Anti-Smoking Diaries: Pre-Beginning

September 25, 2007 at 2:34 am (Health, Personal)

Smoking…a process that has been around since 5000 B.C in all parts of the world and was even seen as ritualistic. But now the concept of smoking cigarettes is transforming into a social stigma. So much so that now there is a more distinct line between the smokers and non-smokers. This distinction used to be classified with preferences but now can be identified locationally. In some states in the US like California and various spots in New York, you can’t even smoke in bars or clubs. God, alcohol and cigarettes go sooooooo well together like milk and cookies.

I remember my first cigarette. I was hanging out with a friend, and she said to try it because it’s cool. Mind you, I have been moving a lot, my English was not that good and I was quite socially inept so for someone to tell me that I would be cool if I smoked when I usually always felt like an outsider was like a light shining in the end of this dark daunting tunnel of puberty. I remember coughing and thought I was about to vomit my lungs out but with teary eyes I tried to stand tall and look “cool.”

It seemed like the “cool” people were smoking behind the scenes and somehow I found a way to see smoking as some sort of means to liberate myself from the confusions I was shackled in. I stood up for smoking regardless of the beat down I have received, and this is not your cane on your calves kind of beat down, I was BEAT DOWN to the pulp with a much bigger object with no limit to the hits. I got expelled because of smoking. I would walk in the streets of a culture that looked down on women smoking in public and I would do exactly that with my head held up high. I guess if you try to find the positive in my behaviour, it reflects my tenacity when it comes to something I believe in even if what I believed in was not exactly logical or rational. But in my pubescent world, it made sense.

Smoking became as normal as breathing. Didn’t think much about it. I was too busy getting lost in my world of tumult which kept going until my adulthood and smoking became my ally. Everything kept changing around me but smoking always remained the same. It never changed except for maybe the brand but in the midst of noisiness lighting a cigarette and inhaling the smoke that encircled and embraced the little branches in my lungs brought me solace.

The thing about reaching awareness is that, it is not a selective process. It influences all areas of your life including your knowledge which made me finally realize what “Ignorance is Bliss” means. I remember seeing that quote and thinking to myself how daft that quote was but really, like an epiphany, it hits me. When you know, it’s hard to ignore the ugly facts. And when you are faced with the facts you see all that is related and there is nothing you can do about it. And if you go into Denial mode, you will eventually become imbalanced again which can turn into a negative vortex.

These facts came to me in tiny spurts which has now magnified into huge spurts and it is getting big enough to connect to each other. I suddenly have more friends that don’t smoke. I love reading about health but always avoided any topics relating to lungs but lately notice here and there statements on effects of smoking, which in turn make me feel guilty when I see my room filled with smoke and I see my cats running around in it. It even made me think about the apartment I was living in before where all my smoking friends will come over for a get together and I realized how much my pets must have suffered. Especially during winter. When you make a commitment with yourself that you want to preserve your brain, you realize how smoking constricts the capillaries in your brain and your body starts over producing red blood cells to make up for the lack of oxygen residing through your body. I was so stressed with work and family that I didn’t work out for one year and when I do finally get back to it, I feel the weight of my lungs and I realize the length of time it takes for my heart to go back to normal resting rate after a vigorous work out. And now, when I light a cigarette, instead of solace I feel frustration because what I knew before and what I know now is battling but what I knew before is debating more influentially because of the long history.

All my efforts to overcome and persevere through all the different bullshit I was splatted in because I was a nomad with conservative parents is continous but I have stopped in my treks, lit a cigarette an am wondering if I feel the same. But as irrational as it is for someone to need a security blanket to go to sleep or someone who needs to wash their hands a few times before feeling clean, I have had a relationship with cigarettes for over 15 years. It is the longest relationship I ever had and it never left me or screwed me over (ok emotionally not physically). It was there for me during my darkest hours. Even though I know it is bad for me intellectually but emotionally I am having a hard time letting go.

The fact that I have started an Anti-Smoking Diary can be seen as it being equivalent to making a minuscule gesture towards the right direction. Let’s see how it goes and where I end up because there are days where the part of my brain that is Pro-Smoking makes a very tugging speech and I take one step back.


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