I’m waiting nervously in the basement of a worn down community center, eating chocolate chip cookies from a napkin and drinking bitter black coffee from a styrofoam cup. From a semi-circle of cold metal fold-up chairs I stand and wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans, take a long deep breath, and make my confession…
“My name is Dawn and I used to be a smoker.” Knowing nods make their way around the room. A stifled cough escapes the lips of the part-timer in the second row… CUT! Flip the Script!
That scene is how I imagine it every time the subject of smoking comes up. It’s a storyline I know well. I live it out in my head every time I admit to a new friend or colleague that I used to smoke. It’s embarrassing and shameful because I know what they’re thinking as they recalculate my intelligence, discounting my IQ with a 20% off coupon. “Is she stupid? Doesn’t she know how bad that is for her?” The answer is No and Yes – in that order. But I digress.
In honor of today’s #ThinkKit prompt, I’m flipping the script! Instead of being ashamed of falling prey to the advertising geniuses both real and fictionalized, who over 30 years ago, convinced a teenaged me that “all the cool kids were doing it”, I’m going to be emphatically proud of being a quitter!
A little more than ten years ago, in the far off land of broadcast media, I could sit in my corner office and conduct a meeting with a cigarette in my hand. I’m not kidding – and I wasn’t alone. (Think Sterling Cooper but with less style.) We knew it was harmful, but the Surgeon General made a lousy policeman, and honestly, we enjoyed it.
Eventually though, the world came around and it became harder and harder to be blissfully ignorant (Thank you!) Even still, I wasn’t ready to change until just this year. Ten months ago, without benefit of hypnotic suggestion or pharmaceutical sorcery, I re-wrote my own script and walked away from one of history’s most lethal habits. Man, does that feel good!
I don’t count the days since I quit. I can’t even tell you the exact date, or how many days it’s been since I smoked. It was some time in early February that I became a non-smoker for the rest of my life. And as it turns out, the rest of my life is now going to be a little longer.