It started out innocently enough, as most well-formed habits do: I took my first bong hit in a room full of bros, and I WIGGED out.
I was 16. I left that high school football party swearing to myself I'd never smoke weed again, but that was naive. Nine years later, here I am, puffin' away.
OK, so I don't rip bongs anymore. Yours truly has learned her lesson. These days, I'm a senior stoner. Nearly any given night of the week, you can find me on my bed, perched by the window in my lavender-and-fig scented room, puffing away. I smoke joints because they're a little easier on the mind and soul, but not so much the body.
But I don't look like your average pothead ... or so I've been told. I'm a girly gym rat who writes about dating and enjoys strong cosmopolitans. I'm a low-key stoner.
I remember lighting up in the company of my friend's friends, guys I'd met for the first time, and being questioned about my seasoned, smoking ways.
"You don't look like a chick who smokes," one bro said. He made Os with his mouth and stared at his own works of art with impressed eyes. "You look like the love child of Rosario Dawson and Pocahontas."
"Uh, thanks," I said, acknowledging the mighty compliment, but also confounded about the first half of what he said.
What is a female pothead supposed to look like? I thought to myself. I didn't say it out loud because I knew what his response would be: "Some tatted-up chick who rides a skateboard, wears cornrows and works at the local deli."
There are a lot of misconceptions about low-key potheads and the lives they lead. People think we're burnouts. They think our ritual consists of smoking and hitting up the sketchy, late-night grocery store around the corner to cop some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Doritos ... y'know, the ~essentials~.
But low-key stoners are more functional than that. For us, smoking isn't a crutch, a distraction or an obstacle in life. It's a way of life. Low-key stoners are the ones who don't need to go around broadcasting they smoke because they do it for themselves, not for the street cred.
Here are all the things low-key stoners know to be true.
1. Nobody knows that you're doubly f*cked up at parties.
As a low-key stoner, you'll rage with your drinking besties. But you know how to stomach hard liquor AND smoke, so you get doubly f*cked up at parties and no one actually knows you're a pot smoker. You're a master at balance and a master of disguise.
The good news is smoking weed with drinking helps curb the brutal next-day hangover. The mornings I wake up hangover-free are the mornings I thank God for supporting me on my pothead path. Not to mention that weed dreams > regular dreams. When we stoners dream, we dream fantastical things. Why dream in normal when you can dream in green?
2. People think you're naturally introspective.
When you are stoned, you go deeper than you even thought you were capable of going. Sometimes, you end up learning things about yourself you might not have wanted to learn. Weed brings things up you've suppressed and forces you to deal with them.
People just think you're naturally this introspective, and you might be if you're a creative like me, but you've got an added desire to talk about heavy sh*t because you're usually high.
Your mind takes you on journeys to figure out the best possible cure for your queries. Smoking weed is productive for you.
3. You're good at hiding your inability to function.
Yes, smokin' a doubie and heading out into the world is trippy. It literally trips you up. Ordinary things like stepping onto the subway or giving someone directions seem a little harder than usual.
But those mundane things in life, as they are, can also be incredibly boring. The way I see it, throwing some weed into the mix is just like spicing up some bland tofu. It's all in the kick. And what's life without a little danger?
The thing is, as a low-key pothead, you're really good at hiding how hard it is to function when you're high. You're not super obviously uncoordinated. You may just seem a little bit slow.
4. People assume your high state is your sober state.
Smoking just once is for the newbies. Smoking throughout the night, being able to pick yourself back up and not passing out after two puffs gives you gold-star status. You can chill with the best of them, and people will admire you for your stamina as well as your general, stress-free vibe.
And because you're high throughout the night, people automatically assume your high state is your sober state -- aka your default state.
5. When you're high, you often forget that you're even high.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Life goes a million miles an hour, and sometimes I prefer to live it in slow-motion. When you're high, the good parts are drawn out longer and the bad parts don't seem so bad. And doing something high makes you forget you're even high.
Pushing through the munchies is the right way to be LOW-KEY about it.
6. You secretly use weed for creative inspiration.
Oh, the things I've done high. I've done Zumba high. I've cooked high. I've gotten tattoos high. I've written articles high. I've decided to move to California high (OK, I didn't actually do it, but I'm still planning it, and every time I map sh*t out, I am high as a kite). There is no shame in smoking to tap into your most creative self.
Sometimes, you need to toke up a little to come up with a lot of inspiration. You'll usually do this behind closed doors, when no one can judge or critique you for your ~experimental~ ventures.
7. You're just cooler than everyone else.
At the end of the day, whether you're a low-key, mid-key or high-key pothead, you pretty much get along with everyone, and it's because they know you're the sh*t. I've gleefully accepted that marijuana is a staple in my life -- hell, it's practically my rock -- and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon.
One day, I'll low-key smoke weed with my kids, and we'll be one little family TREE. Like, a literal tree. But we'll also be wildly successful. An unstoppable force.