Dog Park Divas…

love to find people – who are just like me… right in my own backyard!

Although I am SO pleased to say that I have officially QUIT smoking – (whew! it was hard to make it to the end of that race), this little moment in life was a moment ago – when I was still puffing away and disgusted and embarrassed by it.

During the boys’ football season I ventured off away from the school to inhale toxins. I was addicted. I got to the game better than an hour ahead of kick off and like I usually do when I’m bored or anxious – I decided to take a smoke break.

I’m walking in a park behind the boys’ school and I see a dog park, nestled sweetly in the middle of the trees. Yay, something to enjoy and make me smile during my 10 minutes of self-induced poisoning  – who doesn’t love to watch the pooches romp? – and Boo – pooch owners who I have to hide my gross habit from.

Now I know lots and lots and lots of people smoke and as a culture we are so used to seeing it maybe not everyone passes judgment on the smoker. I however – even as a smoker, pass judgement. GROSS – smoking is gross! As much as I am embarrassed at the thought of anyone seeing me stumbling and bumbling drunk, or eating warm cookies as if I hadn’t been fed in weeks (chocolate smears amidst crumbs on my upper lip AND chin), I just don’t like people seeing me smoke. ESPECIALLY CHILDREN, ESPECIALLY LITTLE GIRLS.

Anyhoo…. I’m sauntering slowly, chuckling as the dogs do what dogs do and I see 3 women in the middle of the pack. I’m trying to hide my habit. My arm is down at my side, cigarette slightly behind me as a I stride, puff, hide, stride, puff, hide. As these woman were blonde, friends, outdoors doing positive things, obviously healthy and happy – I was already the “outcast” (me and my lonely, lazy brown self) the last thing I wanted was for them to realize my nasty addiction.

Then – what to my wandering eyes should appear – one girl had a cigarette and the other a beer! Hello Reality!

As I often feel led to do – I approached them. Cigarette in plain sight I said “excuse me ladies” . I proceeded to tell them of my shame and humiliation – we all laughed. One of them was also quitting and was puffing away on her electronic cigarette explaining how she never puts it down. The other a Marlboro girl like myself and the 3rd – a beer. These woman, like me, were more than their habits. One a roller derby girl – wow! I wanna!! One a nurse and the other a student. (Its been a while, I hope I have these stats correct). Everyday women, with the dogs, enjoying the day, with no excuses or shame for the way they chose to enjoy their moment in the sun.

We continued to chat for just a bit longer and I was slapped in the face with the truth that I am the judgmental one, and maybe I should stop assuming that what I think of myself is what others think of me. Maybe I should think more highly of myself, because I am “everyday people” just like so many others. Now being an official “Quitter” I like to turn my nose up at people who are smoking – not in judgement, but because I don’t want to be tempted by the familiar smell of my enemy.

It took more than determination to quit smoking, it took prayers!

It took a lot less than quitting to stop judging myself and others for our personal choices, it took 3 delightful divas at a dog park.







Here’s to your health friends – physical & mental!



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