It seems like a lot of my online friends had no clue that I smoked. Some of my oldest friends also had no clue that I had picked the habit up a couple of years ago… again.
I first tasted tobacco when I was very young, my Granpa actually let me light his cigarettes for him. I never actually inhaled and as bad as it sounds, I don’t think it was something horrible. The first cigarette I actually smoked was when I was around 8 thanks to a babysitter that let me smoke one of her cigarettes. I did not smoke again until I was 14.
In Colombia you can buy individual cigarettes for some cents. It is also worth noting that they did not card you for smokes there, partly because it is convenient to go pick up cigarettes for your parents. I started smoking Kools and remember getting lightheaded. One of my best friends smoked and even though it was not about being cool, I was a little more than curious. My Mom has smoked my whole life, and even though it has never been more than maybe a couple of cigarettes a day, it really made me wonder what it was all about.
I moved to the US and my underage smoking stopped until I turned 18. I actually remember the day I started smoking again, I was driving my first car, a 1990 Hyunday that started my love for sunroofs and I had just bought a pack of Marlboro lights. I light up my smoke right in the parking lot of the high school. My smoking partners then were actually both from Guatemala, the two coolest rockers that introduced me to alternative rock.
After high school, smoking lead me to meeting my best friends. A group of 8 people that I thought were going to be in my life forever. Turns out that I still know how to contact 4 of them, but I am not close to any of them anymore. I smoked way too much and way too often and after about 3 years of smoking, I quit for the first time… I thought I had quit forever.
I actually did not pick up another pack for years, about 3… then I moved to Michigan. A couple of people at work smoked and the stress of the place I was at made me see why. I started playing darts every Friday, and with the alcohol the smokes went hand in hand. I had not smoked in any of my cars except my very first one, but little by little I started to smoke in my car again. Then I joined a cult.
Actually I had already quit smoking because it was not as fun as it was before. I was not able to run without being out of breath, it was made even more obvious when I started playing racquetball again. One of my great uncles passed away from a sudden heart attack and he was a smoker. Cigarettes then exited my life for about six months. My life then entered that big black hole that sucked my happiness for a little over a year. During that period of time cigarettes became a painful object that also provided relief. I lost control of my life in many levels but for stupid reasons I cannot quite understand, and I held on to the little control I felt when I would light up one of those cancer sticks and sucked it right down to the filter.
I had been smoking ever since, until this past week. I had not been smoking at my new job because I tried not to smoke at work ever since I left Michigan. Little by little I started to realize that I did not need the smoking anymore. The anxiety that it used to reduce was not present in my life anymore. Even though for a while those little smelly tubes represented control in some sick way, I did not need them anymore. For some strange reason it was not hard at all to stop. There was no cravings… it makes me realize how different my life is now, it also makes me realize how sometimes we place so much power on insignificant, inanimate objects that in the end were just full of smoke.