Bad habits. They’re things our parents reprimand us for when we’re babies – you know constantly figuring out ways to tell us in Baby that boogers are not healthy snacks and that eating mud is not a carb substitute! As we grow older, these bad habits seem to take on another dimension and suddenly swallowing boogers seems like the habit du jour compared to the wonders of adolescence and adulthood and independence.
Sometimes, I wish bad habits were abstract. Things you justify to your children with logic and admonition.
But bad habits are not just concepts. In a lot of instances, bad habits are people. Flesh and blood human beings who seem okay on the outside but for some inexplicable reason have a hold on you that you can’t even justify, let alone articulate.
Joss Stone sings about her bad habit in one of her songs. Maybe she loved the guy she was singing about, but a lot of us don’t love the guy we’re talking about, and yet, we seem to cling to him in the vague hope that this once the bad habit will not be all that bad after all.
I don’t know where the whole saga begins, because it all starts off, as most relationships do, with a simple and innocent “hello”. The introduction slowly and surely slips into knowing each others' names, life histories, insecurities, loves and hates. You find yourself accumulating information by the second and processing it and storing it and re-hashing it just to be sure that you’ve got the facts down pat.
The next thing you know, this person is the centre of your universe and you can’t seem to find a way to justify this strange need you have to constantly be in this person’s presence. Just when you think all’s well in paradise, you’re crying all the time and wondering where the hell paradise went.
Even with all the crying, it’s impossible to let go. Somehow this person knows how to draw you into a circle of needing, constantly.
I really wish they're put this phenomenon under the “substance abuse” label, somewhere.
The irony is that the people who find themselves in this situation are often control freaks. In an everyday situation these people would not let someone past the giant, 10-foot thick brick wall they’ve built around them. However, some loophole in this seemingly flawless system allows the presence of this person to ensure that your little remaining sanity is f--k-d up.
The worst of it all is getting rid of a bad habit.
From cutting it off completely to sweating through an intense withdrawal, the process is painful to say the very least of it. The pain of it might be killing you on the inside, but one the other hand there are some who manage to derive some pleasure from your pain and go to town about their joy. I don’t know what the kick is really. It isn’t like people take advice seriously.
There is a moment when everything seems crystal clear. A moment when you wake up and no longer crave your bad habit. It’s the strangest thing, but you wish to go back to a more controlled intake rather than an overdose.
Maybe it’s me. Maybe I don’t know how to say no. Maybe I’m the only one who gets into these situations. In my four years of getting rid of a bad habit, I’ve learnt one very important lesson, saying no.
Because of this, there are days when I think I’m the only person on the planet. There are days when I read 100 pages more of a book because I have nothing else to do with my time. There are days, unfortunately, when I eat a bag of chips extra because I have no one to talk to who “understands me”. The rest of the time, when I’m not feeling miserable, I get on with my life because I know that five years down the line, I won’t regret this choice.