It’s so easy, you think, as you take another drag out of the…well, you’ve lost count, but it’s not your first cigarette for that day. It’s so easy. You’ve got hair where you shouldn’t, like your legs and arms and nether regions. You’ve got flab…everywhere, like your thighs and arms and stomach. You were almost pretty. Sometimes pretty. That was about it. It was so easy too.
It all started with a couple of beers with some friends. But you didn’t like how it tasted, especially when you were nursing the bottle for too long and it started getting warm. Except you liked how it made you feel, how it made you forget things. So, you thought, it might be convenient to have some around the house, just for when you need to push those anxieties to the furthest recesses of your mind. But not beer, you didn’t like how it tasted. You decided to try some vodka schnapps, espresso flavored. That shouldn’t be so bad.
It tasted so bad, you had to induce vomiting. Something you hadn’t done in two years. Not since college started and your anxiety was so bad your stomach was in permanent knots, and the only way to alleviate the discomfort was to heave your guts out. Anyway, you figured since the schnapps was espresso flavored, you might as well try to mix it with coffee to mask the taste. After all, you didn’t want to waste the money you’d spent on the bottle. And then you liked it. It was delicious. And you found that it tasted even better when you mixed a little more, and you could actually feel that delightful burn down your throat. It made your head spin, and your cheeks flush prettily.
The smoking was step two. You bought half a pack, and only because your anxiety was bad that day. Just one stick, just to try it out, because anxiety meds were expensive, and you didn’t really know how to get some. Therapy was scheduled too late. You’d have gone through the whole attack, and then some, before you’d get to speak to a professional. Again, it was good. You’d always enjoyed the smell of smoke, but this was different. It was bitter, and sharp, and the menthol burned cold, an oddly mixed sensation. So, you sprayed the place with air freshener, showered, brushed your teeth, gargled some mouth wash, chewed some gum, so your roommate wouldn’t know. You’d known each other since you were five. The schnapps, she knew was in the fridge, but she was away too often to see you pouring it into your coffee. And you drank coffee a lot. The smoking would be too easy to discover, even when you had a designated spot, like that store room neither of you ever stayed in, with the window open and the door shut.
How did you even cope before? Well, obviously you didn’t, if this was where you were. You called one of your parents once, when you were younger, and the anxiety was enough to drive you to tears and hyperventilation. Allergy medicine that made you drowsy, muscle relaxant. That was what they’d prescribed. But it made you unproductive, and you didn’t have time for disorienting naps. You didn’t have time for much. You were running out of time. Before long (in two years, really), you’d be stuck in some office, some nine-to-five job, that’s if someone would even want to hire you. You’ll have to grow up. You’ll be a full-fledged adult, except your parents would never acknowledge that, unless they want you to do something. Then, they’d tell you to grow up, or throw your transition into adulthood in your face, like you hadn’t noticed. They meant well.
So, how was this going to happen? How were you going to keep up that perfect daughter façade? How were you going to keep up that pure and virginal reputation? Well, maybe you’d never even liked that image in the first place, maybe it was something someone else had placed upon you. Maybe it’s time you realize you are who you are, and you’ll just have to figure out how to cope with that.