I was checking out some of my fellow bloggers pages and decided to join in on the image prompt posted on The Red Dress Club’s blog. The prompt was to write about the first or second memory that comes to mind when viewing the image above.
The first memory that came to my mind was of me in elementary school. We were having a special guest. I don’t remember who the guest was but I remember their message. Do Not Smoke!!! I remember the talk of cancer (did not know what that was), coughing, and BLACK LUNGS. I remember feeling panicked and afraid because my mom smokes.
I can honestly say this feeling of panic and fear has never left me and probably won’t unless she quits. However as I have grown up some other feelings have developed, making things more complicated. Many people like to smoke. They enjoy it, receive pleasure and stress relief from it. They are well aware of the risks and still have no desire to quit. To a non-smoker this sounds a little crazy. But to them it is simply a choice to do something they enjoy.
The internal conflict arises for me in that I honestly want people to experience all the happiness and Joy life has to offer. Although this is not a politically correct thing to say, for some people Joy is lighting up after a meal, after a stressful day, or while out socializing at the bar with friends.
Daily I wrestle with this mix of emotions. Am I afraid for my mom’s health because she smokes? Yes. Do I want her to quit? Yes. Does it make me frustrated that she is choosing this risk? Yes. Does she know all this? Yes. But I also don’t want to be her Joy Thief. She is a grown up and can/should make her own decisions, even decisions that I may not like. Everyone else gets to decide what gives him or her Joy. Everyone gets to decide what risks they are willing to take on in exchange for that Joy.
So while I take no Joy in smoking or watching others especially friends and family smoke, I also take no Joy in trying to convince them to quite, feeling like a nag, and making them upset. So I remain conflicted. Balancing my desire for my mom to quite with my desire for her to be happy and live her life on her own terms. Sometimes (maybe often to her) hinting, suggesting, and offering motivations for her to quit and other times remaining silent and respecting her right to Chase Joy with a cigarette in her hand.
How do you deal with any conflicting feelings you may have regarding how the people you love choose to Chase Joy? If their drinking, smoking, eating, spending, or sexual habits bring them Joy but you stress how do you handle it?