What Perfume Means To Me


This is the Christmas package I’ve prepared for the Johns Hopkins eating disorder ward at which I was treated two years ago. (It had to be glass-free due to the potential for self-injury, hence the plastic bottles.) I wanted to share what I wrote on the card with you, my incredible readers.

“Dear ED Unit,

I remember that the holidays were a really lonely time for most of the ED patients when I was here, so I wanted to bring you something to remind you that we are thinking of you and rooting for you.

I brought you perfume because before I came to this hospital, I wasted seven years of my life on the belief that starving was the only thing I was good at. It wasn’t true. As I recovered, once I finally had more energy to put into a perfume blog that I had absent-mindedly started a year earlier, I found out that I was good at talking about perfume. Really good. I’m good at identifying a perfume’s notes, and I’m good at conveying to others how a perfume makes me smell and feel. I know I’m good because I have 20,000 amazing readers a month telling me so.

In five months I am going to graduate from Johns Hopkins, and then I am going to become a perfumer. Starving was not the only thing I was good at. It’s not the only thing you’re good at, either. I brought you these perfumes because I hope that soon you’ll find something that means to you what perfume means to me, a passion or a skill or a relationship that brings you more pride and happiness than losing weight ever could.

You are all so brave, even (especially!) those of you who don’t feel ready to be here yet. Wear these perfumes and remember that I got better, and know that you will get better, too.

Happy holidays and all my love,

Arielle Weinberg.”

Every single person who reads this blog has helped me to become healthy and happy. It is an unimaginable gift, and I will never be able to thank you enough. I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season.


27 thoughts on “What Perfume Means To Me

  1. Oh wow. That is what I call hope. Thanks for sharing such truth and intimacy. It will make them cry (in the good way). I am myself very touched. Well done you, super star blogger. S.

  2. What a great idea. We all know that there is nothing like perfume to lift the spirits and make you feel better about yourself. It seems to me that the ability to enjoy this sensual pleasure is a step on the road to recovery.

    1. This is a crucial point, Patty! Granting yourself permission to engage in a pursuit as sensual in perfume is unquestionably an act of self-love.

  3. Bravo, Ari! That is a touching gesture and a wonderfully crafted letter – I hope it makes the “switch flick” in some of the patients’ minds, and sets them off on a healthier path.

  4. That is a very uplifting letter, Ari. I am sure your wise and compassionate voice will bring hope to everyone there. And I love that perfume has nothing to do with food or exercise or health so it is completely outside of all the issues they are confronting every day. What a gift for them to have something so beautiful to enjoy! xx

  5. That is a great letter and so much more meaningful coming from someone who’s been in their shoes. If more people had the kind of holiday spirit in them like you do this world would be a nicer place.

  6. Ari, you are amazing!!!! Thank you for sharing your personal journey from the depths of self-doubt to belief in yourself. You are “really good” (understatement!) at analyzing and communicating the essence of perfume to an audience. It’s a gift, a talent, a skill and you’ve worked at developing your abilities and have become an expert! I can’t wait to see what you decide to do next and how you plan on sharing your incredible abilities with an even bigger audience. I am a “Forever Ari” fan (name of your first perfume??? πŸ™‚ ) and will follow your career and support all your endeavors. You are awesome!!!!

  7. You are AWESOME, Ari. πŸ™‚ That is such a beautiful letter and gift ❀ Happy holidays and best wishes for your upcoming graduation and cannot WAIT to see what comes next for you! πŸ˜€

  8. That’s beautiful, Ari. Hope is the most precious gift of all.

    Looks like you made it through your finals — now go out and celebrate before you have to buckle down for the final five months.

  9. That’s a great thing to do, Ari, and I’m very impressed by how determined you’ve been in recovering your health, using your perfume voice, and graduating from John Hopkins. Good for you and I hope that your gifts, words and example help the ED patients.

    Wishing you all the best in the coming year,

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

  10. This is one of the most thoughtful, carefully considered, and meaningful gifts that I have come across. Thank you so much for sharing, with the ward and with us.

    Have a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year!

  11. There’s some wisdom in giving the gift of scents to people who deny themselves sustenance, it’s the world of the senses allowed back into lives that had shut it out. Good on you Ari!

  12. Oh wow, Ari. What a thoughtful gift and honest post! And congrats on studying to be a perfumer: I knew you were studying science but I didn’t connect the two. Way to go, I think knowing what kind of perfume the public wants is half the battle. Blogging is as good as an internship, isn’t it?

  13. Ari – that was lovely. To manage through something that tough and to think of a way to try to help others through a similar struggle. May you continue sharing your heart and art with others.

  14. I one million x “Like” this, Ari. I’m so happy you are in a better place, and looking forward to the good things I know you’ll do in the future.

  15. I’m just getting caught up on my blog reading now and because there’s a backlog I’m not commenting much, but I was too moved not to let you know how wonderful this is, Ari. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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