Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 3

The past two were hard, I kept prefacing all social interactions with an explanation that felt warranted. "I'm a little [hand gestures]... crazy." It was difficult to navigate temporarily losing my mind with trying not to annoy everyone; much of this was magnified paranoia/guilt. The world was a mosaic of pulsating psychedelic patterns with odd flashes of light in the periphery. The withdrawal gets you feeling feral, like an animal in a cage with a thorn in its paw; a rabid, squinting jaw-ache.

Today I am feeling like a soap-bubble. There is a lightness I have not felt, in retrospect, for about five years. I realized that I should correct my terminology, because as of yesterday I am not trying to quit, I am quit, it was always that simple, I was just afraid before. I have often found myself irrationally fearful of "change;" of "losing" things and selves. I have always been fearful of adjusting character descriptions, like I might jump my own proverbial shark by evolving too far off-center. If I change too many things I might lose track of the tenuous grasp I have upon my self-hood. This resulted in what could be described as festering. "Sarah can't fall asleep without drinking because she hurts. Sarah smokes cigarettes because she does not give a fuck." I don't hurt anymore, and I do give a fuck.

Unexpected things: My voice sounds deeper to me. I like breakfast. I like a little raw sugar in my coffee.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


At least everyone's really nice to you when you tell them you're trying.
My little death-wishes that meant maybe merrily merrily merrily merrily life was but a

  • Feelings of being an infant: temper tantrums, intense needs, feelings of dependency, a state of near paralysis.
  • Insomnia
  • Mental confusion
  • Vagueness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression is common in the short and long term. In the short term it may mimic the feelings of grief felt when a loved one is lost. As foolish as it sounds, a smoker should plan on a period of actual mourning in order to get through the early withdrawal depression.
According to the American Heart Association, the "nicotine addiction has historically been one of the hardest addictions to break." The pharmacological and behavioral characteristics that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those that determine addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

Nicotine is named after the tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum which in turn is named after Jean Nicot de Villemain, French ambassador in Portugal, who sent tobacco and seeds from Brazil to Paris in 1560 and promoted their medicinal use.

By binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, nicotine increases the levels of several neurotransmitters - acting as a sort of "volume control". It is thought that increased levels of dopamine in the reward circuits of the brain are responsible for the euphoria and relaxation and eventual addiction caused by nicotine consumption.

When a cigarette is smoked, nicotine-rich blood passes from the lungs to the brain within seven seconds and immediately stimulates the release of many chemical messengers including acetylcholine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, vasopressin, arginine, dopamine, autocrine agents, and beta-endorphin.[30] This release of neurotransmitters and hormones is responsible for most of nicotine's effects. Nicotine appears to enhance concentration[31] and memory due to the increase of acetylcholine. It also appears to enhance alertness due to the increases of acetylcholine and norepinephrine. Arousal is increased by the increase of norepinephrine. Pain is reduced by the increases of acetylcholine and beta-endorphin. Anxiety is reduced by the increase of beta-endorphin. Nicotine also extends the duration of positive effects of dopamine[32] and increases sensitivity in brain reward systems.[33] Most cigarettes (in the smoke inhaled) contain 1 to 3 milligrams of nicotine.[34]

Research suggests that, when smokers wish to achieve a stimulating effect, they take short quick puffs, which produce a low level of blood nicotine.[35] This stimulates nerve transmission. When they wish to relax, they take deep puffs, which produce a high level of blood nicotine, which depresses the passage of nerve impulses, producing a mild sedative effect. At low doses, nicotine potently enhances the actions of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, causing a drug effect typical of those of psychostimulants. At higher doses, nicotine enhances the effect of serotonin and opiate activity, producing a calming, pain-killing effect. Nicotine is unique in comparison to most drugs, as its profile changes from stimulant to sedative/pain killer in increasing dosages and use. (Another drug that behaves similarly is ethanol.)

The immediate effects of smoking cessation include:

  • Within 20 minutes blood pressure returns to its normal level
  • After 8 hours oxygen levels return to normal
  • After 24 hours carbon monoxide levels in the lungs return to those of a non-smoker and the mucus begins to clear
  • After 48 hours nicotine leaves the body and taste buds are improved
  • After 72 hours breathing becomes easier
  • After 2–12 weeks, circulation improves

Longer-term effects include:

  • After 5 years, the risk of heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker
  • After 10 years, the risk of lung cancer is almost the same as a non-smoker.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

seasons soon changing

In the little farm house I grew up in there was a free-standing wood stove in the kitchen, a hulking black thing with a squat maw of flame and embers. Once there was a rustling in the chimney pipe. This is when there wasn't a fire burning. The bird that came flapping out in a cloud of ash and soot seemed huge when confined to the room, it was a starling or a lark. When it stunned itself bashing against the windows we cradled it in a towel and took it outside where it sat for a moment then seemed to disappear, there and then gone, leaving a smudge of black.

I remembered this when thinking of how to describe how I've been feeling for the past few months, like wandering in a china shop where the fellow patrons kept insisting I was a bull. Unnatural. Ill-suited; troublesome. Then there was the sensation of looking in the mirror and seeing the horns and the ring in my nose, and walking out the door of the fucking china shop.

This is all to try and say: I am letting go and I am feeling good. I am feeling like the icy trickle of meltwater at the peaks of the mountains, and that this coy and nourishing new ecstasy will only build within me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

chip chip

Today though it is just a mess of wet grayness out, my chippies (the gang of house finches who live in the brick of my building) started singing a spring-time song that I haven't heard in months. They may have just been confused.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I don't tend to remember much of my dreams lately, except atmospheric moods, if they frightened me, if they featured my first high-school boyfriend all lithe and acne-faced instead of marine-bulked and dead-eyed like now, not representing himself at all but some kind of reset button, a tender erasure of damages to hulls.

I never sold the space in my head like a fine and proper realtor. Instead I let it be conquered by seething waves of whatever, whenever. I found the medications (television, alcohol, etc.) that would turn it off, but I could never stop the typhoon. I probably do not appear on the surface to be too at odds, who knows.

I cannot trust others' assessments of myself. You seem _______. I noticed that ______.

I began the year with the wrong head on. So full of terror and longing. Dire words for dire times. Regression. Stagnation. Embarrassment. Boredom. Self-loathing.

The concept of loving myself is so foreign and silly, like "deciding" to believe in a deity. I am working on it though, night and day. I am getting my tiger teeth on. As all the 6ft. drag queens say, "How'n the hellll you gonna love somebody else?"

Monday, February 1, 2010


In the tiny alley-way that juts into the back of my building, the snow hovers on exhalations of heat and starts to float back upwards. Moving particles influenced by large invisible waves always remind me of time.
I can't let the usual helplessness seep in, though. It is no comfort to imagine myself destined to have woken up today and to have been disgusted that I am still myself.

There is no comfort in destiny. I recognize that it is so built into my perception of the world, to presume oneself an element of the "fairy-tale;" to presume the narrative has structure and you have a role. The princess has no agency. The wizard is clumsy and drunk. The knight is self-absorbed. Secretly, you have always been the monster, immanently deformed, sad and dangerous.