Friday, February 12, 2016

Shortness of Breath

I enjoy smoking cigarettes. That's it. That's all there is to it. I love smoking, and I will never not want to smoke.

My Male Novelist author photo

Various factors contributed to me picking it up as a genuine habit again at the end of 2015 and in January of 2016. Usually I am a social smoker, in that I'll join in when others are smoking but am perfectly fine not doing it by myself. But I found myself smoking in the car at the start and the finish of every day, and not being able to stop myself. While running, my wind was beginning to decline. I noticed I was much more irritable than usual.

So, two weeks ago, I stopped again. It was really only two months, tops, that it was a habit this time - not a matter of years, as in the past - but I am not having an easy time with it. I miss cigarettes desperately. With my body, yes, thanks to the nicotine that dug its claws into my back again, but with my spirit much more so. The sensation of the smoke going in and coming out. The having something to do with my hands. The actual nostalgia that smoking brings me, of old times, of smoking partners long gone.

Girl, cry me a river. Smoking is a pox on our society and you're better off without it. 

Eh. I suppose. The very real health effects matter a lot less to me when I'm actually engaging in the activity. And missing it is making me maudlin. I'm sorry if that seems silly, but you try giving up a habit that brought you comfort through all your teenage and early-20s years.

What are you actually talking about here?

[Hands up] You got me. I'm talking about something other than smoking. I'm talking about Facebook, too. I know I've talked a bunch about Facebook, and about giving it up, and I can only imagine how I sound when I'm doing so and then you see me on there again two weeks later. But really this time, really now, Facebook is exhausting me.

My tolerance for political discussion and engagement is the lowest limbo bar you can imagine. Because the pace of the election talk and share and yell at each other has not let up even a little bit, I'm now at the point where I have to choose between Facebook and one of the classes I'm taking this semester, lest Matt come home one day and find me doing whatever the protagonist was doing at the end of "The Yellow Wallpaper." The class is skidding so deeply into political territory that I'm starting to get quiet and depressed instead of happy and engaged. I can't quit the class, so I think I'm going to quit the site. For a while.

Are you equating Facebook and smoking?

Yes. And I've done the same thing with the former that I've done with the latter: sorta quit and then cheat a lot, or quit for a while and come crawling back. I always end up with shortness of breath. I always end up distracted and wasteful and isolated.

I finally quit smoking when I was 25. It stopped being a just-me habit that year. I would maybe smoke on my birthday, or bum one from a friend outside a bar while keeping him company. But not until December 2015 was it again a thing I did without company, without occasion. It was like I'd never stopped, except that I was lonelier than before, older than before, had more to lose than before.

Maybe it's not a perfect metaphor. Anyway, I'm trying to work out the Facebook thing, because the cons column of staying and fighting on is groaning under its own weight, while the pros column has a mere few, exceptionally strong, entries. a) My stats on this blog dropped by half when I didn't post links on Facebook. b) It's the only way to keep up with certain friends. c) It allows me to offer support to friends who would never ask for it over email, or to keep up on rapidly changing circumstances. d) And sometimes I find things worth reading or seeing, worth saving.

But that's it. And my spirit is struggling to maintain buoyancy in the avalanche of Everything Else.

Geez, it's only Facebook. Chill out. Maybe smoke a cigarette or something.

Hmm. I suppose I could.


Gloria said...

...lest Matt come home one day and find me doing whatever the protagonist was doing at the end of "The Yellow Wallpaper."


I love your brain

Katharine Coldiron said...

But what the hell was she doing?! Creeping? What is that?!

Karissa said...

Good day. I have the same obsession with smoking. Reading this made me crave, but alas. I smoked from age 14 to 30, and then again from 34 to 37. It has been 4 years since I last butt out.

As for Facebook, just clic "unfollow" on all the people who antagonize you. Maybe return to following them when the election is over. Maybe.

Katharine Coldiron said...

Hi, Karissa! Sorry I made you crave smoking. I surely understand.

I think the politics thing is systemic, because I tried to think of a single friend who hasn't posted anything at all about the election or the candidates, and couldn't. I need to gain the strength to stop going on Facebook, or the serenity to look at the posts and not get annoyed. Wish me luck with that...