Today I had to make a decision. It was a decision that would seriously alter my life, a life that I felt has to be altered one way or another for it to be any benefit to me, but this particular decision would be a throwing in of the towel of sorts. I was going to the store to buy some dinner, and also a pack of cigarettes after nearly two years of being quit of a thirty year addiction.
I bought the dinner and left without the cigarettes.
Here’s the story:
When I was fourteen I was hospitalized from attempting suicide. I was done with being unloved and having to live justifying my existence. A year later my life was still unbearable and, having one failed suicide attempt behind me, I tried something else to release the valve a bit on my life. I could do one thing that my parents who despised me couldn’t stop me from doing – I started smoking. I was very aware when I began that the choice was between taking up smoking or attempting suicide again. In a way, smoking saved my life at the time.
Thirty years later and tired of my life being robbed from the symptoms of CFS, I quit smoking through a force of needing a changed life, despite the fears. I began walking and then jog/walking, a near miracle to me due to my limited physical abilities. I never gained weight during the quit, and had even lost some weight. I anticipated a new life, new hope.
Nearly a year later my parents invited and paid my way to a Mexican resort they’re members of. My older sister came to join us. It seemed promising for our relationship that my parents would invite me, but it ended with my older sister being cruel to me and my parents joining in with her. I came home sick with disillusionment and shock.
Around two months later I came down with a week-long fever, possibly due to overdoing it with yard work with my CFS. My health and energy levels went back to where I was years before, going to being near bed-ridden again. By the end of summer my body went into emergency mode and began to crave carbs as it hunkered down to fight off a health upset. That, and also for the fact that I was entering menopause at the same time. I ended up gaining enough weight to put me right into the overweight BMI category for the first time in my life.
Then Christmas happened. I still hadn’t recovered from the trip to Mexico and braced myself to spend it with my parents and a few other siblings. It didn’t go well. I came home demoralized.
Since then my doctor had given me the co-diagnosis of Fibromyalgia with my CFS due to the increase of muscle pain to the point of needing a cane at times. I told myself that this year there needs to be a major change. It could be for better or for worse, but I couldn’t (didn’t want to) continue living like this. It was going to be all-or-nothing, and if it was going to be worse it was going to be all the way. I became increasingly saddened and, therefore, increasingly needing things to make my brain ‘happy’, especially since depriving it of nicotine for nearly two years. I kept holding off buying cigarettes, even by eating even more brownies and chocolate, anything to quiet down my brain.
Today was the day I finally said I was going to get a pack of cigarettes. I went to the store and got a Subway sandwich with chocolate chunk cookies to quiet my brain and walked past the front counter that held the cigarettes and left without them. It was like I allowed my ‘self’ to make the decision to buy them or not and just noted that my self had decided not to.
I guess the last two years of not smoking were not in vain, that they really made a difference in what I’m wanting to consider normal.
I write this a few hours later, still sad, still wanting a change, still needing a meaning to my life without a family or sense of purpose.
I will buy a gym membership tomorrow. It’s too slippery to walk outside much, but I know one thing that helped me feel better when I first quit smoking and it was to go for long walks. I told myself before that I couldn’t afford a gym membership, but I can’t afford starting to smoke again more. I also can’t afford to be this unhappy, or this overweight. I will only have the energy to go on the treadmill at the gym and not have any for doing anything at home – I don’t care. I can’t care. I’ll take some pain medication for the fibro and not care that anyone sees me only being able to do ten minutes of walking. Again, I can’t care.
So with the same stubbornness I used to start smoking and then, later, to quit smoking, I will use this time to fight until I find new meaning in my life. I will be turning fifty in just over a week from now, and that will be when I no longer wish to look over my shoulder for my worth ever again.
This is the year that everything changes – for the better.