I’m Sorry Parents, but…

I smoked for 5 months. The one singular, most hypocritical thing I could do. I espouse to be some sort of modern, traveling shaman that has judged smokers for years and yet, here we are. There might be worse things for someone’s health, like maybe, meth, but smoking cigarettes is pretty abysmal for your health. I KNOW! This is what happened…

Living in Europe in the summer time was the demise of my better thought patterns. All around me people were smoking, laughing, and connecting. I was offered one and for the first time since, maybe high school peer pressure, I accepted and chatted along gaily. I wasn’t mad at that first intake, swirly dizzying brain-push thanks to nicotine. I’d be remiss if I said I didn’t taste literal chemicals, but it was easy enough to get over. Soon, I’d accept one every few days for the remainder of that month. I kept it relatively secret because I knew how much of a hypocrite I was being and high key, I was ashamed yet simultaneously interested in this random life move.

A close family member had been a smoker all her life and only two months prior to my first true foray into this world, I’d found out she had the Big C. In a peculiar twist of events, I took up the habit she put down in order to regain her health. Wut? It took a few months for me to notice this at all, but I thought it worth mentioning early on in this reprise.

There was something attractive about taking a moment to excuse oneself and have a little smoke outside, by oneself, lost in thought. Yes, I could get lost in thought any old time without any addictive accoutrements, but I was in some sort of weird phase, so pocket that judgement and keep up.

My work wife asked me “if I was buying packs now?” since there was one sitting on our living room table in Kuala Lumpur — three months after she noted that I started this new thing and kept her judgements to herself. #appreciateYou. Although once or twice I saw her true thoughts cloud her masked face; my shame would come to the fore, but I reassured her and mainly myself that it was just a sometimey thing, maybe I actually wanted weed and didn’t know where to find it? She saw right through me and would let me live it out, but she was not happy with that pack on that table.  Pack = no plans on stopping.

The previous month, in Thailand, I’d gotten sick for the first time in a minute with something as nonsensical as tonsilitis. What even is that? I went to the ER in Thailand and went on antibiotics (wut?). Tonsilitis is for hypersexual teenagers that make no sense, what the hell? Slowly but surely, my immunity was showing me that things were getting good and dicey in my internal world.

  • My typically dewey (let’s just be real here) skin was lacking its luster, with a tendency toward the dry (yikes).
  • My nails were gross and had to be filed constantly. My hair
  • I had friggen tonsilitis
  • My stomach was always kind of hurting, but not enough to do much about
  • My hair was brittle, dry, and the dandruff was hard to maintain (even in humidity)
  • Unsure how real this is, but I at least felt this way, my teeth were discoloring (and I keep extreme care of those bad boys)
  • It’s likely that the parasite I just annihilated came around during this time (big uncertainty around this point, but possible)
  • All my clothes smelled, no matter what

Yet, there really is something elusive and sexy about smoking, the actual act. Not chain smoking really, but being some sort of casual smoker. The after effects though, really below par. I met so many people by simply asking them for a light and continuing to chat afterward, exchanging numbers, and chilling with locals in ways that just weren’t in view previously. Not for nothing, it also has a certain reminiscence to the guy-in-a-park-with-a-gorgeous-dog-that-all-the-ladies-have-noticed. The smokers’ circle is an interesting one where no walls are up and people are relatively ready to start chatting amiably. Cigarettes = tinder.

It was an experiment I wouldn’t repeat, but a memorable one for sure. I’m back to being my true shamanic self, that doesn’t indulge in things that can outright kill me and cause my closest to pretend not to judge me.

Dad, I don’t wanna hear it!

Feature Image: Photo by Trevor Cole on Unsplash


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