Tender to touch is a nursing term that basically means it hurts if you poke it. So don’t poke it, right? Unfortunately we can’t control other people and what they say and do to us. Our own hot button issues and tender areas mean absolutely nothing to someone else if we don’t let them know it’s tender or if they are unobservant enough to see they are hurting us. I smoke, like a chimney. Sometimes a pack a day but I am back up to two packs again. I know smoking is bad for you, just like I know overeating junk food is bad for you, but I am still fat and I still smoke. People are careful not to complain to me about my overeating but the people close to me and random strangers take no issue with complaining about my smoking. I am scared to death to try to quit and I feel I have good reason. I did quit once, immediately before the worst depressive episode I have ever experienced. It started with voices telling me to just give up and take the whole bottle of Ambien I had. A pretty scary thing to happen, sending me into a hysterical state and triggering a lot of bad decisions. If anyone had known or even noticed what was going on with me I am sure I would have been hospitalized. My doctor agreed that abruptly quitting smoking could have triggered this, as cigarettes effect the same chemicals in the brain that are believed to be imbalanced in depression. So I lit up and I have been puffing away ever since. My husband got on board with that and every time I have mentioned quitting he adamantly says “No, we are not going through that again.” For a few years. Now I am stable again and the anti-smoking campaign has begun. So not only do I have to deal with judgmental people in public or who come to my house, my own spouse and those close to me want to lecture me about all the bad things about smoking. Like I don’t know. It is my lungs that burn in the middle of the night, my clothes that stink, my embarrassment and my face people judge when they smell it on me. But I am too scared to try to quit, not only is it damn hard, but to me it’s like walking up to the edge of a cliff and hoping it doesn’t get windy. I don’t want to die, and I don’t want to want to die.
I am aware that my smoking negatively effects the people in my life and I am going to make a greater effort to cut back down again and to smoke away from them. Knowing they are justified doesn’t make it any easier when they are pointing out my flaws, especially when they are incredibly rude about it. It is a tender spot with me, every bit as tender as my weight. My weight is as embarrassing as my smoking to me, and surely is to them. So why tip-toe around one issue and barrage me with insults about the other. Nobody goes around saying “Oh my god, look at that fatty-fat-fat!” but “Oh my god, she is smoking!” is okay. Having no willpower when it comes to food is socially acceptable but the current brainwashing trend makes smokers more on the line with criminals. I am especially hurt when my own mother who raised me on her hip with a cigarette in her mouth is offended by my habit. I remember as a kid sitting by a window watching the smoke swirling and touching it and blowing on it. Smoking was okay and that’s how I was raised, now it’s offensive and I am offensive.
I am not strong on this issue and I feel like a failure every time I light up so please don’t judge me and please don’t touch my tender spots.