The other day I exited my apartment and there was a man smoking a cigarette in the hallway. While I didn’t know him personally, he looked like a guest of one of my neighbors. I took one look at him and before I realized words were coming out of my mouth, I said, “Uhm, sir, can you please smoke that outside?” He was standing by an open window and even though there was a cloud of smoke dancing around his head, it wasn’t that bad. He quickly apologized and threw the cigarette out. I said, “thanks, I’m sorry” because I was. He said he was leaving soon and I made an acknowledging smile even though he was long gone and didn’t see.
I entered the elevator and immediately decided that if I had the ability to do so, I would surely kick myself in the face. Did I really just tell someone not to smoke in the hallway? The hallway with a window that greeted the smoke with open arms? The same hallway I had so easily smoked in years ago, on the steps and away from the window, with no regard for other tenants? Sure, I was a youth and going through an unruly phase but just because I was mutating into an adult didn’t mean I had to become an obnoxious one.
This incident reminded me of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. I read it in college and faintly recall discussing that Gregor Samsa turned into a giant beetle and this was a metaphor for his existential life crisis. At first he was uncomfortable in his new beetle body but before we all knew it, he was racing up and down the walls like all of the other gross wall-climbing critters.
Where am I going with this? Not sure. Honestly, I just needed an excuse to write that I’ve been feeling like a helpless beetle lately, stuck on my back and waving my creepy little beetle arms around like I care a lot. My anti-smoking request was just the click I needed to hear to realize that I too am in a new body, mind and soul.
It’s uncomfortable and confusing and like the voices in my head, the changes just won’t stop. Next thing I know I’ll be lecturing people on why dairy is bad for you and the dangers of gluten. Oh, wait. I do do that. But in the words of the great lyricist Tupac Shakur, “Come on come on, that’s just the way it is, things’ll never be the same, that’s just the way it is, aww yeah.” I feel you, Pac. I feel you and Gregor but I’m wondering when I will feel like myself and be okay with it.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my life, MS and all. Maybe even because of the MS because now at least I know. But sometimes I wish I could go back to a time when that wasn’t the case. I sometimes day dream of the glorious days when I was ignorant and didn’t know why smoking (and everything else) was so bad for me. Or rather, didn’t really care.
But I suppose it is what it is and time must move forward, whether I’m ready for it or not. I’m comforted, though, by the simple fact that maybe some things will never change and that is okay with me.
Have you ever felt like a giant beetle? Share your thoughts about change, MS or anything you wish to comment on. It will melt my smoke-free heart. And don’t forget to subscribe to posts via email! Click here to get started.