Yes, I AM a Dirty Girl

I have a dirty little secret. All right, perhaps it is not so secret, but it is filthy nonetheless. I'm a closet smoker. I smoke when I'm alone in the car, I smoke sitting on my deck when the kids are in bed and in the day light hours, I tell my kids I'm going to check the gardens and then I hide in the trees and puff myself to oblivion.

There, I feel so free. So liberated. I've admitted my problem, I can now inhale with relief.

Except there is the small fact my lungs are charred and blackened, I'd probably just hack if I tried to breathe deeply.

I didn't always smoke, but my family always has. I grew up thinking fresh air meant freshly exhaled cigarette smoke, not the stale leftovers from the day behind. At one point I was the only member in my family who didn't smoke. I vowed to always remain the pink-lunged sheep in our clan. Never would these lips touch a cigarette butt. After all, as my husband always says, there are better things in life to suck on.

Like lollipops. Snicker.

Not that I never tried smoking during my stupid teenage years. My best friend and I each bought our own large pizza and our own package of cigarettes, sat in two rickety lawn chairs in her back yard and proceeded to puff and munch our way to oblivion.

Her parents came home unexpectedly so we tossed the smokes and the remaining pizza over the back of the fence and then died a slow and very painful death as we puked the nicotine poisoning out of our bodies.

After that brief foray into badness, I was a good girl, avoiding cancer sticks like the plague they carried. Until a year ago. It was coming up the year milestone of my son's death and my antidepressants weren't cutting it. I figured I could drink, or I could smoke.

Smoking seemed safer. Haha. At least I could smoke and drive. I've been puffing in the closet ever since. Boo discovered my dirty little secret a few months ago and hit the roof. After enduring a long lecture on how disappointed he was with me, he dropped the subject. Since then, every time I go outside to light up he'd pull out his love sausage and tell me how much tastier he was to suck on.

Surprisingly, it only encouraged me to smoke harder.

(Picture me puffing madly in the bush, chain smoking one fag after another, anything to get the image of his willy waving hello to me while my husband waggles his eyebrows.)

The second anniversary of my son's death is now creeping up on me and I've finally figured out that smoking an expensively taxed bit of tobacco is not helping me cope with my loss any better. It is however, burning up my pocket money, yellowing my teeth and fingers, blackening my lungs and lining my face.

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Ya, I'm sexy.

This weekend, as Boo's family descended upon us and he made me promise not to smoke in front of any of them, I hid in my trees, silently puffing away while keeping one eye peeled for any in-laws on the loose and the other eye peeled for any large furry animals who may wander through and think I was a piece of smoked meat laid out just for them.

As I slinked about my yard to ensure no kids (especially my kids) and no adults saw me puffing away, I asked myself "What the fuck are you doing woman? You used to be an athlete. You used to have pride. You used to smell like something other than the bottom of an ashtray."

I started puffing smokes to feel that light-headed spinning at first and then later, to calm my nerves, particularly when Grief sneaks up on me and tries to grab me by the throat. Which happens a lot more often than I would have thought possible being almost two years into the Angel Kid club.

Yet now I'm stuck drying my tears and patting my pockets for a cigarette. Not the greatest combination.

I don't want to smoke anymore. I'm no longer impervious to the harm I'm doing to my body. I no longer desire to numb my hurt with whatever aid I could. Turns out cigarettes aren't the greatest numbing agent. They just make the pain harder to see behind the hazy smoke blown around. They don't diminish the grief in any way.

It only took me two packs a week for almost a year to figure that out.

I haven't smoked since Sunday. But I can't say I'm not wishing for one right now. But I'm wishing for health more. And smooth skin. The important stuff.

Plus, I taking the kids on a road trip on Thursday for the weekend. One last summer hurrah before the monotony of school begins the next week. Trapped alone in my car with my kids for a five hour drive will not afford me a moment to light up. And I'm staying with Boo's brother and his family. (Because I didn't get enough of my inlaws this weekend.)

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If I smoked there, Boo would have me stuffed and mounted on the wall. I don't mind him stuffing me (snicker) but I prefer to keep my head firmly attached to my neck and not glued onto a piece of oak hanging from a nail above my bed.

This would surely be a lot easier if the kids would co-operate, clean their rooms, quit sassing me and more importantly, stop fighting with one another. I like to think I wouldn't have the desire to light up if they were on their best behaviour.

But who am I kidding. It was the best behaved kid in the bunch, the one sporting the halo and the angel wings who drove me to smoke in the first place.

I'm just gonna enjoy my sweet devils and go buy a pack of bubble gum. Any smoke you see coming from my direction will be the smoke coming out of my ears because of my lovely little trouble makers.

I hope.