So anyone who knows me at all knows that I smoke. I smoke a ton. I smoke cigarettes.
No, I know what you were thinking. “Crack is whack.” (Too soon, she was a goddess.) I smoke almost a pack a day. Well, I smoked almost a pack a day until this past Monday morning when I threw out my ciggies and fire-making paraphernalia and said, “I’m done with this shit.”
So why did I quit? Well, as you know, the consequences heavily outweigh the benefits. But that’s not the reason I quit. I like to think that I am a reasonable and rational person, but I’m not. I am addicted to nicotine, and that means that nicotine rules my judgment.
Did I quit when my uncle died of lung cancer two years ago? No. Did I quit when my neighbor across the street, a man I talked to every day before college, died of lung cancer a year ago? No. Did I quit when my cousin was diagnosed with lung cancer? WelI, I started thinking about quitting, but I didn’t. What really drove it home, what actually made me think that smoking was such a dangerous game, was something that happened the night before I quit.
I used to be an athlete, NBD. I rowed, I ran track, I did Comedy Sportz. I even ran a 6:09 mile in high school. But once in college, I stopped “moving” and started smoking.
Last Sunday night, I had a society interview (yay!), but forgot about it and had to run from Stiles to the corner of College and Chapel as fast as I could (bad!). The result of completely neglecting my body was having an asthma attack after running as fast as I could for that half a mile. Half of a freaking mile. I coughed like I had TB for the entire interview. I was so upset. What had my life come to that I had a mild heart attack after running a half a mile? How terribly sad! That was the last straw. Cigarettes were killing my friends and family, and now I knew without a shadow of a doubt that they were killing me too.
The process of going from lots of cigarettes per day to none is not a smooth one to say the least. Day one I wanted to punch and/or make out with any male within my line of sight (and maybe even some ladies too). I needed to replace one impulse with another, or many others. When I would reach a point in my daily routine where I would usually light up, a knot tightened in my stomach and I experienced a rush of blood to the head. Strolling down Hillhouse, leaving the Stiles dining hall, and lounging on Cross Campus, normally delightful experiences, were all unbearably painful through the first and second days.
As of this writing, four days after the society dash, I only crave ’em when I see ’em, or when I’m feeling especially exasperated.
I loved smoking. Smoking was a quick and easy study break: It was something to do while walking, it was better than Prozac, it was a better ice-breaker and friend-maker than freshman-year living arrangements, it was an international language and it was possibly the best way to flirt outside of the United States. I have to admit, it even made me feel gritty and intense. When I smoked and wrote at the same time, I felt like Carrie Bradshaw — deeply flawed and fabulous.
Now, I much prefer not feeling gross. I like not smelling like Camel Blues. I will miss the cashiers at the gas station and Whitney Beauty Supply, but I kind of don’t want to die too. Maybe I will work out instead. Maybe I will create a peaceful world without politicians, and maybe without hunger. Whatever I do, I best not do it smoking. Pray for me, y’all.