And Then My Head Exploded

I am going to talk today about smoking cessation for what might be the millionth, and probably not the last, time.  It is all that is in my head and it is totally and completely consuming me.  If I don’t get it out here, I can’t work through it, and if I can’t work through it, I might start smoking again.  And I don’t want to do that.  I mean I really, REALLY don’t want to do that.

The last time I tried to quit, I had the support of a “quit coach” through my employer.  It was a great resource and I completely wasted it.  You could call almost 24/7/365 and someone would be there to answer your question, make suggestions, and sometimes just talk you out of taking that first puff.  I so wish I had that now, and kick myself for not using it properly when I had the chance.  I just wasn’t at a point in my life at that time that I was ready to quit.

It isn’t that my immediate family isn’t supportive, because they mostly are, but in some ways they are really not helping me.  Because quitting smoking often takes many attempts, there are members of my family who are not actively supporting and encouraging me because they think this is just another dry run.  You know, I get that, but how many times did I get behind you when you wanted to quit or start doing something that was hard?  How many times did you get my unequivocal support?  I really feel like saying, “Fuck you,” and running off screaming into the woods.

And there are my blog friends, who are probably more supportive than anyone except maybe my mom and DSB, who stop by to wish me well and tell me their stories of loved ones who have died from smoking and how happy they are I am quitting and how hard they are rooting for me.  Why can’t I get that from the people who know me?

And, as my friend Kim asks, “Why do you care?”  I really don’t know.  I wish I could just throw caution to the wind and not care at all, but the truth is I have always cared WAY too much about what anyone else thinks of me.  I have a constant fear of criticism, of judgment.  I am always worried that what I am doing is not good enough and I am going to be exposed for the fraud that I truly am, for all the world to see.

It comes down to the fact that I am far too judgmental of myself.  I can’t see these little slips and slides in my path toward quitting smoking as normal, as ordinary, as plain-Jane as it gets.  I let it build up until I believe it is pathological and obscene and so out-of-the-ordinary that not even my own mother would claim me.  And it really does get that bad.  And, you know, if I think that about MYSELF, I shudder to think what OTHER people think of me.  I’m sure it is ten times as bad!

And when I sit down and type this all out, I can see how silly and irrational I am being, but unfortunately, I can’t sit and type 24/7.  I have to go out there and live life and do laundry and buy groceries and socialize and fill my med box.  There are a lot of things I need to get out there and do, and I really am finding it difficult to do those things without this immense fear of judgment, especially while testing out my new wings of not smoking.

And I just realized that I am fearing judgment from anyone who reads this blog, as well, because I am worried that I am talking too much about quitting smoking.  Someone please slap me now, or my head is going to explode.

Socially Awkward

I don’t like to be around people I don’t know.  I have a hard time getting to know strangers and it takes a really long time before I trust a person to be genuine.  I see rejection at every unanswered call and feel like I walk on eggshells because I don’t want to upset someone that might call me their friend.

This has been going on for ages.  I remember in grade school, every single girl in my class standing at the top of a big jungle-gym structure, except for myself and one other little girl.  The “gang leader” wanted us to basically “perform” against each other, and the person that wins would get to climb up on the piece of equipment and be a part of the group.  I am embarrassed to say that I attempted to win.  And was downright ashamed when I didn’t sing the Sesame Street theme song better than that other girl.  I was an outcast that year.  Reinforce that you are a loser and will always be rejected, right HERE.

I remember wanting to have a “friend” over to hang out or do a sleepover, or whatever, and having to call down a long list in my elementary school directory before I found someone who would come play.  I remember my mom being exasperated that I actually WOULD call through the whole list.  I remember feeling alone and sad, and not knowing or understanding why no one wanted to hang out with me.  Rejection, again.

I did, over the years in grade school, develop exactly two friendships, but they both broke apart in dramatic fashion in junior high.  Ack, junior high was a mess.  The boys started to tease me mercilessly for being the tallest kid around, and I was slightly overweight, so thus started the fat jokes.  And the worst was that the girls joined in.  I had absolutely no friends in junior high.  I remember those as being turbulent times, being confused at the roles people played, and shocked at the sexual-goings-on of my classmates.

In high school, things got better because I played sports.  Being on an atheletic team almost invariably equals instant friends, just because you spend so much time together.  I was in sports when I was in middle school, but it was quite disorganized and, looking back, I had a couple of “sports friends” but they were from teams outside of my school.  In high school, I was “almost” popular.  I usually had a boyfriend, or was working on getting one.  I had something social to do most nights, and for the most part, the teasing stopped.

And then college and the real world came through, and there I was, without friends and people making fun of me again.  I had a few acquaintances in college, but no one I would call a true friend.  I’ve only stayed in touch with one person from that time in my life, and she mostly sends me email forwards, every once in awhile a card for my birthday.

I know I have social anxiety and I know it comes from those early days of rejection, people making fun of me, and generally feeling like I don’t belong.  I still feel that way now and, at 32, have no friends that exist outside the Internet, and, even then, only a couple of Internet friends.  I’m more okay with that now than I used to be.

I feel like I have a full life, even without having any “real life” friends.  To be honest, people scare me.  Even on the Internet, people scare me.  I have a lot of support from family and DSB, and, while I do try to chat someone up every now and again, it generally doesn’t go anywhere, mostly, I think, because I am just so awkward with it.

I don’t know if I should do something about this or just let it be, but I lean toward let it be.  My fear of rejection is huge, and I don’t care to feel like I’m back in grade school or middle school, being teased for being the fattest kid on the playground.