I am mourning the loss of a loved one.
This person is not dead, it’s worse.
This person is alive and hates me.
Quitting smoking is never a done deal.
It is a daily victory, one I have not won yet.
I remember showing up to my first year of university. I had taken a year off before going.
Upon arriving I saw some familiar faces from high school whom I greeted excitedly.
“Wow,” one boy said to me.
“Wow, what?” I asked, confused.
“You were such a snob in high school.” He responded, surprised at my happiness to see him.
I was struck with a moment of relieved revelation, realizing that while I thought I had appeared so weak and insecure through those adolescent days, I had actually appeared tougher; arrogant or condescending. And I would rather that they thought that unflattering thing than know the truth of my flaws and feebleness. Though perhaps still losing the game of popularity or popular opinion, I felt some dignity restore.
They never knew, they never knew.
I think of this little moment from my past now as I sit with the hate of this person.
It doesn’t make it feel any better, but
I understand that hate lives in this person.
It is not me this person hates but a part of their self that I manifest and they lack.
It’s a threat, it’s a jealousy, it’s that person’s own deficiency, and the burden of all that feels much worse than being hated.
I have learned the difference between loneliness and being alone.
Loneliness is accompanied by sadness and a lack of control;
a feeling that you ended up there despite your plans or self-worth.
Being alone is a place you find yourself through a clear path of your own choosing.
It is quiet and solitary and can even feel hollow at moments,
but you understand that this is your will, and sadness is replaced with acceptance.
Today seems like the absolutely perfect day to quit smoking.
It’s April Fools’ Day, and smoking is for fools.
I have been noticing for weeks, maybe months, how much I am not even enjoying it.
Noticing, telling myself, letting logic subconsciously massage my mind…
It has been like a ritual I continue simply because I am a very patterned person.
The package of cigarettes that sits in the freezer has but one cigarette left inside.
It’s the wish cigarette, first one touched from the pack, turned upside down, smoked last.
I won’t smoke it, but I will wish on it.
I’ll wish and I’ll put into action my ardent desire to cease stupid smoking.
The Sun pours in my window and I stand facing it.
I hold up my arms and my prone palms and say aloud my plan of action like a prayer,
like a promise.
No god to seek help from, I am god, I hold the power.
And so this challenge is not daunting but empowering.
I say the words aloud, an auditory actualization stirs the Earth’s energy into the direction I want it to go.
Giving sound to thought provides a reality and a life and changes desire into fact.
The fact is that hate is a cage of confused anger and I won’t step into it with that person.
The fact is that loneliness is a cage of sadness and helplessness and I shall not enter there.
The fact is that smoking is a cage of stupidity and weakness and today I step out.