I am a smoker. I have been since my freshman year of college, when I was envious of all the smokers that would hang out on the front stoop of our dorm, smoking their Camels, laughing, talking, and making fun of all the preppy people. My second semester, a girl down the hall and I switched roommates. My new roommate was one of those oh-so-interesting Front Stoop Smokers. And that was just the little push I needed to finally "cross over to the darkside."
So I've been smoking for 14 years now (minus the 18 months when I was pregnant with Grace and Hannah, when I quit cold turkey and started up again within 2 days of arriving home from the hospital after their births). That's a long time and a hell of a lot of cigarettes.
I think here is where I'm supposed to apologize to others for exposing them to my poisonous second-hand smoke. And where I'm supposed to apologize to myself and my family, for partaking in something that could very well kill me, leaving me dead, and deserting those that count on me in their lives. And where I'm supposed to say that I really wish I could quit, but that the addiction is just too hard to kick, and that I don't have the strength or willpower to do it.
But I won't do any of those things. Because the truth is that I like smoking. I like "escaping" from whatever's going on inside my house (arguing children, a loud TV, a pain in the ass husband... whatever) and walking outside on my back porch, where I can sit in the calm and quiet and just stare out into the field behind our house while I inhale that sweet, sweet nicotene. And I like the feeling of calm that comes over me when I take that first drag of a freshly lit cigarette.
I've met many cool people because I'm a smoker. See, smokers have a sort of "bond". When we're all standing around outside of whatever non-smoking establishment or home we're at, it's hard not to strike up a conversation. So you talk. You talk to all of the other people out there who are slowly killing themselves with this sweet addiction. I've met a ton of men, women, and couples because I'm a smoker -- most of them really nice people. I've had conversations with people I never would've spoken to if we didn't share our vice. And I'm happy about that because I love meeting new people.
If I wasn't a smoker, I don't know if I would've made it through the first 4 months of both of my kids' lives, when they had GERD (more commonly known as reflux) and filled my home with horrible ear-piercing screams from sun up until sun down. Being able to walk outside and light up my Marlboro Light was enough to give me a quick break, put myself back into the right state of mind, and head back inside to deal with my screaming babies.
So see, although I know that logically smoking isn't a good thing, and I know I should really quit, I don't want to. I like smoking. And I make no apologies for that.