I don’t smoke.
It’s a personal choice I’ve made. I decided long ago that the cost wasn’t relative to what you get out of it, and what you get out of it isn’t actually beneficial. It degenerates you. It makes you less than you are and less than what you could potentially be. I’ve watched people who smoke closely and have taken note of their heavy breathing whenever they’re required to do something physical. Their accelerated aging due to the smoke turning their skin leathery. And I’ve paid close attention to their constant, never-ending and never-satisfied enjoyment that comes from smoking. They get the shakes, “need a smoke,” light up, burn through one, and think they feel better, only to repeat the whole process again the next time the chemical deficiency in their brain that was caused by smoking in the first place kicks in.
I disagree with smoking and the lack of self-discipline that’s exhibited by smokers who think they don’t have a choice. Unlike many unhealthy habits that only affect the user, smoking affects everyone around the smoker, even people who make the choice to not smoke. I have to look at countless cigarette butts on the ground, thrown there by absented-minded, aloof smokers who think it doesn’t matter. When they do this, I remember that I’m a Warrior. I speak up and let them know I don’t smoke. I’ve witnessed their choice, and make my own choice clear to them, because unfortunately, many smokers are completely oblivious to the choices of other people.
When someone lights up around me, I make it clear to them as well that I don’t smoke. If they ask, “Does this bother you?” I respond with, “Yes, it does. It bothers me that you don’t recognize your own potential for strength and self-discipline. It bothers me that you take the easy path whenever your cravings kick in. It bother me that you place so much of your own joy in a tiny, overpriced, tobacco and nicotine-filled cigarette instead of trying harder. I don’t smoke. Put it out.”
This message is about smoking and smoking alone. Many smokers will feel defensive and try to change the subject. They often try to shift the topic onto something else in hopes of exposing the rare non-smoker who speaks up as a hypocrite. As a Warrior, I refuse to fall for those subject-changing tactics just as much as I refuse to breathe in a smoker’s cigarette smoke or smell their rank, disgusting odor. As a Warrior, I am focused and don’t fall prey to the deceptive tactics of a wounded ego. And as a Warrior, I’m not squeamish when it comes to waging war. Not with myself, and not with other people.
I don’t smoke. And when I say that, I mean that definitively. I don’t buy cigarettes, I don’t put them in my mouth, I don’t light them up, and I don’t stand beside people who make those choices that I’ve deemed to be self-destructive, as well as destructive to others and the environment as well. I don’t actively seek out smokers like some kind of health-nut vigilante, but when they cross my path and enter my sphere of influence, as a Warrior, I know my duty isn’t to stand by quietly and try not to hurt anyone’s feelings. I am a Warrior. I am a killer of feelings, because I understand that emotions such as those felt by a smoker being told to put out their cigarette come solely from the ego, which is incapable of empathy for the non-smoker. I deliver my message not with anger and frustration but with adamence and focus because I understand how often the smoker will misinterpret it as judging the doer, not the deed. I don’t smoke because I’ve come to realize just how steeped in the selfish-ego an act like smoking is, and as a Warrior, I’ve sworn a life-long war with the ego.
For smokers who want to feel better, I issue this challenge; do something that doesn’t put at risk the health of people around you or the environment to make yourself feel better. Do something that doesn’t support greedy, unethical corporations who overcharge you and treat you merely as a fool and a slave (and yes, even those “cheap smokes” you get at the Native reserves are still overpriced, you’re still just literally burning your money). Go for a run. Read a book. Meditate. Garden. Write something. Paint. CREATE and do something that strengthens you and makes you grow as a person. Smoking doesn’t bring us closer to fulfilling our potential. It drags us farther away. And don’t say, “But it’s so hard!” CHALLENGES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HARD. That’s why when they’re conquered, they have such a feeling of fulfillment.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it,