Okay so this was a weird one to write because I started it without any real objective and therefore took quite a while to figure out where it was going and what the hell I was actually writing about. I still don’t think this post is actually about anything. There’s no real central theme. It’s pretty much just a few disjointed ideas about self identity, longing, ambivalence and desire.
So here we go:
I had always admired the nonchalance of the act of smoking. It commands an aura of gentle defiance as the smoke whisphers between the lips and wafts outwards into obscurity. It presented a desirable alternative to my limp arms, hanging defeated in the stiff air of self-consciousness. However, I could never settle naturally into taking it on as a habit. I was confined to being a little girl feigning rebellion and coughing violently as the bitterness engorged my throat. I was destined to settle in the admiration of the idea of it rather than to be a part of it. I was always jealous of the actively participatory solitude it presented. It was acceptable to smoke in a social circle, privy to your own actions but still present. Instead I would be delegated to sit with my silent musings, not really knowing what to do with myself.
Outright rejection was the lesser of the two cruels. It was easier to understand and to swallow, even through the hefty gulps and slobbering tears. No was clear, straight to the point. It was harsh but firm and expelled ambiguity in its singular force and short but solid stance. It made sense. In the maze of mixed emotions, a simple no was a relief. It pained me to be thought of as a consideration. As if I had potential but there was something missing or maybe inchoate that left me hanging in the fragile edges of ‘maybe’ but ‘not quite’. I wanted to be sutured into his thoughts and forged into a permanent mark in the back of his mind. I wanted to be a fixture but was instead a passing thought.
Crushes were always strange. A simple gesture became significant. A smile became a promise. It inferred a connection in the few seconds it took to soften a face into a shared moment. Yet the same action performed by someone else was diluted by a relative lack of feeling towards that person.
I was never really meant to lean on the pillar of rebellion.
James Dean meticulously positioned like a work of art, embodying the poster child for the disaffected youth, smiling wryly, immortalising a legacy that would surpass him. That was the dream: effortless charisma and cheating death through iconography.
What is there for me to rebel against? I’ve had blessings and opportunities lined up for me in series since I was born. Rich girl, fancy house, attending privileged institutions and playing tennis on the weekend. But I have also had sadness storming, brewing in the outskirts, waiting to topple those blessings in a gust of wind like a domino effect.
I simultaneously value my upbringing but want to find out who I am outside my family’s opinions. This can lead to small increments of thought-conflict but I see my mom and then proceed to see parts of her sneaking up into myself. In all honesty there’s no one else I’d rather be.
Grappling with religion, refusing to study, late night antics and turning deaf ears to good advice. I’m terrified of parental critique even though I know they just want what’s best for me. I dislike the idea of seeing too much of someone else in my thought process even if I come from a family of high achievers. Is there anyone else I’d rather be influenced by if it’s not my family who have so much wisdom to impart? Even with my bias, my family is objectively impressive.
My main rebellion was against how I see myself in contrast to how I am seen by others. Quiet girl, shy, locked up in her room, aware of her good fortune but stuck inside the confines of social isolation. Trapped inside the four corners of a beautiful, spacious home. Maybe there are a lot of other people who deserve this life more than I do but I am the one it is handed to.
Smoking is a toxic and harmful habit. This is semi-ancient, hammered-in knowledge. Yet people with relatively in depth know-how of its effect remain undeterred. I know some of its biological effects however, I see a picturesque, Don Draper styled, thematic scene representing both the dissident and a secret death-wish every time someone lights a cigarette. It’s self-destructive but can easily be made accessible. It can be likened to the idealisation of someone who is ultimately bad for you. You know smoking is bad but you try it out anyway. You know he’s bad for you but you like the idea of him anyway. Smoking is riddled with social consequences whether the habit is encouraged or not.
If I could somehow turn my adolescent alienation into some larger than life persona. Cigarettes for escapism and not decoration. The marriage of your unashamed self with a presence that’s captivating and inescapable. Foolish feelings of wanting to feel desired matched with being the object of desire.
I don’t really know what I want. Sometimes I look at something outside of myself, something a little dangerous but not too much, in the hopes that maybe it could take me away, teach me something, add something. I inch a little further away from how I’ve been raised but in the end I always come running back. Pseudo rebellion. No real cause, no real result.