Starry Sky and Decisions

When out with Brody last night, a small cluster of stars/planets caught my eye, as I’d never noticed them before. Which – I know almost nothing about the night sky, or day sky, for that matter – but I do notice it a lot. In a way, I might actually notice it more here in the city, just because there is so much less to see of it, but it’s always kind of caught my eye.

One of my fondest memories to this day was the night my friend and I took blankets to the park and stretched out in the middle of a baseball diamond to watch some of the Perseid meteor shower back when we were young. I still lived in Creemore then, and the conversation he and I had that night ranged over an insane variety of topics, to the point where shooting stars almost became an after-thought; a distraction from our talk.

Anyway, I’d downloaded the Sky Map app for my iPhone a couple of years ago, and used it all the time, so I’ve been missing it on occasion since I switched to Android. The cluster that caught my eye last night was the last straw, and I downloaded it to my current phone as soon as Brody and I got back inside. Turns out Saturn and Mars were both super bright last night, and they were part of what I’d noticed. I actually had to stop and stare at the stars to see if any of them moved, because I was sure at least one of those lights had to be a plane. So bright! I wish I could have taken a picture, but not even my real camera would do such a thing justice. Besides, I read somewhere that memories of things we experience with our own eyes are retained more clearly by the mind than those obtained via photograph or video and the like. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but in last night’s case, I really only had the one choice, anyway, so I went with it!

In other news, I’ve been getting the finishing touches together for our radio play reading tomorrow, as well as the Reelie awards announcements which will precede the play. I’m pretty excited already, and by the time we do it, I imagine I will be even more so! This is, however, the most racist, sexist script we’ve tackled thus far, so hopefully none of it triggers anyone or makes them feel bad in any way. I’m hoping we can…like…overall, the script is ridiculous. The writing and plot and characters are just silly, which is really all you need for a sci-fi radio show that was intended to entertain and nothing else. Well, also to sell stuff, usually.

Anyway, this one is Flash Gordon from 1935, and while I started off just laughing at how terrible it was, I was eventually just kind of uncomfortable with some of it. I even had a brief thought about not doing it, and choosing a different script, instead. But ignoring things doesn’t make them go away, and it changes nothing, whereas admitting we are uncomfortable is, at least, a starting point to something more meaningful. Maybe some of the power in such words and behaviours of the time can be stripped away simply by mocking it, too. Humour can be many things, including a tool for making a broader statement.

It’s going to be interesting, at any rate. And hopefully good ridiculous fun!

My lovely dentist put a very temporary patch on my tooth last night, so for now I am in way less pain than I was since it got cracked, but a decision has to be made very soon as to what to do next. She thinks it’s still salvageable, but is sending me to another dentist for a second opinion chat in the meantime. This tooth had a root canal done, and so far THAT is holding up really well, but without a crown all this time, the top part of the tooth is crumbling pretty quickly now, and won’t hold out much longer. She’s not even sure there is still time, but there is a potential extra step that could be taken before the crown that might still save it. If not, taking it out would really be the only choice. No way could I ever afford an implant. I can’t even afford the crown, which is why I haven’t gotten it yet!

On the one hand, it’s my tooth and therefore a part of me. I’ve already had the root canal and the dentist said there is still good strong tooth underneath, so it seems kind of sad to give up on it after everything already done to try and save it. On the other hand, it’s a back molar, and taking it out won’t really affect anything in the long run, at this point. Plus, that’s an option I can more easily afford. So it’s looking more and more like it’s the option I’ll be going with. First I’ll see what the other dentist has to say.

And then maybe just sit on it a bit longer before I decide.

On Quitting Smoking

On this day, April 13th, in 2003 I quit smoking. That makes today my 13th anniversary. Not really sure how I feel about that, actually.

See, I looooved smoking. Loved it. It was the biggest crutch I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t walk down the street without a cigarette in my hand. I’d have one before bed, when I woke up in the morning, sometimes even if I woke in the middle of the night. I’d have a cigarette before and after every meal, and every time I went out for drinks. I’d smoke when I was angry, or sad, or stressed, or anxious – I mean, mostly anxious. I am anxious pretty much all the time. Smoking calmed me or, at least, I believed it did, which is really all that matters.

At the time, we could still smoke inside some establishments, or on patios of others. And packs of course cost way less, just like everything else did in 2003. It was far less difficult to find a spot than it is now. I went on multiple breaks from work during any given shift, and I drank way less because my hands were kept busy. I always had a lighter on me, but still preferred the smell of matches. It was kind of a social thing sometimes, too. We’d go out together and have conversations that didn’t include the people inside, and the cigarette would act as a timer to let us know when it was time to go back in.

For me, though, it was mostly just a huge crutch. A thing I felt I needed – or at least really wanted – to help get me through the day.

Then one day, I found out I’d been accepted to teacher’s college, and I’d promised myself that I would quit before school started, because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite teacher – one who tells the kids not to smoke, but then hangs out in the parking lot every recess and lunch break, puffing away and setting a bad example. I figured I could be the poster child for Don’t Ever Start, but I didn’t want to be a hypocrite if I could help it.

So I planned a big party to celebrate my acceptance, and smoked as much as I wanted that night – then stopped as of the next morning. It sucked, too, because my last cigarettes weren’t even mine. I ran out too close to the end to make it worth buying another pack, so I bummed a few off someone at the party, and THEIRS were the last ones I ever had.

To make matters worse, I’d done all kinds of research into quitting, and thought I’d set myself up for success, but it turned out that the information I had was only part of the issue. I don’t think even now addiction is truly understood, let alone withdrawl. Nothing I saw online prepared me for the acute depression, for example. Not one mention of it. I had the patch ready in case I needed it, but that only helps with cravings, not all of the other crazy things that happen to your system when you’re going through severe withdrawl.

The other thing that sucked was that, for months prior, I’d cut down to the lightest cigarettes I could find, so that it’d maybe be a bit easier to stop smoking completely if I happened to get into school. But the first step of the patch contained way more nicotine than I’d been ingesting, so it actually ramped me right back up to higher doses than I’d been used to. I could feel it in my veins, I thought. And it gave me crazy vivid dreams.

A few weeks later, my partner decided to cheat on me fairly publicly, and then break up with me not long before school started, so there went my financial and emotional support system out the window. Luckily I’d loaded up on student debt that I’d hoped to not need. Poor timing much?

The bets were on as to whether or not I’d cave and take up the habit again, but to my mind that would be failure, and I suspected my ex would love to see me fail, so I kept not giving into temptation, which I’m sure also saved many lives.

Also, I’m stubborn as hell sometimes.

Now, keep in mind that I really loved this habit I’d quit, and my reason for quitting was simply not to be a hypocrite. It wasn’t for my health, it wasn’t because it was too expensive, it wasn’t for my own good nor the good of anyone else. It was ONLY so I could face the children each day in class. As well, I got very depressed very quickly, and not being able to smoke felt not only like a punishment, but a punishment I deserved. In that sense, it was easy not to break down and buy more, because not having them made me feel bad, and in my mind, I deserved to feel bad.

So, there I was – alone, unbearably sad, my self-esteem the lowest it had ever been at that point. Trying to teach children. I started drinking more and eating more, so I packed on an unimaginable amount of weight in a very short period of time, and have the stretch marks to prove it. Hell, I have pictures to prove it. I almost flunked out of school a few times, but knowing that failure would also make my ex happy, I hung in there, too. I took on another shift at work, and all but maxed out all the lovely credit I’d been handed as a student. Hating myself pretty much every minute of every day.

But hey – at least I wasn’t a hypocrite.

I haven’t had a cigarette since that day, except for one accidental inhale when I’d only meant to pull it into my mouth to help out a friend. I was drinking at the time, and even though it was years later, habit still kicked in. My body still knew the motions automatically, and I knew that if I ever did have one myself, I’d be back to a pack a day in no time. And who can afford that, really?

Do I feel better as a result of quitting? Not really, no. Am I proud of myself? Meh, kind of, I guess, but more in that it was one more way I made my ex wrong about me. And I’m told nicotine withdrawl is actually harder to go through than heroin, so there’s that. Don’t worry, though – I can’t afford a heroin addiction, either. It does seem that I am always a little addicted to something, though. I tend to just temporarily quit something long enough to get it out of my system, and then pick it back up later, just to make sure I still can. I don’t really want to quit anything else I love forever, though. The very idea makes me sad. I can cut way down, and even quit temporarily – but for good? No thank you. That feels like punishment, too, and I don’t wish to punish myself that way anymore right now.

I likened the whole experience to getting out of a bad relationship. You know they aren’t good for you, and that your physical and emotional health is suffering as a result of such toxicity. But against all rational argument, you still love them, and even though you’re technically glad you got away, you really do miss them quite a lot.

Then, every time you go anywhere, you get see them with somebody else.