Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Can you accept me?

I am not a perfect person, and while my persona may put off some people because they think I'm arrogant or someone who thinks he has it all together, but I'm nothing like that... If anything, these past few weeks have been some of the most humbling weeks of my life and I have no one to blame but myself. Sure, I can point out contributing factors to the faults I have, place blame on this influence and that influence. I could give you a laundry-list of reasons why it isn't my fault that I am the way I am, but the fact is that I am simply not perfect and I make mistakes.

Shortly after graduation I smoked a celebratory cigar, which in my opinion is not wrong, but after a while it fed my curiosity about smoking cigarettes. I took one and found myself getting into it, against my better judgment and years of long-standing hatred for the stuff. I bought my own pack and then another after I had finished it, but half-way through my second pack I looked at my cigarette and said, "This is disgusting... Why am I doing this?" I threw away the rest of the pack and didn't touch another for about six months.

I thought this was the end of it. I never stopped thinking about cigarettes, and occasionally I was tempted to buy a pack so that I could stop thinking about them, but I wanted to be done with them. One night though, a friend of mine wanted to celebrate his legal passage into adulthood with a couple of mutual friends. We went to a cigar shop and bought cigars, and I'm ashamed to say it, but I spent money that I saved for a harmless video game I had been looking forward to for nearly a year. It wasn't the cigar that did it, because I never inhale the smoke from a cigar, but one of the mutual friends is a smoker and when I was offered a cigarette I didn't refuse. After that night, I found myself needing a cigarette. I couldn't understand it, but I literally got anxious and sickly. That's how the downward spiral became my fall towards a premature death.

I compromised my beliefs, my strict code of ethics, because I wanted to try something new and do something that some of the most prestige class does: smoke cigars. From there, it was only a half-step down to try a cigarette, and another half-step to keep smoking them even after I had had my first one. Pretty soon I had taken so many half-steps down the ladder of ethics that I found myself where I am now. I had to tell my parents because I couldn't avoid it forever, the smell was on my jacket and I'm not the type that likes to hide things from my parents. My siblings found out by the smell, so eventually I flat out told them the truth because I wasn't going to lie to them.

I can make it sound like I'm better than other smokers, as if there was such a thing. I don't litter my butts all over the place and instead put them out in the snow and then shove them in my pocket until I can find a trash can. I also don't share my cigarettes with anyone who doesn't already smoke, because I'm not going to contribute to someone else fantasy about looking cool for smoking. The reality is that there is nothing I can do to be better than any other smoker, accept to continue to try to quit. I want to quit and stay quit; not throw away the cigarettes and then come groveling back to them.

Most people think that you can't be a Christian and be a smoker, but the truth is that's like saying you can't be a Christian and make mistakes. Smoking is addicting; plain and simple. I think that in school that little fact is downplayed by the overwhelming list of horrible things that are in cigarettes and the destruction it does to your body. My point in saying all that is that making the choice to smoke even just once can have a long lasting consequences which may be harder than you think to recover from.

If you can accept me, and still hate the fact that I smoke; that's the kind of person I need. I'm not looking for people to accept my smoking. I want you to loathe the smoking, but I need you to accept me. If all you see when you see me is the smoking, then don't bother. I can't be around you and you obviously wouldn't want to be around me. It's okay though, my own mother basically told me I'm stupid and my sisters told me they hate me now because of it; I can understand if you'd like to join the growing throng of people who would rather disown me because of a mistake I made.

Until next time,
De Facto

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