That was a declaration I made one year ago today. It was in response to a life and death question.
Do I want to smoke.....OR do I want to make art?
Do I want to continue to whittle my life down with time spent smoking cigarettes or do I want my life to be whittled down by days filled with time spent making art?
It was one or the other. There wasn't room in my life to be dedicated to both.
So, I had to choose.
So, I chose.
I chose the one that would make me proud at the end of my life. I chose art. I chose Me.
And at some point when it got really hard to keep on not smoking, I decided that I could smoke if I wanted to. I was allowed to.
But still, I didn’t.
Because somehow giving myself that permission to go back was what I needed to stay away. I had all the power. It was my choice. No one was forcing me into this. I was choosing it.
I continued to choose to not smoke even when many, many hurtful things happened to me.
I continued to choose to make art in its stead.
Did you ever see the video where I cry? That was real. Those are real tears that I cried during the single worst betrayal of my life so far. Ever been kissed by Judas? I have.
And still, I didn’t smoke. I knew that no person, no matter how much I adore them, is worth me hurting myself over. How would hurting me change the fact that someone else had hurt me? It wouldn’t. How would hurting me help to heal the wound that someone else had created? It wouldn’t.
So I didn’t. I just had to move on. So I did. And now I am more joyful and more at peace than ever before in my life. That would have never happened if I was still self-mutilating through smoking cigarettes.
I could say that it wasn’t easy or it was easy because truly it was. It was both of those at different times and sometimes, at the same time.
And I would definitely say, “I received lots and lots and LOTS of help from God in all kinds of ways!!!! So Thanks Buddy!!!! You're the best!!!!"
And now I’ve arrived at the 1st anniversary of the day I quit smoking. And I’m so far away...
that cigarettes will never reach me again.
Especially because I have to walk through a cloud of toxic air created by inconsiderate smokers outside Walmart which causes me to I realize how much it stinks and disgusts me and makes me sick to my stomach. And how badly I feel for everyone who smokes.
But if cigarettes ever do reach out and grab me again,
I am a total idiot!
But that won’t happen.
Because I am wiser and grander than ever before in Thee history of Thee World.
But mostly, it's because 14 year old me is no longer in control.
Nor is she hurting, for I have traveled back in time and healed her.
So she never has to smoke again.
Instead, she takes deep breaths of fresh clean air and thinks, “Life is so very magickal! And so am I!”
Now, perhaps you smoke and want to know how I quit....or perhaps you have a mess of your own and want to know how to get out of it. Here’s how I did it.
I just did it. I gritted my teeth. I grinned and beared it.
I didn't talk about it. All this time, you knew nothing of the suffering I was going through behind the scenes. I posted and never said a thing this whole year. I rarely ever talked about it with hubby or friends. For me, that made it worse. It's like talking someone up - have you ever talked about someone and the next thing you know BOOM, there they are. Talking about it gives it power. I wanted to starve it! The best thing for me was to keep it off my mind until I had so much time under my belt that I would never dream of back-sliding.
I paid the price it cost to get myself out of the trouble I had gotten myself into. Simple as that. I paid whatever price I had to pay to get out. I knew there would be a price to pay before I started to quit. I knew it would be hard, but I was determined. Between God and my will power to win the battle, I was delivered from that bondage.
We cannot expect to make a mess and to never have to go through the pain of cleaning it up. Suffering was the price I paid. I laid myself down upon the altar and allowed it to be slowly and meticulously cut out of me and I sought out and found the sweetness that lies inside this kind of pain.
I looked at cigarettes as my enemy....as a demon. I saw this as a war. I wanted to come out of it victorious. I fell out of love with that enemy. I realized that any voice in my head saying anything about smoking, mostly, “I like to smoke” was a flat out LIE! I don’t like to smoke. The addiction likes to smoke, not me. I realized there was a difference between me and the addiction. The addiction would do anything, say anything to get what it wanted and my job was to stay on my toes and not let it talk me into doing anything stupid like smoking.
Cigarettes are terrorists with bombs that we breathe in.
I realized that there is no magickal, perfect time to go through the pain of change that’s going to cause you to succeed. There is no time when you won’t experience stress of some kind. As a matter of fact, be prepared for the most difficult time in your life so when it's easy you'll be relieved.
I found out that I needed to spend time comforting me. I found things to comfort me that were healthy or at least more healthy than smoking. Like taking baths, watching movies, snuggling up, reminding me how much I like me and what a great job I was doing. I spent some of the money I would have spent on smokes on me - I bought new music. My theme song was Pink’s “So What”. I also really liked Francesca Battistelli's My Paper Heart (sounds so mixed media that I couldn't resist).
So, get whatever tools you’d like: the patch (that’s what I used), the gum, but remember this: It’s a tool.....a hammer doesn’t put a nail in the wood, you do. It just helps you do it. Don’t think these items will keep you from craving a smoke because they won’t. You just have to realize that a smoke isn’t going to solve any problem you’re having, it won't make you feel better, and it won’t make any experience better or more fun. The only thing it will do is make you feel like a big jerk because you lost the battle until finally it KILLS YOU. Now, does that sound like something you want to do?
The movie Lean on Me has a great quote regarding this subject -
“Why don't you just jump off the roof, right here and now? That's what you really want, isn't it? Yes, you do. You smoke crack, don't you, boy? Don't you smoke crack? Yeah, I thought so. And you know what that does to you? You don't? It kills your brain cells, son. It kills your brain cells! Now when you're destroying your brain cells, you're doing the same thing as killing yourself. You're just doing it slower! Now, I say if your wanna kill yourself, don't fuck around with it, do it expeditiously! Go on and jump! JUMP!”Smokers are under the impression that smoking is relaxing. It isn't. The only reason we think it's relaxing is because:
- Your body is getting a fix so it's not freaking out anymore about how it needs a smoke.
- You are breathing and concentrating on that breath.
When you have a really bad craving just try breathing in consciously and deeply several times.
Also, stop for a moment and find out if you are actually hungry. Smoking is an appetite suppressant. Many of us smoke instead of eating when we're actually hungry. We begin to read the sign that our body needs something as, "I need a smoke" instead of, "I need to refuel myself."
Have I gained weight. Yes. Am I freaking out about it? No. I was more interested in quitting smoking. I didn't go off the deep end, but I did indulge myself because what I was going through was hard. Now that the year is up, I'm moving onto dealing with the weight. You can't climb two mountains at once.
Today’s Joyce Meyer: Enjoying Everyday Life had a great quote by Joyce:
“How serious are you about the call of God on your life? Are you gonna quit and give up if things don’t come through right away when you think they aught to? Let me tell you something - You do anything for God, it’s gonna take longer than you thought it would, it’s gonna be harder than you ever thought it would be, and it’s gonna cost you more than you ever thought you could pay.”The same holds true for things you do for yourself. The question is, as always.....ARE YOU WORTH IT????
Yes, I am.