Smoking…..

First cigarette I had I was the tender age of 11, a good girl-friend of mine had stolen a pack from somewhere and had hidden it in a shed behind her house. She asked me if I wanted to have a smoke….. and since I was secretly in love with her, well, how could I say no?

We went off to the shed, she pushed aside the hay and straw in the corner of the shed and took out the pack, Export A green, also known as green death back then.

We each lit a cigarette and puffed away at it, not even knowing that you are supposed to inhale, enjoying being all rebellious.

It was her first, and as far as I know, her last cigarette

but for me it was the first of many….

A week after this event, or maybe not even as long as a week, who knows, that was a long time ago…. I got the craving for that flavor, for that scent. I’ve always loved tobacco, and still do.

I gathered up my change and went off to the gas station which had one of those cigarette dispensing machines and bought myself my first pack. John Player light king size. I remember being fascinated that the longer smokes cost the same as the regular sized ones…. free tobacco!

and I still think that Players light taste like shit

after a few months of smoking, sneaking one before school, when I got home, hiding in the forest at lunch smoking with the other rebels, one of my friends finally said “hey, how come you don’t inhale?”…. surprised at this, I inhaled the mouthful of smoke I currently was holding…..

…. and almost puked my guts out…. OMG that was harsh!

I threw the pack away, saying wow, this is downright stupid….

…. but a week later I was buying another pack. I missed the taste, the smell, the feeling of power…..

When I was a little kid living in Italy, every Friday my family would go down to the same pizza joint, Mario’s Pizzeria (yeah I know, how dreadfully original!). Italian restuarants back then… and for all I know they are still the same…. all followed the same layout. Bar in the front, and restaurant in the back.

anyway, so every Friday we would go to eat. I would wolf down my pizza, bum a few bucks off my dad (or a few thousand Lira as it was back then), run to the bar side of the restaurant, buy myself a cornetto (ice cream cone), flirt with Maria the lovely bar maid, and then play the old school arcade game that they had.

I remember this part of my life very fondly, that restaurant, Maria, the arcade games, all of it are still clear in my mind. Now, the reason I brought this up, is that while I was in there, enjoying my time with Maria and my arcade games, I was always surrounded by the same gang of people hanging out in the bar. Almost all old, almost all men, ALL were smoking, ALL were drinking their espresso or their grappa, and ALL looked so happy, so content to be enjoying their time with their friends, their familiar places, and of course, their tobacco and alcohol.

I decided way back then that I would smoke one day. I associated the smoking with peacefulness, with contentedness, with letting everything go and just enjoying your life. I also told myself back then that once my wife / girlfriend / whatever was pregnant, that I would then stop. Yeah, I made this deal with myself when I was around 7 years old….. I was a weird kid

so, fast forward to my last birthday…

obviously Becca never got pregnant, otherwise you would have all heard about that, but as many of you know, if you are a male to female transsexual like I am, you aren’t allowed to smoke. Some doctor’s will let you, but it’s really not safe. When a young woman takes the birth control pill, they are told that smoking at the same time increases your risks for blood clots. I have the same danger, but since my estrogen is anywhere from 8 to 16 times higher than the amount of estrogen in a birth control pill, my risks are also greatly elevated.

at the time of my last birthday, I wasn’t yet 100% sure I would transition, but if I wasn’t going to be transitioning (or doing it soon), I knew that quitting smoking would definitely help in Becca and I getting pregnant. So I had two solid reasons to stop, and after a lot of pissing and moaning internally, I decided to use my birthday as a good time to give quitting smoking a shot for the first time…

unlike most smokers I know, I had never wanted to quit in the past, had never attempted quitting. I LOVE smoking, still do

so on December 2nd at 4.05AM (it was a long weekend, lol) I lit my last JPS, which was the brand I smoked the longest when I was young. I didn’t even finish the damn thing, tasted terrible and I had smoked enough that night.

after ~24 years of smoking on average 20 cigs a day, I quit cold turkey

first week was easier than I thought, until I randomly punched my computer screen at around 4pm…. I went home early each day that week and finished my hours on the weekend

but after that it was easy, all the connections that I had with cigarettes (with coffee, with alcohol, after food, before bed, etc etc) were in fact the easiest to ignore, and the cravings that I would get would usually surprise me when they arrived, but all in all, it was pretty easy

a month later, Becca and I have a huge fight and I smoke half a cig, it almost makes me throw up, I figured that was it…..

but well, this past week, ever since I got back from Halifax has been pretty hellish. I won’t get into it here, I may at one point, but not yet, but suffice it to say, my foundations were rocked pretty hard, stuff I would have never imagined to be possible happened, one after another like domino’s, and I had a few puffs of a smoke last Saturday morning…

and another the next day, half a smoke

and the next

the next

again

and

again

I don’t even enjoy them when I do smoke, I barely inhale, maybe once or twice per cigarette, the rest is just puffing….. I smell it sure and some is getting into my system in the same way as when you hang out with smokers….. but im not inhaling it, and I’m not even enjoying it

so why can’t I simply say no again….. the storm has passed, I see a light, a way out without more darkness, it’s not over yet but it’s so much better than the week before…. so why I can’t I go back to being a solid non smoker

I haven’t been hiding what I’ve been doing, I’ve told my therapist, friends, just to make sure that this doesn’t become a dirty little secret. They understand why I cracked a bit, and they won’t give me shit for it (I kinda wish they would honestly, lol)

and now I’ve told all of you

what do I get out of it?, I still can’t really answer that…..


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