What constitutes a long time smoker? Five, twenty, thirty years? Maybe only two days is too long? Whatever your perception may be on the matter, it's a nasty, disgusting, delicious habit. Why would anyone ever want to pick up smoking? Why would anyone ever want to stop? It is so horribly awesome I can't stand it.
I had been smoking for over a decade. It all started around my transitory period from good girl to rebellious "enlightened" punk. Ok, I was never horribly rebellious, enlightened or punkish, but I liked to think of myself as such around that time. Well, how could I not? A girl of 17 just starting to discover Kafka, the Dead Kennedys, vodka and cigarettes is bound to jump to such conclusions. Quite sad really.
Cigarettes were the icing on the proverbial schema shifting cake. They were the diamond necklace to my new LBD. It was the new designer label affixed to my new life. I was Larah McKay: philosopher, bad ass, smoker. To be horribly honest, I originally started smoking to gain more commonality with *the one who shall not be named*. It was quite possibly one of the most pathetic symptoms of idol worship I've ever experienced, of which I am still suffering the consequences. Now that I am older and "considerably wiser" I have realized that maintaining this sort of disgusting behavior is not becoming of a lady my age. Certainly, the health benefits of quitting smoking are marked and numerous, but the paradigm shifting benefits would be vast beyond my imagination. Quitting smoking, in a way, would be severing one of the last remaining ties to the gentleman... and is probably the reason why I have found it exponentially difficult to let it go entirely. I've tried to quit earlier this year, but gosh darn it, I like it. I liked having at least just one remaining tie to him. The smoking and the clutching of my affections towards him have become so ingrained into who I was for over a decade, I found it hard to scrub out these stains from the fabric of my being. And I liked it. I liked that it was part of my being. I didn't want to let these things go, because then, who was I after that?
The recognition of the reasons for not letting go is itself progress in the quitting process. I've already tried to quit once, for these very reasons, and though I have fallen off the wagon, it's not too far ahead to jump back on. In fact, the time to hop back on is drawing nearer and nearer. I feel that woman who decides to jump back on the wagon will be a very wise and resplendent lady, indeed. I very much look forward to meeting that lady. She is definitely a woman deserving of my future idol worship.
Being in love with the same person for over a decade is pathetic. No no, it's great when the feeling is mutual between both parties, but when all the feelings of ardor bears its burden on just one person's shoulders, that person is an idiot. Wait, no. A pathetic idiot. I should know. I'm speaking (present tense) from experience.
It has been almost a year since I have felt that incomparable momentary glimmer of immeasurable, consummate happiness and the very abrupt, subsequent consuming pain of loss and heartbreak. It's strange that something so instantaneous and fleeting could cause such an emotional catastrophe, but then again one small scream can cause an avalanche. One benign lit cigarette can burn down Southern California. Let's just say that "The One Who Shall Not Be Named" (not Voldermort) is the mostly smoked but still lit Camel Light that collided with the parched tinder of my soul.
A little bit of back story: I met "The One Who Shall Not Be Named" (TOWSNBN) over a decade ago. I was a girl experiencing her year of *sweet sixteen* when I first saw him. Surely, a girl of such an age believes in pretty things such as love at first sight and soul mates. Whether or not these things exist, it's safe to say that I was instantaneously taken with him and my later encounters with him would prove my assumptions correct that this young man was extraordinary.
Up until that time in my life, I was a very good girl: No drinking, no drugs, no ping ping in my hoo haa. I was always on honor roll, an all star cheerleader and homecoming queen. To me the world was in a box and bad was bad and good was good and no gray shall ever emerge. You might as well have put a bow on my head and called me Pollyanna. Granted I was still of a dirty mind and had a mouth on me, but not to the extent of the person I am today... that's a story for another time though.
TOWSNBN was the extraordinary force that tore my world asunder. This was quite possibly the most beautifully chaotic time in my life. Oddly enough, to achieve such a feat he didn't have to do anything really. He simply just needed to exist. Being in his presence was a moving experience. His eloquence, confidence and charisma were unmatched to any I had met before. I felt stimulated in ways that I never could imagine being stimulated. To me he was art, cinema, literature, philosophy, ideas and ideals. He was everything I never knew I wanted, yet everything I used to subconsciously push away. He was the earthquake that caused the tsunami which destroyed my world's pretty box beyond economic repair; the lightning that turned sand into glass. He indirectly changed my philosophy of life where nothing but questions and a voracious thirst for understanding remained. All of a sudden there was color in the world as if another spectrum of light became salient to my eyes. He didn't do any of this on purpose. It wasn't his fault really. But he did it.
We were never romantic for all this time up until a year ago. The timing was never right. That may as well be the underlying premise to the romantic portion of our ongoing story. Well, that and I'm quite sure he could never love me. But I digress. The first time I had met him we were physically in each others' presence for a little over a year. After that time, geography had always kept us apart. But it wasn't only geography that separated us. He had built a wall around himself. It was as if he had fashioned for himself his own personal fortress of solitude pushing everyone and all honest emotion away. Ironically this was probably what drew most people in. Although he encapsulated himself in his impenetrable bubble, he was still warm and charming. Try imagining something impossibly beautiful and refreshing... something most necessary in a time of need yet untouchable. That was him.
So, fast forward to April of 2009. It was as if the universe had cleared its hectic schedule for a couple weeks within this month to allow us to come together and experience each other in more intimate ways than before. The first week was beautiful. I describe it as dreamy reverb, orchids and Pablo Neruda.... it was rainy sunshine and shadows of leaves. It was art and cinema, literature and philosophy. Whatever poetic bullshit imagery you can come up with, that's what it was like. He said wonderful things that I have waited over 10 years to hear... things I couldn't quite bring myself to believe were true, but I allowed myself to revel in the moment. Everything was wonderful, but he had to leave when the week came to its end. This was okay though, as he would come back later for another week. But it wasn't okay. The week he came back was the bizzaro reflection of his previous visit. What was going on? The warmth and kind words were gone... he was physically with me, but emotionally checked out. This marked the beginning of the emotional heartbreak roller coaster which I would ride for the next full year. Excuses were given as to why we couldn't be together, which in honesty are all very plausible, but the only thing that could make sense is that he just plain didn't want me.
So it's almost a year later... and having applied many of the home remedies for heart maladies which are described in a previous post, I could say that I am still on my way to recovery. I'm not quite 100% whole, but a whole lot less broken than at the time of the previous post.
Credits: Shout out to my boy Nick Borrelli as I stole the idea of "The One Who Shall Not Be Named" as a reference to the *C U next Tuesday* that crushed your heart under their heel like a mostly smoked yet still lit Camel Light.