My introduction to cannabis came later in life than most, or at least later than most I know. While it seemed like many of my peers were drinking and getting high throughout high school, I’d been heavily focused on my artistic pursuits and studies, and in all honesty - I held a lot of judgement towards people who smoked weed. I was studying theatre, music, and dance as a performing arts major at a high school in Indianapolis, Indiana. As an artist and asthmatic, I assumed “drugs” would wreck my talent and hinder my ability to sing and dance. I was then, and still can be a “type A control freak”, and the idea of not being completely lucid or in control of my instrument made me uncomfortable. Everything I knew about pot was from anti-drug commercials and movies, and these were not stereotypes I wanted to emulate.
My whole perspective changed when I moved to Chicago for college. I was accepted into The Theatre School of DePaul University, and for the first time in my life, surrounded by artists and intellectuals who thought and dreamed like me. A lot of them also happened to smoke marijuana socially, and it didn’t take long for me to find a group of like-minded and experienced friends that made me feel comfortable trying weed for the first time.
While I immediately loved the playfulness and feeling of being my complete self that I got when I smoked weed, it remained a party drug for me through most of college. Something I’d indulge in on a night out or before a movie with friends, but not that I would use alone or for any productive purpose. Then I met Ben during my last year at DePaul - The pre-med student that would end up being my boyfriend for the next 5 years.
Ben was a hard working and focused Polish immigrant studying to be a doctor, and he was also a daily cannabis user. We fell in love and moved in together a few months after meeting, and it was the first time I’d ever had access to marijuana everyday. Watching him smoke before studying or going to the gym began to shift the way I thought about weed. Ben “microdosed”, taking a hit from a small bowl here and there at different points throughout the day. Enough to keep him level and in a pleasant mood without ever being stereotypically “high” or unable to function. This really worked for him and I was inspired.
I began having a hit or two before going to the gym or doing creative work - learning lines, choreographing, writing music, or performing. My workouts immediately improved! While I’d expected smoking marijuana to make my asthma worse, the opposite turned out to be true. My breath control, stamina, and focus were so much better, and working out became A LOT more fun :). This was the beginning of my love affair with fitness. Creatively, I felt Freed as an artist. The self doubt, second guessing, over-analyzing, and anxiety that had at times crippled my ability to perform and create - Gone. I became Beyonce...in my mind at least. I could do anything, be anyone, and I trusted myself. Beginning to use cannabis daily hadn’t made me lazy or undriven. It had brought me closer to my full potential. I was in love.