Shameful Hypocrisy

Sigh. It hurts when one realizes their behavior is a circle of shameful hypocrisy.  You know, just like everyone else.

I stand tall on my mound of organic dirt, spraying garlic oil on buggy pests, while eating my no-pesticides-added apple. All while loudly proclaiming that Monsanto is the devil-incarnate. I cloth diaper. As a mostly-adhered-to rule, we don’t eat foods that have high fructose corn syrup or splenda.

But, much like a heavy-polluting corporation might buy carbon credits, all of my efforts, when coupled with the fact that I smoke makes me a big, fat hypocrite.

Since the age of 15, with the exception of two pregnancies and a total of 10 months nursing, I’ve been a smoker. It’s a shameful, horrible, expensive addiction. A smart person wouldn’t have thought “I can just smoke when I drink (conversely, I wonder if alcoholics think “I can just drink when I smoke?”). Both times, at the end of nursing, I have had this “I can smoke one” thought and then woken up a month later with a constant source of nicotine. Obviously, I’m not a smart person.

Thus I find myself a smoker–again. It’s embarrassing. Even worse is that I actually try and hide it with body spray–like that’s fooling anyone who doesn’t smoke. Puh-lease.

Not to downplay the addictive nature of nicotine- it’s been
compared by scientists to the same level as the addiction to heroin or cocaine— but it’s not the main reason I smoke.

I smoke to keep categorize time, to alleviate boredom, to take a break. To transition. The ADHD makes transitioning from one task to the next a challenge (SO awesome with small kids). Cigarettes have always been a transitional object for me. My own grown-up lovey. That it happens to be a stinky, cancer-causing lovey is just a total downer. I use smoke breaks as a reward for a completed task or chore. They are my excuse to take a quiet-time break outside–effectively silencing the incessant “Mommy-mommy-mommy-mommy-mommy”, the plaintive “WHHHHYYYY”, and the annoying “NOs”, that are the background music to any parent home with small children. Those moments outside in the fresh air (yes, irony noted and agreed with) serve to restore little shreds of my sanity.

Ahhh…but that sanity is short-lived since the nicotine starts to deplete from your body within a few minutes of finishing a cigarette and withdrawal causes even more anger and anxiety. Perhaps had I not started up again, I wouldn’t be losing sanity on an hourly basis.

Alas, it’s time to throw my lovey away. My oldest son is smart enough to notice that I go outside a lot. My previous excuse of taking out the recycling or scaring away squirrels isn’t being accepted with a nod anymore. The observational skills of a 3 year old are really astute and when he asks “what’s that smell” I’m lying to him. Honestly, as a mom, if I can’t explain why I’m doing what I’m doing to a three year old I shouldn’t be doing it. My youngest waves energetically and says “bye-bye” to me. That–and the absolute conviction that I do not want either of my children smoking–will force me to give up my little slice of cancer-causing joy.

But all of those things, the hours of self-hatred, the guilt for slowly killing myself on purpose weren’t the catalyst for tomorrow being the big “Quit Day”. Nope, it’s this large, painful lump on my bottom gum and the afternoon I spent looking at pictures of oral cancer. Likely the lump is something less severe, like gingivitis (made worse by smoking) or an abscessed tooth. But I can’t hate and fear cancer while continuing to indulge in one of the biggest causative factors. Not and expect my children to have any respect for me.

Please excuse my upcoming explosive crankiness. I promise to try to use all of those self-control techniques that I keep insisting Zach use during his own tantrums. I’m saying goodbye to a long-term constant companion and like ending all toxic relationships, it won’t be easy. But I will be successful.