am I dead yet?

Just short of 80 hours now. It feels like I’m dying… or to be more semantically accurate, ‘me’ is dying. I wasn’t aware of how much changes with the removal of a seriously masochistic behavior like smoking. I’ve got this notion now that I can be however I want to be. It is, of course, just another illusion, I always could, but that’s something I know only intellectually. The obvious next step is, if I can be however I want to be, then how is it that I am, in general? What is my normal mode of being? Right now, I don’t feel that there is one, and I can make it into whatever I want it to be. I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of responsibility. ;]

In other news, I’ve been putting away about 6000 calories a day since I quit smoking. I averaged 4000-4500/day before quitting. I wonder if this will stay.

Reading “The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume I: The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time, Chosen by the Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America” (Tor Books), it’s a lot of really good old school sci-fi, when sci-fi was actually intellectual, instead of the ‘space opera with promiscuous sex’ genre you see a lot of today.

smokin

I’ve quit smoking. It’s been just over 24 hours.

It feels like I’ve been talking about quitting forever. I quit once in 1995, was off tobacco for about nine months before I started smoking cloves, ostensibly because they tasted good. Around 1998 I started smoking cigarettes again in order to get myself off the cloves. It worked. I’ve been smoking cigarettes since, with a few brief interruptions.

The first time I quit, it was easy. I didn’t even have to think about it. I just made the decision and it was done. Perhaps it’s true, You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. I don’t seem to have the ability to make a far-reaching decision over my life instantaneously anymore. It’s just hard work these days. Maybe there’s a point to that, perhaps I’ll appreciate it more. That being said, I was always waiting for that situation to come again, where I felt it was just ‘right’ to quit and it’d be a simple decision once again… I got impatient. My kids are 2 and 3 now, I can’t wait any more to quit. In all fairness, it wasn’t right for me to wait this long. But you do what you can, right?

Yesterday, I went to costco and bought the patch. My stomach and chest got really irritated with them, so I shaved a patch of my thigh, and it’s doing pretty well there. I’ve learned that there are two addictions there, a chemical one and a psychological one. The chemical addiction isn’t affecting me now, so I’m only feeling one where I’ve always felt the combination before. It’s quite the learning experience, and quite disturbing to realize that what I’ve always thought was a simple craving is actually a rather complex set of feelings.

The point of this rant is the subtlety of the effect that smoking for so long has had on me. Somewhere along the line, smoking became my emotional release. I’ve discovered that whenever a strong emotion comes up for me, that’s when I crave smoking. I’ve also learned that I am, at least right now, quite emotional, and this is happening regularly. I’ve smoked instead of being honest with people. I’ve smoked instead of being assertive with my needs. I’ve smoked instead of feeling the anger I have. I’ve smoked instead of feeling pretty much anything. Every minute of not smoking is a struggle, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do it again, knowing what the price is. I’m pretty scared of some of the things I’m feeling, but that’s the way it is, I can’t escape from it anymore, now that I know it was just running away. It’s rather disturbing; I’ve been wondering these last few months when I’d be ready for falling in love again, knowing that I couldn’t take it. I’ve felt dead.

My dad’s been smoking for I’d guess at least 30 years. I wonder if it’s the same for him, if that’s why I’ve never gotten much emotion out of him. It’s really sad, but a lot of what I know about being a good father I learned from my dad by counterexample. That hurts a lot.

Someday soon I’ll be able to stop crying and laughing and screaming at random intervals, but I’m not inclined to control myself at the moment, this has been going on far too long.

Listening to Wagon Wheel from the album O.C.M.S. by Old Crow Medicine Show on repeat, it’s a nice song to cry to. Recently lent “The Fountainhead” (Ayn Rand) and “The Stranger” (Albert Camus) by a friend. I’m pretty intimidated by the Camus especially, mostly because of a rather dismal story that my first love’s father told me. These are all loans from a friend who probably doesn’t know how much her friendship means to me.