Ever since I was a teenager, I have had two addictions that I cannot shake: smoking and lip balm. Okay, so lip balm isn't so horrible; I mean, I know I won't be checking in to Betty Ford because of my lippy obsession, but I really do have a thing for lip balm. I guess it actually started before my teen years. I can remember being quite small and getting really excited whenever I got a cherry Chapstick or a Lipsmackers, which I suppose were my gateway drugs, so to speak.
But I really got strung out in junior high, when I got into band. Dry and cracking lips are no joke when you're a musician who plays any type of wind/horn instrument, and everyone seemed to be using the same thing at the time: Blistex medicated ointment, the white salve in the squeeze tube. The bandroom always had a special smell: a blend of sweaty teenagers, spit, and the menthol/minty tang of Blistex.
I used Blistex all through junior and high school, and always felt great on it. Then I went to college, and was introduced to a new lip high: Carmex. Oh, the joy of removing that yellow lid from the little white jar, and getting a whiff of that rich saffron balm! The ecstasy of dipping in a finger, smoothing it over your lips, and feeling the rush of the tingles that let you know you were alive.
But then I hit the time in college when a lot of people get a little crunchy, and I was no exception. My neo-hippy phase demanded its own lippy, which turned out to be Burt's Beeswax lip balm. There are four things that will forever more remind me of my sophomore year in college: the swish of a broomstick skirt around my ankles, the musky-dirt scent of patchouli, the soundtrack of "Hair", and the creamy feel of Burt's Beeswax on my lips.
I'm not really sure when it happened, but at some point after sophomore year I became completely indiscriminate about my lip balm. Before that time I had been staunchly loyal to whatever lippy was my chosen, but no more. Instead, I became all about quantity, needing to know I had it available at any given moment, at any location. There would be a lip balm in the car, one in whatever jacket or coat I was wearing, and one or two in my purse. If I were wearing jeans, there'd be a little something stuck in my pocket; if I had a backpack, you'd better believe there was a little jar in there somewhere. And let's not forget the one on my desk, and the other one in the bedroom.
I am not even carrying a purse right now, but I have 3 lip products within reach: a Mary Kay "Apple Berry" lipstick; a tube of Kiss My Face "Cranberry Spice" lip gloss; and my newest crack, Cherry Carmex in a tube. To be fair, the lipstick and gloss don't really count, since my addiction is for really balm, but you get the idea. And I can't believe I've just written almost a whole page about my lip balm addiction.
In a way, I guess my nicotine addiction went hand-in-hand with the lip balm, seeing as cigarette filters seem to suck all the moisture out of your lips. And when you smoke over a pack a day, that's a lot of dry lips to cure. Since I (mostly) quit smoking, I only use about a fourth as much lip balm as I used to, even though I still buy it as often because I can't help myself. Of course, now I have the excuse that I'm buying it for my goddaughter Chava, who is already hooked on the stuff at not quite four years old.
Yes, you read it right: I said I've mostly quit smoking. I had quit the day I found out I was pregnant, and was then completely smoke-free for 13 months. Not a single cigarette, not even a drag, for thirteen months. Then one night at a bar, back in December, I decided I really wanted one and bummed off a friend. It was about 80% disgusting, but that other 20%... Oh, that 20% led me to smoking another one in January, two in February, and now four in March.
So now I'm at a crucial point: do I go along with "I'm okay as long as it's only a couple on the weekend", or do I try to go back to none at all? I think I might be able to keep it to the weekend, but a small part of me is afraid that it will continue to slowly escalate until I'm a full-time smoker again, which I don't really want.