Search

Closet Fascination

A blog about a journey, smoking, not smoking, vaping and everything in between

Something about Weddings

I will start by saying I didn’t plan on smoking this weekend. But there is something about weddings. I have to say, I’m bolder than I used to be. My mother and father were both present at this wedding and probably both know that I smoked but I didn’t confirm or deny anything. But1 I was outside with the smokers for too long for it to not be suspicious.

It was my cousin’s wedding. I had a few glasses of wine and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I can’t say I really regret the decision because I actually enjoyed the cigarette more than I thought I would. Not so much that I will be running out to buy a pack, but enough that I don’t regret doing it, which depending on your perspective could be a bad thing.

I can’t quite remember how it happened. I think the thought occurred to me after a few drinks that my cousin has cigarettes and I can ask him for one later when I want one. Then I was chatting with my sister and she mentioned finding someone to bum a cigarette off of (as she also smokes occasionally) and I mentioned that our cousin has cigarettes and we were off to find him. He was outside smoking, of course. She didn’t want a whole one and neither did I, so we split one. They were Belmont Blues and I actually thought they were pretty good for a regular (not menthol) cigarette.

We stood outside for a long time socializing with ‘the smokers’ of which there were only two or three. There were about 4 people outside with us not smoking just socializing because it was hot in the hall.

Prior to the wedding, my cousin had asked me if I wanted to ‘get baked’ at the wedding. Me, wanting to hide my darker side from my parents, said only if I can do so without getting caught, so my cousin just dropped the plan. But someone at the wedding had some weed and this was noted by my cousin’s wife and suddenly I was outside smoking weed with the best man. By smoking weed I had one hit and apparently that was enough for one of the best highs I’ve had since the first time I smoked weed in university. I’m an opportunistic pot smoker. Of the 7 times I’ve smoked weed in my life, I’ve had three great experiences, two meh, why do people even bother experiences and one- OMG I’m dying and never doing this again experience. Obviously, I’ve smoked twice since my awful, never again experience. I’m looking forward to legalization, not because I think I’m going to go out and smoke more, but because when I do decide to smoke, it will be nice knowing what I am getting. The last two times have been since people have been able to get medicinal grade stuff and let me tell you, it makes a difference.

This was the first time I’ve smoked pot and experienced distorted time perception. I noted it as I looked at my watch when I said goodbye to the bride and then again 20 minutes later and honestly it felt like I had said goodbye to her hours ago. There is more on how they think marijuana distorts time perception here. One thing the article mentions is that if a user is having a bad trip, this side-effect makes the trip even worse. Luckily I was having a great time and didn’t mind the effect. To me, it seemed like everyone who had smoked weed was in one ‘time-zone’ and the others, in a different time-zone. So time was passing differently for us, my brain rationalized, because we were high. The other effect that was particularly noticeable this time is I felt very heavy but also that the heaviness felt awesome, like almost like a heavy blanket is calming. This makes me want to get a weighted blanket to recreate the experience sober.

All and all, I had a great time at the wedding. Do I want to smoke, drink or get high all the time? No. But it reminded me of the old quote, Moderation in all things, including moderation. And oddly, it has made me more motivated to seek out the positive things in my life that I’ve kind of let slip in the past couple of months. Like exercise and meditation. I need to do more of those because they naturally give me some of what I experienced in my debaucherous weekend. Until next time…

Advertisements

Smoking and the Media: The Handmaid’s Tale

*This post contains spoilers, stop reading now if you don’t want to be spoiled*

I recently finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and I am currently halfway through the TV series. I’m enjoying both, but my inner fetishist isn’t happy that they decided to practically remove all the smoking from the book. I mean, I get it. When Margaret Atwood wrote the book, smoking was commonplace, despite the fact that we knew it was unhealthy. The Handmaid’s Tale is set in the future, the TV show puts that future around right now, when smoking is less common, but still exists. But only bad people smoke now in TV and movies, unless we are talking period pieces, so there is no way we could make the main characters smokers.

Smoking is something that is forbidden in the world of the Handmaid’s Tale. But people still smoke. They buy cigarettes on the black market and if you are powerful and well connected enough you might get your hands on some. The Wives are often referenced and still drinking and smoking as they have their handmaiden’s to have children on their behalf as they are barren.

In the show, we see Serena Joy, the wife of the Commander smoke twice so far. Both times have been right before the Ceremony, where she must watch her husband have sex with the Offred, the Handmaiden. She smokes far more than that in the book. In fact, Offred comments frequently on how much she’d like to smoke when she sees Serena Joy smoking. Interestingly, when she gets Serena Joy to give her a cigarette in the book, Offred is excited to smoke the cigarette, but then realizes that with the match she could burn the house down and presumably hides the match (this is alluded to later) and gets rid of the cigarette (not sure about this, but she doesn’t speak of it again).

When she goes out to Jezebel’s with the Commander she smokes and when she continues to have regular sex with Nick she smokes every time she sees him. The more risks she takes, the more she smokes. Smoking in the Handmaid’s Tale is a symbol of freedom, but also of rebellion. It is taboo breaking at its finest. As much as I am enjoying the television adaptation, for me it losing a little something cutting all that smoking out. But I guess it wouldn’t seem like ‘now’ if everyone smoked, now would it?

Reduction of Nicotine in Cigarettes: A good idea or Prohibition 2.0?

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-fda-tobacco-regulation-idUSKBN1AD1VW

The FDA wants to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels. Part of me thinks this is actually a good idea. You might be thinking, “But CF this might be the end of conventional smoking…this is horrible!” And on some levels I feel the same way. But a larger part of me thinks this is exactly the what a lot of people need to switch to a less harmful nicotine delivery device. I think combustion as a way of consuming both tobacco and marijuana are on their way out.

My guess is they are going to treat the tobacco I some way to remove some of the nicotine. If it something that regulates it through the filter, people will start cutting the filters off. Basically the nicotine levels will be so low that they won’t satisfy existing smoker and will be so anti-climatic to new smokers they won’t continue. Current smokers that want to continue using nicotine will switch to vaping. Or at least that is the hope. Part of me is like, “Of course that is what would happen…” But is it? I mean many people that are still smoking now, have tried vaping and have decided to continue to smoke, for whatever reason.

What if reducing the nicotine levels in cigarettes has the unintended consequence of opening up a black market in unaltered high-nicotine cigarettes? Sounds like Prohibition 2.0.

Wouldn’t it be better to promote the shit out of vaping if that is what the government wants people to switch to? Release a statement like the Public Health England, and continue to research vaping to confirm that it is less harmful than smoking. Put a hold on regulating ‘enticing flavours’ because they are the best hope at getting people to make the switch- fake tobacco flavour was largely disappointing. Honestly, people are worried about their teen trying vaping. News flash: if your teen is going to try vaping, they were probably going to try smoking. Take it from this nerdy, yet curious teen. I was a good kid, I didn’t drink or use drugs until I was over eighteen, but I tried smoking. I probably would have tried vaping. You could make the same argument for not legalizing marijuana. Wouldn’t it be better to talk to teen openly about drugs and why people use them?

Prohibition doesn’t work, and regulating the nicotine in cigarettes likely won’t work in the way they intend. I don’t think it would be a bad idea to stop treating tobacco with additives that make cigarettes more addictive, but this idea to reduce nicotine levels to ‘non-addictive levels’ strikes me as more prohibition and what have we learned from alcohol, marijuana  and opiates? Prohibition doesn’t work and often increases rather decreasing harm to people that choose to use. Let’s learn from our past and stop making the same mistakes with drugs that we have made in the past.

On a roll…

So I drove by myself a lot this weekend, meaning I spent a lot of time thinking about how Strange and Beautiful might go. I have the story outlined until where it began initially so now I just have to get it written out.

The unfortunate side effect of writing smoking fiction or even outlining possible story lines for smoking fiction is it made me really want to smoke. The urge was the worst when I was hungry. If I hadn’t correctly identified what I really needed, I was pretty close to buying a pack of cigarettes today.  I had the exact scheme and even how I’d get away with smoking it before I got home to my husband.

But I don’t want to start that again, where I’m smoking behind his back and I really don’t actually want to start smoking, despite what my fantasies say. That is what my 9 months of vaping and subsequent quit gave me. I’m able to separate reality vs fantasy. The urge I had today was the type that frequently led to me purchasing cigarettes and smoking in the past, but I guess I figured out how to ride these out.

What worked for those of you looking for tips: knowing that my desire in the moment no matter how big, was not bigger than my desire to be honest with myself, not start smoking again and also recognizing that it was all in my head, not from a legitimate need. I needed food and I think because I was thinking about my story, my brain was like you need to smoke. To be fair, when I was actively using nicotine that typically is how I felt when I needed to vape.

Anyhow, I got home and instead of doing chores or what not, I started to pen Chapter 24. So here it is: Chapter 24. Enjoy!

An Update of Sorts

I thought I would write an update of sorts. Life is pretty good for me right now. Even though when I seem to get one area of life under control, another slips. I haven’t been doing great with eating lately. Namely, I’ve been eating too much or food that my body doesn’t like, resulting in weight gain and feeling gross. I’m working on it… ok honestly I haven’t been working on it. I have a terrible attitude when I comes to this. I keep telling myself I will start the low FODMAP elimination diet to figure out my trigger foods next week and it keeps getting put off. It reminds me of when I was contemplating quitting vaping, which means I will eventually get off my ass and do this.

I just started a new position at work. It started out a bit stressful with a crisis my boss was dealing with in his personal life. But things seem to be settling down.

Today, watching a woman smoke in her car, I realized just how appealing I still think smoking is. But it is tempered with the fact that I don’t really want to smoke myself. I think back to how anxious I felt all the time when I was using regularly and it literally kills my desire.

Writing smoking fiction seems to help channel the desire too. I’ve written two chapters to Strange and Beautiful, Chapter 22 and Chapter 23. Sometimes it backfires and makes me want to smoke more, but on the whole, it serves it’s purpose. I think this story is almost done. Apparently it is really long now, like almost novella length. I mean theoretically it could go on indefinitely, but I want it to have an ending.

That is all for tonight, hope this post finds my readers well.

How drug use changes the brain — and makes relapse all too common

https://www.statnews.com/2017/04/19/opioid-addiction-relapse-science/

Really interesting article. It does support the disease model of addiction but gives a good premise for it. 

It explains why cravings got stronger the longer I was abstainant, despite the fact that I no longer had nicotine left in my body. 

Anxiety Strikes Again

So I sit here on a Friday, after spending the majority of my evening paralyzed by anxiety or a depressed mood or both. With 8 days until my period, I know this is my ‘normal’ PMS mood swing. Knowing that doesn’t help me change how I’m feeling very easily. It helps explain it, which reduces any inevitable worrying about why I feel so shitty but nothing on the actual reducing how shitty I feel.

Being a teacher of how to take care of one self when one is experiencing negative moods, I know what I should do. De-stress, take it easy, distract with an activity, avoid alcohol or other drugs (cough- nicotine), try not to overeat. I’ve managed to do most of those things, aside from overeating.

Overeating is the worst. I find when I am feeling this way, I mistake my anxiety for hunger and try to eat it away. Of course, it doesn’t work. No quantity of food could satisfy because I’m not actually hungry (to a point, I always start hungry). I don’t eat quantities of food that would qualify as a binge, but I eat more than I need and beyond the point of comfort. Part of me figures it would be good to go back to tracking my food as I did this less often when I was tracking all of my food. The drawback is I become a bit obsessive about what I eat when I track. I need some sort of happy medium between tracking each piece of food entering my lips and the free for all I’m practicing right now.

Next time I feel this way, which I guess could happen as early as tomorrow, I’m going to try to chug a bunch of water first as I actually find that being dehydrated sometimes feels like hunger.

I’m happy I avoided drinking alcohol and smoking (although that was more of a thought than an urge). Alcohol always seems like I good idea in the moment, but in these moods I find that my anxiety is even worse the next day. I should probably avoid drinking again until I have my period. I also cleaned the kitchen which is something as well.

To end on a more positive note, today I had a good day at work. At the end of each of the classes that I teach students can give their feedback. The feedback today was overwhelmingly positive. My favorite piece of feedback was this: “Thanks for helping me feel like a person again.” Jail is a pretty impersonal place so I’m glad I was able to help this person feel this way.

I feel better after writing this all down. I often tell my students that writing can be helpful but sometimes I don’t take my own advice. Time to continue the de-stress with a bath, more water, perhaps a book and maybe a relaxation meditation.

Long Awaited Fiction

I really have to be in the mood to write this story. I think it has been two years since I left those of you reading this story on an incredible cliffhanger. I’ve had an incredibly inspired productive day when it comes to this story. I wrote not one, not two, but three chapters to the story. I kind of what to finish it so I can get these stories out of my mind. To be honest, the story is done in my head. I just have to get it out on paper. I get how J.K. Rowling felt writing Harry Potter. It is literally on in my head. I’m not sure the ending is as good as the beginning. I re-read my earlier chapters and they were really good. I feel like I’m running out of steam, but you be the judge. I could be that I am slowly loosing my desire to smoke  but also I’ve changed a bit since I started writing this. Oddly, vaping publicly and being out with smoking at work has allowed me to be Mel. The character of Mel is not me, but based off of me if I could have gotten past caring what people think when I was her age. Fast-forward to now,  while my parents still don’t know that I smoke/vape or if they do there has never been a true ‘coming out’ moment for me, almost everyone else close to me in my life knows that this is part of me. I can talk about my former smoking to my classes without blushing and feeling super shameful. Anyhow, enough preamble.

Here are the links:

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

For those of you who have not read the story, it is what I call ‘PG-13 Smoking Fetish Fiction’. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I always found the best smoking fetish fiction focused on the characters, their motivations, their desire to smoke and what not. The sex was never important for me. Also, if you arrived at this blog because you are currently in the process of quitting smoking then don’t read this story. It reads like a big smoking fantasy. It could lead to relapse. I don’t want to be responsible for that. Read at your own risk.

Smoking is Gross

But I did it anyways and don’t regret it. Although I had been feeling pretty ambivalent about my plan to let myself smoke at the conference I go to and had actually been leaning towards not, my co-worker who had quit back in December decided she was going to smoke for the conference, then quit again. She did not pressure me, but part of me wanted to so I did. She admitted she got cigarettes that she finds unsatisfying so she wouldn’t feel tempted to buy more and continue when she was out. They were B&H superslilms -the green ones that look like the old menthol packs but that only gets your hopes up to be disappointed. They were indeed ‘less satisfying’ especially in terms of smoke body, volume and flavour. I smoked one, almost to the end no problem but felt like a whole cigarette was a waste on me because I didn’t finish it. 

Later that night, my other co-worker wanted to bum a smoke off of her, but she had left the cigarettes back in our hotel room. I kind of wanted to smoke with her so we found another co-worker who smokes and he gave us each one cigarette. He smokes Export ‘A’ greens and considering how little I’ve smoked recently they were way too strong for me. About 4 drags in, I was done. But I kept smoking. Mistake. About 30 minutes later, I tossed my cookies, felt better and didn’t smoke for the rest of the evening. I also managed to drink somewhat moderately and was not hung over the next day. Success! That was the plan and I stuck to it.

The next day, my roommate smoked after breakfast, but I wasn’t feeling it so I just kept her company. She smoked again after lunch and by then I figured I just wanted a few drags and asked her if she was open to sharing. She was cool with that, so every time she smoked, I would have 4 to 5 drags off her cigarette. I shared three cigarettes with her over the course of the day. We ended the second night of the conference with a couple of night caps and the guys we had them with were smokers. So we ended up joining them for a smoke. They gave us each a cigarette. Again, these were too strong for me, but this time I threw it out half smoked. We went to bed shortly after this. I had the best sleep. 

I haven’t smoked at all since then and although I had a few urges, like right after eating, I don’t feel depressed or super anxious like I did last time. I was enjoying smoking again by the end of the second day, but I’m going to focus on all the negatives because honestly there are more negatives than positives. 

Here they are:

1) Cigarettes taste gross. They also seem to reduce the deliciousness of food. 

2) I hate smelling like smoke. 

3) I hate being addicted. I don’t think my two days were enough to rehook me, but I enjoyed my time this year at the conference much more because the only thing distracting me from the speakers this year was my urge to pee.

4) Loss of sense of smell and slight persistent congestion.

That is all I can think of right now. My roommate felt a little bad for smoking this conference as her current boyfriend doesn’t know she has smoked because she quit as soon as she started dating him. I told her if she doesn’t want to smoke next year, we can not smoke together. Too early to tell what will happen next year. I’d be OK with being a once a year conference smoker or not. The draw isn’t as powerful as it used to be. Maybe one day there will be no draw.

I also noticed I don’t get sexually aroused anymore when I smoke. Smoking just isn’t as appealing in real life. 

I think my mindset needs to continue to be I can smoke if I want to but I choose not to because I prefer not smoking most of the time. As soon as I tell myself I can’t smoke, I want to more than before. Then it becomes an obsession followed by a compulsion to act on the obsession.

This conference was a successful exercise in moderation. Perhaps not with smoking, especially not on the first day, but definitely with drinking. I’m discovering the joys of not going overboard on alcohol. It is possible to drink moderately and still have a great time. It is the first year of the four years I’ve attended the conference that I haven’t been hungover for the duration of the conference. My next goal, zero hangover year? I think it is possible as I have not been hungover to date this year, not even after New Year’s Eve. 

As for smoking, as it becomes something I enjoy less and less, my motto will be I can smoke but I choose not to. Most of the time, I’m pretty sure I’m going to choose not to. I don’t have that many  opportunities and I’m definitely not going to be buying my own.

One interesting thing, I have zero anxiety smoking in front of people anymore. Everyone at work knows this is something I do on occasion so there was no fear of being seen by some one. If anything, part of me liked being seen, however briefly, as a smoker. Interesting, because when I started this blog I would give anything to not be seen when I smoked. While many smokers tie part of their identity to smoking, I don’t think that is what it is for me. For me, being able to be seen smoking is being able to be vulnerable in front of others, showing the world I’m not perfect. I think the other need it fulfills is connection. Not to the drug in the way Johan Hari posits that people become addicted to drugs but in the context of the smoking I did it fueled connection with the people that I smoked with. Can I fulfill these needs in other ways? Yes and that is what I plan to do moving forward. That said, I don’t see an issue with letting go once a year. If I want to.

Moderation with drinking will continue to be my goal as it is so much better that way. Healthier both for my body and mind. 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑