I am a Bird
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Posted by Jacqueline Nixon at 9:04 PM
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
So I had quit smoking in April this year, I was an unwilling participant but I am nonetheless, still proud of my accomplishment. Some things have changed a little in my personality so I want to uncover aspects of quitting smoking (besides the obvious health benefits).
I am going to try to undercover some changes in my moods and food cravings by dissecting a certain aspect of my life. I am going to see if quitting smoking had anything to do with my moods. I will discuss (1) the reasons why I started smoking and (2) why I continued smoking then going into (3) what got me to quit and (4) the ultimate consequences.
I remember right before turning 17, I was at one of my first parties (ever), I was a junior in high school, and desperate to fit in. After drinking, I remember that in between drinking and running around being obnoxiously drunk, I was with various girls smoking cigarettes on and off. It didn't seem to even matter to anyone. It was just something to do. Even as I turned 18 and started going out to bars and clubs. Since I wasn't old enough to drink, a way to kill time until some guy bought me a drink was to smoke cigarettes with my best friend.
In fact, it seemed like I made most of my friend by smoking cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is an extremely social activity. I can go outside of my dorm, sit at a bench, smoke a cigarette, and more than likely, I'll end up talking to a fellow smoker. In fact, within my dormitory, there was a sense of camaraderie between the cigarette smokers. We were always in each others company, since we were always outside at random intervals smoking a cigarette. Especially on a beautiful day on any given moment.
There was no reason for me to quit. All my friends smoked, we always hung out, we were such an eclectic group that we molded well together. In fact, this cycle happened two years in row, starting over with a new school year and a new dorm. My freshman year, I had a group of friends that always hung out at the tables or at the "Zoolah" (it was engraved in the cement so the name stuck) and my second year of college we hung out at the "trap tables" and called ourselves the "LCGC crew". My roommate even jokingly commented, "you make all your friends from smoking. If you didn't smoke, you wouldn't have any friends".
The problem with being a social smoker in college was that it also made other forms of substance abuse acceptable. Although most college students enjoy drinking and going out and experimenting with marijuana, it seemed to me that the students I identified with as cigarette smokers are also more likely to try other drugs, most popular of them was, acid, ecstasy, shrooms, adderall, and of course, weed. Occasionally, some tried cocaine. That is usually kept really quiet among a tight knit group.
However, it should be noted that many cigarette smokers start off as marijuana smokers first, then resorting to cigarettes (because of the social aspect and weed being unavailable).
I realize that on top of being physically addicted to cigarettes, I wasn't ready to give up the social aspect of smoking either.
So why did I even quit?
I went to another country, South Korea actually, and I am not as familiar with the language to venture off anywhere on my own comfortably. So, I went everywhere with my mom. My mom had been trying to get me to quit, unsuccessfully, since I would just start smoking when I was away from her. While in Korea, she made it her personal goal to help me to quit, although she didn't know the extent of how much I smoked a day (I used to smoke about half a pack - 10 cigarettes- to 15 cigarettes). My mother is a determined woman and extremely strict and she made my life miserable for three weeks. It was so difficult going into a convenient store and seeing that cigarettes were for sale at about $2 USD, especially with taxes on cigarettes in Florida had recently upped the price of cigarettes from $3.50 to about $6-$7. I never wanted to buy cigarettes so badly before.
Note: Cigarette companies in America realized that the heavy taxes on cigarettes and bad publicity (TRUTH commercials) is going to reduce their revenue, so in order to make up for the loss, have exported their goods overseas, targeting a bountiful overseas market in other countries.
I don't think quitting smoking was really all that effective on me since when I quit smoking I picked up another addiction, caffeine. Coffee was at a large abundance in Korea with coffee makers in every single restaurant and it was free. So I ended up substituting one addiction for another. By the time I left Korea, I went from having practically no coffee to needing 3 to 4 cups day. I feel that might have substituted caffeine with sugar, but that's up in the air.
So now finally, I am tobacco and nicotine free but I'm wondering... at what cost?
Without nicotine or caffeine in my system, my body is trying to compensate for the dip in sugar levels by having one crave sweet foods. Because of the dip in my sugar levels, I started craving sweet foods and also might have been the reason why I felt nauseous for most of my trip in Korea (my mother was so concerned for me and suspected that I might possibly be pregnant). In fact, one's metabolism is increased by smoking, so quitting smoking meant that I would put on an average of 4-10 pounds. I was told by a friend that smokin burned about 200 calories a day. Eating is a substitute for smoking, since it involves the hands and the mouth. I noted that I started to bite my nails and hangnails more after I quit smoking.
Other symptoms that can affect quitters is:
-Mild depression & sadness
-Anxiety (this one's a maybe)
-Boredom & loneliness
-Anger & short-temper (this one I'm sure of)
Now, me being the vain creature that I am, knows that quitting smoking does a great deal of good towards improving your appearance (mostly since it improves your blood circulation), so it would lessen my chances of getting wrinkles earlier, and most people know that quitting smoking reduces health risks, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. You save money, since the habit is quite expensive. Besides, cigarette smoking has been linked to over 400,000 deaths in the U.S. per year. Why take that risk? In fact, why even start in the first place if quitting is just as difficult and tumultuous?
I guess what I have come to in conclusion is don't start smoking.
Except maybe if you're at a bar and you can't get drinks and you're bored. Because I still do that and can keep in control. Just be really careful, because even that small step is a gamble.
-View the sources for this blog: HERE
Posted by Jacqueline Nixon at 11:29 AM
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
True to my word, I am STILL writing about all my firsts. Today I conducted my first interview for the school newspaper. I had been so busy with all the events going on this past weekend that I hurriedly scheduled a meeting with the student government congressman responsible for the act. The act that Will (the congressman) wanted to pass has to do with allowing organizations and clubs affiliated with the school more financial freedom. Right now, organizations are only given the right to use their tax deductible money towards educational purposes only. If this act gets passed, then they can use their funds towards wherever they need it. So far, this benefits greek organizations the most but it does benefit other groups as well.
Posted by Jacqueline Nixon at 10:01 PM
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I just sent an e-mail to the members of my school newspaper to find out when their first meeting is, which I only know that it is on Monday. I'm going to need the time and location and then hopefully I can get started.
This is Skye, she's a cocker spaniel and the sweetest dog ever.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
My life lately has been filled with a lot of "firsts" so my blog will be reflecting that. On my first day of class, which was on Tuesday, I was late to my class so I ended up not going. This set the tone of the rest of my day and I was dreading the whole aspect of school and "higher education". School had felt stifling and extremely restricted. The whole concept of sitting in a classroom, memorizing information just because somebody told me to, it just really didn't settle well with me.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I know it's actually been a few days since my super busy weekend, but it was so eventful that I'm going to write about it! And please excuse the fact that I sometimes overuse exlamations, I try not to but I'm an excitable person.
First off, I had a beauty shoot on Friday with Orlando based photographer Betsy Hansen. A beauty shot is usually a picture of the model's face, emphasizing the make-up skills of the artist behind it. It also shows off the facial features and bone structure of the model, so it's crucial to have a shot like this in a model's portfolio. It's important to have a great team for shoots like this.
Now the shoot was at Joe Blasco Makeup School and there were a total of nine models for the students to work on (one for each student and one for the instructor). Betsy was there to provide important insight to the make-up artists on how to create a look that's ready for the camera. I was assigned to a make-up artist, Jacqueline Ford, who also went by Jackie and we had similar tastes in make-up choices. She opted for a radical 70's look with bold white eyeliner on my bottom eyelid, crazy long eyelashes that were white AND black, and hot pink lips. I LOVED IT.
We chose to wear my hair down completely (I had it straight with bangs across my forehead) and it all came together. Betsy did a test shot and showed Jackie the shot and things she needed to highlight and emphasize so that it would be more visible for the camera. Make-up that is done for photo shoots are not the same kind of make-up done for every day events. There has to be an over-exaggeration of details for certain things to appear well for a photo, especially with contouring.
Betsy as a photographer tells the model what she wants out of them, when I was trying to do a "surprised" look she told me to go all the way, and I hope I did!
Now for Saturday. Saturday I had the opportunity to shoot with John Deeb who is an amazing photographer. He also does other really cool neat stuff with photography and film work, but I'm not really sure what. We had a full team on board, including the talented make-up artist Gemma B., an amazing hair stylist Tanya Ryder, and wardrobe styling by the fantastic Tammara Kohler. John also had an amazing team that were there to assist him and to learn from him but they were great with helping out the rest of us. Everything just came together so well. John had a location that we were to be shooting at so hair and make-up was done at the studio as well as the wardrobe changes. My first look was a vamped look that I absolutely LOVED with my hair in an intricate bun and intense black lips.
John's assistant, Erica, drove the models to the location and took us back. Since there were four of us total working on increments, timing was crucial. John also shot two models at a time as one model was about to leave, he'd shoot the arriving model and the leaving model together for a few shots. After the first look we took a lunch break, provided for everyone by John. We had Tijuana Flats. I had a vegetable burrito with no cheese and guacamole=)
For the second look, we went for a diva look, almost Lady Gaga-ish. This look consisted of black and gold tights, underwear panties, and a fur coat. My hair was done up in a mohawk and my make-up with plenty of gold glitter. I gasped in the mirror when I saw everything, it was so rocking.
John as a photographer gave really great direction which is sometimes needed with a themed shoot and for a model that is just starting out.
Sunday was my shoot with Challotine (I'll post the link for her business site later). Challotine herself was one of the models along with Anna Dang. The trio of us looked really great together in front of the camera due to our ethnic backgrounds. The make-up was done by Nicole Pace who gave us a really great cat-eyed sexy look. Challotine herself did my hair in a mohawk but different from the one I had before, it had curls and was put together almost like a bun. Sarah Siuk was our stylist and Lisa was our photographer. One thing I enjoy the most about having a female photographer, is that they truly do give you insight on how to pose in a way that's most flattering to you and your body type. Whenever we showed too much neck, Lisa told us to lower our chins. This was the most noticeable problem. We were shooting a look that was a high fashion look at the opera. We had little masks and everything.
I hate it when I'm not shooting because it's back to school and work (got to keep my day job!) and bills. Reality sucks sometimes.
I have so much more to talk about but I'll save it for my next post. Hopefully I'll have time to update again later today or tomorrow.
Posted by Jacqueline Nixon at 7:14 AM
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I recently had an "epiphany". Not anything extraordinary but still life altering all the same. I decided that I was going to change my major after two years of college. No longer will I be a micro/molecular biology major (I absolutely hate science) but I am going to study journalism. Journalism appeals to me first and foremost because of my love for literature, then for my strong writing skills, and also since it will give me a creative outlet. Journalism will give me the creative freedom that I won't get from being a science major. I can write about boring pieces, events that interest me, economic trends, study political changes, et al.
Posted by Jacqueline Nixon at 11:54 PM