After a ridiculously busy fall season last year with the photography business, I decided to take a break and spend time in solitude, to allow my path to reveal itself. The past few months have brought about tremendous change for me and many paths have opened up. While I still am going to be shooting with my camera (and a few other things that I’m working on too!), I’ve decided to write more. So, welcome to my head 🙂 It’s a work in progress, but no better post to begin with than the best change I’ve made thus far 🙂 Enjoy!
I was a smoker for the majority of my life. Started when I was about 12 years old. It wasn’t a huge habit until about five years later, mostly due to having to sneak around with it, but one that I wish I never would have picked up. One that I would quickly understand why all the adults around me who smoked would stress it was stupid to even start. I remember when I was a child I would constantly harass my parents to quit. They smoked regularly, and in the house. It never bothered me, and I never thought about second-hand smoke the way people do today, but I worried about them dying. I wanted them to quit and I even remember one time I tossed their packs in the trashcan. Ironic how I ended up becoming such a slave to it myself.
I quit for about 3 years when I had my children. They were born so very early and I was quite militant about what I put into my body because it would end up in their body through my breast milk. Those little tiny bodies, earth-side three months before their due date, turned me into a pretty healthy person (I even quit eating meat for a couple years). Didn’t really have much of a choice, but I can say that even though all the stress that I felt on that ride, I felt amazing, and conversely to what smokers like to think, I handled my anxiety much better than any nicotine fix could.
Eventually the day came when I would no longer nurse them. They were 26 months old. I was turning 30 and decided that a week at the beach with my best friend was the best way to celebrate (it was!), and to also wean them. They were only nursing at night, so I figured by the time I got back they would be used to going to sleep without it. And they were. But I also apparently picked up a bad replacement for not breastfeeding anymore when I picked up a pack of cigarettes on the way down to the beach.
I figured I would have that week, just smoke that pack while I was there, and be done when I got home.
Anyone who does or ever has held a smoking habit knows it doesn’t work that way. Now, I never smoked in front of my children, or in my house, and I was pretty good about being able to go a day or so without having one. Whether it was 2 in a day or half a pack in a day, it wasn’t a good habit to have at all and like the majority of addicts in general, I knew I needed to quit.
Fast forward to sometime last year. I quit for 14 days. It wasn’t easy. In fact, I think I spent every day looking forward to the day that I finally gave in and quit quitting. That’s pretty much how every attempt at quitting went for me.
This time is different. And I have the flu to thank for it.
Friday, January 24th, I left work at 3:00 and wouldn’t move from my couch until I went to the doctor the following Tuesday. I had a couple cigarettes left in my pack and even though I felt completely awful and could barely move, I still pulled myself up off the couch Saturday afternoon to go outside and suffer through a couple inhales.
This past Wednesday, February 26, marked one month since I last smoked a cigarette. In addition, I quit drinking coffee two days before. So, yes, I quit smoking and drinking coffee AT THE SAME TIME! And you know what? It hasn’t been that hard. And here’s why.
When I was sick, I spent an entire night trying to sleep, unable to take barely a breath in between coughing fits. I could feel all the crap stuck in my chest, gurgling around like it does because those little hairlike things called “cilia” were too paralyzed from the cigarette smoke to sweep it all up and OUT of my body like they are supposed to do. After two days of not smoking, I could breathe. My cough started lightening up and I could sleep.
In addition to being able to breathe, I no longer have to wear two pairs of socks and warming inserts in every pair of shoes because my feet get too cold. Hear that? Within two weeks my circulation has improved THAT MUCH! And circulation issues are nothing to fuck around with. That feeling you get in your legs where you feel like you need to get up and go for a run or something because they just don’t want to stop moving? That’s blood flowing the way it’s supposed to. That’s your circulation MOVING like it’s supposed to.
What else? I mean, not that those couple things I’ve already mentioned aren’t HUGE in and of themselves. But within a week my skin completely changed. I have huge pores anyway and smoking just made them even bigger and when you add in the fact that it constricts your blood vessels, it’s no wonder I had an issue with them getting clogged. Two weeks of not smoking and I had a handful of people tell me that my complexion was smoother, I had COLOR in my cheeks and that I was “glowing”. That was all I needed to know that there was no way I would fall back this time. And my hair has changed immensely too! It was thick to begin with, but it’s now twice as thick and much more shiny.
Food tastes much better too J
This time around is definitely different. I’m not spending any time at all thinking about when I’m going to “quit quitting” and give in to the urge, because the urge isn’t really there anymore. I don’t crave a cigarette, or the nicotine. What I crave is the distraction, but I’ve found plenty of other things to replace that distraction.
And once this weather gets a little warmer, I’ll be spending the majority of my time outside, running and hiking and burning off the extra calories all that food that I had no idea tasted so fucking good has put on me.