Disclaimer: This post IS NOT an apologia for smoking. Smoking harms you, causes lung and other types of cancer, may impair your fertility, damages your skin and whole body (not to mention is highly addictive and turns you into a junkie always looking for a cigarette in your bag, pockets and/or jackets).Besides, smoking is not good for your guilt levels, as you really feel like a fool giving money to a government that’s busy firing people and cutting health and education budgets, not to mention the awful companies that produce them. Take it from me, the girl stuck in her eternal attempts to quit.
I’ve been asking myself a lot lately the following, simple yet tricky, question: why do I smoke? In my teenage years, I tried persuading myself that I was smoking because I enjoyed it, not because everyone else was doing it. Of course I was doing it because everyone else was doing it, seriously, I was 13, in love with Bob Dylan (another chain smoker) and Liam Gallagher (ditto) and just wanted to look like Deborah Harry (Minus the blond hair, slender figure and cheekbones, but hey, I had hope).
I grew up, and carried on smoking, with phases where I would completely stop. Oh the delicious smugness of being able to tell off smokers with a superior, yet compassionate air, in a kind of “Oh I’ve been there, but with will you know, you’ll manage to stop it’s so bad for you”, only to go back to the dark side only weeks afterwards, in the midst of sincerely sorry for me chimneys.
I’m a writer, see, and really like the version of myself as an artistic type, prone to mood swings, dramas, angst and fears, always in my dreams, lost in the limbs of my future novel, future blog post, future work e-mail (although this part does not require a lot of imagination). Being an artist in my scheme thus required a heavy use of drugs, or alcohol, or both. Not having the courage (or self hate or necessary despair) to fully engage in heroin (I’m afraid of needles, what can I say?) I chose the most accesible drug I could find, tobacco.
So I fulfilled one of the conditions of the tormented artist, what were my other excuses for smelling like cold tobacco and coughing non stop? Well, I do believe that smoking can be seen by some as a social pleasure (a harmful one, I ll never tire of saying it), that sometimes you just feel like enjoying a good cigarette with a strong coffee. However, it’s also my belief that smoking goes hand in hand with self esteem issues. Holding a cigarette gives you a kind of social posture, seems to be the tiny accessory that will complete you, make you a whole person. Stupid? Probably, given the effects of the susbtance, but for a shy person like me, it always helped striking a conversation during evenings where I didn’t know anyone. Smoking is very much linked with self esteem, if only in the sense that no one would harm one’s body this way if it valued it properly.
Another reason for my smoking has been stress. Here’s how it goes. Something stresses me. My heart starts racing, and suddenly, suddenly, the neeeeed of a cigarette pops into my mind. I want a smoke, I want to cope with this stress, nicotine will help. As soon as I start inhaling, a frsh ruch of guilt sweeps over me, preventing me to actually enjoy it. So on the one hand I’m trying to evacuate stress, while on the other I’m just piling up more stress on my poor shoulders as I keep thinking thisisbadformethisisbadformethisisbadformethisisbadformethisisbadformethisisbadforme
All right, maybe it’s about time I just cut off the habit and give a rest to my poor anxious soul. I’m happy to receive any suggestion to cool down, and please don’t say yoga or I’ll just go straight back to chain smoking. I.Do.Not.Want.To.See.Myself.As.A.Golden.Egg.