I didn't take up smoking until I was about 18-years-old, though. Up to that point, I think my mom was always proud that I hadn't started and figured that I never would. And to this day, she's still under the same illusion - unless my brothers have told her and she hasn't said anything. But I've hidden it from her for the past eighteen years. I didn't want to disappoint her. Surely, she would blame herself, and perhaps that's why I felt the need to maintain the illusion.
|Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain, Lou Reed, Joe Strummer, Ian Curtis|
More than anything I began to equate smoking with writing. I remember one tobacco-fueled all-nighter in university, as I was putting together a last minute philosophy essay, I thought to myself how wonderful cigarettes were. They kept me company and kept me going. They helped me concentrate. I thought at that moment that if I will be a writer then I will need to smoke. When thoughts of quitting entered my mind I always returned to thinking about writing and how I needed cigarettes to do it. It's one of the reasons I chose the picture of Aldous Huxley smoking as my profile pic.
I've chosen a different photo of Huxley without the cigarette for my profile now.
It's because I've quit.
Yes, it's true. Non-smokers will congratulate me, but I don't need the accolades. Smokers will wish me good luck, but their doubts don't bother me. It's different this time. It has nothing to do with luck. I have tried at least once before to quit. But my heart wasn't in it then. I was still clinging to the notion that it was enjoyable and that as an interesting, artistic person I needed cigarettes. Stupid, I know. But these are the illusions that smokers cling to.
It hasn't been long, only 10 days so far, so we'll see if it sticks. But I really do feel like I've kicked it. How? Well, I woke up on September 13th, a Saturday like any other, and just decided that I didn't want to do it anymore. It's not about cigarettes killing me. It's not about those horrible pictures of diseased hearts, tracheotomies and oral cancer they put on the packs. Non-smokers die too. It's simply about quality of life. It costs too much money. And for what? To make myself feel like crap? So I can get winded after running only a few seconds? So I can't keep up with my kids? I realized that I hated feeling like a slave to this habit that gives me nothing in return. They don't relax me. In fact, I feel less grumpy now that I've quit. They don't aid concentration. I can write without cigarettes. I'm doing it now. And I don't have the distraction of wanting to go outside for one.
Is it really that easy? You can just decide to stop? Well, yes. I was never a heavy smoker, (half-pack a day) so the level of my addiction may not be that deep. But I think any smoker could do the same thing. I had a little help from Allen Carr, but I mostly came to these realizations myself. You can't quit smoking if you still regard it as a source of pleasure. You won't be able to quit if you foresee it being a massive feat of willpower, trying to stay away from the thing you love and want. If that's the case, you will go running back. You can only quit if you change your perception of smoking. It's a trap. It gives you nothing. It puts your money into the hands of corporations whose only service to you is to shorten your life-expectancy and make you feel perpetually gloomy and unhealthy. Smoking is gross, not romantic. It's foolish, not intelligent.