Fragrant interlude: An update from dee

There are these little moments where I wonder, “how much is too much to share?” But those moments don’t last long, because our fragrant community isn’t just a bunch of random strangers excitedly sounding off about whatever yummy thing they’re smelling (although that’s part of it), but a genuine community of friends threaded together by our common love. We are a smart, savvy group; we are generous and thoughtful, we are perfumistas.

When I came to this coven of enthusiasts, I was delighted by the warmth, and the depth of friendship that I found with my fellow bloggers and perfume lovers. It has meant the world to me. I’ve been through many personal milestones since Beauty on The Outside began over four years ago: I finished a Bachelor’s degree, I got married, I moved from Oregon to Texas. Life lies in between the major plot points, and it’s those in-between places that are filled with the daily pleasures of fragrance, and my fragrant friends. A major plot twist has occurred in my life, and the perfumistas have extended their love and support from every corner of the earth. How can I measure what this is worth?

It wasn’t many posts ago that I asked for your help in selecting a birthday fragrance for Matt, and now I’m here to tell you that we’re getting divorced. Divorce is heart-breaking, no matter the circumstances, but I am fortunate that ours is mostly amicable. Love may cover a multitude of sins, but it doesn’t cover incompatibility. After 7.5 years together, we’re giving peace a chance, and moving our relationship from marital to platonic. We are hopeful for ourselves and for each other, optimistic for the future.

And what has perfume to do with this? Perfume has been a journey for me, a journey of self-discovery and self-expression. Exploring themes of identity, of pleasure, of hope, and even fear, I found that it’s hard to ignore incompatibility when you are constantly working to open yourself up to feeling, to fully explore the what, why, and how, of your emotions. Just as a painting might speak to you a thousand words, a perfume might speak to you a thousand more.

My transition hasn’t been easy (thus my long radio silence), and there is still a rough road ahead. But I’m here, and I’m grateful that you are too.

66 thoughts on “Fragrant interlude: An update from dee

  1. Your post got me emotional. I’m nostalgic and sentimental about the “ending” of anything, but you are wise in your attitude towards this. Life is constantly in flux and we must embrace this while appreciating what was without wanting to grasp on to it. Letting go is a beautiful and wise thing to do. Kudos to you.

    I haven’t been a subscriber for very long, and only started my own perfume journey 2 months ago. You are so right in saying that the perfumista community is loving and welcomes true perfume lovers with open arms. I feel like I “belong” for the very first time, and I have since learned through perfume that I am a sensual being in every way, and that everything that pleases my senses is something I am passionate about (music, photography, perfume, food, and, uhm, making love).

    1. Forgot to add: The post got me emotional because of how well you worded it, but also because I’m listening to a song I wrote about things not working out, coincidentally. It’s about wondering what happened, and how constantly wondering will take you in circles. Funny coincidence, that.

    2. Zubi,

      This has been such a surreal time for me, experiencing all this, and your response to the post is such a perfect example of what I was talking about– here we are, perfect strangers, making a genuine, meaningful connection… through our mutual love of perfume. I wonder if it has to do with the sensual nature (and us acknowledging our sensual selves) of fragrance that opens this door for us? Regardless, thank you so much for your comment! It’s truly a beautiful community, and I’m so grateful to be part of it, especially during this emotionally challenging time.

      1. So sorry for the late replies! 😦

        Yes, I do feel that we are a sensual community and perhaps are able to be more sensitive in every way because of it (empathy). I also feel that the true perfumista community (sorry for sounding purist/snobbish) has a deep respect for a well-crafted perfume, even if it makes them feel ill, which shows that we are able to empathise even when sympathy is impossible (if that makes sense in the way I put it).

        Off topic: I wanted to post a blog about the perfume community; am I allowed to reference this particular post? I know your blog is public, but at the end of the day I’d still like to ask for your permission.

        1. Zubi, it’s never too late to reply!

          Empathy is a valuable gift, and we’ve got it in spades in our community! I’m grateful for it, on so many levels.

          Of course you may reference this post! Any post on this site may be referenced, as long as you acknowledge where the content came from, if you directly quote anything 😉

    1. Thank you Murai! It is sad, but it’s hopeful too– I see a bright future ahead of me, and for Matt too, even if we’re not together in the same way.

  2. What a touching and eloquent post, despite its sad subject matter. How true about perfume opening up your emotions and making you more aware of what is right and wrong in other aspects of your life. As you may know, I am on a similar path at the moment, so I can relate to what you are going through. And a friend for whom I recently did a perfume consultation, leading to her instant love of a particular niche scent, has just left her husband, I heard. So it would seem that the sensory pleasure derived from perfume is at once a comfort in rough times and a spark to action, telling us to expect more!

    1. PS And I couldn’t agree more about how wonderfully supportive the perfumista community is towards members going through major life changes of all kinds!

    2. Vanessa, I had no idea that you were going through something similar! I feel like I’m coming up for air for the first time in months– despite the mostly mutual nature of my separation, I’ve felt more than a little emotionally paralyzed. I like the way that Zubi said it above, about becoming open to our sensual selves– it really is interesting that, like you say, it can make you more aware of what is right or wrong in the other areas of life.

      Expect more is right!!! 🙂

  3. Dear Dee, for a while before it was confirmed, I’d had the sensation that things were not good with the two of you. I’m sorry that you’re having to go through this, but I’m also confident that you will be OK down the line and even now and then in the present time. I’m sending positive thoughts your way for your new life. I’m sure it wasn’t what you imagined it would be – but that’s just life in a nut shell, isn’t it? We have so many plans and images in our minds – and then there’s reality. I konw you have many friends already, but you have another one in Denmark, if you need one.

    1. My dear Marie,
      Thank you so much for your support! It’s true, this is not at all what I imagined would be happening at this point in my life (or ever); but that IS life in a nutshell! Reality has taught me many lessons, and this has been an effective one: I feel like I’ve come through this experience a much better person than who I was when I began (the relationship), and am better positioned to truly be happy in life and in love. I’ll be better thank OK– with friends like this (see comments above and below), I’m going to be great 🙂

  4. I’m so sorry, Dee. Your strength comes through in your writing about this, but I know it can’t be easy. All the best to you and Matt as you go through the transition and after. Hugs~

    1. Natalie, it’s not so hard to be strong when there are so many wonderful people caring for me– I feel like Moses, with people holding my arms up as I part the Red Sea! 🙂

  5. Sending you encouragement and strength, I am sorry you are going through this, not easy in the best of cases. May you rise and go forth. Or, as it is said “Perfume and Carry On”, and we will be here to read about your personal journey as well as your discoveries along the way!

  6. Dee, your sincerity and beauty is as evident here as it is in any other post you’ve written. We all go through diffiuclt transitions at various points in our lives; thank you for letting us know, so that we can support you and wish you every comfort at this time.

  7. Dee, I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ve been through it too and know how hard it is. Hope it helps to know that your fragrance friends care very much about you and are there for you. Sending hugs and positive energy.

    1. Thank you Laurie! You are evidence, then, that a person can suffer something profound and go on to create objects of true beauty and spread joy ❤

  8. Dear Dee,

    I’m really sorry that both of you are going through that experience and I really hope that it will work out to the best.

    Sending the warmest thoughts yor way.

  9. Dee, good for you for taking the steps that you need to be good to yourself and Matt. I know it’s hard. Hope that in the next month or two we can finally meet… I’m planning to go to Alyssa’s Bookpeople event, so probably there…?

    1. July 7th! I’m really looking forward to Alyssa’s event, even if my version of the story is almost exactly opposite… perfume opens the door to whole new worlds, and who can know what those worlds will be? This is a journey that I’m thankful for, even if it’s a toughie. I’m looking forward to FINALLY seeing you!! There will be cocktails and chocolate… 😉

  10. I’m so sorry, Dee. I’m sending you strength and comfort and practical advice. Make sure you have a good lawyer. Financial security is very important and usually the last thing on someone’s mind when going through a divorce, especially an amicable one. I have read that studies show divorced women end up less financially secure than their ex’es, an experience I am way too familiar with.

    I hope everything works out for you and that happiness will come to you soon.

    1. Thank you so much Taffy! You’re not the first person to give me that advice, however, Matt did the right thing (as he always does and I don’t doubt always will) and saw to it that I was taken care of financially, when he could have easily left me high and dry. He’s a good man.

      My financial future, whether success or failure, is in my hands now. 🙂

      Incidentally, I am the proud new owner of a giant bottle of By Kilian Amber Oud… 🙂

  11. Dee,
    Your message touched a place in my heart that I know so well. I went through the exact same situation almost 10 years ago. I always feel that there is something good that comes out of any bad situation. I became a stronger, more confident person, first…then a few years later, I met a wonderful man who is now my husband. Fragrance does play a part in those bittersweet memories, because I always associate certain fragrances with times in my life. It is also a good feeling to be on speaking terms when you are going through a divorce…and afterwards!

    Cathy B.

    1. Cathy,
      Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s incredibly encouraging to hear from others who have gone through the same thing; honestly, just the concept of divorce terrified me so much at first that I didn’t know if I’d have the courage to keep going… but then I began to think about some of the amazing people I’ve known who have gone through it– and come out more than okay. 🙂

  12. I found your thoughts about the fragrance community to be true for me as well, Dee. I have met people from all over the world and consider some to be close friends. I have enjoyed reading your thoughts about fragrances and thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us, your readers/friends. Wishing love and life’s best for you.

  13. I am so sorry. i went through a divorce four years ago, and my advice is be gentle on yourself in your public writing. Blogging through all the emotional ups and downs of the 2-3 years post-divorce are challenging, or they were for me. Some days I didn’t want to write about perfume at all, I wanted to launch verb-filled grenades at my soon-to-be and then-ex or to swan about in my best Grieving Divorcee literary style. Ugh, yeah. I feel for you. Divorce is hard, and it’s hard to publicly write through it. I, of course, didn’t mention mine until years after publicly. I probably should have done it earlier, but I just couldn’t face being consoled.

    🙂 It will get better. you think it won’t, and you’ll be right for a long while, until you’re wrong for a second and then a minute and then an hour and a day and it is better more than it’s not. I promise.

    1. Patty, I had no idea you had been through this; it’s comforting to see the people who have gone before me in this particular life adventure, and to see that they’ve made it through to the other side (as much as such a thing is possible). I wasn’t sure whether or not to talk about it, but I lost the ability to write for months, and I didn’t really know how to start again without telling all. And I’m glad that I have– I feel uplifted and encouraged by our community, and am a little sorry I wasn’t open about it sooner!
      There are moments where I wonder how I got here, and feel like indulging my inner Grieving Divorcee (cocktail in hand), but I have too much hope for the future to spend much time there.

      Thank you so much for your insight, and for sharing your experience!

  14. What a brave and beautiful post, dee. So full of grace. I agree that experiencing perfume on a deeper lovel can be like holding up a mirror to our inner selves and therefore risk confronting difficult truths (and some people think this is a frivolous hobby, right?). You have taken steps to deal with the truth of your situation and you can only come out stronger and better as a result, it’s impossible not to. The transformative process is not without pain though and I extend my hand to you from my little corner of the world x

    1. A frivolous hobby it is not! A thing that builds community, and inspires introspection… That’s pure art! 😉

      It’s true what you say, and both Matt and I agree strongly on this point: we’ve become better people because of our time together, and even if we’re not right as husband and wife, we’re a special kind of soul-mate together– we dulled our swords on one another, which sounds awful, but we learned not just to be better people, but what it means to love. I think we’re going to have better interpersonal relationships all around, having come through this trial of fire together.

      Thank you so much, Tara! For everything ❤

  15. I’m with Tara: your post is full of grace and dignity. Patty is right too: it’s hard being consoled. Still, is so incredibly important that you can respect your ex. Hatred and bile never got anyone anywhere.

    That said, I love that Australian twang in Portia’s comment: ‘Awww SHIT!!!’ Yep.

    Glad to see you back on BoTO, dee.

    1. It would be easy to villainize an ex; when you’re in pain, it’s easy to want to inflict pain. But the thing that has been very clear from the start of all this, for me, is that Matt is a good man, and I won’t let myself forget that, ever. We made mistakes, but we grew too, and I don’t regret our years together (though this hurts like hell).

      It’s good to be back. I’ve missed you all!

  16. On the one hand, I’m sorry to hear that you’re getting divorced, but on the other hand, it’s a new beginning, which is always exciting. Having been through my own share of divorces, I have to say that it’s hard to make the decision, but once it’s made, it’s a relief and an opportunity for growth. Sending you big hugs and wishing you the best of everything in your new (and hopefully improved) life!

    1. Ellen, that is so true! It’s incredibly hard, yet there is so much hope– the two are almost in balance; thankfully the hope wins out, keeping me afloat.

      Thank you so much! ❤

    1. Mals, thank you for your hugs and hope! This isn’t something I ever saw coming, but I will endure, and someone wiser than me once said, “Weeping may last for a night, but a shout of joy follows in the morning.”

  17. :(..lots of hugs Dee and you are a lovely, positive woman and I am sure there are wonderful things waiting to happen to you..hang in there.(did you get my email?)

    1. Thank you so much Lavanya! I did get your email, and apologize for the delayed response! I’m so terribly bad at email these days… but promise to get better 🙂

      1. oh no problem at all dee- replying to emails should be the last of your worries (just wanted to make sure you got it..:))..take care of yourself sweetie..xo

  18. Dear Dee,
    Thinking of you and wishing you well. The transitions are hard, but just think of the new adventures and new discoveries awaiting you. I’m still very sorry that you’re going through this difficult time, but you have many people who love and care for you, and please do not hesitate to reach out anytime.

  19. Oh god, I feel I neglected all my blogging friends as I only now realized what you’ve been going through. My life hasn’t been as turbulent as yours but it’s been tiring and I completely missed this post.
    I hope your friends are a great support to you (I could gather as much). A friend of mine went through an amical divorce, one she wanted, and it was still a difficult process. But her friends were there for her and she has such a lovely, fulfilling life now which she is sharing with a lovely guy who loves her immensely.

    1. Ines, don’t worry! I’ve felt nothing but love and support from the entire fragrant community, yourself included, even when you hadn’t read this post 😉

      Divorce, no matter if it is the best decision for both parties, is, as you say, a difficult process. Having a strong support network is, I think, the key element to making it through to the other side (the side where you’re back feeling like yourself again).

      I feel overwhelmingly blessed by the people who have been in my life during this period, both online and in my daily life. I’m a lucky woman! 🙂


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