I started smoking as an early birthday gift to myself.
No, really, though.
Around a month or two before I turned seventeen, I discreetly bought a pack of what was called as ‘herbal cigarettes’ in Yogyakarta—I thought those things were hard to look for in Indonesia. It cost me USD 2, as averagely priced as any common cigarettes in Indonesia.
I just happened to look it up because I was enamored by the visual aesthetics of smoking of Mad Men. Since smoking an actual cigarette in the workplace was banned and the story would be meaningless without (excessive) smoking, the cast used herbal cigarettes as a replacement.
So anyway, two weeks before my birthday, I snuck at the backyard of my house and lit my first stick from the box. I put it inbetween my lips, expecting the burning sensation as the smoke carried out through my mouth…
… of course, it didn’t feel as strong as I thought it would be.
My mom—a former smoker who managed to quit after smoking for nearly 30 years which cost her a surgery upon her respiration system—found me in the backyard with a cigarette in my hand.
“What do you think you’re doing, young lady?” she asked, closely sounding as appalled. “Do you have any idea how dangerous that thing is?”
I didn’t try to hide it from her. Yet I didn’t want to show it to her either. I dipped my head down and remained silent as I pushed the butt onto the ground to turn it off immediately.
“If this is only for your own knowledge, that’s fine.”
She wasn’t mad at me, but she was quite worried. “But just this once, okay? I don’t want your dad to know that you have been trying to smoke, otherwise he will obliterate you,” she said. “And you shouldn’t try doing this in college because it will affect your reputation.”
I nodded before I left to the bathroom to brush my teeth.
Since I got into college out of my hometown, I have an easier access to buy cigarettes. My faculty’s dining place had these stalls, in which one of them sells a myriad of things—secondhand cheap magazines, stationery, phone credit, snacks and beverages, as well as cigarettes and lighters.
I don’t care about reputation obviously. In fact, I am known as the only girl who publicly smoke in my year, amongst most of my male friends who smoke to this date.
I am not really proud about it, though.
Lately, I haven’t been smoking much. I only smoke in front of friends or other people who smoke, as I don’t feel like wasting my money to buy a pack (I don’t smoke daily and it takes at least a month to finish a pack all by myself.)
Until now, I have been clean for a few weeks or so. This might be a good thing.