I am a simple, naïve, typical Bangladeshi girl.
I was raised to believe that people who smoke, drink or do any form of drugs are evil. And I had legit reasons for believing that, because at that point in my life, Bangladesh was going through a heroine crisis. Every time I switched on the TV, there was an ad about how someone tried drugs out of curiosity and ended up dead.
For a 12 year old girl, hailing from a very conservative family, this was very scary.
Also, my parents went to hajj when I was nine years old. To say that they are religious would be an understatement.
When my peers started exploring boys, cigarettes, and occasional marijuana, I submerged myself in books and Facebook.
I loved the idea of meeting new people without actually meeting them.
My first heartbreak was from someone I’d never met in real life; my first kiss was with someone I met on Facebook. The closest I got to actually sleeping with someone- I met him on Facebook as well.
I had a pretty ordinary teen experience, but I never actually went anywhere.
All of that changed when I enrolled in university. I was suddenly given this immense freedom, and my 19 year old self couldn’t handle it. I was still a halal girl, but even that changed when my first (and only) actual boyfriend ended up cheating on me.
Perhaps, this sounds hilarious and childish. But for someone who has lived her entire a life in a very protective bubble, this minor inconvenience felt like the end of the fucking world. I spent a month in bed, barely eating, barely talking to anyone or even waking up.
Sleep felt like such a blissful escape. And I never wanted to wake up.
It wasn’t until after a few months later that I discovered weed. A lot of my friends loved getting high, and they introduced me to it, in the hopes that it might bring me out of the bottomless pit of depression. We went to a friend’s place, where one of them rolled up a joint, and taught me how to smoke up.
And boy, was that an experience.
I remember that very first hit of pot. If felt like the world suddenly slowed down. The lanterns seemed to move slower, as did the lone bat that was flying by.
Everything was more relaxed, and I felt myself smile.
I had never felt like that life could be this slow, and that I could be alone and not be lonely. Finally, I could laugh without being concerned that I was making weird noises.
Bangladeshi society is not very friendly towards girls. As we grow up, we realize that we are violently scrutinized. We are judged on the way we look, the way we speak, the way we can control certain things and the way we can’t. We are taught to be hard on ourselves, because that’s the only way to be perfect. Most importantly, we are taught that a girl’s reputation is like a glass vase- once there is a crack, you can never repair it. So it’s better to stay afraid and cautious, so you don’t go through that humiliation in the first place, right?
Smoking weed is a wonderful relief from this societal pressure.
When you’re high, you don’t care about who is staring at you, who is passing a comment at you, you don’t care if your hair isn’t perfect, if too much skin is showing over your shoulder, if you look fat and unappealing in that jumpsuit you’re wearing. All you care about is that life isn’t as bad as it seems. If you can just slow down a little, if you can just laugh a little more, then perhaps, all of the other pieces will fall into their places in time.
So far, weed is the only drug I have tried, as I am very, very scared of addiction. I have tried alcohol- in fact,I have gotten drunk to the point where I couldn’t stand up straight. But I still prefer weed to alcohol.
Alcohol is very expensive, especially for a broke student.
Unless there is something truly celebration-worthy, like someone’s imminent death, I don’t treat myself to any booze. Alcohol, of course, can be dangerous if not taken in moderation.
There is a term called alcohol-poisoning, but I haven’t heard of weed overdose yet. You either puke or you fall asleep. It’s very hard to kill yourself with weed. Even if you could, it would probably be a very blissful way to die. Either way, win-win.
Of course, I am not endorsing smoking weed and being high all the time. You need enough time and presence of mind for handling your adult responsibilities, as well as facing your demons and dealing with all the lemons that life throws at you. However, if every once in a while it gets too much to handle, and you need a little breather, then is there anything wrong with smoking a joint, staring at the night sky, and thinking about how tiny you are compared to this vast, endless universe?
Go ahead, unknown friend. I hope you find the peace you’ve been looking for. I, for one, will not judge you.