It may sound like I’ve been complaining about the amount of company around here lately, but I’m really not. I’m having a great time, and most of it is contained to inside my house. You can’t beat that. Plus, company forces you to clean your house and see things in your city. I’m doing stuff I wouldn’t have done otherwise, and for that I’m glad. I just need a friend to visit that really wants to see the beach, because that’s what I want to do these days. I want to sit and listen to waves. And the kitty litter box is getting changed more than usual. And my sheets are getting washed more often. Everyone’s happy.
I’m also blessed with some wonderful friends, and having them visit isn’t an inconvenience at all. I remembered today when djb shut the door to leave for his flight home, that I’d only really met him once before. We spent a couple of days in Vegas together for the mbtv mini-summit. But now it’s been five days and he slept in various parts of my house and we saw baseball games together and closed our eyes at art and toured around this city and discussed moving and friendships and shared stories and gave advice and sang and acted like friends catching up on the past year. And we kept starting sentences with, “Well, the last time you saw me…” but the truth is the actual sentence should be, “Remember the only time you ever saw me?”
It doesn’t feel like that at all. And I love that. I love the friendships where you end up having your own language in a very short period of time because the two of you get each other on a very silent level. Everything one says to the other is hysterical. One of you was always just about to say whatever it was the other one said. You share the same guilty pleasures. One of you somehow ruins the end of Momento by saying a throw-away joke that almost has nothing to do with the movie and the other one isn’t furious, but instead realizes that if anyone else had carelessly tossed out those words the movie wouldn’t have been ruined. But instead you can follow each other’s thought processes that led to that sentence and the entire film has been ruined. And it’s okay, because that movie is easier to see than your friend. The movie will be down the street for months and then in your video store all the time. Your friend is very far away.
I just love those kinds of friendships, though. They are very rare and are quite precious to me.
I’m also dealing with the fact that my life is going rather well these days. But I also feel like I’m not really doing anything. It might just be the incredible weather lately, but I do feel like I’m slacking. The fact is I’m doing the same amount of work. I am spending more money than I’d like to, but that’s the nature of company, I guess. But I haven’t been working any less than I usually am. I think my stress levels have just gone down, and so I feel like I’m missing something. The no-smoking sends me into tiny shame spirals every once in a while, though. And when those little attacks hit, I feel like my world is overwhelming. It’s like I can’t breathe and I’ve made all of the wrong choices in my life and I can’t stop and I’m going to die broke and alone.
I’ve been using cigarettes as time-wasters and emotional crutches for a very long time now, and I feel like a child getting her security blanket hidden on her. I feel very exposed, emotionally. All of my insecurities can rise up suddenly, and I assume that everyone hates me and is sick of me. Normally when I’d feel overwhelmed or tired or angry, when I wanted to keep my mouth shut before I said something dangerous, when I wanted to think through my thoughts and emotions– I simply lit a cigarette. My mind would have a moment to mull things over and nothing stupid would be said. Now I’m just running at the mouth and saying things that I sometimes regret and sometimes don’t even really mean. You’d think I’d be good with words, but I swear I’ve said, “Well, maybe YOU’RE the problem!” before in my life, and if that isn’t making myself into a Lifetime special, I don’t know what is.
Oh, it’s maddening, really. I hate this about myself. I hate that I feel dumb without a cigarette. Standing outside waiting for someone, or waiting for a show to start. You’re supposed to stand and sort of mull around with a cigarette, looking like you’re waiting. Now I feel like I’m stalking the building.
I’m babbling and I can’t stop eating everything I see. I’m eating everything. I eat and then I hate myself. I can’t stop. I really can’t. And I was just starting to like my body and now I’m feeling guilty for everything I eat. Popcorn, chocolate, fast food. If it’s near me and it’s not a cigarette, it’s pretty much going in my mouth. I don’t even like gum anymore.
Oh, see? I’m even writing through a tiny panic attack right now. This is what it’s like. I’m all paranoid and shaky. I hate this so much.
The fact is, I’m usually okay about the no smoking. I don’t even think about it most of the time. But tasting food makes me want a cigarette, but I want to taste all of the food. All of the food in the world I want inside my mouth. I want to smoke while I write. I want to smoke after I finish writing. I want to smoke while I wait at a red light. I want to smoke while I wait for a friend to finish getting dressed. I want to smoke while I talk with a boy. I want to smoke while I look at the view.
And the truth is, my pleasure isn’t decreased when I do these things without a cigarette. And while I’m doing them, I’m not wishing for a cigarette. It’s the moment right before. The moment when I’d normally reach for one, right when I finish laughing, or someone starts to tell me a long story. The moment when I walk out of a building, or I finish a good Italian meal. The moment I’m just halfway through my coffee. When I finish a stretch of email.
But once I get past that moment, I’m just fine. And I’m trying to get past these moments. I’m doing okay. I just have to not smoke. Just don’t do it. That’s all. It’s a very simple exercise.
Now I just have to start keeping my damn mouth shut. Because there ain’t no gum in the world that’ll fix a gigantic ass.
I’d like to thank Destiny’s Child for releasing Survivor the day that I quit smoking, though. Between “Survivor” and “Bootylicious,” my ass is too busy bouncin’ to fix myself a new smoke.