My favorite mythological story has always been the one about Pandora and her jar or box. I always identified with it for some reason, especially as a teenager when my capacity for abstract and introspective thinking was being awoken. Smokedawg actually beat me to posting on this since it was my comment that inspired his post, and I had only just started writing this.

The story of Pandora is pretty simple. She was given a jar and told not to open it by the gods. Eventually, curiosity got the better of her and she opened it, releasing pain, suffering onto the world. She tried to close the jar, and managed to keep one thing inside the jar: hope. Pessimistic interpretations will say that this mean the world is hopeless, as hope is still trapped in the jar. I tend to hold a more optimistic view, that despite all the pain, evil and suffering in the world, there is always hope. I identified pretty strongly with this story during the dark days of my teens. I was a pretty unhappy teen but I always had hope that things would get better.

I’ve always had a slight fear of opening the Pandora’s Boxes of my life. For a long time, I wouldn’t drink for fear of becoming an alcoholic. That fear is not completely unfounded as I have quite a few alcoholics in my family. Plus, the fear was the strongest when I was a teen and wanted to drink for all the wrong reasons and knew it. I was drawn to alcohol for its numbing effects, not to be cool or to fit in. In some ways, I think my fears served a good purpose. Now I have a healthy relationship with alcohol. I drink, but rarely to excess and never to help me deal. It is always social and I no longer have any desire to drown my sorrows with alcohol.

Smokedawg described some of the “boxes” I have opened through the exploration of my smoking fetish. This was his take on my discovery:

For C.F., it seems (at least my take from reading her blog), the Pandora’s Box moment was when she discovered smoking fetish porn, fiction, etc. on the Web. Up until that point, she seemed to realize on some level she had a thing for smoking (i.e. it turned her on to do so), but discovering that she wasn’t alone in the world, and that there was some reason to find it erotic, put her fetish into full steam. From that came a desire to smoke, and then came her desire not to let the smoking control her and turn into an unhealthy addiction. She realizes that she cannot put the fetish back in the box, but she is also learning that she can channel it and put it to use, rather than being used by it. On a secondary level, revealing her fetish to her boyfriend was another Pandora’s Box moment because up until that time, she was the “good girl” who didn’t smoke, as far as he knew. He doesn’t seem to have embraced her fetish, but he seems to have accepted it and he didn’t reject her for it, so that was good.

He does a pretty good job of analysis, but by no fault of his own gets a few things wrong. Before I found smoking fetish fiction, I knew I had an attraction to smoking and that it turned me on thinking about it but at this point my experience with smoking was a couple uninhaled puffs from a couple cigarettes. And I’m not sure I was ever completely aware it was smoking that turned me on until I found the stories. But finding the stories was the first box I opened and one that I probably tried closing numerous time over the past few years. Recently, when I started obsessing about smoking in ways that non-smokers never do I think this was a reaction to my many years of trying to box up the fetish. It just doesn’t work.

I liken my recent plunge into finding more out about the fetish to taking a machine apart to see how it works and since I’m not a very good mechanic, I’m pretty sure the machine will not go back together the same way it was before. Nor will it go back into the box. Like Pandora, no matter what this self-discovery brings I always have hope for the future. Or at least that is my interpretation of the story…