The Dizzy

I breathe in the rush of chemicals, their harshness hitting the back of my throat in an almost nauseating gasp of relief. Another pull and the feeling begins, somewhere in my esophagus at first. The vibrating sensation spreads into my chest and limbs, then my arms and fingers, extending to my legs and toes. A chill washes over me, and I bring the device back to my lips, craving more of this feeling. Again, the vapor spills into my lungs, making my throat squeeze but allowing the rest of my body to relax. My vision is different as I try to continue reading the post on my glowing phone screen, and I realize that my eyes are shaking. I put the phone down and watch my ceiling, eyes unfocused. A final hit, and I sigh, a euphoria of sorts settling over me as I lean back against my bed, fully appreciating the morning “dizzy.”

Most would call it a buzz, but since the day I tried my friend’s vape, I have referred to the experience as the “dizzy.” Having watched the USB-like piece become a permanent fixture in their hand over the course of several months, I asked them what it felt like. I was curious; it seemed like something they enjoyed, plus they could make cool shapes with the smoke. I had the urge to try it. I asked if they would let me. It was in my hand within a second.

Photo taken during the week of my discovery of the “dizzy.” A time of brightness, the feel of a ray of sun.

That first try was exciting, but it wasn’t what I had expected. The vapor made my throat ache and close, and I think I coughed quite a bit. But, after a moment of catching my breath and some coaching from my friend, I tried again. And again. The vapor was harsh and didn’t taste great, but the world began to swirl around me as the vibrations spread through my chest, into my hands and head. I felt like I had just gotten off of the teacups at DisneyWorld or had just twirled myself on a swing at the playground until I couldn’t see straight. 

I think I smiled. I think I laughed. After noting the dizzying effect the device had on me, the experience of hitting a vape was from that point forward referred to as a “dizzy.” 

In that first week or two, I told my friend not to let me hit it while I was driving. I was concerned that the intensity of the “dizzy” would distract me from the road, that my vibrating eyes would keep me from seeing straight. When I wasn’t driving, however, I was able to obtain the lovely “dizzy,” which I was starting to crave more and more often. The feeling was fun, something that I had never experienced before, had found in nothing else. Perhaps it could be compared to riding a roller coaster, with the tumbling of your stomach and the pounding of adrenaline through your veins. The bodily high that makes your heart race and your head swim, your breath shaky but your brain alive.

 I began asking to borrow my friend’s disposable more and more often, until I finally wanted my own. A device I could have at home when my friend wasn’t around to provide the “dizzy.” I found a gas station that didn’t ask for my I.D., and the rest is history.

Once I began vaping nicotine, I saw it everywhere. I hadn’t really thought much about it prior, even though my high school principal had been adamant about keeping students from vaping in the restrooms. Once I had experienced the beauty of the “dizzy,” I not only saw cigarettes and vapes all over, but I also gained new insight into why people have and continue to indulge in what some might call a vice. My judgment of smokers dipped. Despite my continued dislike for the scent of cigarette smoke, I found myself understanding why they were doing it. It was a type of solidarity, accepting others’ habits to avoid personal hypocrisy, a mutual understanding that the feeling cigarettes and vapes provide is just so lovely.

So lovely.

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By Sophie Rounds

Sophie Rounds is a rising junior at Loyola University Chicago, double majoring in creative writing and Spanish. She loves to read and wishes she were a better cook. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys singing in several choirs at her university and thrifting with her friends.

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