Cycling, hiking, camping, etc — now back in southern Indiana. Words and photos.

Archive for the 'Quitting Smoking' Category

Attempting to get back to the music

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

So, I did February Album Writing Month (FAWM) last year, and really enjoyed it. The thing is, by writing something like 16 songs in one month, I really burned myself out. And I’ve had a lot of things going on in the past year, including moving, starting a new job, and doing a lot of bicycling and photography. I have hardly worked on music at all since FAWM last year.

I’m trying to get back into doing that, including, hopefully, working some new elements and influences into my music to take it to the next level. I’ve been pretty into folk music lately, and I would really like to incorporate some things from that, more acoustic instruments, and possibly more songlike structures. I’m also thinking about doing some more vocals. To date, the only song I’ve added vocals to was Last of the Lost (can be found on my DMusic page).

But I’m having a bit of a hard time getting back into it. I’m rusty with actual playing keyboards and guitar, and trying to learn some mandolin technique at the same time. And synth programming is something that you get accustomed to doing; I need to reacquaint myself with it.

I’m hoping that things will come back to me fairly quickly, but so far, the little bit I’ve tried to do has been difficult. I need to get back to where I can just sit down and work on music. I’m going to try to do FAWM again, and hopefully, that will help get me back in the swing of things.

One thing I hadn’t thought about that I noticed last night was that I was playing guitar for a while, and when I stopped, I got this huge nicotine craving. I always used to smoke a lot when I worked on music, but I’ve never smoked in our new apartment — which made me realize how long it had been since I worked on music!

Way too long, if you ask me.

In a haze

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

I haven’t updated in a while, but I’m still around. There simply hasn’t been much to write about. The weather has been terrible — it has been raining almost constantly since late last week. Sarah and I have been on a bad movie kick, which we are really enjoying.

I thought about writing reviews of the awful movies we’ve watched, but I don’t think I could ever do justice to atrocities such as Contaminated Man, Storm Catcher, Troll, or Troll 2. Troll 2 is easily the worst of the bunch, but Contaminated Man remains my favorite.

Other than those things, not much has been going on. I think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or something like it. I always get depressed during the winter, and this winter has been no exception. I’m still having trouble adjusting to work, avoiding smoking is still hard, I hate that I can’t get outside to exercise, and I’m generally feeling like a slug. It even seems like lately, it’s been nice outside during the week, then raining on the weekends, further contributing to my frustration.

Sarah and I had an argument on Saturday night. As usual, it started out with something stupid — I’m not even sure what anymore. It ended with me riding my bike to the gas station in the rain in the middle of the night, drunk, to buy cigarettes. That was a real act of brilliance. I smoked two cigarettes, and about 4 drags of one on Sunday, and I haven’t touched them since then. Sometimes, avoiding smoking is easier, but sometimes, it isn’t. And even now, 4+ months after quitting, I really don’t feel like myself. Even when I’m not having nicotine cravings, I’m a moody bastard with a short temper. That really isn’t like me. I’ve got to figure out how to get myself back, without going back to the nicotine. The temper part especially has to go.

Sarah and I went for a drive on Sunday to Brown County State Park. Even though it was cold and raining, it was great to be out of the house and spending time together somewhere closer to nature. We took a few photos. Most didn’t turn out, but a few did. Some of the ones that did really captured the mood of that day, which is pretty close to the mood I’ve been in general lately.

In a haze
I’ve taken numerous photos of Hesitation Point, but none quite like this. The fog is beautiful, and I like the reds and muted green colors.

Rain vision
Intentionally blurry shot of the road/trees/etc.

Weight
Minimalism in nature?

Quitting smoking is still hard after 3 months; nightmare

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

I quit smoking a bit over 3 months ago. It’s been very difficult, but it got a little easier after a month and a half or two months. However, the past couple of weeks, it’s been getting harder again. I’m not really sure why, but I think it’s mostly stress-related. Stress about my immense debt due to student loans that only paid for two years at Northwestern — which in some cases I’ve forgotten about and never contacted to make a single payment until it’s been handed over to a collection agency.

Then there’s stress related to missing my grandparents; this holiday season is particularly hard because it’s the first one without either one of them, and the first one after I moved back to my hometown. I wish I’d moved back sooner, or they’d held on a little longer. I really could’ve used a year or two of seeing them weekly or more often. I’m also not good at dealing with grief; I deal with it for a while, set it aside in my mind, and wait for it to come up again (it always does). I doubt it’s the best way, but it’s the only thing I know how to do. Of course, there are other stresses, too, some other family-related stress and work stress.

Not only that, my main coping mechanism — riding my bike — has become damn near impossible lately due to the weather. I need to get out and do some road rides, because the trails aren’t in good shape right now, and I miss that outlet. I miss the exercise and the complete focus on what I’m doing. I miss the way the rest of the world seems to slip away, out of mind, leaving me feeling peaceful — even if only for a couple of hours. I miss the feeling of freedom I feel when the bike moves naturally beneath me and I float over the terrain and obstacles and around turns.

Last weekend, I cheated and smoked a cigarette. It tasted absolutely disgusting — but in all honesty, it felt great. I was extremely upset, and it was the only thing that could calm me down. I’m not making excuses, just being honest. I still shouldn’t have smoked that cigarette, and I wish that I hadn’t, but damn, it felt good.

Of course, the flipside of that is that not smoking has gotten harder since then. I crave cigarettes more often, and think about giving up, even though I won’t let myself do that. I can’t. The biggest reason not to give up is that I’d have to go through this all over again, and I just don’t know if I could do that.

I had a nightmare last night. I dreamt that I was at a summer camp, or something similar. There was a natural disaster, I don’t remember what, maybe a fire or a tornado. Most people got out safely. I was trying to help this girl in a wheelchair get to safety, but I couldn’t carry her. I felt like I should have been able to, she wasn’t terribly big, but I guess I was just too weak. Later on, they found her body, clutching a pair of origami cranes like I used to make as a kid. I’d make them as two cranes, joined together at the wing — hers was just like this. At the funeral, one of the other people there said “They found her with this,” and I explained, “I gave it to her. I wanted her to feel comfort as she took her last breath.” I placed it in her coffin, and it was over.

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