Classy photo, right? I was trying to find a “naughty” picture to use for this post.
Fortunately, I happen to have several “F*ck you” pictures in my mobile gallery.
… Not something I’m too proud of, by the way.
After a food-exploration date with Sex Monster the other night — we went to this awful place where the food was terrible and weird and the dinnerware was completely mismatched and strange — we were walking back to his car and casually chatting. My hand was tucked into his coat pocket, balled up in his palm and leeching off of his body heat while we strolled and talked about whatever came to our minds.
“I think I’m going to quit drinking.” I said suddenly, thinking out loud.
“Yeah? Why? Do you think you drink too much?” He asked.
“No, I don’t drink at all, actually.” Funny I should say that — I always seem to blog when I’m drunk, or after some sort of alcohol-induced escapade over a crazy weekend.
“So then why stop drinking?” He urged.
Resolutely, “I guess as some sort of personal challenge. Just to see if I can do it.”
“Ah, yes.” He always speaks so formally, enunciates so clearly. I find it sexy. “I understand that. I did the same thing when I started my juice fast.”
“Exactly!” I exclaimed, immediately pondering how hard it must have been for him to cut himself off from good food in favor of nothing but healthy bullshit, something I lack the mental willpower to try. I then began wondering whether quitting drinking would be similarly difficult, only to add quickly, “Wait, I’ve changed my mind. I’m not going to quit drinking.”
He laughed at that, though I can’t remember much of our conversation after.
Is drinking or indulging in vices really so bad?
Thinking back on that exchange today, I have a different thought: Maybe I should actually pick up a vice? Something that I know is bad for me, but that I do as a sort of stress relieving thing, or as something that makes me feel better about whatever sort of maddening situation I might be in?
Some people hide away a pack of cigarettes, for example, then pull one out in an emergency, finding solace in the dizzying buzz of man-made chemicals and nicotine. Other people might stow away a bit of chocolate in some secret drawer somewhere, or keep a bottle of wine tucked away for just this sort of occasion. Others may even quietly possess unconventional drugs or not-so-legal substances, though I’m sure they’d never admit this publicly. Then there’s shopping, overeating, yadda yadda — you get it.
Would it be so bad if I did the same?
Would it be wrong if I knowingly indulged in some random vice as a way to “escape”?
Here is the far-too-serious definition of a vice, courtesy of Dictonary.com (everyone’s favorite website):
1. an immoral or evil habit or practice.
2. immoral conduct; depraved or degrading behavior: a life of vice.
3. sexual immorality, especially prostitution.
4. a particular form of depravity.
5. a fault, defect, or shortcoming: a minor vice in his literary style.
Jeez. That doesn’t sound fun at all.
In every sad little definition provided above, nowhere does it say that one might actually find comfort in his or her vices. Nowhere does it say that one turns to vices in an attempt to escape whatever chaotic nonsense one might be going through. Nowhere does it mention that, in many ways, a vice can actually be a good thing. Though I guess these omitted definitions are more of a romantic and idealistic explanation (or excuse?) for turning to what the dictionary defines as “an immoral or evil habit or practice”.
I don’t know. It just sounds so bible-thumping to me. To imagine a world where someone isn’t allowed to have flaws or indulge in naughty or “evil” behavior — where’s the fun in that? I’m not a child anymore. I don’t have to be protected from the things that my parents didn’t want me to try or do. So why not give these immoral things a try?
Also, who’s to fucking judge me for the dark indulgence if I’m doing it in moderation and in the privacy of my own home? I wouldn’t be hurting anyone. I’m not going to run around killing people, my god. I’d just be … Y’know. Secretly doing something I know I probably shouldn’t be doing. That’s all.
“Giving in” should be an enjoyable experience.
I think that, as human beings, we all have these moments where we sort of feel this need to be self destructive. Where we’re going through hell and suddenly need to feel pain, or remember our mortality, or be reminded that there are things in this world worse than whatever current sadness or bedlam (I’ve always wanted to use that word, “bedlam”) we’re going through, and so we turn to things like vices in order to remember that we are the ones in control of our own personal turmoils.
I remember drinking for the first time. I remember smoking a cigarette for the first time. I remember dabbling in drugs for the first time. I remember every ridiculous thing that I’ve done for the first time, and the reasons why I did them as well. Most reasons centered around suddenly feeling like my life had gone to shit and I just had no other way to remember I was in control of everything. I just suddenly needed to hurt myself in some way in order to feel “okay”.
How emo and ridiculous is that? When writing, reading, drawing, creating and venting in some creatively expressive or productive way didn’t work for me, I would suddenly turn to new and unexplored vices. Things that I knew were awful for me, but that I wanted to do just to feel like I could regain control of my otherwise-crap life (crap at the time, of course — things are great at the moment). But again, I maintain that this is simply human nature to seek comfort by indulging in socially-bad behaviors.
But what I do know? I’m just a writer.
You tell me: Do you have any vices that you turn to when you’re in a state of chaos? Have you ever done anything self-destructive when you were going through some sort of emotional trauma or upsetting situation? Why do you think people turn to vices, and do you think that vices are necessarily “bad”? Sound off with your observations in the comments.
Sherilynn “Cheri” Macale
PS. Oh, and before one of you freaks out and thinks I’m here encouraging you all to indulge in bad behavior, please note that I am simply thinking out loud. I am, in no way, condoning that someone indulge in drugs or drinking etc — I am merely posing the questions I’ve asked above and supplementing them with situations/scenarios etc to provoke thought and conversation. Chill out, assholes.