Thursday, April 11, 2013

For the Grieving....

Not Actual Joe....
I lost a really great friend this week. Joe was probably one of the best I will ever have and that says a LOT because I have been really blessed in life with some great people. He really stood out though. There are so many people writing things about him and sharing their favorite memories of him because he was pure gold. I needed to write my own feelings about him down mostly because they are mine, but everyone sees a person a different way. I had nothing but love for my friend. I can feel the empty space in me that his soul's departure has left. Right now, it hurts like the dickens.

Joe was one of the first people I met when I started roller derby just a few years ago. The very first night we hung out together, I gave him a ride to our league's first (now annual) Ugly Sweater Party. My car was broken into that night, the window smashed in. He expressed to me that somehow (in his crazy mind) he felt a little responsible, having ridden in with me. I dismissed him, but regardless, the very next morning, there was a mobile window repairman at my place looking to patch up my window. I called him up and yelled at him that he barely knew me! He had no right! He simply answered that he would not let me drive my kids around in the winter cold without a window and he knew that single moms didn't always have the resources to deal with these situations. THAT was just Joe. Well....he won my heart that day. He won it over and over again many days after.

The REAL Joe
He wouldn't really let me ever pay him back for the window, so I told him that I would be his ride to derby practice for as long as he needed one. (He wasn't driving at the time.) We got to be very close and even my kids came to love him. He became the friend I would call to come over for dinner, go to punk shows with, go swimming, and just bum around and watch movies. He was so very smart and not very fun to play trivia games with. He had a Master's degree in he seemed to retain just about any information that went near his head. He would work on my car in exchange for food. He helped me move and clean out my old place. He would help ANY friend with just about ANYTHING they ever needed and you hardly even had to ask. What he wouldn't do, is ever ask for help.

Everyone who ever knew him, loved him. He was a tall guy with piercings and a mohawk some of the time who wore a stoic expression most of the time. He was nothing like he appeared. He was goofy, dorky, sensitive, weird, awkward, shy, humble, and amazing. I know so many people that miss him so much right now, not the least of whom, his own daughter, Roxanne. She was his life and his light. He loved talking about her more than any other topic in the world.
My heart goes to her and his family. The short time I knew him made a HUGE impact on me. He will never be forgotten because he made me a better person just for knowing him. Rest in peace big left a Joe-size hole in this world that nobody else can fill.

Friday, April 5, 2013

How to Quit

I've been asked by TONS of people to write about this. Last year, I quit smoking. I have stayed smoke free since my quit date without a single deviation. This is NO small feat as any smoker knows. Nicotine might be the single most addictive substance out there. Smokers poison themselves slowly and tell themselves it's because they love it because that addiction is so very strong. TRUTH.

Now, I'm not all crusader-y about it (or maybe I am) but I definitely feel like if I could do it, anyone can. I smoked for almost 20 years straight. TWENTY FREAKING YEARS! I quit here and there, but nothing ever really stuck. The bottom line is: I wasn't ready to REALLY commit to quitting. Once you get over that enormous mental hurdle, the rest is cake. Seriously. THAT was my big secret to quitting. You HAVE to be able to tell yourself with complete honesty that you will NEVER, NOT EVER take another drag off a cigarette ever again. And you have to believe it.

First, I set my quit date a couple weeks in advance to mentally prepare myself. It was after my injury last year, so I set my quit date for the day I was getting out of my walking boot. My rationale was, I would be able to move around more instead of being tempted to sit on my ass and smoke. I got some of the nicotine patches to help with cravings, but I got the lowest dosage. I only used them with a little regularity for the first few weeks, then I only put one on when I went out to a bar or party. It really helped with initial temptations.

The BEST tool/resource/aid in my success at quitting HANDS DOWN was this FREE app a friend recommended called Quit Now. It was instrumental and essential in my journey. This app tracks your progress. It tells you how much of your health is returning, how much money you are saving, puts you in contact with others quitting, gives you tips, and marks every achievement no matter how small. It gives you something concrete to refer to so that your accomplishments are marked and have substance. I could not endorse this application more.

Lastly, share your mile markers with friends and family. The support they offer can also make a huge difference. My kids were my biggest cheerleaders and the reason I gave my all. It was easier than I ever thought it could be because of them. I want to be in great health for them and share all their experiences in their lives....not in another room or hanging around outside smoking. I never realized what a time sucker that stuff was! It even becomes a smoker's way of measuring time. STUPID.

This morning I was asking my son if he thought I was forgetting something...because I thought I did and sometimes he is very helpful. He was going through a mental list with me saying, "Keys? Purse? Your money?" all those. Then he stunned me by adding to the list, "Smokes?" I stopped short, looked at him and laughed. I said, "Mama quit smoking over a year ago! I don't carry those!" It felt SO fantastic to say out loud, I had to say it a few more times. I QUIT SMOKING! (You can too.)