Keeping in the front of my mind that I am quitting smoking for myself, and not to make anyone else happy, is a constant struggle.
I’m on this journey. The details aren’t important. What is important is that I undertook this journey with this romantic partner. We got together before my most recent long-term girlfriend and I broke up. And I am starting to believe it was a mistake to go on this journey with them. I don’t think this partner and I should be together. We are very different, the main difference being that they are painfully naive and politically correct to a fault, and I like beer and rap.
After having badgered me for weeks to quit smoking, passive-aggressively intimating that it was disgusting to them and I needed to stop, I agreed. And I told them, “If I do this, I’m going to be a complete asshole for three days. I’m going to hate you for no reason. I will not be rational. It will be extremely emotionally difficult for both of us.” And they agreed.
Two days pass. Both of them were travel days. I scarcely say a word to my partner, silently hating them, my life, and the whole world. When I do speak my anger surfaces, like seeing a flash of slick grey briefly breach the air above the ocean, not enough to tell if it’s a whale or a nuclear submarine.
There are two actual conflicts that take place in two days. In one of them, they ask if they can kiss me. I say “no.” They are disappointed. The second involves me talking over them, briefly, which elicits this completely overblown death stare, the stare that says “you-talking-over-me-means-you’re-not-a-good-feminist-ally-and-somehow-a-misogynist.”
Last night, all I wanted to do was get drunk on whiskey and eat a plate of onion rings. It didn’t happen, because after drinking a beer with dinner I had a massive headache and wanted to go take a nap. By the time I woke up, it was 10:30, which is late for my partner, because they are unbelievably fucking boring.
I decide to go out on my own. I put my clothes on. My partner says “I can’t believe you’re actually going out.”
I tell them I already feel guilty, because they make a huge deal out of every time I want a drink, as if any kind of wanting a drink is automatically equatable to alcoholism, that I don’t appreciate the attitude, and that I said, when I decided to quit smoking, that I would need support.
“You never said you needed support.”
“Fuck you,” I said, without thinking.
Because this was exactly what I was afraid of. Quitting smoking is hard. The emotional toll will cause you to hurt the people around you. And you warn them. And then they turn on you, as if it’s a shock that you’re acting this way, as if they can’t fathom why you could possibly be so irritated, like “why don’t you just chill out?”, and the fact that you’re fighting physical withdrawals worse than heroin somehow becomes less important than their wittle feewings.
So I have to keep in the front of my mind that I am doing this for me. My partner can go fuck themselves. They’re an idiot. A naive little child playing lifestyle-anarchist make-believe and trying to drag me along for the ride.
I’m quitting smoking for me. I’m doing it because I need my teeth. I’m doing it because I don’t want to go bald. I’m doing it so I don’t get winded anymore. I’m doing it so I can have my sense of smell and taste back. I’m doing it so I can have my sex drive back. I’m doing it for my dick. I’m doing it so I don’t smell terrible all the time and waste my money on death.
I’m doing it because cigarettes are a cheap prop, and if I want to make being an asshole a real part of my identity, I have to own it. Show, don’t tell.