Yul Brynner from ‘ The King and I‘ once said “whatever you do, just don’t smoke”. For 20 years dad quoted Brynner. For 20 years I ignored him.
Smoking was my security blanket. I didn’t care about the cost or health risks, I just felt I needed to smoke to stay calm, to help me socialise, to clear my head, to dissipate my anxieties. I rationalised it.
I had tried quitting a few times but would end up in hysterics and run straight back to hide under that safety blanket of smoke. I was not a quitter.
For my studies I have to go down to dreaded Sydney for seminars, some 2 day seminars. So I needed to stay overnight in a hotel or at my sisters. It was always a hassle to find somewhere to smoke.
After booking two 2 day seminars coming up in June, I realised I was spending more time worrying about smoking than transport, money, food or even TV.
On April Fools Day 2017 I decided it was time to stop being a slave. I gave all my ciggies, ashtrays and lighters away and started a QuitBuddy app to help me. I got some nicotine gum and even did some research on quitting. This was it.
A week in, I was doing so well I got a haircut. Then after months of being happily single I decided that as a distraction from the ciggies I would go back online to find a mate. And now I could open my search to non smokers. Within a few days I was talking to a few men, mostly repulsive sex addicts looking to score, but one shone through.
Pea seemed great. He was an ex-smoker so he was really supportive and gave great advice on avoiding triggers. He was so sweet to me and we talked every day and night for hours about anything and everything. He made it clear he wasn’t after a one night stand.
He turned out to have BiPolar too so on top of heaps of commonalities there was a total understanding of our shared mental illness.
The past few years of online dating I have shut off emotions and not let myself get attached or plan ahead, knowing it was always unlikely things would go well. But I started to build hope and trust and a bit of a crush on this Sweet Pea. We would always say how similar we were and say we were ‘two peas in a pod’. We were adorable. But we still had to meet to make sure there was a spark.
So after 3 weeks of intense ‘getting to know you’ and my month free from smoking – which was easier than I thought and I had started to run, well jog, with my dog several times a week, we finally met. I drove down to his ‘hood and we went to a big playground park thing in Mt Druitt and walked and talked and laughed, we held hands and even had a little kiss. We talked about our next date for 2 days later; he would come up to my place and we would go for a walk and eat dinner, he asked about times and trains and seemed really excited.
Then it was time to say goodbye with another kiss and that was it, the perfect date. I was buzzing. Halfway home my phone beeped, I smiled like a little school girl thinking he already missed me. I pulled over to read it. Yeah, so men are shit!
Pea: “before this gets more involved i just want to let you know that i just want to be friends, thats all. I am not ready for a relationship sorry but i will always be your friend”
WHAT THE FUCK ???
Me: “i dont get it I thought we got along really well and wanted the same things”
Pea: “I just feel like it wont work and dont want to take it further yeah your amazing but i just want to be friends”
I was in shock. I felt the sting of tears and I started the car and drove to the nearest petrol station, bought a packet of cigarettes and a lighter and went round the side and lit up. Without even thinking about it. Without debating should I, shouldn’t I. It was instinct. I would never have made it home without it.
I wasn’t upset about not being with the boy; there were things that wouldn’t have worked, but why lead me on? Why kiss me? Why hold my hand? Why make plans? None of it made sense. But smoking did.
So 33 days I lasted as a non smoker. Longest in 20 years. But sadly I went back to my crutch, my security blanket, the second I couldn’t handle something.
That night my best friend, Bookmark came over to check in and we chain smoked til she left. The following day another close friend, Goldilocks came over and we doubley chain smoked.
I felt so good. This felt so natural. I didn’t know if I would give up again or just go back to smoking.
Then a few interesting things happened.
Whilst I had quit, apart from being able to run, I didn’t notice much Health improvement and didn’t know if it was worth losing my ‘calm’
Now, when I had 2 days of smoking things were coming back.
I have had diarrhoea for as long as I remember, we tried all different diets and some pills but nothing. A week into quitting I was shitting like a ‘normal’ person. 2 days of smoking and the toilet is my second home again.
The second day of smoking again I got a ripping headache. I get migraines and headaches all the time. But it just hit me that I didn’t during the time I wasn’t smoking.
Both headaches and diarrhoea can be caused by dehydration. The cigarettes have been sponging fluid from my body and drying it out.
So quitting didn’t show me as much I am now learning by smoking again. And now I have more ammo, more reasons to quit and stay quitted.
The warning labels on the smoking packets show a black lung or a brain bleed, those things will happen but not right now. Mention how many trips to the toilet a cigarette can cause or the mind numbing headaches they create. Those are happening right now. Those can go away within a week of quitting. My lungs are already fucked, I have most likely lost ten years of my life but that doesn’t make me wanna quit. I have spent around $5k a year, for 20 years smoking (thats a house deposit literally up in smoke) and somehow that doesn’t make me want to quit. But knowing now that I won’t be on the loo all the time and my head won’t pound like a drum everyday. Yes thanks I think I will ditch the smokes.
So the boy helped me stay a non smoker for a month, messed me around, caused me to go back to smoking; which led me to learn these new things that will help me quit again. See everything happens for a reason.
Thanks Pea, you Peas of shit.