Monday, November 14, 2011

Bad Habits

As everyone around me is talking about the approaching holiday season, I’m thinking about the coming of a new year. Since I tend to be introspective, I often think about who I am and who I want to be. I’m sure I’ll be writing about that a great deal over the next six weeks. Today, though, I’m thinking about my bad habits.

I smoke cigarettes. I began smoking at age 15 for an incredibly stupid reason: I was a good kid, and I wanted to do something bad. I needed to rebel, so my high-school best friend and I bought a pack of cigarettes and off we went. Twenty years later, I’m still a half-pack per day smoker. I know it’s bad for me; I know all the reasons I should quit. J. quit about a month ago, and I want to quit soon, but I’m just not quite ready. It’s more of a mental thing than a physical one. I like smoking (even though that makes me a pariah these days), and I just don’t *want* to quit yet.

I use language that would offend sailors in a brothel, and I’m not ashamed of it. I think this stems – in part – from my mom’s efforts to control my language use. I wasn’t allowed to say pee, darn, or dangit. As far as my mom (and her parents) were concerned, those were just lite versions of swear words, which made them swear words, too. I think the strict rules placed upon me as a kid made me a lot more prone to swear as an adult. Of course, I know that there’s an appropriate place for “bad” language, and I can control myself. But for many years my favorite curse word was Jesus-fucking-Christ. I’ve mellowed a bit in my 30’s; now I say “sweet baby cheeses” as often as I say “motherfucker.” It’s all about progress…right?

I drink coffee, and soda, and wine, and liquor. I don’t drink any of them to excess, and I rarely drink liquor, but I like – even love – all of them. I like good food: rich pastas, and thick steaks, and lots of starches. And I’ll be damned if I’ll eat fat-free cheese. I try to eat the really bad stuff in moderation, but enjoying a meal is one of the greatest pleasures in life, and I’m not going to have regrets for doing just that!

Patience is not a virtue with which I was blessed, nor is it a virtue I desire to have. As far as I’m concerned, patience is for people who can’t keep up. My lack of patience makes me organized (because I can’t stand wasting time searching for things) and productive (because I rarely procrastinate, since that just keeps things on my to-do list longer). The downside is that I become irritated easily when things aren’t going as quickly as I think they should, or when I feel that people are making things harder than they need to be.

Do you know what dermatillomania is? Until Saturday, I didn’t either, even though I’ve had it since I was a child. It’s also known as neurotic excoriation or compulsive skin picking. It can manifest in lots of ways, but in my case, I pick at scabs. I cannot tolerate the feel of a scab, so I have to remove it. (I find this very interesting, since I know that I’m a very tactile person, and I wonder how much the two things are related). Dermatillomania is a type of OCD, and is often found in people who suffer from other mental illnesses, including depression. The picking is worse during times of stress, and (not surprisingly) I’ve been picking much more often during the last three months. It’s a comfort, in a way, to find that this thing I’ve always called a nervous habit actually has roots in my mind, and that it’s *not* just a bad habit.

I’m sure I have other bad habits, but these are the worst. As I reflect on 2011, I’ll be making plans to work on some of these habits, and try to find ways to better myself in 2012.

2 comments:

RoseAnn said...

And...am I allowed to just copy and paste that list onto my own blog? LOL I swear, I'm skeptical that we'll ever meet because I'm not sure we both exist as independent people. ;)

Except for smoking, this list pretty much sums me up. I do take exception to the food and drink paragraph. As long as you are generally healthy (smoking ), I don't see the issue with good meals in moderation.

One of my most noticable stress signals is my fingers. I don't bite my fingernails but I will shred the skin around them and it gets so bad when I'm stressed out! I never knew it had a name but I have to make a conscious effort to leave scabs alone.

RoseAnn said...

My (smoking) thing doesn't make sense once the ~cough~ was taken out. So hard to remember which pages will allow tags. LOL

It should read: "generally healthy (smoking ~cough~). ;)