Contemplation and Cigarettes


I’ve kind of fallen off the nonsmoking wagon. Not completely, but I’m not smoke free. I had some tough days last week, and I smoked to ease my stress. Then I started to feel better and smoked because I was happy. I wanted to indulge my happiness after feeling so bad for several days. Now I’ve felt good for a few days and I’m smoking habitually–about 50% of what I was smoking before I quit. This is a pretty big move in the wrong direction. But I keep thinking of something someone said to me: let 2017 be the year you quit. I like the idea that I have a year to do this. We’re only 3 weeks in and already I’m 50% down. This makes me feel better.

I feel better also hearing from former smokers. Smoking at 35 in 2017 is a lonely practice if it’s not a party. There’s not a ton of us still smoking. It’s because we know better. I hope and pray my daughter never smokes. It makes me happy to see less people smoke. But I do miss when lots of people smoked in our 20s. Chain-smoking through the night with beer. Laying in the grass looking at stars; staying up to see the sunrise. You can do all of this without smoking, but we didn’t growing up, so it seems inextricably linked.

I talked about Gold yesterday; one of my very favorite lyrics from that album is “Well, everybody wants to go forever/ I just want to burn up hard and bright.” This was kind of a mantra for me in the early 2000s. It’s generally why I started smoking. I wanted to enjoy life fully. Smoking seemed like a way to enjoy things more. It is enjoyable. But obviously it hinders life rather than making it full. But I’m not used to thinking about longevity.

I think I’m quitting for my daughter. I think I’m quitting for my friends. When I’ve quit hopefully the results will prove to me that I’ve done it for myself. When I feel free. Now I feel more trapped. I really don’t like being told what to do (just ask my husband), so quitting for others irks me a bit. I know it’s for me, I just care about them more. It’s silly. I feel like my daughter only needs me for 10 more years or so, so why not keep smoking? But I am 35 and still need my mom sometimes, so I know that this idea is silly. I feel like she’s the reason I keep going and thar she only needs me for a finite amount of time. Why? I’m not sure. A depression lie, probably. 

I have days where I wonder why God has only allowed me to have one child. Then somedays I anguish over why God gave me one at all given my failings as a person, not to mention as a mother. She motivates me to be better, but she also makes me question my purpose. Is she my purpose? Since her t1d diagnosis, it feels like my purpose it simply to be a pancreas. It feels empty. I feel guilty about that. Saving my daughter’s life ought to be fulfilling, right? It just makes me want to smoke. Robot-mom gives an insulin shot and Laura Grace has a cigarette after. I don’t want to go forever like this. I want to just go out hard and bright.

But I don’t. I don’t burn that hard. I don’t know how bright I burn. I’m certainly not a firecracker. As my parents age, and age very well, I think more about living longer. They tell me every decade is better than the last. That makes me feel hopeful. They do all kinds of cool stuff now that my sister and I are grown. I still don’t know if I like my 30s better than my 20s. I like myself better because I know better how to love myself, but do I like life better? 

I feel like I need some excitement. Something to motivate me to love life more. Until then I keep thinking about smoking because who cares? 

But I’m quitting for my daughter and my friends. They seem to want me to go forever rather than hard and bright. So I keep letting go of the things that make me feel falsely happy in search of true happiness. This is far more work. But it feels good when I find it. I’m trying to get back on the wagon. This is the year. It’s just a lot to untwist in my head. 

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