Contrary to popular belief, raking cigarette butts into piles like fall leaves in which one intends to jump is frowned upon.
It seems like almost a decade ago that I made the naive decision to start smoking. Maybe this is because it actually was a decade ago. That means I have probably consumed approximately 35 some odd thousand “joes” as we dubbed them. How appalling.
I was a mere fifteen years old when I decided it was necessary that I begin smoking. It was actually a dual decision made by Jazzy and me. We would do it together. Jazzy and I both maybe 100 pounds each yet were utterly convinced we needed to lose weight. I blame this on our environment at the time. We were just emerging as principal dancers in the ballet company we belonged to, and if you look up ballerina in the dictionary it will read: person who feels the need to achieve perfection at all times.
We were perpetually unsatisfied with our bodies, which I eventually grew out of thankfully, but at the time we scrounged for anything that promised a quick fix towards emaciating ourselves. This lead to the smoking. We read somewhere back on AOL, in between getting kicked off of the dial-up, that nicotine boosts your metabolism. Thus, we ran with the idea like the stupid tweens that we were.
That 5-year-old, frail as it was stale, Virginia Slim that Jazzy had hidden from her mother when she was a concerned young tot, gave me the worst sensation I had ever felt, tasted and smelled in my entire life. Naturally, I had to have more. That is not to say that you immediately become overwhelmingly addicted to cigarettes after that first puff, but like I said, I was determined.
Fast forward to the present. I am a full believer in the notion that you mentally must be ready to quit and truly want to do so in order to succeed. Don’t quit just because it is more of a turn-off for your new boyfriend than the thought of Lady GaGa’s wiener. Don’t quit just because you want that same boyfriend’s mom to approve of you. Basically, don’t quit for the benefit of someone else. Quit because you are sick of it.
I’ve been sick of smoking for most of this year. Then, after two trips up north where they treat smokers in the same manner as I imagine they treated the witches of Salem, I was beyond sick of it. I began smoking less and less. I knew what time it was better than Flavor Flav and his army of clocks.
How would this be different from the other times I made the attempt but failed? This time, I refused to broadcast my goal to my friends and family. Here are some of the reasons why I didn’t, and why you shouldn’t (note: this goes for giving up anything unhealthy for you).
1. The majority of your affirmations and praise will come from others instead of yourself. Becoming your own cheerleader is the most important. The confidence you will have in yourself will be the most powerful, especially if that confidence is coming from no other sources.
2. Some of your still-smoking friends may tease you, taunt you or worse, ostracize you. They may feel just as uncomfortable smoking around you as you feel not smoking around them. If you don’t announce your decision at the front door, the pressure is off both sides.
3. Let’s say you become seduced by booze and light up. You will know you’ve slipped up, but no one will feel obligated to point it out.
4. If everyone is tracking your “progress” when those downfalls happen, you won’t have to deal with the added stress of feeling like everyone thinks you failed. That stress can lead to a full-blown smoking relapse. Because, who are you kidding, right?
5. Bottom line: This decision is about you, not everyone else.
In conclusion, I would like to announce that I am not quitting smoking. I just haven’t had a cigarette in a while.