Please, hold your applause until the end.
I started smoking "for real" in college, when I could first legally buy the things. In high school, I think we all played with it a little, but it wasn't a thing I "did" until I was probably around 19 or 20. Of course, I didn't smoke during pregnancies or while nursing (insert "eeew!" from male population) and don't smoke around my children. I also took about a four year break from smoking in 2002, starting again in the Fall of 2006.
Fall 2006. Ah, yes...the start of something new. I remember it well. That was when my Everything changed. That was when, maybe, I realized that I was a lot better than what I was doing at the time, which was basically just being a doormat. And so began the long and arduous journey into new territory--a world in which I was to start taking myself seriously.
Don't we all fall back on those habits during times in which we are less sure of ourselves? I know I do. Our little walls of protection...explains a lot of addictions. To my way of thinking, all addictions are mental in that way, and we use them to constantly "test" those around us. "Would you still love me if I ______?" We tell ourselves that it's how we see who our "real" friends are--those who don't mind hanging around us when we're being ugly.
But...it's bullshit. Your "real" friends would not encourage you to damage yourself--they just don't want to drink alone. Pussies. I don't need a crutch--I can drink alone just fine.
I am already regretting ever bringing up not smoking, you know why? Because when you talk about it out loud, all of the non-smokers and former smokers take that as a sign that as a sign to start spewing statistics about heart disease and cancer and all of the crappy things about smoking, and "encouraging" you by speaking to you in that special condescending way that they save especially for smokers. As if none of us can read. I can't tell you how much that pisses me off. Let's just say, "a lot". Do you seriously believe that there is anyone of legal smoking age in this country who does NOT know the risks? You must be out of your damn mind. How incredibly insulting, to speak to a smoker as if they couldn't possible know what they are doing--or to speak to ANYONE in that way.
Let me tell you something--the last time I was not smoking, for a period of four years, I felt like crap, pretty much every day. I quit smoking because I thought it would help--it didn't. It was a mental thing. I was unhappy the entire time, and it wasn't because I wanted a cigarette--I didn't. I felt like crap because my LIFE needed to change.
Then, WHAM! It changed! And it scared the living hell out of me. And I started smoking again because, well, I was fully FREAKED OUT. As Marianne Williamson said, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." So true, so true. Best keep our fabulous selves hidden, right?
I've had three years of epiphanies, and not a one of them had anything to do with not smoking cigarettes until today. For some reason, being powerful beyond measure doesn't seem so scary today. I already know that I'm more powerful than cigarettes--I have quit before...hehe. Several times, in fact. For long periods of time. Human bodies are amazing, adjustable things--if you want it bad enough, you can talk yourself into just about anything. People have beat cancer with just their brains, after all. Ridding yourself of a physical addiction to nicotine is just a temporary discomfort, compared to that.
The difference is, before, when I would stop smoking, it wasn't because I wanted to, but rather because I was considering other people--my future children, or, my husband, or whomever. Not that it isn't right to quit smoking when you know that your continuing to do so can harm those who have no escape from the damaging effects, but...it was never a choice I made for me, until just today.
We'll see how this notion progresses in the coming weeks and months--you won't be hearing much about it (for the reasons stated above), and, I would appreciate it if you wouldn't bring it up (also for the reasons above).