Monday, January 3, 2011
Almost three weeks ago, after 26 years and countless Newports inhaled in times of stress and boredom, exhaled, like some co-conspirator who rode shotgun with my pleasure, inhaled in those socially awkward moments, exhaled while shooting the tedious shit with friends and associates, inhaled in times of hunger and creative constipation, and exhaled as if the nicotine equivalent to an after-dinner mint, I decided the time had come to stop, to quit, to finally abandon my vile cig habit.
Yes. Applaud me! Thankyavurrrrmuch!
Doing anything cold turkey ain’t no joke, yo. The mind plays all kinds of cold and vicious tricks on you. You feel at odd times: sick to your stomach, tense, stressed, desperate, confused, deranged, deprived, moody, nervous, depressed, short-tempered, impatient, pissed, irritable, prone to mean-spirited sarcasm… and more. Trust me, those are pretty much the GOOD things on the cold turkey menu.
Without tribes of rabid monkeys gnawing their sharp little teeth against your back or some creepy sensation of bugs crawling all over your body, you still feel very much like a junkie trying so desperately to kick! As a result of this, you begin to suck as a person. For real, though. You make lousy company. You’re no longer any fun. You can’t even remember what fun feels like. Your charm is gone. Your wit has split. And your creativity has taken a severe hit.... or else it's on some extended vaca on the Isle of Time Out Of Mind.
But I’ve quit, yo! Yes, I'm currently crutch-free. No. Don’t applaud me, yet!
This. Is. Without Doubt. One. Of. Dee. Very. Hardest... (no, make that HOARDEST) Things I’ve Ever Had To Do! And I’m doing this to myself. I’m putting myself through this exercise in sensory deprivation and outright cruelty. The masochist in me is flipping the switch to my own suffering. The only saving grace is that I keep telling myself: I’m also doing this FOR ME!
I’m doing this because a New Year dictates that I usher in some new priorities.
I’m doing this so I’m no longer treated like a third-class citizen in this country.
I’m doing this to prove I have some power and some degree of self-control.
I’m doing this because, lately, I am not loving the sound of my own breathing.
I’m doing this to prove to myself that I’m not a weakling.
I’m doing this so my clothes won’t reek of smoke.
I’m doing this so I will become kissable again.
I’m doing this so I can walk up stairs & hills & long inclines without wheezing.
I’m doing this for economic reasons (cigarettes sell for TEN dollars in my ville, and the obscene sum of THIRTEEN DOLLARS a pack in NYC!!!).
I’m doing this because, although life is often hard, I would actually like to live as long as possible.
Yes. I’ve tried (3x) and failed to quit before. Strangely this time around feels more legit. All those other times I'd go a lil crazy, begin jonesin', and HAVE to light up, like after a good meal, however, now I’ve somehow refrained from that habitual behavior, and instead will just suck on a cough drop.
Although I’m not exactly a happy pappy these days, I still don’t have the desire to spit at, wish a pox upon, cuss a fool out, insult someone's mama, or murder anyone. YET!
At this point, after almost three weeks, if I were to suddenly start smoking again, then I would consider myself a colossal failure. I hate failing at anything! I know that I am strong. I must learn to revel in my own strength and conviction, and, without vanity, to applaud my own magnificence.
I am learning something new every day about myself... and about this concept called WILLPOWER. You see, mentally, I’d made myself believe that I could not even write without my nicotine companion. The train of my thoughts would often derail, my creative gas pedal would stall, and there I’d be, lost, stranded in the scenery of a deep and profound writer’s block, unable to think, compose, come up with something decent or anything original. And then, I’d reach inside my shirt pocket, my fingers finessing the smooth contour of a cardboard green and white box. Inside there lay my twenty muses, or soldiers willing to help me overcome this battle. I’d light up a Newport, and suddenly, I was brilliant again.
Words came as if arriving on cool freight trains. New sentences were born, and ideas were fleshed out and fine-tuned, and all I had to do was inhale, and exhale. I’d romanticized this concept. Hmmm... Sheer creative brilliance came in this little green and white packet. Or so I’d thought.
But you see… that was all a lie… a dangerously clever lie the nicotine mentally placed inside my brain.
I am saner now. Despite my bouts of depression and my irritable disposition, I am saner because I’m no longer willing to walk through snow-blinding blizzards or schizophrenic alleys to cop my oh so dependable nic-fix.
See? I’m doing me now... the uncharming, unwitty, but ultimately FREE and liberated me, no longer a slave to Phillip Morris! And I am no longer that alarming social outcast reeking of smoke and nicotine all the while parading his weakness and his character flaws for everyone to see.
Yes. It’s been almost three weeks and counting…
So dammit, yes... applaud me!