Musings on the life of a candle maker
You might imagine my days are spent beavering away in the workshop, measuring flame heights, wax weights, and dripping careful drops of fragrance into potions beakers. And you'd be pretty spot on, to be honest.
I certainly look like a crazed professor by days end.
My fingertips singed from close encounters, clothes stuck with dried flakes of wax, and my hair smelling of a truly intriguing blend of six different and not altogether complementary scents.
And when one decides to craft candles for a living, there is no such thing as leaving your work behind when you close the door.
Here's six ways I've been irretrievably altered.
1. Two words: nose blindness. When you spend hours upon hours in amongst the scented world of candles, you quite unfortunately begin to...not smell them anymore. Which can be a bit of an issue when testing new scents. I have to continuously check with people whether a tester smells a bit weak, or am I just losing my sense of smell? After bombarding myself for seven hours with bergamot - it's probably the latter.
2. Movies. There's no such thing as a peaceful evening watching a period drama anymore. Why, you ask? Gigantic flamey flames is the answer. My mind won't stop focusing on the fact that this candle wouldn't pass a safety test. A recent rewatch of Pride & Prejudice nearly put me in cardiac arrest.
3. Can't help judging the candles in other people's houses. I'll be pinching wicks, frowning at soot lines, and shaking my head at uneven burns. Inside, I'm always side eyeing how other candles burn, but in the same breath, I'm also extremely protective of other people's creations.
We're all just trying our best, really - and nobody's perfect. Candle making is some sort of weird not-very-secret society that I must defend at all costs. Am I in a cult? Is this what cults are like??
4. Obsessing over scents to the point of bankruptcy. This has seeped into many areas of my life. I've ended up buying like 4 different types of roses just so I can get the exact scent match for a future candle I want to make.
I'm also part of a group devoted to perfumes (possibly the nichiest niche one can find), and I spend far too much time delving into which scent notes work together and checking out the latest trends. I make a beeline for the perfume aisle in pharmacies, and you'll find me checking out the BATCH NUMBERS, because, yes, some batches are just better than others.
5. Safety. THAT'S A HAZARD blares in my brain way, way too often. I can never just enjoy a nicely lit candle anymore. I'm either judging MY candles for their performance, or struggling to contain myself in other people's homes.
If you notice me staring at your candle, it's probably because I'm repressing the urge to move it out from beneath your overhanging curtain/plant/off the very flammable surface. I'm sorry, do you mind if I just? Great. That's better.
6. Conversely, lack of a fear of fire. I have this supreme overconfidence and belief that fire can't hurt me, because I am the master of all things flame.
Let me tell you folks, it's simply not true. I have the burns to prove it. Master of flames? I can't even keep the home fires burning. You don't want to know how many people on Instagram have had to give me stove fire-lighting advice. It's more than three.
Somebody teach a class on this, please. Please.