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Closet Fascination

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

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guilt

This Explains A Lot Actually

Why anti-smoking campaigns fail – http://wp.me/p7oqTw-p

The article talks about why guilt based anti-smoking campaigns don’t work.

To quote the article:

The researchers suggest that when the emotion of guilt is activated, there can be a magnification of pleasure which derives from hedonic consumption, because there is a cognitive association between guilt and pleasure (Cho & Dar, 2015)

Perhaps this is why the forbidden fruit always tastes the sweetest.

I still think anti-smoking campaigns are a large part of how my fetish developed. I mean there are the visual aspects that have been sexualized by society but aside from that I think the anti-smoking campaigns set smoking up as this terrible thing that you should never do and yet deep down it always seemed like it was something that I wanted to do.

But there might be something to this guilt thing as well. I haven’t quite figured out how it might be connected only that because smoking is vilified by society, it is only natural one might feel guilty doing it. I think this ties into my smoking fetish in the knowledge I’m doing something ‘bad’ and doing it anyways was always a turn-on for me. 

Caught?

Lying becomes so easy when you do it all the time. It almost becomes a reflex- when it shouldn’t be. I know what I should have said tonight. I knew it two-seconds after the lie left my mouth. Lies. I think that is the worst thing that has come from me smoking. I’m cuddling in bed with my boyfriend and he was like- “you smell like smoke.” Of course if had smoked today or even the day before I might have been a little prepared for it. But I haven’t smoked for two days now and I thought I was wearing a clean sweatshirt. In any case, the sweatshirt I am wearing has been washed- so it just goes to show how deep the smell of smoke seeps in or how bad I am at doing laundry, one of the two. In any case, I’m not sure he bought the lie that left my mouth tonight. He asked me point blank, “Have you been smoking?” and I said no. Which I should have said- “Not recently in that sweatshirt, I’m not sure why washing didn’t remove the smell” (and made a joke about it) or “yes, are you mad that I have been keeping it from you?” He later made a comment/joke about me being his “little covert smoker”- which is why I am pretty sure he is on to me.

In any case, I should tell him. As I should have months ago… for some reason I have this feeling that is going to be more mad about me keeping something from him than his is going to be about the actual smoking. I mean sure he doesn’t want me to smoke for protective, “I want you to live as long as possible reasons”, but I think the betrayal of me lying to him will hurt him more. Really- I deserve what is coming to me. I’ve made my bed and now I have to sleep in it.

And now for some Hawksley Workman… since he sometimes can say things better than I can:

The Need to Confess… Part Two

I’ve been trying to work out how to confess to my significant other that I not only have spent the past week smoking, behind his and everyone elses back but that I have absolutely no desire to stop. I’m forcing myself to stop smoking until I tell him. Why? Because this is the only thing I can think of that will give me sufficient motivation to tell him. I almost told him last night. The conversation was not quite serious enough though  and all I got out was that I really like inhaling smoke. I got him to agree to go to a hookah bar with me and it scared me a little that he was even resistant to that. Despite all of the smoking bans, hookah bars are still allowed to have smoking for cultural reasons as long as the shisha is tobacco free. I think this is funny seeing as it is still smoking and undoubtedly just as bad for you, just not addictive. Plus- for the most part I do not think you inhale the smoke… I’ve gone off on a tangent.

Anyhow- now that I am no longer permitting myself to smoke, I want to that much more. The forbidden fruit factor I guess. I mean it was still forbidden when I was doing it, only now it is more forbidden since I am no longer permitting myself to do it. I’m not sure that makes any sense. The past seven days are the longest stretch of continuous smoking I have ever done. Sure I missed two days, but I almost smoked every day last week. It was the first time I actually felt like a smoker. It was the first time that even in my mind I identified myself as such.  As odd as it might sound, I even liked the way it made me smell- a smell I previously detested on others. My last cigarette I even postponed washing my hand for as long as I could because I liked occasionally smelling it. Last night, thinking about never doing it again made me really sad. I think that if (or should I say…when?) I give myself permission to indulge at will, I still I have little desire to become a heavy smoker. I enjoy my active lifestyle and will continue to do all the things I did before. This of course will not happen until I tell my boyfriend and I still feel that he is the only one who needs to know about my smoking.

How do I bring this up? Do I take my pack out of my hiding spot in my truck and show him? How do I tell him that although I am a perfectly intelligent, normally rational personal, I have this one desire that is not based in reason? I consider myself to be a perfectly intelligent human being.  How do I explain to him that in my mind, the benefits outweigh the risks when he only see it as being self-destructive? I mean it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I have this desire to something that I know is bad for me and that part of the reason I enjoy doing it so much is because it is bad for me. The other side of why I want to do it has to with my sexuality and how smoking has somehow, even without me actively doing it has become intrinsically tied to my sexual being. I was reading my earlier blog posts and never when I started this blog in November would I have thought that this is where my journey would take me. I feel so much less repressed now and I feel like “coming out” or coming completely clean about my desire and intent to smoke to my boyfriend is the last step. I think the reason why I am so hesitant is because I am scared it will destroy the relationship. Maybe it will be destroyed because I have not been completely honest. Almost more scary for me- I’m scared he will reject me because of it and I think that it is such a big deal because of what it means to me. Smoking is not just smoking for me. It is not about the nicotine, although I do enjoy the effects. I can tell there is no physical draw for me yet, at least not from nicotine. If it was about the nicotine, I could go out and buy myself some gum or lozenges or even smokeless tobacco. Starting smoking for me is probably as big of a deal for me as quitting smoking is to people.

As crazy as it may sound, I think that my desire to smoke and by extension any smoking I do are part of who I am. And I guess I am scared of having this side of my personality revealed and potentially rejected. Although I have been hiding the fetish from my significant other for almost four years now, it is only in the past six months that I have really come to terms with actually having the fetish and what that means.

I’m still not sure how I am going to tell him, I only know that must tell him because of what smoking means to me. I feel like everytime I smoke, it is like I am cheating on him with my other lover since in many ways, smoking is my other lover. I really do not want to have to pick between the two which I think is why I am so hesitant to talk to him about it. But I cannot keep sneaking around like this. The guilt of that will kill me quicker than any of the poisons I willfully inhale.

Guilt- Religion’s Tool

I have struggled with issues pertaining to guilt my whole life. I think this has a lot to do with the way I was brought up and the religion that both myself and my parents were brought up with. The Catholic Church bases its whole religion on the power of guilt. According to the church, we are all inherently sinful and must confess our sins so that God may forgive us. What this instills in a person if they try to follow it to the extreme is a maladaptive behavior where the person blames everything on themselves. Sure God can forgive us, but he cannot take away the guilt. Defenders of the church might argue that you have been forgiven, why would you still feel guilty? I say- well I’ve been forgiven for that transgression, but how much long before I screw up again? They might argue, if you work hard at being a good, moral person you should not have to confess very often. But almost everyday I’d wager to guess that everyone does something that could be considered inherently selfish or “not good” according to the church. Something that God ought to forgive us for. 

I had to go to therapy in high school. I was really depressed. I’m a pretty introspective person and depression made it worse. I would wallow in my destructive thought patterns. Therapy is very cathartic. I highly recommend it. I talked and talked. About anything and everything pertaining to my life. And my therapist listened and listened and finally he stopped me and said, “I don’t think you are depressed.” My jaw dropped, since I was convinced I was depressed- I had read the criteria for diagnosis in the DSM-IV, I had been wallowing in my deep dark hole for almost two years at that point. All I could reply was , “I’m not? Then why do I feel so miserable?” He proceed to explain to me why he thought I was not depressed or that depression was not my problem. Yes, I felt depressed. But what was more important to note is why  I was depressed. He told me that what I was feeling was the effects of years of constant guilt. He explained that this would depress someone, because how can one person take on the responsibility for the world like that?  They cannot. That is why most people have the adaptive ability to blame things on others. I had to learn this. He gave me homework to do. I was to stop and think about exactly why I was feeling guilty about something and then try and rationalize it without taking on the whole blame. I had to learn to recognize when things were my fault  and when they were due to external circumstances. I struggle with this still although not nearly as bad. 

It is not surprising that I developed this guilt complex. My Dad struggles with it too. My mom probably does too to a lesser extent. My mom’s story is pretty  interesting.  She grew up in a catholic household and when she was 17 she left home after high school to become a nun. As you can probably guess (since I am writing this) she left being a nun. She, to this day, has not told me why. I know that I came quite a few years after she left, so no it was not because she broke her vows and got knocked up. My mom is a good person, a great mother and my best friend and there is something too personal about why she left that she still has not shared with me. I always wonder if there is some residual guilt. What I guess is more ironic is that my mom had me out of wedlock. So technically it makes me “The Bastard Child of An Ex-Catholic Nun”. I  wonder, to this day, what her hang ups with the church are since she must of had some to leave. She does not go to church regularly anymore, although she does go for the main religious holidays. I think she partially did the religion thing for my sake.  I think it is so ingrained in her that so goes out of habit- not necessarily because she believes in the Catholic Church.

That aside, I started questioning the church in high school, shortly after I had pledged my life to be a Catholic. Firstly, I did not like their attitudes about women. Why couldn’t a woman become a priest if she wants to? Secondly, I started to meet people when I moved to the big city that were a contradiction of what I had always been taught. They were good people, moral people with good values that GASP did not believe in God. When you are taught your whole life that people who do not believe in God are going to hell because of it, you start thinking that they must be bad if they are going to hell because only bad people who do not repent their sins go to hell. But according to what I was taught- these amazing people that have done far more giving back to the world than I have were going to hell because they did not believe in God. It made me question- with everything we learn about God, would he really do that? I mean they were upholding many of the moral values that the Church instills in its follow with one tiny little thing- they do not believe. Some people might have reacted  by thinking they should try and save these lost souls.

My reaction was different. I didn’t see why they needed to be saved. Further, I could no longer believe in a religion that would condemn my friends to hell simply because they didn’t believe in the religion or God. I’m not even sure I believe in Hell anymore or even a life after death. And if there is a life after this one, I don’t believe that God would condemn an atheist for not believing. If God is so forgiving, that is a minor transgression if you’ve lived you life being a good person. I consider myself to be spiritual. I no longer believe in the Catholic church. Every time I go, I feel like a giant hypocrite because I go along with mass as if I believe. I say the Nicene’s creed  where you actually say, out loud, that you believe in the Catholic church. Its so ingrained in me that I actually still feel guilt over my hypocrisy. I apologize to God when the time comes of silent prayer.  Despite the fact I’ve abandoned the church, it seems the Church won’t abandon me.  I still retain a irrational belief in God even though I know there is no way to prove his existence.

What does any of this have to do with smoking? Well a lot actually. I’ve spent my whole trying to be a good person. Trying to live up to ideals. I have a realized that a large part of what attracts me to smoking is that it is not good for me. Maybe what attracts me to it, is that it is dangerous and something that no one does anymore and I have largely spent my life playing it safe. Maybe it is irrational to want something that is bad, even though you know it is bad for you. I’ve realized for me, a lot of the attraction has to do with my perception of smoking. I don’t think I would want to do it if it weren’t bad. I think it is also because I see it as “only a little bit bad”. I mean I would never go out and do heroin just because it is bad and makes you feel good. Maybe some one else would, but I have to draw a line as to how far I would be willing to take danger and I draw the line at marijuana. I also get a lot of, I don’t quite know what to call it- pleasure (?) from planning to do naughty. I’m not sure why… I feel like I could go on and on about this religion stuff and how it has affected me, but I’ve already written quite a bit and have to save some content for later.

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