Last night I dreamt that I smoked one cigarette after another. I was ravenous. Light it up, suck it down, and do it again. This went on and on. It made me happy, enveloped in a cloud of smoke with a goofy smile on my face.
The weird thing is that I don’t even smoke. I tried it a few times as a kid, but that’s been more than 20 years ago. I loathe smoking. It’s my life’s mission to convince every one of my smoking patients to quit for their own damn good.
So why did I dream about smoking, and why did I seem to enjoy it so much?
I took to Google. “What does it mean to dream about smoking,” I typed in the header. It turns out from unsubstantiated internet sources that to dream of smoking means one is trying to alleviate anxiety. Makes sense. For the past year, I’ve been trying to alleviate anxiety in every conceivable fashion. I’ve seen a counselor. I started meditating. I run. I’ve stuck to a routine sleep and wake cycle. I do yoga. I’ve made an effort to eat more fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. I’ve done everything I tell my patients to do, yet here I am, dreaming about lighting up, and it actually made me feel better!
What I haven’t done — what I have avoided like the plague — is doing anything counterproductive to my health, like drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, taking illicit drugs, or, alas, smoking.
But subconsciously after all of my good intentions, all I want is a fucking cigarette!
- Is it a coincidence that my attempts at gaining a foothold on my health and well-being started around the time that 45 was caught talking about grabbing pussy or lurking menacingly behind the only female presidential candidate during those awful debates?
- Is it a coincidence that with each healthcare bill that looks more and more like the death panels our Republican friends accused Obamacare of creating, my gut turns into an ever-tighter, twisted knot?
- Could it be that threatening North Korea with the might of the great U.S. military and the increased possibility of nuclear war has thrown me into an internal panic the likes of which the world has never seen?
There isn’t enough yoga in the world that’s going to ease my fears right now, but Lord a cigarette sure would help!
True, the antics of the past year have officially grated on my nerves, but there’s another possible interpretation of a dream about smoking. In that second interpretation, the dreamer is rebelling against some situation in which they find themselves. I’m doing that, too!
- Do I have my political representatives on speed dial? Yes.
- Am I included on some secret FBI government database of American troublemakers? Probably.
- Do I march, speak, write, protest, curse, pray, yell? Yes. Yes. Yes!
- Have I found like-minded folks, folks who are equally angst-ridden about the situation in which they find themselves and are organizing for action? Like the kids who hung out in the smoking section in high school, yes, I’m finding my tribe!
There are more and more of us. Haggard. Exhausted. Frustrated. Woke. Our eyes are wide open, wide awake, and we are not going back. There is no going back to the way America was — or seems still to be — racist, sexist, elitist, ageist.
America will be great, not because of 45 and his antics, but in spite of it.
Yoga and meditation have taught me about the breath. It’s our life source and a natural way to calm our restlessness and anxiety. I know that contaminating my breath with the smoke from a cigarette is not the answer. I know that it will only create more harm. I will continue my quest of a healthy lifestyle to combat stress — proper diet, exercise, sleep, and meditation. I will avoid things that could cause me harm, like Fox News, smoking, drugs, and alcohol. But I’m never giving up caffeine. Never. It would take a nuclear holocaust to stop me from consuming copious amounts of caffeine.
I, like America, am a work in progress.