It’s Not A Habit, It’s Cool, I Feel Alive

I’m trying to cut back my gum chewing habit. It is not going very well.

I decided to try to cull my chewing after waking up with a brutal tension headache the day of my move. I couldn’t figure out where it came from until I put my first three pieces of gum in my mouth and chewed. Yes, I chew three pieces of gum at a time. (I’ve tried four, but it feels like a bit much.) I felt that familiar jaw and tongue tension send shooting pains into my head and knew my good chewing days were behind me.

I decided to really buckle down and stop just pretending I was buckling down when I gave myself a terrible, gum-induced stomachache at work a few days later.

The next day, I hardly chewed any at all. Maybe half a pack, which is not much gum for someone like me (cut to Buster’s “I’m a MONSTER!!” scene from Arrested Development). I usually average three packs of Orbit’s Wintermint a day or two and a half of Orbit’s not-as-good peppermint flavor, in lowercase for a reason. I don’t chew other flavors because they are gross. Trust me when I tell you I know what gross is.

I patted myself on the back and congratulated myself on my will power and maturity. The gum doesn’t chew me, I chew it, I’m a whole person! I was a fool.

That was last Wednesday. The next day, Thursday, my boss let me go home early to unpack my new apartment. While I was out of the office, several people got laid off. I learned about that Friday morning. Now we enter Excuses Land. It’s next to my hometown of Denial and I’m always happy to make the trip.

Coping with the stress of the layoffs, the stress of moving, and the stress of just being an adult human being (you can stay up as late as you want, but that’s really the best part) was not easy. I started treating myself with two pieces at a time, just now and then, chasing that Good, Clean Feeling I love so much. Went ahead and had three at the end of the day, just to relax before bed. Before I knew it, entire packs were disappearing in one episode of Walking Dead, and I don’t have cable so that was without commercials. Now I’m sitting at my work desk with an aching jaw and a rumbling stomach wondering where that tough girl from last Wednesday has gone.

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