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We all know smoking is really toxic now but that wasn’t always the case.  Before we knew how bad smoking was people smoked in their cars.  Windows up, puffing away – kids strapped in just behind them.  No second thought.  Now of course we know the damage that does.  When writing this, I think back to the anti-smoking ad where they used to show a sleeping baby wrapped in the smoke of their parents cigarette.  Some powerful stuff, given the fact that I remember it at least 10 years later.

Another  powerful video that Thailand uses about second hand smoke:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOz9uni7Evw

Ok, so if you have read any of my other blogs, you are probably wondering how (and why) I have picked up the campaign against smoking…really I haven’t (although it is bad and sort of gross)…this analogy popped up in my mind when thinking on the real topic I aim to tackle today, “Toxic people”.    Everyone has a toxic person or two in their life…friends, family, siblings, frienemies,bosses, co-workers.   You know those people that poison your vision of yourself?  They cripple your belief in yourself.  Your belief in your purpose.  In the fact that you have dreams.   Your choice in mates.  Your choice in college, your major, your job.  Your choice in dinner or how many servings of dessert that you have.  How you spend your money.  The way you stand.  If you talk too much or too little.  If you laugh or cry.  Sing at the top of your lungs or dance around in your socks.  I could go on and on but I think you get my drift.

If you have gotten this far in the entry,   I am fairly certain of two things.  One : You can identify  Two:  You don’t have to look far to find one and may have named more than one in your own life.  Sad isn’t it really?

Mine is so close to home – I literally spent 18 years living with her.  She is my mother.  Sitting down to pen this, I had a vision of some of the really powerful things that my mom has said that (previously) crippled the girl I was to become for far too long.  I pictured moments that she threw barbs into my soul and saw her words no longer as actual words – but a sort of toxic cloud equivalent to the second hand smoke breathed into the face of an innocent child.  There I stood over the years, poisoned one puff at a time of her verbal vomit.

For the longest time, I would choke and cough.  I would stop being who I was, just so I could BREATHE.   The funny reality now that I have come so far and am standing on the other side of it – in the moment, I didn’t realize that I could turn my head, get out of the metaphorical and very (at times) very real car, find a new place to live and breathe that was and is so much happier.  To step out from that cloud that they have surrounded me in for years and years.

Perhaps the most interesting thought to me is this: If my mother was faced with a visual representation of this “cloud of lies” she poured into me everyday for a number of years in real time, as it happened, just like those second hand smoke commercials I reference, would she stop?  I can’t answer that for my mom and I most certainly can’t answer that for your toxic lie vomit machine, but I can speak to you, their victim.  My plea and encouragement — Don’t let them win today… move on. Whether to spite them or in spite of them… get out of “the car”.  Find a new place to be.   A new (healthier) group of people. something you love, but most importantly…just…keep…breathing.