Cigarette Daydreams

Cigarette Daydreams

My odd fascination with cigarettes
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Hi, my name is Janina and I have an odd fascination with cigarettes. Now, disclaimer, I have never touched a cigarette in my life, let alone any other drugs.

I grew up having the facts of how terrible cigarettes and other drugs are practically drilled into my head; from countless health class projects to specialist lectures. My mother works with cancer patients and my stepfather has been smoking (and has tried pretty much all sorts of tobacco/nicotine products) since he was 14.

I know how terrible cigarettes are and how they, by scientific fact, will destroy your health. I grew up with people around me telling me that cigarettes aren’t cool and don’t look cool. There was never a moment that I can remember that cigarettes were portrayed in a positive light.

However, there are specific times in my life where I can remember being drawn into the captivation of cigarettes. One of the first was when I was Googling photos of cigarettes for a health poster project in middle school. I stumbled across a DeviantArt piece of a girl with headphones on, staring at a computer screen in a dark room, looking bored, her hands supporting her head; a lit cigarette dangling from her lips; an ashtray on the table. I have a crappy memory, but I remember the drawing so clearly. I had such a strong fondness for that drawing, that I cut it off of the poster after the class and saved it.

Another time, when I was 13 or 14, after an art camp during the summer, I would walk through the Washington State Convention Center to get to my mom’s work so I could drive home with her; I found a photograph on the wall there that particularly interested me. It was called “Dante Monument, Naples”, from Stan Raucher. Whenever I could, I would take some time out of my trip to go visit that photo hanging on the wall. It just made sense to me. It resonated with me. A couple months after the art camp program ended, when I was visiting downtown, I was disappointed to find out that my favorite photograph had been cycled out and replaced.

It wasn’t until 2014 that I had begun to consciously realize my odd fascination with cigarettes and smoking. My family and I were visiting relatives in Austria; there was some type of festival going on. One of the vendors there carried gum cigarettes (like candy cigarettes, but they were made out of bubblegum), and I bought two boxes without second thought. A bubblegum-cigarette dangled from my lips for the rest of the night, and it sounds silly, but it felt relieving and almost natural to have it in my presence, fiddling with it when it wasn't near my mouth. Of course my siblings gave me crap and keep pulling the “Mom, Janina thinks she’s a smoker!” bit. I still have the majority of the second pack camping out on my desk at home.

I’ve also attained the “skill” of being able to tell the quality of cigarettes just by the smell. Most cheap, American cigarettes are gross to me. The good ones are European. Every now and again, lurking the halls of Chinese international students, I will get a whiff of the best smelling cigarettes and I find myself standing outside of the door of a certain apartment for at least 5 minutes before I realize I need to snap out of it and keep moving. It’s a comforting smell to me, especially when I’m stressed.

Now that I’m in university, every now and again when I become really overwhelmed, and I get a whiff of the “good stuff”, I feel drawn into the scent and I just want to stand next to the smoker and enjoy the second hand smoke. Either that or I think about buying a pack for the next hour or so.

I have racked my brain countless times, trying to find the reason why I have this attraction and fascination with cigarettes; where did it come from, why do I have it? I probably won’t touch them anytime soon, because I feel like if I do, there is no going back. Also I have to keep reminding myself that if I start smoking, then basically I waste my money on smokes rather food, which as a foodie, is a very unappealing idea to me.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj_89L_ovrRAhVP92MKHeTNBBsQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnomirar.deviantart.com%2Fart%2FXI-Coffee-and-Cigarettes-105308838&psig=AFQjCNGzj2O3zuipQOMWD9ns5poT-FP_tA&ust=1486429314172740

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22 Things Girls Who Grew Up In the Mid-90s Know To Be True

19. You were so tired of losing your Bratz dolls' feet.
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For 90s babies, our childhood was such a magical time. Our biggest problems revolved around if and when we'd get to meet Aaron Carter, whether or not our mom had washed our favorite Hollister t-shirt, or the growing debate over which Jonas brother was the cutest. In case you forgot, here are some facts of life for any girls who grew up in the 90s.

1. Jesse McCartney and Aaron Carter were the real heartthrobs before JB or Harry Styles ever hit the scene.



2. Disney Channel aired shows that were actually enjoyable.



3. Birkenstocks are making their second round right now. We wore them out back in the day.



4. Speaking of shoes, you've probably owned at least three different styles of New Balances because they were all the rave and so comfortable, and you wonder why they ever became unpopular.



5. THESE bracelets



6. You saw Amanda Bynes in her prime.



7. In middle school, you watched a lot of reality dating shows.



8. Abercrombie and Hollister were so "in," but your mom always pushed for Gap or Old Navy.



9. Had to have one... or five.



10. You probably have a lot of memories from the skating rink.

11. SO MANY CDs.



12. When Teen Beach Movie came out, the hype reminded you of when High School Musical made its big debut.

13. You were probably obsessed with Laguna Beach or The Hills or both. Team LC, Team Heidi, or Team Kristin?



14. Your crush on Taylor Lautner stemmed not from "Twilight" but from "Shark Boy and Lava Girl."

15. Karaoke, anyone?

16. Cell phone charms and rhinestones! The more bling the better.



17. Talking on the house phone ALL NIGHT LONG.



18. Picking your husband from either Backstreet Boys or NSYNC.

19. You were so tired of losing your Bratz dolls' feet.

20. When the Jonas Brothers came out, everyone liked Nick and Joe, and you secretly felt bad for Kevin.

21. Planning your whole life out ...

22. Lisa Frank over everything.

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An Open Letter To My Youngest Self

From, the young adult finding comfort in the past while lost in the present.

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Dear future big person,

Speaking from experience, the world is a crazy place. It's sad, yet exciting to know what the future holds for you. The world has been taken over by devices and electronics most never thought were possible.

If you're wondering why I'm writing to you, it's because I care a lot more now than I did back when I was you. I'm your Marty McFly, here to tell you how to prepare for the future. (Don't ask me what that reference is –you figure it out!).

For starters, let's talk about this technology thing. Gameboys, Nintendo DS', Wiis, Xboxes –don't mess with them. Television is fine –if the people from the Cold War survived it, we can, too. I want you to spend time enjoying the real world, not the electronic, fake one.

I want you to go outside and sit in the grass, pick those dandelions and mash them up into "paint." Paint mom something nice and maybe go for a bike ride with dad. Catch lightning bugs at dusk and bottle them all up in a mason jar. Eventually, let them free, all together.

Your brother is gross and weird, but he actually turns out to be a pretty cool kid. You don't have to be all mushy with him, but be sure he knows you love him. After all, he is family.

Make friends in the neighborhood, even if they are boys. So what? Challenge them. Race them on your bike with awesome purple and white streamers drifting from the handlebars. Push hard, through the soles of your Sketchers covered feet.

Pick up a piece of chalk and create a world of your own world with 3,000 Toys R Us stores, one police station, and only a few stop signs. Create and color your own flowers, whether they actually exist or not. Let your imagination run wild!

Turn on the radio and dance like crazy! Scream the lyrics to Smashmouth's "All Star" and Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape." Change the station every now and then to hear something new; it's always interesting to see your reactions to these interesting creations.

I want you to wear what you feel like and don't care what the others say about you. If you want to wear your purple dress-up shoes with your matching purse and hat, then do it. If you want to wear a Hula skirt in the dead of winter, do it (but please bring some leggings so mom doesn't flip out). If you want to wear those bedazzled jeans, then rock 'em.

If you're wondering why I'm telling you to do these silly things, it's only because we lost these traits along the way. I don't want you to miss the experiences that only come from the natural world because you had your head stuck in a tablet; it will all pass you in the blink of an eye.

I don't want you to ever feel trapped inside your house, no matter the weather. There is always a way out.

Don't let other people stop you from getting something you want. Don't let them intimidate you or talk you out of something you are passionate about.

Your friends will be the people you escape to when the house seems inescapable. Treat them the way you would like to be treated.

Your imagination is one of the greatest gifts you'll ever have. It drives you –your hopes and dreams, your wishes in the fountain and your kisses to the dandelions. Don't ever stop chasing them.

Always, always do what you want to do. You sing karaoke to that super catchy song because you know you'll kill it. Wear what you want however you want because you know that you look good in some strange way. (As long as you're not naked, that is). Stubbornness is good.

Your family will always be your family. What they do affects you, and vice versa. Bring them good, positive news. They don't need any more trouble.

Stand up for yourself, for your friends and family, for your beliefs and wishes. Be proud of the work you do and the life you live. Many people around you wish they could have lived like you did.

Most importantly, do not let your past define your future. A lot of things will happen, some of which may or may not go horribly wrong. There is nothing you can do to stop these things, except hope. You can always change for the better as long as you don't look back. Be proud of your past, but be known for your future –whatever you want that to be.

Please, promise me these things. I can't stress enough how important it is for you to never lose these traits –hold them tightly and never release them. I can't tell you how this life is going to go, because that simply isn't the way this world works. Just breathe through it and listen to your gut –that's the future guiding you.

I, and many others, love you –your character, your curls, your studded jeans,your pink Power Ranger costume, your Hello Kitty backpack, and your goofy smile.

Don't ever forget that.

With love,

The Girl Who Is Lost And Trying To Turn Back Time.

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