hope you’re in a better place now than you were when you started your blog but I’ll be glad to see you here more often.

    Did I mention that I miss you?

    • dee says :

      Undina! I miss you!

      Facebook is such a great tool for keeping us all connected. Aren’t we lucky to live in an era where we can build bonds across space and time? The internet is TOPS, lol.

      I’m in a much better place. Life is a process that continues to evolve. The difference now is that I’ve got the courage to look at myself and take charge of the circumstances of my life! Empowerment through perfume ;)

      Sending you a HUGE hug, and a kiss for both cheeks. <3

  11. Maggie M. says :

    What a courageous step to share these difficult times in your life. I’m glad you reclaimed your path. It belongs to no one but yourself. Anyone who demands otherwise is simply not ready to join you as your life partner. Keep your eyes on the prize and your nose in perfume!

    • dee says :

      Thank you Maggie! The beauty of any difficult situation is how bright it is on the other side: I feel as if I could face anything now.

      My nose is currently mulling over the SOTD… ;)

  12. Suzanne says :

    Dear Dee –

    Having been in a similar relationship a long time ago, I know from which you speak. Sometimes I look back now and think, well, maybe I needed that relationship to learn how to stand up for myself. I was stronger thereafter, and you will be too. You already are. Keep on keeping on, lovely one. xxoo

    p.s. Did you ever get your blue bike? I’m sorry, but I get so behind on my blog reading I haven’t kept up with your James Franco adventures.

    • dee says :

      Suzanne,

      One of the things that has surprised me is how much understanding I’m meeting with from other women–I wish that we didn’t have to learn through suffering; but, as you say, we learn how to stand up for ourselves, and come out the other side stronger for the experience. Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing: I love who I am, and who I am is a result of where I’ve been. :)

      No blue bike!
      When I met The Guy, almost a year ago, he promised to buy me a bike. It was at the same time as the James Franco project; I still haven’t worked with JF, and I still don’t have a bike! LOL, I’m sure both wish-list items are on their way to me now… ;)

      So good to hear from you! <3

  13. Dionne says :

    This was an amazing post, Dee. Raw, honest and moving. I think I understand more now why you said it was nice to know that sometimes marriages really do work. And I thought I’d mention that though your ex may be a decent guy, that particular behavior was not decent. I can’t think of any relationship where threatening to leave when you don’t get what you want is healthy or appropriate.

    I’m thrilled to hear you’re in a better place now. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all your posts about The Guy on Facebook.

    • dee says :

      Dionne,

      I confess, I use BOTO for therapy! It has to happen somewhere, and why not perfumeland? Perfumistas are the best people, I’m convinced of it.

      It’s really encouraging to see the way you, your husband, and your whole family do things, even if it’s just little peeks I see through Facebook or your writing. You guys are an inspiration! Virtual hugs to the whole bunch! :)

      You’re right, of course. I think I might sometimes be too good at playing devil’s advocate–even against myself. It was an unhealthy situation; the bright side, of course, is that I’m learning what’s most important to me in life.
      And I’m doing that stuff, with the people who like Danielle: The Empowered Version.

      Honestly, I just feel lucky. <3

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