Quitting Smoking Doesn’t Solve Everything, You Do

Quitting smoking doesn’t solve everything, you do. We do. Well, we try.

I guess I was hoping that after I quit smoking everything would be all lined up and shiny all the time. Now don’t get me wrong, things have improved, A LOT. Now, on top of the regular life stresses: a long work day, an argument with a loved one, somebody suing you in small claims court over a fender bender on the dirt road behind your house; now on top of all that I don’t have the stress and paranoia of smoking. You know, the dread it brings you when you start the day with a cigarette, then have a cigarette after breakfast, then have an urge for a cigarette shortly after extinguishing the fifth one you’ve already had that day. A sore throat, a worry (is this just a sore throat, or something worse??)

Nowadays, my dread just ends after the things I mentioned above, and I don’t continue to get dragged down by my addiction.  So this is good, yes. But I still have all those problems. Just because I don’t smoke anymore doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes still bicker with my boyfriend, or get annoyed with a friend or acquaintance (or, just as likely, annoy them!). Just because I quit smoking doesn’t mean I won’t be stretched to my limit sometimes, emotionally and professionally. Just because I quit smoking doesn’t mean I no longer act like a dirt bag sometimes.  Just because I quit smoking doesn’t mean I’m rolling in the dough (with the money I now “save” by not smoking). Just because I quit smoking doesn’t mean I wake up in the morning with fresh minty breath. Just because I quit smoking doesn’t make me an angel of some sort. Just because I quit smoking doesn’t mean I don’t have wrinkles anymore, or won’t get them. Just because I quit smoking and they say smoking is bad for your bust, doesn’t mean my tits perked right up and I look like a fucking rockstar.

Nope. I’m still the same old me. Flawed. Prone to extremes (extremely successful one day, extremely fatigued and feeling-pretty-fucked the next). Just because I quit smoking doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days, weeks, or months. Just because I quit smoking doesn’t mean anyone’s going to like me more. Just because I quit smoking doesn’t mean things just run along smoothly and effortlessly. I still have to try. But frankly, sometimes I just can’t.

Today: I woke up groggy after staying up late feeling concerned/invigorated about my crying (well, almost) during my poetry reading at Barnes and Noble last night. I actually asked my boyfriend (which I never do) to please get me a glass of ice water before he went to work this morning, which he brought to my bedside–like I’m on my fucking deathbed or something. Then at 10 a.m. (and remember, this is a Monday) I stumbled to the kitchen, drank some OJ, let the dog out, went to my office and…got on social media (what else?). I did my usual thing of scouring the internet for inspirational posts, Youtube videos, and anything inkling of #reallifemotherfuckers (that’s not a real hash tag, so don’t go and search it). I found something like #reallifemotherfuckers (though she calls it something else, and I’m literally to drained to look it up) on a post by a woman named Jen Pastiloff (a writer and yoga teacher). She’s all about the underside of life: the so called “ugly side”. She posted of herself in granny panties in a room with laundry heaped in the corner. I thought the photo was of her husband at first, it looked so unfiltered and raw–so unfeminine. It made me feel a lot better, actually. I would look a lot like that too if I took a photo right now. Just to prove it, I tried to take a selfie. And yeah, I looked like shit. Nothing like the glossed over, bright white filter photo I posted just the other day on my Instagram account.

I am so not ON today. I haven’t brushed my teeth. I did manage to eat a hamburger with caramelized onion (homemade) sometime around noon. I allowed myself the luxury of not working today because I was so wrapped up in “the writing world” all weekend with an article for the newspaper (which I didn’t complete, actually) and the poetry reading at Barnes and Noble. Usually on an “off” day I might clean the house. Nope. Not today. Dog peed on the floor so I put him outside. He’s begging at the door as we speak, howling actually. Hard to believe my BF will be home from work in a couple of short hours. I hope he doesn’t come home soon. I’ve got to get a little cleaned up before he does (shower). Luckily we can just have leftovers for dinner.

Scorpios are known for extremes, we might fall: but we rise from the ashes. Sometimes I let myself fall, really hard, really low. But I always come back. Maybe I’m too hard on myself, likely. Or maybe I’m not hard on myself enough (see: unemployed, see: likely being sued, definitely losing my licence, see: missed deadline). This is life. With or without smoking. I’ve never been perfect. Ha, I never will be. I believe after one long movie binge tonight, including hot tea, popcorn, salty things, pickles) I will rise again. But not a moment too soon, let me tell you.

At least I can be thankful for one thing: I don’t smoke. Used to be, I’d compound a bad day with a step out on the porch to smoke. Hiding from the mail man out of paranoia, and shame. At least now there is one less thing on the chopping block of shallow, sick, kind-of-gross human habits. At least there’s that. Quitting smoking doesn’t solve everything, I do. Just not all at once. And usually not without a good dose of humility first.

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