I am proud and also sort of shocked to announce that today marks my ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY with no cigarettes whatsoever. Oh hi, have I never mentioned on here that for years I was violently addicted to nicotine? Because, that’s true. But it’s something I don’t like to talk about because, well, I was deeply ashamed. Still am. Raised in tobacco country and out back behind theaters and Burger King parking lots, smoking thrived. It was something I casually flirted with to perhaps feel important, or bad. And then it just stuck. I was never a huge smoker, but still, it was always there, woven into my stress and heartbreak and fear and writing and how I structured my time, and it would not go away no matter what I did. Because turns out, SMOKING IS HARDER TO QUIT THAN HEROIN, YOU GUYS. But through a combination of guilt, fear, therapy, nicotine gum and a manfriend who loves me and thinks I’m gross when I smoke, I can now say: ONE YEAR. Sure, sometimes when I see someone smoking I kind of want to smack the cigarette out of their hand and into my mouth, breathe in deep. Sure, I still have a buzzing between my eyes that basically will not go away. BUT: I AM FREE. Deep inhale; deeper exhale.