Day 27 - Identity crisis...: Well, I'm still... - No Smoking Day

No Smoking Day

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Day 27 - Identity crisis...


Well, I'm still not smoking, and I'm not really getting any physical cravings.

BUT... I just can't get around the idea of being a non-smoker. I can handle not smoking, it's not entirely easy, but I feel like I've lost something of myself.

One of the reasons I took up smoking was to try and lose some of my geeky image. I've grown up with the idea that 'good girls don't smoke. good girls are also boring'. Obviously sticking a cancer stick in your gob doesn't make you fascinating, but the shock factor from everyone was nice at the time. It made people consider me in a different light.

Now I realise that these days, especially at my age, it's not really cool to smoke, and I'm not in high school anymore, so people aren't just judging me (I hope!) on whether I stand outside puffing away.

But I still feel like I'm becoming 'duller' somehow. Non-smoker sounds too 'puritan' to me, too righteous, and even a bit conformist these days. Not the rebellious, stick-two-fingers-up-at-society person that I kind of am on the inside - half punk, half hippy. Part of this I think is a general identity crisis I'm having as I'm getting nearer to 30, and I'm not really the person I hoped I be. I'm actually in a bit of a down period about that.

I guess the smoke monster has latched onto that, and is whispering thoughts in my ear. It doesn't help that I've yet to see any real benefit from quitting - apart from not smelling of stale smoke. My ears and nose seem to have got worse, and my energy levels haven't increased a jot. Part of me is thinking 'why am I bothering?' - the sinusitis and low energy were two big factors in me wanting to quit.

Anyway, sorry for such a long post, and I hope no-one gets offended at my 'non-smoker' comments - it's just my feelings at the moment, a hangover from my high school years (which weren't exactly great). I also wondered if this was a thing that other people have gone through.

13 Replies

you are still very early in your quit i know you want all these great things but they wont happen overnight, they will happen believe me you body is still adjusting to life without poisons.

you are doing great i know wat u mean when you say u feel u have lost part of yourself i went through that too its like the old you had a smoking routine your cigarettes where something u could rely on come rain ,hail , or shine they saw you through every single situation and emotion you have ever experienced and now you feel like you are in the big wide world on your own and all alone

well fear not you will get used to doing it on your own without the dreaded smoke monster each time you break a trigger it will get easier and easier until eventually one day it will click that you can do it by yourself easily

No offence taken at all :)

I don't consider myself a non smoker. Non smokers IMO are folk who have never smoked. I'm an ex smoker and proud to call myself that.

Maybe the older rebel in you can settle into the title of ex smoker a little easier ;) It says you smoked, wised up and quit :cool:

Your letting go of what you maybe still perceive as an old friend. A friend who you felt gave that edge, completed the picture of you sticking your finger up at aspects of society. A friend who got you addicted, could have shortened your life, yellowed your teeth and fingers. A friend who cost you a fortune and really gave nothing positive back.

I didn't really notice many benefits either, not in the first couple of months anyway. Really narked me too. I'm sure you will begin to feel or notice some, pretty soon.

and hey your still the same person inside just without a haze of smoke around you so if u wanna be a rebel be a smoke free rebel lol

Well done Jen on your 27 days.

I know how you feel, I also smoked as a teenager to fit in. Then I gave up for 8 years and started again because everyone else I knew smoked. After 41 days I sometimes still have the thoughts about missing out on something or conforming to others opinions. However I remind myself that I did this for me and stuff anyone else's opinion. Either people like me for me or they can take a hike.

As for getting to 30. I felt the same way, I dreaded it. I had the best time in my 30's I would sooner be in my 30's than 20's.

Keep up the great work.

Lingy :)

Hi Jen. I can really identify with this! But the key here, I think, is to separate fantasy from reality.

I started smoking when I was eleven, and wanted to create an image that would help me to feel less nervous starting at secondary school. Watched Destry Rides Again, and that was it. I was going to be Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich - if you haven't seen the film, you must!!!!).

Oh, if only I had been more impressed with those Doris Day films, then my whole life could have been so different....

Anyway, the sad reality 40 years down the road is that I am more Dot Cotton than Marlene. Take it from me - no-one is impressed with those lines that develop all around your mouth, the yellow teeth, the dry, grey skin - it's just not a good look. It doesn't say "rebel" and it doesn't say "cool".

I don't want to play the age card here, but in truth, if someone had shown me what I would look like at 50, then that quit at 26 would probably have stuck for good.

That's the way it really is.

Oh goodness me, I can identify with this.

I was a nicey nice girl at school but rebelled in every way concievable when I went to university. Started smoking at 19 and took to it like a duck to water. Smoking (not just tobacco), drinking like a fish, going on protest marches and sit-ins, hanging out with purple haired anarchists, playing in bands, living in squats, you name it, throughout my twenties I did it.

Then I calmed down, settled down, became a lot more conventional. I was very happy to do it, and I love my life now, married with two kids, part time job, running a theatre company and what have you. But I could NOT give up smoking for so long because it seemed to represent the last little bit of rebellion. I felt as though, if I stopped, I'd be letting go of that last little bit of youthful me, and I didn't want to.

But then I stopped anyway, because I realised my lungs were being destroyed. It took some time before I stopped identifying myself with being a smoker BUT, nine months down the line, that feeling has gone. And I don't feel I've lost my rebelliousness like I feared. Turns out that part of me, and that part of my life, are still who I am, and it's nothing to do with fags.

If it's conformist not to be a smoker, then so be it. After all if someone suggested I shoot up heroin otherwise I'd be dull and conventional I'd tell them to get knotted, so why should this be any different?

Doing this makes you a tougher, stronger, better person. You're not losing ANYTHING.

Sorry, this is a really long post, but this one really struck a chord.

Oh, PS - if you're still feeling very low energy you should ask your GP to do a blood test. It could well be something like anaemia causing you to feel run down.

H x

Hey Jen,

As you can see you arent alone here. I "hid" smoking for nearly 8 years (25/day). I would duck out for coffees and smoke, I would have to to go the store by myself and have a couple smokes. It was the only really bad thing i was doing and gave me some sort of power. I would duck out at lunch and hit an empty parking lot to smoke so no one would see. One day another guy pulled up and started to smoke too. I said to him, "Hiding it?". He said "YOu bet, no one likes it". That made it "cooler" in my mind that i was doing something "bad".

Losing part of your identity is the begining to forging a new one. You wont be "the girl who smokes" but you will be "the girl who quit" and that my dear, is way better


Great thread and great posts from everyone, have loved reading them all.

Cant really add anything, although I thought I looked cooler, hey Regan and Carter smoked so that was good enough for me! o be honest I feel rebelious now I've given up, like people expect me to smoke and yet I'm sticking two fingers up to them and saying no, this the new clean me, deal with it. LOL:D

Hey everyone, thanks for all your replies

It was definitely reassuring to realise I wasn't the only one who had these feelings, and also to know that they go away.

Lingy, it was good to hear that your 30s were better, I hadn't really thought about that :o I guess I'm getting freaked by all those relatives who keep going 'Ooh, not long til you turn 30, eh!' That and I work in a university. Daft really as my dad's nearly 50 and gets up to more trouble than me ;)

Helsbelles, I've had quite a few blood tests in the past couple of years and they never find anything. I even got told my iron count was really high, and I'm a veggie! I do have some sleep problems though - put it this way, the vivid dreams people say they have on patches I've had all my life :p If the tiredness does get worse I might try for another test though.

There's been some great posts here, and it's made me more determined. I can separate the smoke from me.

Again, thanks everyone and I'm feeling much more positive today. F**k the tobacco corporations, I ain't playing anymore! :cool:

i can relate with feeling your missing something, first couple of weeks of stopping, when i was driving kept putting my hand down to pickup a cigarette , just the natural thing to do for me, also first thing in the morning fag and a coffee , do miss that alot , now coffee alone just isnt the same, and you constantly in the back of your head find your missing something, like youve almost forgotten something, then you remember the lack of a cigarette, and the reason why your not a smoker anymore, in my case severe pains in my chest , reading posts from months 2 to 6 the sensation of missing out disappears so for me that helps


I know exactly what you mean about the morning coffee and fag.

This has been a very hard trigger to break for me. Especially as I was smoking "on the sly" for many years, so then the "rebel element" came in too.

But I must say that watching the others having their fag in the morning recently hasn't made me nearly as jealous. I guess it's just something we got to get used to


People dont see the benefits from not smoking especially if they havent doing it long but when that monster sinks in and you cant quit your body will pays the toll physically and mentally. Its kind of like watching a meth user before and after in a slower strung out way. I dipped and I started getting a cavity and smoking killed my sinuses and body. It effected me ways that are hidden and have to dig deep to see. I abused tobacco too meaning I did too much but alot of people do. Its hard not to get enough.

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