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9.23.2012

Dear Smoking...

Preface

I began smoking at the age of 16. A punk who couldn't drink, was too anxious to do too many drugs, but needed something to pass the time. A secret lover of old Hollywood and rough flapper girls from the 1920's, cigarettes seemed like the perfect thing to accompany my reputation for being scrappy.

I'm 31 now and with one major quitting period (1 year) under my belt and a massive relapse (another year), I'm finally back to quitting again. To help me get through this ridiculously rough time, I'm going to do what all people with addictions are told to do by therapists (or at least it happens a lot on that show "My Strange Addiction" which I'm totally obsessed with.)

I decided to confront my addiction and say farewell to it in a formal way. I'm really hoping this is the last time I have to quit.
...and now, without further ado, we (the royal "we") are proud to present: A Letter to Smoking
(insert some golf claps.)

Taking a break at work (a.k.a killing myself)
...............................................................

Dear Smoking,

How've you been? I know it's been almost two weeks since we last hung out and you're probably wondering what's going on. Don't worry. I'm not mad at you or anything, but I've been doing a little thinking.

I don't know how else to say this, so I'll just come out with it. I think it's time we went our separate ways. I know what you must be thinking. You must think that I'm being irrational. How our relationship has been so strong for so many years. How that one year apart was so difficult for us both, but the truth of the matter is that you're killing me...and not in a humorous, figurative way. You're literally ruining my body.

Sure, I lucked out by having Asian genes, so I haven't gotten lip wrinkles yet and I don't have a grey palor or yellow teeth, BUT if I stay in this relationship, all those things will surely happen. I don't know about you, but I'd like to avoid or, at least, greatly reduce my chances of getting cancer too. Last I checked, cancer was SO out of style. (Cut to me trying to avoid looking at the television any time an anti-smoking commercial would pop up with a formerly-healthy individual explaining how smoking caused them to lose their fingers or how they have a hole in their throat now.)

I do want to thank you for a few things though. Don't think I took you for granted while we were together. You stood by me during my worst break-ups, you kept me company when I was bored, anxious, or feeling alone. You were a welcome way to stay awake all those long nights in college at the local diners while I philosophized about life with friends. You kept me busy when everyone else was drinking. You made an artful accessory and taught me how to take breaks from the day-to-day madness. You were my therapist when I couldn't afford therapy.

Post-lunch "treat" (a.k.a killing myself)
De-stresser (a.k.a killing myself)
For a long time I even believed that I could live my whole life with you. Audrey Hepburn (one of the women I admire most - she was a philanthropist, a polyglot, and perfect performer - ALLITERATION CITY!) said that it was ok to have less than 8 smokes a day. (Because, clearly, anything over 8 cigarettes wasn't ladylike!)

But, Smoking, I'm getting older now. I want to have kids eventually (read: HEALTHY kids) and not have a chronic cough or smell like an ashtray. I don't want to start feeling nicotine withdrawal on long flights or panic when I run out of cigarettes at night. Life is already a challenge without chemical dependencies.

You're probably ready to threaten me now...with anxiety, weight gain, headaches, the potential of being less "cool"...but I think I've finally grown up. I'm willing to gain a few pounds if it means that I'll live longer, have healthy children, an appreciative husband, a better sense of smell & taste, and more energy. I'm willing to deal with the withdrawals if it means that I'll sleep better, exercise more effectively, have more time to be productive and have an easier time focusing in the long run.

When I sit back and do the math, I realize how much time we spent together every day:

1 cigarette = approx. 10 minute break
10 cigarettes/day = 100 minutes a day
100 minutes a day = 700 minutes a week
700 minutes = 11.666666 (let's round it to 12 hours) a week.

12 hours a week with you. That's too much time to be spending with something that's killing me, so it's time we call it quits. (Pun totally intended.) Time to take those 12 hours and spend them on something more useful.

I'll miss you, but it's over now.

You may be saying, "You'll never find anyone like me again."
But that's the point, isn't it? I don't need to die early.

Sincerely (Not) Yours (Anymore),
Nami M. Scott

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Have you quit smoking before? Have you restarted? Are you still quit? I would love to hear your stories and tips on staying clean. I'm still thinking about smoking every day, though my urges are slowly lessening. Hope you're all smoke-free or trying to be!
In the meantime, be patient with my whining. I'm trying to get over the habit and it's stupidly difficult. xo!

Photos: Taken by Nami M. Scott

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