Today I was Hypnotized
Me and smoking go way back. I was smoking before I was born, in utero, and then during pretty much every waking moment of my life that I shared with either of my parents, or most of my relatives, if you count second-hand smoke. My favorite story is from a conversation I had with my mom, six years ago, after my daughter A. was born. But first, a little backstory here: While I was a pack a day smoker for about ten years, then quit totally for a few, for the majority of my adult life, I have been an on-again/off-again, a few cigs a day, to none, to just on the weekends, to quitting for a year, to smoke-binging with girlfriends, to nothing again for six months, to oops, every day, then nothing for two years kind of smoker. However, when I got pregnant, I really did stop. However, the minute I could get up from my C-section, I waddled out to the parking lot with my monk-friend Sankai and sat in his car and smoked a big old drum. It was divine.
Back to my favorite story: talking to my mom after having my baby, I confessed to smoking a teeny bit again at night. Oh, honey, she said, blowing out smoke on the other end of the phone, I smoked while I was nursing. Don’t worry about it.
No, I know, I said. I’m smoking a little bit at night, after she’s asleep, even though I am nursing.
No, my mom said, reiterating with emphasis, I mean, I smoked while I was nursing.
Woa, I said, imagining my soft, little, blanketed head being held in the crook of an elbow, then the camera pans up the arm, moving up, up, up, until we see a lit cigarette held between the slim fingers of my mother, then getting carried, over my open-hearted, sucking body, into my mom’s mouth for a long drag (where’s that ashtray? Oooops!).
So after growing up inhaling others’ smoke, my own personal relationship with cigarettes, cigs, butts, weeds, smoky treats, lung snacks, began in earnest in high school, when I would pilfer my mom’s Virginia Slim’s, or my friend Keora and I would snag her mom’s Newports. It wasn’t long before I was buying my own packs (I started with Camels, surprise, surprise, then switched to Winston’s in college, and as a grown-up, I have been exclusive with American Spirit yellows unless in Canada, in which case Export A would do), when I had the money, or even stealing them (and getting busted, of course) from Meijer’s, a pre-Walmart super-store in Michigan, where I grew up. My poor, single mom, trying to enjoy a drink and boogie after a long day on her feet at a middle-brow at best women’s clothing store in a strip-mall, had to receive a call at the bar, telling her to come pick up her delinquent daughter. On the way home, all she could really say was, “you have to quit smoking.”
And so yesterday I went to see my friend Frayda, the hpynotist. Again. I think this is my 3rd time, but I could be lying. It wasn’t like I was smoking a pack a day, or even a pack a week, but my daily intake was increasing and so was my craving. And that’s the worst part. Not to mention the unmentionable. So I went and we did our thing, which I love, falling into her recliner….she says, you don’t have to listen to me, but you can if you want to.…and now I will listen to my tape of the session at night, suffer through this tight throat, headache, and irritability for a week or so, drink lots of water and get psyched to be free. For now.
Unfortunately, the reason I started smoking this time is still unresolved. You see, I have this book proposal problem. I recently completed a third non-fiction book proposal, then sent it to “my agent” (which sounds so ridiculously inflated to say). The other two were “passed on,” years ago. And this one I am waiting to hear about. I love the topic, I am dying to spend my life learning about it, and writing about it (more on this soon), but even more importantly, I am desperate to get a nod from the world, saying, go for it. We trust you. We want to hear from you about this. We think you have something to offer. I know it’s kind of pathetic, but I long for that. And in waiting, waiting, waiting for this phantom affirmation/rejection, whatever it will be, I have grown a wee bit desperate. Lonely. A little depressed. Which is where my friend ST (short for Smoky Treat) comes in. At the end of the day, it’s just me and her. And she fills me, and I love her. But I am never satisfied.
And so that’s why I quit smoking and starting writing this blog.