I started smoking when I was 11, and almost 18 years later I can barely remember why. I guess textbook reasons apply; to be cool, to feel more grown up; you know what they say...peer pressure, peer pressure, peer pressure!! Who knows anymore, it hardly matters. What matters is I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day from the age of 15 on.
I was a heavy smoker from the get go. I worried about things ordinary kids didn't. I fretted over the challenge of leaving home at 13, I gave myself a stomach ulcer over what color my first apartment might be when I was 15, truly the world was too much with me in all respects. I come from a decent enough family, but as the first born, I got away with murder on every angle.
My mother has smoked a minimum of 2 packs a day all my life so getting cigarettes was literally child's play at my house; she simply never noticed them missing from day one. I smoked my mother's cigarettes until I was able to make money and buy my own. I was an average kid I guess, I got into perhaps more than my fair share of trouble though. Drinking, doping and skipping school was a constant problem with me. I was famous for court appearances for drinking under age and other nameless ventures not worth mentioning.
I smoked to calm down, I smoked to wake up, I smoked to go to bed. Until I was 16, I smoked out my bedroom window. My parents allowed me to smoke in front of them from then (age 16) on. My father, who quit smoking when I was born, felt it best that I smoke in sight of them and not burn the house down beginning with my bedroom. I still smoked in my bedroom until I left home, against my father's wishes.
Let's jump ahead. I was a terrible student. Outside of sports, I spent more time outside with a cigarette hanging off my lips than I ever spent in the classroom. I was the class clown and a saucy sprite at the best of times. When I finally graduated at the ripe age of 20, I was voted as the one who had the most piercings and the least clothes (ohhhh to be so small again!) and also as the girl who would surprise the world with her vast amount of useless facts on Jeopardy. I was never expected to go too far; most of my friends never even graduated, so I was a prodigy in comparison.
I stuck around my home town until I was 21 and finally had enough, so I picked up my life and took it to where I am now. I was accepted into Journalism school with little effort. Writing has always been my thing, and I thought that was what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I was due to start this course on Sept. 6th of 1997, but wouldn't you know it, I had a car accident on Sept 2nd that changed my world forever.
We (boyfriend, who is now husband and I) were rushing to work one Saturday morning and he made the mistake of crossing 2 lanes of traffic. We were hit almost square head on. My left leg went through the dashboard, resulting in a crushed knee cap and severed nerve. My head bounced from the side window to the rear view mirror, breaking both and it at some point must have collided with my boyfriend's, because he sliced his head open on my earrings!!
It was the fastest moment I've ever experienced, it happened so quickly. I wasn't wearing my seat belt; I never got to put it on before the collision. I was getting ready to light a cigarette first and before I had the chance, it happened. In the months that followed, I lost my ability to run, to lift my own leg, and eventually my limp grew so severe that it caused my hip joint to wear on itself. I spent just short of 3 years in physiotherapy building up muscle and learning how to walk properly again. To this day I use my cane when I have a bad day and my knee brace is never far.
I didn't go to school because there was always the threat of surgery and I had a full-time job anyway. One of my biggest regrets was not continuing my education. Before you all jump over me and tell me I still can, FORGET IT, the only education I think about now is Hannah's. CASE CLOSED!!! Besides, as years slipped by, I discovered I didn't really want to be a journalist anyway.
Let's jump ahead to 2002. This year was mixed with pain and pleasure. I am working in management now, supervising 34 people. I'm getting married this year, I will let go of my old lifestyle and begin to act more "adult". My grandfather will die, our best man will pass just before our wedding, and I am smoking just under 2 packs of cigarettes a day. I have developed a slight smoker's cough by now, and I am becoming annoyed with the idea of smoking and embarrassed to have to smoke outside of my work place. However, I will not consider quitting. I made a bold, idiotic statement to a friend that "smoking is worth the cancer". What a freaking moron I am!!!
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