Anosmianoun // the loss of sense of smell

I was in sixth grade when I realized I couldn’t smell. I was at my best friend’s house and everyone was commenting on the delicious fragrance of the apple pie baking in the oven. This was a weekly occurrence, fragrant food in their house. Everyone was always commenting on the smell, but it wasn’t until that day that it all clicked.

I did what people do when they smell things (I thought), inhale in a few times. First quick inhales, and then long, deep inhales through the nostrils…nothing.

I distinctively remember thinking “all I smell is air” … annnnd then the realization came: “OMG I don’t think I can smell!” In that moment, everything made sense. This whole time I never realized what everyone was talking about with this smell thing. I would usually just shrug and nod in agreement when someone would mention smells – really never making the connection that something was up with my smellz, or lack there of.

I’m not sure if I could ever smell. My parents claim I could but I just don’t ever remember it. All the smells people talk about from childhood: grandmother’s cooking, spring flowers blossoming, fresh cut grass, huffing sharpies, even foul smells, I simply have zero recollection of any of that. It feels like I would at LEAST remember the smell of my grandma’s cooking if I had ever smelled at one point, but I don’t. 

I remember telling my parents – LOL – imagine this conversation with a sixth grader…”Hi mom and dad, I just realized after years, that I have no EFFING idea what the hell everyone is talking about when it comes to things smelling a certain way…I don’t *think* I can smell.”

I laugh thinking about how that conversation must have gone. Like, what do you mean you just realized?!

Parents: Could you ever smell? When did it stop, Lauren? Nothing? You can’t smell anything? Are you sure?

Me: I have ZERO idea. And yes I’m SURE I can’t smell…ALL I SMELL IS AIR…I *think*…I mean I would know if I could smell stuff, right?

*Partakes in smelling samples and flinches not one bit*

Parents: It seems you are correct in that you don’t smell anything…

My parents inquired with my doctor, who just kind of shrugged it off saying it can happen sometimes and that was the end of that conversation.

In college I actually went to a nose specialist and he looked around for any physical obstructions, yet, there were none. My passageways are all so fresh and so clean and most definitely structurally unimpeded. I found out what I had was called anosmia in the medical community, referring to the loss of the sense of smell.

When I met one of my roommates in college for the first time, I told her that I had no sense of smell. Then I proceeded to tell her no, I wasn’t joking, and yes, I would be asking her to smell some clothes in the future to determine if they needed to be washed – yeah, we totally bonded over that!! 

Answers to commonly asked questions:

Q//: What do you mean you can’t smell?

A//: I mean YOU have 5 active senses, and I currently only have 4 (well, plus my sixth sense which technically makes 5 senses, but anyways I won’t get into that…)

Q//: So since you can’t smell, you can’t taste anything, right? Because the two are so connected. You must not enjoy your food very much.

A//: I enjoy my food immensely, thank you very much! I can TOTALLY taste everything in its whole form, I just can’t really distinguish smaller, more isolated flavors the same way you can.

When I used to eat candy and all that acid-forming, dis-ease causing crap, I would use this analogy: It’s like, when I’m eating a jolly-rancher, I know I’m eating a blue or green one, because they’re sour, but when I’m eating a red one, I don’t know if its cherry, raspberry, strawberry, etc.

Updated analogy: I love using herbs in food, but I can’t really taste them at all. For example, I wouldn’t be able to tell you if I’m eating oregano or basil or thyme or cumin in a dish. I can totally taste cayenne and spicy things the same way as everyone else though. I’ve learned which herbs I love by feeling the essence of each of them. I play “blind” alchemist, feeling my way with the essence of each herb and spice – all my dishes turn out fabulous and even my boyfriend has me season all his food for him because “mine turns out the best.”

A different college roommate of mine was CERTAIN (and by certain, I mean we would get in heated arguments over it) I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between an onion, potato or apple if they blindfolded me and did a taste test. We never ended up doing the test, but I can assure you, I would bloody well know the difference!!! PS- still totally down to do the test and film it as proof!

Despite all of this, I will let you in on a secret: I will smell very soon.

When I started my journey to heal myself almost three years ago, I KNEW without a doubt, that when I am fully healed, I will be able to smell. Period. It’s been like this fun prize that I’ll achieve. A “landmark”, if you will, of finding true, deep healing from all symptoms of dis-ease. It’s like a prize that the universe will grant me once I really truly heal at a foundational level – like “yes, you got it, you found the answers you were sent here to uncover…now here’s your sense of smell.” I’ve KNOWN, without a shadow of a doubt, that whatever is causing my laundry list of miserable symptoms, is also keeping me from smelling.

For now, I leave you with that to ponder. I look forward to the day where I’m writing about smelling for the first time. I plan on listening to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” song on repeat. Until then…

Smell Ya Later,


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