My adorable Chinese medical doctor, Scott Blossom, tells me that the lungs are connected to grief – which explains my love affair with cigarettes this past week. I wasn’t going to tell him I was smoking, and planned on not having a smoke until after our 5pm appointment was over so he wouldn’t smell it on me. That was some serious nail biting for someone who had lately been having her first cigarette before the milkman arrived.
I know. It’s been a rough little spell.
Between the overnight departure of the sexy cowboy, which left me in a crumbled little huddle, and an avalanche of deadlines which appeared out of nowhere – I found myself overwhelmed, distracted, incapable and exhausted. Cigarettes and their delicious nicotine rush were more rewarding than a hot bath, a glass of wine, even a good cry.
I think it was the way Scott lifted up my limp little wrist to feel my pulse, the way his forgiving green eyes bore down on me – I couldn’t help myself and I blurted, “I’ve been smoking!”
Then I burst into tears.
At least Scott would know the truth about me and wouldn’t confuse me with those darling yoga girls who traipse through his office with their starry I’M CHANNELING BLISS eyes. I can be me; messy, goodhearted, clunky and sorely imperfect. Besides, I’m a terrible liar.
“I can feel it in your pulses,” he smiled. “Your lungs are like…” and then he made this horrible sound like he was a small rat drowning in sewer sludge. Three cheers for me for telling him the truth. “It’s the only way I can really help you,” he says.
It turns out I’m not the only one who’s been smoking. The Chinese have been puffing away for centuries! Not only that, Scott has an herb that’s going to kick my nicotine in the booty!
“Lay it on me,” I say, lying back to ready myself for the 15 needles he’s about to put in my neck.
My 17-year-old tells me nicotine is full of rat poison and formaldehyde. “They use that on dead people!” she shouts when she finds me sucking another one down on the porch after dinner. She’s on the right track though – smoking is incredibly calming. There I am sitting in a nice rocking chair under the trees in my yard, the wind is up and the leaves are doing their happy shimmery freedom dance. And no matter what’s troubling me – the intro I need to write for the astrologer’s book, the writing I need to create for the lawyer’s website – that mounting pile of bills – there I am in nature breathing in and out, taking those slow measured inhalations and exhalations. It’s ugly, but it’s very centering. Afterwards I’m able to go back into the ring again.
You want to end a piece like this with a pledge, a promise. You want to brag that it’s been two days since you had a cigarette, but you know better. If you’ve figured out anything it’s to have as much compassion for yourself as possible. Cowboys, deadlines, divorces…no one knows what life will shoot them and how they’ll deal. You do your best, just as I am, one breath at a time.