I wake up every day at 8:30 a.m. to smoke my first half-joint and take a big hit off a bong, so I can get super high before I get into the shower. I take another hit when I get out of the shower and start getting ready. Then I go to work.
As a concierge in Portland, I have an eight-hour work day of multi-tasking, answering complicated questions, taking reservations, training new associates, and any other rogue task that is trickled down to me. I have been called the backbone of the company.
You might not think it, but the stakes in a job like this can be very, very high. Just a few months ago my co-worker was nearly assaulted by an angry customer who lunged at him. My co-worker was able to dodge the customer and run for the door, but no one else tried to intervene, so I had to get security and call 911. It was business as usual minutes later, even though I had a minor anxiety attack first.
That's where the weed comes in. I've developed more anxiety from this job than I have ever felt in my life, and I doubt I could handle it if I weren't smoking. Smoking weed is so ingrained in my daily life that it doesn't even cross my mind that working and smoking aren't a thing.
I get a 15 and a 30-minute break during the day, and I smoke during both of them; it's how I release all the tension I've built up. I keep a kit with me that's airtight so you can't smell anything, and I hide in a different place each time so nobody sees me. After all, I work for a major corporation with a specific code of conduct—if they catch me, I'll be fired.
I smoked my first bowl at the age of 14. I ditched school and hung out with some friends at a park near my neighborhood. We had some really bad brick weed—it was brown and had tons of seeds in it. But I got super high and thought it was the best thing in the world. I remember the feeling of the breeze touching lightly on my skin...I thought, "Oh my god, this is amazing."
I made smoking weed a way of life early on. I wasn't your stereotypical pothead, though, floating through class and barely paying attention. I graduated. I was prom queen. I had a plan to go to community college.
Then, by age 21, I found myself addicted to heroin. A mentor I'd had since childhood stepped in and brought me into a "recovery bootcamp," after which I went back to school and got an associate's degree and music technology certificate. I learned how to cope and get off the hard drugs. I quit everything for a while.
Four years later, I broke my leg, and I started to have extreme chronic pain. I had to figure out alternative ways to manage it because I didn't have health insurance, and the only thing I could think of was to take a variety of pharmaceuticals I bought on the street, from Oxycontin to Vicodin. That dependency developed into a familiar downward spiral.
But those kinds of drugs dulled my senses. I couldn't focus or concentrate. I decided to stick to what I knew and could control: marijuana.
Doctors say any type of smoke is bad for your lungs. They say it's like a rock, choking your air stream from within. But for me, it feels like a window, opening me up, clearing my seasonal asthma, inspiring my creativity—even upping my business prowess.
In my earlier years of smoking, I produced music and took meetings with DJs. Often, in a stoned, blissed-out dream state, I imagined parties packed with people dancing to my songs. Soon, I had an event business in Denver, Portland, and Seattle.
My next professional endeavor is to be a stylist and fashion blogger for plus-size women. I want to start an Instagram community for fashionable curvy stoner girls—I've already tapped into a wellspring of support through #curvystonerchick.
I don't know many other women who smoke as much as I do, for the reasons I do, and still get things done. But I'm a high-functioning stoner, and I plan to stay that way.
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