As far as I can tell, I have been living more or less above the influence even before I knew about the movement.
According to the official website abovetheinfluence.com , “Above the Influence” basically means to be yourself, free from drugs that would mentally and physically influence you into, simply, not becoming who you are.
I admit, I drank alcohol occasionally in the past, but I never lit a cigarette. But ever since I have had that dreadful feeling of passing out, dizziness, an urge to puke, an urge to lie down, and the feeling of dermal inflammations, I finally stopped. On cigarettes, during my first-year in university dorms, I had a couple of friends who smoked, and offered me one. I just politely refused.
I am not even thinking about getting a coffee in the mornings now. I had coffee for several mornings straight, and when I woke up on the second of two days without coffee, I had the worst headache. I felt as though someone was drilling into my head with a dentist drill, coupled with a routine hammering. I felt totally miserable, lying and holding onto my head in agony and pain as my body attempts to break from the caffeine addiction I carelessly put myself into. I stayed more or less away from caffeine through not drinking coffee ever since. I don’t remember when was the last time I had a soda. I have been having fruit juice for quite a long while if my memory does not betray me.
When I develop a cold, or digestive problems, I do not use acetaminophen, peptobismol, or any form of laxatives. I pull myself out of it by the basics, plenty of fluids, plenty of rest, and in the case of diarrhea, plenty of fasting, or in the case of constipation, eat a lot of fibre.
Enough about myself for myself. Consider Vancouver’s current acceptance of marijuana. When marijuana was legalized, it quickly became quite the cultural “fad”. People who prefer not to smoke marijuana were labeled as prudish, and backwards. While it may be true for those who oppose marijuana for political reasons, some of them decided not to smoke marijuana for other, non-political reasons.
I personally can’t stand cigarette smoke, let alone marijuana. I am less interested in pro-weed people attempt to quantify how second hand marijuana smoking is less harmful than cigarette smoking, which is valid in terms of the amount of carcinogens present in cigarette smoke versus marijuana. But to me, if it stinks, it stinks. Nobody needs to smell your smoke from half a kilometre away. True, you can tell me to haul myself off, but that’s quite a selfish way to put it, no?
When I try to explain to my weed-smoking friends that I don’t smoke weed, I felt like I have to personally go through the entire routine of excusing myself via the statement, “I don’t smoke weed for personal reasons, but I am comfortable around you guys smoking it.” Which, I personally agree to tolerate, as they are my friends. I just want to avoid being labeled in an ad hominem manner for my personal stance in trying to live above the influence.
I don’t do drugs. It’s not because of how the institutions of society and my peers perceive and categorize the drugs, it’s just that I want to be myself. No valium, no painkillers, no panadol, no peptobismol, no weed, no drugs for me. I don’t let the influences from other people seize control from the inner me.
“Musing: Above the Influence” as published on June 21, 2013, which is part of my muses. Read more about Vincent Wong’s work at https://vincentwongwanders.wordpress.com .