Nadja Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

my thoughts

    This page is...I've decided, where I get to spew and share my opinion. I'll change it as often as my schedule allows and sometimes maybe, even sooner depending on how I am feeling about "stuff". I'll tell you now that it will rarely be about music or playing the violin except for the times when it is. I invite you to spew and share as well. For an archive of my previous opinions, click here. Email


    Yup, at the time of writing this I have been a non-smoker for exactly 10 weeks. Me. Nadja Rose Catherine Salerno-Sonnenberg. Incredible. I am honestly still shocked at myself. A smoke in my hand was as much a part of me as the fiddle.

    Well, you know there are two parts to quitting smoking: the physical and the emotional. Let's start with the physical, shall we?

    Are you gonna eat that?? Can I have it?? Three glazed donuts stay. Does that steak come with a baked potato?? I'd like an extra baked potato with my order please...and fries too..thanks.

    You eat a lot when you quit smoking.

    You keep telling yourself that it's okay because it's temporary--just to get me through this awful withdrawal part. Eat, Nadja, go ahead you brave, strong woman. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do--go ahead and eat that meatball hero. That's the problem: if you go with that "ya gotta do" theory, then why don't I feel like I gotta run around the park or I gotta lift those weights or I gotta help that little old lady across the street? What I feel is I gotta eat that hot dog with melted velveeta on it...right now!!!

    The withdrawal part lasts a lot longer than they tell you. They tell you the nicotine is out of your system in 3 days. Just 3 days???? That's all it takes: 3 days of super discipline, and I'll be through the worse????


    I just said I passed 10 weeks, didn't I--am munchin on old soggy cheetos right now as I write this.

    Okay, okay enough about the food and eating.

    What else physical happens?

    Well for the first part, I'd say a good two weeks, you can't concentrate on anything. You just can't concentrate!!! It's amazing, really. I would stare at the music ... stare at the computer ... stare at the green light ... nuthin folks, nuthin. I actually tried to write this essay about quitting smoking after a month had passed. I wrote--I am not kidding, I wrote this--"Quitting smoking is hard ... it's really hard."

    And then I stared at the computer screen for about an hour. I marveled at the descriptive and emotional sentence I had written. I thought to myself why do I have to write more than that? After all, that is in essence what I want to say, isn't it? But a sentence does not an essay make, so ... I didn't post it.

    What else physical?

    Now everyone says to me, "Can't you breathe better, Nadj? Can't you take much deeper breaths now?" And ya know, yes, the answer is yes I can. But as I was telling my friend a little while ago, "How deep do I really need to breathe? It's not really very useful, breathing deeply. Those little short ones in and out have served me well for over 40 years." But whatever, I can breathe VERY deeply now.

    I was also told and I also read about how you cough up a lot of old stuff. Okay, I know this is very unpleasant, but you know when you do something like quit smoking, you really want to see these changes in your body. They are encouraging. I was looking forward to waking up in the morning and instead of drinking a hot cup of coffee and reading the newspaper while enjoying that all so important and welcome first smoke of the day, I would be leaning over my bathroom sink, looking at all the objects big and small, hard and soft, yellow and gray and brown and squishy all coming out of my mouth and doing the little circle/hora dance in the sink before going down the drain. You are supposed to cough that stuff up!! Where was it? Never happened to me--still hasn't. Dammit, I wanted to see that!!!!!!

    You know what happened to me? Pimples. Lots of pimples. Constellations of pimples right on my face for all to see and enjoy. Thank you very much. You are also supposed to taste your food better. Not me--not yet anyway. I should know: been eatin enough that's for sure. No, you know what happened to me big time? My sense of smell is at this point so acute that it is absolutely frightening and, let me add, totally not welcome. Folks, I don't need or want to smell every single person on the airplane--and I can. No joke. That's how intense my nose is these days. I can literally walk through the main cabin of an airplane and tell you what every person had for lunch that day, what kind of detergent they use on their clothes, what flavor of gum they're chewing, if they're wearing leather or plastic shoes, and which of the three sitting in a row actually laid the fart.

    Who needs to smell that well????

    How about the emotional part of quitting?

    Let's just talk a moment about your mood swings. What am I saying "mood swings." There are no mood swings. That implies a variety of moods. There is only one mood: bad mood.

    Why was I in such a bad mood??? If you think about it, I was doing something wonderful for myself and others around me. Why would I be in a bad mood about that? Maybe it was the fact that all I could do was sit in front of my music stand and stare at these little black things on the page while slurping long strings of cold pasta that didn't even have any sauce on it while my violin sat all by its lonesome in the case waiting for me to pick it up. I guess that could put you in a bad mood. But why did I snap at everyone?? That's not nice--but hell if I cared during that first month!

    Too bad for you lady who is checking me into the hotel, or sweet chinese man who does my dry cleaning, or the cool dude with the toupee that parks my car. Too bad for you people: I will be snapping at you!! Ha ha. I quit smoking, and now I will be snapping at all of you!!! Too bad!!

    Too bad if you give me one more ounce of that attitude flight!!

    No time for being politically correct when you've quit smoking. No, sir. Stewardess!!! Servant in the sky!! SERVANT IN THE SKY!!!!!!

    But you know what's absolutely amazing?? When you tell people, "I'm sorry, please understand, I've just quit smoking," they're all so supportive and happy and forgiving. It really is something. I can't think of another situation where you can verbally abuse someone in public, and they couldn't be happier about it. Which ya know, has got me thinking ... hmmm, if I just keep saying that, perhaps I could milk this for a few more years.

    But what I've just said speaks volumes about the state of smoking in this world. I grew up with a very European attitude about smoking. It's just something that you do and enjoy, and I never thought it would kill me, and who knows maybe that's why I never, ever felt any ill effects of smoking. Not even after 29 years. Living longer is not the reason I quit. I stopped smoking because it is too stressful to be a smoker now. It's too much. People treat you poorly, you are constantly scrounging and searching for a place to light up, you are banned from anything social, people look at you in nasty ways--they shouldn't, but they do anyway. They think they're so superior. It's too much; it got to me. Well you know everyone is always talking about eliminating stress in your life. Eliminating stress is always about something so simple. Just make a few decisions that will alter your life...that's all. But we are all so afraid to make those decisions. If society is not going to accept me and embrace me the way I am, then I have two choices: leave society or change. I cannot leave society, not yet anyway. So I made a difficult life decision. Very difficult because I was a die-hard smoker. I was rebellious about it and hated more than anyone people telling me what to do with my body. And just for the record, I still don't buy all that second hand smoke shit.

    Never will. In the 30's, 40's 50's it was considered fabulous to smoke. Everyone did was cool. Now it isn't. We are told it will kill us, and we are simply not allowed to do it anymore. Fine. That's life now. That's the way it is. When you see the trend spreading to Ireland, England, Italy, Brasil--well you really can't ignore it anymore. If you can't beat em, join em. And besides, I am tired of the fight.

    So I'm at 10 weeks today. How am I different? I eat a lot and smell too much. Okay, it's time for the weight to come off now, and I'll get used to this new nose of mine. What have I learned? Quitting smoking is hard. Really hard. But can I share something with you? I have to say that right now, this very moment, I am so proud of myself I could just cry. I can't believe I did it--I really did it. I quit smoking. The last person on earth you'd think would quit, but I did it. And I sincerely hope that I don't become that horrible ex-smoker person who frowns everytime someone lights up and does that annoying fake cough thing--I really don't want to be that person. And I don't want to be the person who's always telling you to quit. They are almost always people who have never smoked, I noticed. They wouldn't know how difficult it is to quit smoking if Christ himself came down from the heavens and explained it to them. "Hey, you should really quit smoking ya know--it's bad for you!!" Shut the fuck up, you idiot.

    Here's what I'll tell you though. If you are thinking about quitting, then think of me. If I can do it, you can do it. I swear you can.


    © 2001-2006 Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg