Then I text my stoner cousin how I think ima smoker now; which took me awhile to lean into, mostly due to asthma. But there were these years I kept remembering not remembering. The years where I hibernated and forged what people are now calling the beginning of my career. Which isn’t inaccurate—I’m still nowhere near where I want to be—but I do find it funny considering the beginning is now going on a decade. But these years I’m referring to, where I revised myself and book #1; wrote book #2; and defended a draft of book #3 for a degree I never cared about getting, do not exist as accomplishments in my mind. I only remember them as me laying across this brown, raggedy futon that still haunts me since it reminds me that if I didn’t spend three years on it—I never would’ve known the difference between dire ambition and depression.
Before I laid down in both—I didn’t believe weed worked on me. I had tried all forms of it—the blunt, the bong, etc, but never felt it in my body so I thought it wasn’t working right; everybody kept reveling this ‘head high’ that never seemed to translate to my brain. Then edibles got recommended to me. I learn to make my own—brownies mostly—and learn excess is the only way I can enjoy cannabis; and by enjoy, I mean not constantly wonder if depression a for now thing, an Accutane thing, or an always thing. I know the answer. But I get so high it lasts days. I get so high I’m vibrating constantly. I’m reminded my body has breath. Still nothing in my head tho, but my mouth swallows whatever it can find. Hunger has sustained me in more ways than one. Like I said, I was high for three years straight. I didn’t make any friends. I didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t move hardly unless it was time to shower and/or shit. I mean, one time I tried to watch BlacKkKlansman three times in a row but kept forgetting to pay attention. It’s a long ass movie. Actually, that movie is just not good, so nvm. One time, I was “teaching” a 10 am Intro to Creative Writing course and the brownie hit and I stood at the white board for 10 minutes with an Expo marker in my hand tryna figure out how to correctly write the word repetition. And that was the life that left me. No one believes me when I say I struggle all day and the first memory of the halt was probably around seven years old. So I don’t really know how I did anything; I guess I’m just lucky over-productivity is a symptom of something and somehow all this evidence of my progress is why it’s almost impossible for me to get properly diagnosed.
After so much overindulging, I quit. This too is a common practice I have. I get bored. I felt myself starting to need weed in order to function, or have a conversation with my family; and both things reminded me of my father—who is a completely different person I don’t like without it. I stop. I start. There’s no balance and it’s been a lifelong issue. But even with the insomnia and depression and anxiety and all the things, two weeks ago I finished book #4 and I’m now about 30 thousand words into book #5. It’s a novel I think. None of this is a flex, I swear, I need help. But nobody is listening. Even when I write it all down. But as I finished, I remembered I had 1 ½ blunts left over from my best friend’s Blunts N’ Brunch birthday extravaganza the weekend before, so I went out on the patio and lit them while listening to the slowed and reverbed version of “Hold On” by The Internet on an hour loop. This is after I drive to Dallas and leave my mama’s house with capsules of Sentraline and Buspirone; but I don’t steal enough of them in order for the good effects to actually start working, so instead I feel nauseous constantly, like I’m regurgitating my hereditary mishaps, and the Buspirone causes me homicidal nightmares immediately, so I hide them from myself in a backpack in my closest and stay up 72 hours straight. I don’t write a thing. Both writing and not writing is starting to feel like a self-inflicted punishment; especially since I told myself I didn’t wanna spend this year heartbroken or high but you know… plans change. I know how to adapt. And doing life raw somehow feels elitist.
For 4/20 my best friend made a trip to San Antonio with a zip and for four days straight, all we did was eat edibles, watch Flavor of Love, drive to Whataburger, and smoke. This is before I hid the antidepressants and she sees the container and asks me what’s in them. I don’t lie, but I don’t mention how they’re not prescribed to me even if everybody already knows how my mama has been handing out her pills for years, for free. Anyways, she looks at me pitifully when she calls out my name like I’ve never mentioned my tendency to sit in dark rooms for weeks. She holds her blunt between her middle and ring finger, which seems odd to me, but she’s a pro so I don’t ask no questions, just nod my head to let her know she heard what she heard. That maybe someone will finally start hearing me, but all she says is “Kendra… the only drug you need to ease yo mind is this one,” which is rich, considering we did shrooms together a few months earlier. Anyways, she holds what’s in her hand to the sky like a symbol and I say nothing, but before she leaves, she makes me write in my calendar to be at her birthday party in two weeks; tells me the party is of course weed-themed; that she got me a shirt with a cannabis plant on it and everything. I tell her I’m quitting weed. I never know if signs are signs or just tests. Anyways, at the party, she gifts all her guests infused kool aid and pre-rolls.
So while I’m on my patio smoking said pre-rolls alone—like really alone—I know not a single soul in the city I live in, and I prefer this life over all my other ones—I think how smokers are so generous; they never wanna do it alone if they don’t got to. I never wanted to share my edibles, mostly because I felt I needed them to get through my day, but now my days are kinda my own—which I’m grateful for, so as I inhale, something happens to my head. Not to be too headass, but there’s a sense a clarity that takes precedence over the high. One that encourages me to slow down… on my own accord this time. That it’s safe enough to finally do so now. One that reminds me of my favorite line by one of my favorite writers where she says: “I am willingly to accept the loss of everything I love if it means I won’t be crazy.” One that reminds me there has never been a more accurate statement about my life. One that tells me silence won’t kill me so I turn this perfect song off and sit in the wind and convince myself it’s ok to both want and learn love and enjoy things. I used to cough a lot whenever I tried to smoke. Like cough until tears formed—because again—asthma—but I notice how the reaction is nonexistent on this night; how I like the way I feel. How I welcome the heat. How I finally get it, I think. I feel the calm that everyone else has claimed is the catalyst of their creativity, which is something I complained about not feeling whenever my father used to hand me a blunt and encouraged me it was all I needed in order to be versus constantly searching for the thing that would make me last; how weed is how he attempted to bond but I rejected it because I thought of it as another reminder of another thing he loved more than me. I never woulda grew up had I accepted all his offers, so I don’t regret my decline. & not grow up in the ‘strip myself of all joy’ way, but grow up in the ‘you will never be perfect,’ way. I can’t explain what I mean by that, but my cousin texts me back This seems like the gateway to an asthma attack but cool, it’s yo life to which I reply, Girl, if I die, I die and send her a picture of my doobies.