Hey there, world. Yeah, I know what you must be thinking with this photo: Josh is back smoking cigarettes?!
First off, yes, I caved back into the vice, and it was one of the worst decisions that I made for myself. But I hope that you’ll grace me the opportunity to explain my imperfections and reasoning(s) why I chose so.
I turned 23 about a month ago. Does it sound like I’m hitting the prime of my life? When you reach your Jordan year, the whole perception of that is to be excellent and strive for greatness throughout that year alone, just like Michael Jordan did rocking the number 23 during his Basketball career. During 23, the whole conceived notion of that year is social life going great, relationships (with a partner or loved ones) stronger than ever, an excellent job with great pay, health that is intact, yeah, no. Not for me at the slightest (from what I was feeling).
Everything hit all at once when I turned 23. To give you the insider on that, I spent 23 at Resident Advisor work training. Don’t get me wrong, the best part was seeing everyone that I haven’t seen all summer and that was honestly enough for me, and spending little time with Destine, Aimee, Kea, Avelin were also lovely, but there was a void that whole day, and I still have no clue what the gap of all that was. The rest of the week was so tiresome and lost. I felt no connection with anything, nor was I looking forward to a whole lot. That’s when I decided to go back to old habits.
I was on my way to Berkeley to head over to 924 Gilman for a Hardcore show but decided to make a quick pitstop beforehand. I went to the liquor store close to campus and bought my first pack of Marlboro’s. From there, that was the start of the journey of isolation and misery with the use of this vice.
Each cigarette that was smoked in solitude or with others made it whole for the dependency on it. I was well aware that I was risking a multitude of health issues and that if I kept up with it, it’d only progress worse. But days continued where it was only going downhill. I never went through a pack a day thank god I had that sort of discipline, but still, it was haunting, and a voice inside my head was convincing me otherwise for smoke breaks in between classes, homework, or just out of sheer boredom to feeling the rush and calmness of something. My friends and coworkers found out eventually, and it was bound to happen. I would sometimes smoke around them but with the courtesy of the smoke not being in their own space and I would tell them that I made the pact with quitting soon but had no designated time to stop anytime soon. Overall my mental health became so dependent on it and that my sanity was
Luckily, I did. When I felt that it all started to come crashing down, that’s when I made the pact with myself to stop.
I texted Aimee and had asked to meet up in person later in the day. We met up at the Japanese garden on campus. She had no idea what was going on, and we hadn’t had any 1:1 time to dialogue, but for what I was about to do I know that she would appreciate it. To tell you in truth, she was the first person that I confided in when it came to nicotine, and not once did she pass judgment, and she had complete faith in me that I would overcome the obstacle. I told her everything that has been going on since I started smoking cigarettes since our last 1:1 that people started noticing I noticed huge shifts of change within myself. I lost my appetite since nicotine suppresses hunger, and if I was eating, I wasn’t eating right. My clothes reeked of cigarette smoke, my voice sounded different, and it became difficult to handle my anxious feelings the right way. That’s when I pulled out my last pack of smokes along with my gifted zippo lighter. I gave it to her and told her that I don’t want anything to do with these anymore.
The pictures listed show the last cigarette that I smoked, and the pack and lighter in which I was going to give to Aimee. After I gave it to her, she reassured me that I’m prone to go through bumps in my life, but that I am resilient in strength to power through and get back on my own two feet. For that, I’m beyond the terms of grateful.
It’s been almost two days since my last smoke, and it is honestly tough, but I got to keep that gentle reminder of why I chose to quit. For the sake of my health, the people that I love & care about, and so that I don’t spiral down the same path I took when I was a teenager.
So, with that being said, here I am, looking forward to make better and healthier choices with myself. One day at a time, endlessly searching for that small measure of peace.