I smoked for about 6 years from the age of 21 to 28. Of course I sucked back on Winnie blues prior to that from the age of 14 on the way home from School or at the bush behind School, but I only really gave it a good crack when I was 21. I went overseas with some mates one summer break while at uni and I decided that seeing as I was in Europe and everyone else was smoking that I should too. I also got my eyebrow pierced in Budapest, because a few people were, OK, a hot Canadian backpacker I was trying to pick up was, and I wanted to impress him, so I got my eyebrow pierced too. And took up a packet of Marlborough Lights habit as well. Aaaaand I got the Canadian at the same time as well!
I was a pretty dedicated smoker. I had a ciggie with my coffee first thing in the morning before I even had a shower, and I ducked out the front of my corporate high rise like the best of them loving those breaks for a catch up with friends and a few minutes away from the stresses of my desk. Give me a wine and I’d give you a thousand fags, and I still believe that the first ciggie after a big, boozy dinner at a restaurant was the best ciggie you could have. The smell, the addiction, the health side effects and the ugliness of the whole thing were not so good and something that I hated each and every day I was a smoker.
When I moved in with Rob (a non smoker) into a rickety old terrace in Darlinghurst with bars on every door and window I had to physically go outside for a lonely cigarette. It lost a little of it’s lustre. It was also winter and cold. I didn’t allow myself to hang out a window so it meant going out the back, or onto the street to fight it our with the Ice addicts and homeless men that hung about in our street. One day I was so hung over and not bovvered that I just didn’t have a ciggie. And then the next day the same. Before I knew what I was doing it was a 5 days without one, so I gave up. Just like that. Pretty clever hey? And I stuck it out and didn’t really have another one for a year or so later, when I was out and drunk, but it most certainly didn’t have any appeal. As the years went on I was still ciggie free but found myself dabbling a little here and there if I was out on the tiles with mates on a night off from the kids when I wanted to feel like the “old Beth”. Not a Mum. Just Beth. When I was in Paris a few years ago I HAD to have a cigarette because my brother in law had them and I was in PARIS AND EVERYONE SMOKES. And more and more lately I find an excuse for one. I haven’t bought a packet (actually I lie, I did share a pack with Maxabella last year) but I didn’t take them home. Last week I caught up with a mate who smokes and so I had a couple with her over the course of the night, and then again on the weekend with my brother in law. Excuses, who needs them? Apparently I don’t.
I guess once you are a smoker you are always a smoker right? The truth is I don’t even enjoy them when I’m having them, but it’s that same rebellion that the 14 year old me was attracted to all those years ago that has me again. Mum’s aren’t “meant to” smoke, but it feels good to “not meant to” for a few minutes these days. I think the last few months of being so over bad sleep, and giving so much to every member of the family and not myself that this is some kind of warped rebellion? How stupid can you get? If only I had the same attraction/rebellion to exercise as time to myself, or yoga, or something healthy and not cake or bread and cheese or wine or in this case, cigarettes.
Do you find yourself dabbling in the stupid when you are stressed? I guess it’s human nature. And I guess that tomorrow I will convince myself that no alcohol, a run and a salad are all better choices. I am after all, 34 and not 14 anymore…