Insomnia & Painsomnia: A Wicked Combination

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Whenever there’s something stressful going on in my life, it often affects my sleep, thus turning me into a shadow of my former self. Insomniac Lisa and Painsomnia Lisa are two very different beasts from the person I am when I’m able to prioritize sleep, and actually get into bed each night at a decent hour. I’m never 100% pain-free, but sleep is a crucial part of how my body recovers from what I do to it each day. I have worked my ass off this past month and lost roughly 20 pounds, somehow managing to strengthen my upper back muscles in the process.

Unfortunately for the past month, my sleep has been insanely erratic. First it was major moving stress, liable to affect even the calmest person in the world, of which I openly admit is not me. Then it was my brother’s pre-hospitalization health, closely followed by getting the phone call that he would need open-heart surgery or a transplant. It’s normal to have things like that affect you on many levels health-wise. Let’s face facts: No one expects someone young to be told that their heart is at 11% capacity. An entire team of doctors and surgeons and two different hospitals told him he was 10-15 years too early for such a severe issue. All of this crap has been screwing with me day and night and thus far, nothing I’ve done is helping. To add insult to injury, I have had a migraine since the day before Thanksgiving. I currently feel as if my head is in its very own torture chamber, taking my body along for the ride. 😦

When my brother was first released from the hospital, my sleep schedule had already shifted due to late-night texting and phone calls when he was still hospitalized and feeling lonely late at night, before his final dose of pain meds took over. There were many times I had to suggest he watch something on TV (“It’s almost 10 PM, here are three shows you can watch tonight. I have GOT to get some sleep!”), and then mute the ringer on my phone as opposed to allowing it to vibrate, so I could go to bed without the phone buzzing for hours. Now he’s here 24/7, and he’s driving me insane.

He’s not doing anything in particular to make me crazy (though I wish he’d remember that his legs are fine and he can get up and pour his own damn drinks!), he just happens to be in my personal space, and I crave privacy and silence. He’s mortified that I disinfected the remote, but since I don’t want him getting sick and he’s using it and I’m using it as well, I figured it was a wise decision. It is cold & flu season and while he is currently not in contact with other people several days a week, I am, and that can pose a problem for him if I bring something into the house that I did not leave with.

The other night he fell asleep while I was talking to him (I wasn’t boring him, he was simply in a lot of pain.). It was super early, but I felt that was the perfect time to cover him with a few extra blankets (It’s cold here most nights, and even when it’s not, he’s complaining that he’s cold.), and sneak off into the silence that is my normal routine. Alas, he got about three hours of sleep and I was wide awake. The second I thought about going to sleep, he was moaning in pain and when I checked on him, he was messaging someone on his tablet, with the TV on lighting up three rooms.

After a highly stressful week, I was finally in bed at a decent hour last night. As soon as I’d dispensed the last pain pill of the day, my head was on the pillow. Unfortunately, the previously aforementioned migraine decided to kick things up a notch and a little after 2:00 a.m., I woke up in unimaginable pain. I have no idea how I am attempting to type this, much less see.

My first line of defense is to attempt to get some caffeine into my system. It’s the only thing I haven’t sought out or used to treat this particular pain level, when it would normally be something I thought about a bit more closely. No, last night I was too far gone, so I took something less targeted that, as a last resort, often helps. Clearly it only helped part of me. 😦 So, I am nursing caffeinated tea and I took two Excedrin Tension Headache capsules. Not because I have a tension headache as opposed to a migraine, I know the difference, but because sometimes that combination works for me and nips the migraine in the bud. It’s not a permanent solution, but nothing really is. If it doesn’t start working in an hour or so, I will take a third.

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It astounds people that I have managed to learn how to work through some of my worst migraines, or that I put myself into the head space to focus on healing one. I look at it this way: I am not going out and triggering the headache to be any worse than it already is. I am home, I’m safe, I can control the environment (noise level, light, temperature), and I know not to move around too much, but can I sit at a darkened laptop screen and talk about it? Sometimes, yes. That doesn’t diminish the intensity of the migraine, it does not mean I don’t suffer from migraines (three neurologists and two other doctors are all in agreement that I suffer from migraines. They have gotten worse since my first diagnosis, so there’s nothing else it could be. Everything else has been ruled out.), and it also doesn’t mean it’s “just a headache”. On occasion, like most sufferers, I will get a dull headache. Unfortunately, dull can go to extremes pretty quickly, so I take all headache forms seriously. I don’t walk around denouncing other people’s pain either. If a person says they have a headache, but quickly says “I don’t get migraines like you do.”, I still wouldn’t tell them it was “no big deal”. Pain is pain. No one likes it and for those of us that endure it 24/7, I have seen people empathize with others openly, and I have also seen people blow off the pain of others because they somehow feel it is their right in life to be the one person on the planet who has it far worse than the rest of us. Sorry, but that couldn’t possibly be true, or you’d be dead. What may be indeed true is that everyone’s threshold for pain is different. In fact, I know this to be true.

In studies, it has been determined that women tolerate pain differently from their male counterparts. Not better, not worse, just different. Taking into consideration that the female body can push out a human-being during the process of giving birth, that’s not an immense surprise to me.

All of my heavily tattooed male friends had their jaws on the floor when I sat through my first four tattoos and described the pain as “No worse than a cat scratch.” You see, I chose a spot that most of them found to be extremely painful. They all told me to put my ink somewhere else, that the pain would be too much for me to endure, especially considering I suffer from Fibromyalgia, but I’d consulted with several artists who, like me, believed that my first tattoo should be someplace easily covered up with clothing. However, never to do things the simple way, I got my first four all at the same time. I wouldn’t even rate that a one on my personal pain scale. I’ve had more painful piercings.

As many of you also suffer from migraines, has anyone gotten a Daith piercing to try to combat them? Compared to all the medication, a myriad of supplements that may or may not be useful to the individual, various treatment methods, Botox, acupuncture, etc., the piercing itself, depending on where one goes, is between $50-$100. I am being told that it works for 50% of the people who get it, but I am also being told the relief is temporary, though some people are reporting themselves migraine-free 3-7 years post-piercing. I have decided to try acupuncture for a year to see if that spot along either of my ears responds to treatment. My insurance covers it, which is rare, so I am going to take the opportunity to use it first. I’m not sure I need another hole in my head, but I’d be interested in hearing whether or not the piercing has helped anyone. If you’re considering getting this particular piercing, please go somewhere highly reputable and have someone experienced do the piercing itself. The report of infection with this spot is very high, and I’d hate for anyone to go through that. I’ve only had three piercings in my life that gave me problems. Luckily they never got infected, but two of them bled for years if someone hugged me too hard, and the third still gives me problems on occasion (The fact that I share the piercing with a highly toxic person is probably why… I’m a big believer in energy. Sometimes we are healthier overall without certain people in our lives.). While most piercings are mainly decorative, there is no medical or scientific evidence that a Daith piercing is a cure for migraines, so don’t read into all of the Pinterest and Instagram “science”. Those are exclusively individual experiences, most of which are brand new. There’s no way of knowing what the long-term effects may be. For many, it is worth it for temporary relief. I’d rather explore a few additional options first.

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Are there any alternative treatment methods that work best for your migraines? If so, what are they?

The day insomnia can be cured in any way, shape, or form, I will be on a line for that! Right next to the line for the great Fibro/Chronic Pain cure. Here’s hoping we see it in this lifetime.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

As Real As It Gets

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WARNING: Potential Triggers

I’m a ridiculously intuitive person, which has the tendency of scaring people if they aren’t used to it. I live my life paying attention to the same things most people ignore. However, it is virtually impossible to ignore your body and mind when they’re screaming at you. No matter what bad thing it is that you may be going through, it is sometimes important to take a step back, allow yourself to feel what you feel, without apologies, and regroup tomorrow.

For the majority of my life, my purpose wasn’t clear. I don’t know if I ever considered the purpose for my existence. I had so many responsibilities, and I openly admit that I took them on myself. When most people would have been taking care of themselves for their “most selfish years”, I was taking care of two sick parents. I was dealing with burying friends and loved ones, and so it took until maybe this last year for me to say “Enough!” and begin focusing on myself. I now know that it’s not selfish to be focusing on myself at this point in my life, it’s survival.

I’ve been through some awful things, a lot of which I try not to focus on. There’s a saying about not looking back or you’ll only manage to hurt your neck. In many respects, that is true. I gain nothing from reflecting on pain, but I do gain something for having survived all of it. I know that I can get through the horrible, never-ending cycle of suffering, I know I can come out the other end a far better person than I was today, but it’s not a choice one ever wants to make. It’s “kill or be killed”, so you have to regroup and “kill”, even if only metaphorically.

In times like this, a lot of people turn to religion. I am not hardcore religious, but I am spiritual. I pray several times a day for the peace and the concept that someone Higher is listening to me. That someone Higher cares. Through trial and error, I have found that most people care about themselves, and they have no room in their mind or heart for anything or anyone else. I’ll never understand it. The average person cares about five people, or less. Are we such a selfish, self-absorbed, self-centered society that we take no time at all to care about the person next to us? I often hear myself say that if a situation does not directly affect me and/or those I love/care about, then I cannot put forth the emotion to worry about it. The point though is that I actually love and care about other people. I’ve spent a long time placing others before me, and I still do it at times, but ultimately I don’t have my head up my ass. I find it easy to be emotionally present for others, and a lot less easy to be emotionally present for myself.

I’m sick of my internal dialogue because it’s so abusive. It’s something I call “self-abuse”. You’re cutting yourself apart as if you were actually cutting, but there’s no blood, the wound is entirely internal and it grows daily. You wouldn’t even feel it if someone dipped you into the Dead Sea, because you’re already a walking wound of agony.

I can point out positive things in other people, but when it comes to doing the same for myself I usually say “I’m loyal.” and when asked how I’m feeling I often say “I exist.” I will never lie and say “I’m fine.”, because then I’d be lying to myself. I’m not fine. I’ve never been less “fine”, but because I’ve been through so many “not fine”, “not okay” times, I would rather not pick at the scabs, so to speak. How much negativity does one need to focus on before they become batshit crazy and hurt someone, or themselves?

I will never lie about often feeling suicidal. Never. I will never pretend that darkness doesn’t coat aspects of my life so thickly that it’s hard to see the light. I will never say it is a topic that is “off-limits” or “taboo” because the fact of the matter is, not everyone acts on their thoughts, but those that do aren’t weak. It takes an immense amount of strength to say “I’ve had enough pain.”

Many people advocate for “assisted suicide” for terminally ill patients, but what do we advocate for when a person cannot be healed in any way, shape, or form, through no fault of their own? Do we pretend the issue doesn’t exist and go off into our own selfish bubble? Do we say “That’s not my problem?” Do we walk away? Do we ignore it?

So many people have been unable to see the signs in a loved one and have later been devastated that they chose to end their own life. Instead of thinking about how much pain THEY had to be in to go there, to reach that point, all I ever hear is “How could s/he do this to me?”, “How could they leave me behind?”, “Why didn’t s/he tell me?” Bringer of honesty: It’s NOT about you. 

It amazes me how people don’t look closely at situations or loved ones. It blows my mind how people choose to see the surface, and nothing more. It behooves me how few people ever say “I’m here for you, no matter what. And I will NOT judge.” Once a person commits suicide, people can lie ’til the cows come home, but they are absolutely judging. If you’re unaffected by the deeply personal pain of others, you aren’t human.

It is important to check in with those we love. It is important, and crucial, to look deeper. There will still be times when you will not see what a person chooses not to show, but there will also be times when a hug, a hand to hold, a kind word, a moment of inspiration, a thoughtful phone call, or card will pull a person back and show them that they mean something, that their life has value and purpose.

This will be painful for some people to read because they choose to avoid brutal truth. This may be painful for suicide survivors who are still left asking themselves “Why?” As a person who thinks about it deeply, I have very few reasons for not acting on my feelings. Those reasons become less important each day.

I am touched by the people who genuinely reach out to me in love or friendship. I am touched by the people whose actions say “I’ll always be here for you, no matter what.” But those moments, and people, are few and far between.

One day I may not be able to rely solely on my self-talk to pull me back. And the excuses you might very well hear in the wake of that will be: “I work 60+ hours a week, I have no time to talk.”, “I never returned her phone call. I feel TERRIBLE.”, “I didn’t answer her text message.”, “I stopped speaking to her because she was too honest.”, “She was so young, smart, creative, and beautiful…I don’t understand. She had her whole life ahead of her.”

No one will say “She was in so much pain, she couldn’t take it anymore and I understand.” No one. And that is truly fucking sad.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Silver Linings

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At this particular point in time, I am having difficulties seeing the silver linings. Life has its ups and downs. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it sucks. We’ve all experienced this. I’m not quite certain what to do when it’s predominantly sucky.

I work hard, but there is always a problem that arises and it’s always something I have to fix. It makes almost all aspects of life, outside of a handful of things, completely miserable, moving straight into unbearable. When does it end? 😦

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At a severe low point, I called a suicide prevention hotline. I feel absolutely no shame in admitting that. I do, however, feel incredible outrage by how I was treated by this hotline that will willingly accept my donations, and yours, but refused to so much as help me when I wasn’t very far away from my personal ledge.

The person who took my call was already on the phone with someone “in a more severe crisis”. I have no idea how she knew this other person was in a more severe situation than I was because the first thing she did was put me on hold for about 30 minutes. Let me reiterate that she never even bothered to ask me if I was all right and in a safe place before she did that. She finally comes back on the line and says that the other call is more important and I should try calling back later. She didn’t ask where my head space was, NOTHING. She spewed the call back later crap and hung up. Even if you’re short-handed, even if you’re a volunteer, that isn’t the way to treat anyone who is calling a suicide prevention line. Clearly, they’re not calling for shits and giggles, it takes courage to make that call. I hung up with my jaw wide open, feeling even more betrayed by the world. It was a gut punch. “Wow! Even the suicide prevention hotline can’t prioritize me for half a second before hanging up!” If I wanted to be treated that way, I have family for that.

Earlier this year a now former friend asked me via text message if I “needed professional help”. Instead of understanding that I was in a bad place and needed support, she ended up blowing me off and later “broke up” with me via e-mail. I thought we’d be friends a very long time, so I was understandably blown away by the dramatic behavior and inability to show compassion to another human-being. I will never name names, but I am also at that point where forgiveness is not an option. You only get one chance with me. (Other things did occur towards the end, but I will never discuss any of that because it’s private. If the other person chooses to say something, they would be wrong.)

Telling me you’re worried about me via text message doesn’t convey care or concern. It’s just words. Picking up the fucking phone and saying “I know you’re not okay. I’m here for you.” is a better way to let anyone know that you’re truly there for them.

One of the biggest issues with cell phones and tablets is that no one talks to each other or communicates properly. The other day a woman took a call in front of me from her mother. Her mother wanted to argue and she said “Lets discuss this in person. There is no need to have this conversation over the phone. I will see you in a few hours.” She repeated the same statement several times because apparently she was dealing with a stubborn parent. When she hung up she said she HATED how people misconstrue things via text, e-mail, and sometimes even over the phone. She was totally on my level, saying how she’d rather be face-to-face with certain people because that way, there’s no misunderstanding whatsoever. It was incredibly refreshing.

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I cannot speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. If I sense that someone is going through a rough time, whether they voice it or not, they don’t have to ask me to be a good friend or family member, because I do not lack common sense. I am not the world’s most compassionate soul (I openly admit that.), and I will never win awards for my niceness (The niceness gene died at age 12.), but I am emotionally present. That’s more than I can say for a great many people in my life and those I’ve chosen to get rid of.

If you love your friends, you fight for them. Their well-being is important to you and you don’t need to be insulting in order to get your point across. The same is true for family. I come from a very large extended family, but at the end of the day, they are almost exclusively people I happen to be related to (Who are banned from future book signings and appearances. LOL.). They’re not my everyday “I’ve got your back”, “Don’t worry about it.”, “No problem, I’ll help you.” family. There’s an immense difference. I have friends and family I’d do anything for, but with the rest… I’d break out the marshmallows if they were on fire.

Ultimately, not everyone you know is a good person down to roots of their soul. If you find those that are good, don’t let them go over petty idiocy. Learn how to say “I’m sorry” when you’re wrong or when you’ve hurt someone. Learn how to admit you don’t know it all. Be yourself, be real, GROW.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us. So, I employ a “live and let live” policy. If you’re good to me, I will appreciate that and I will say so. If you’re a piece of shit to me, eventually I will make sure you know what I think of you. Or I won’t be so bothered as to waste the oxygen, that all depends on my mood.

If you’re a part of my life, I am grateful to have you in it. I keep my circle of friends close because of the value I place upon the element of friendship. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have true friends, and I really don’t trust women who don’t have at least 1-3 close female friends. It’s a red flag. Kind of like a man at a bar that still has a tan line where his wedding band should be, but tells you he’s single or how horrible his “soon-to-be” ex-wife is. Unless you see divorce papers, he’s full of crap and is a married man who hasn’t stopped dating.

I’m eternally appreciative that I am one of those rare people who truly doesn’t care if people like me or not. I spend no time at all wondering what others think of me as a person. Those that take the time to get to know me on a deeper level are the ones that benefit from my fierce loyalty and “ride or die” friendship. Those that burn me clearly don’t know that, like the Phoenix, I will always rise again.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Where The Hell Does The Year Go?

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Where The Hell Does The Year Go?

Every year I’m semi-amazed I’ve survived and gotten this far: Both in life and in the day-to-day struggle. I have a lot to be grateful for.

I’ve had an incredibly rough two years. The years before that were not perfect, some were horrific in their lack of kindness, many had their battles, but this past year has humbled me in ways I never thought possible. It is very easy to lose sight of what we have in life, basic things we should all have. It’s a little too easy to take those basics for granted, until they’re taken away for long periods of time.

I read so many things where people are going through difficult shit. I choose not to advertise my problems because I do have some semblance of privacy and dignity. I also don’t feel that’s what people come here for. I know I can bitch and be myself, but do I really want to dwell on that crap? No. I want things to get better, I want to be positive, and I want to move forward. By whining, you drown in your own crap. On top of being a disgusting visual, it’s also very negative and I don’t want that, for myself or for anyone else.

I am eternally grateful for being blessed with the ability to project my voice through the written and spoken word. As I watch so many people struggle with something that comes so easy to me, I can’t help but see the differences between art and mere words. I openly admit it leaves me frustrated with a lot of people at times.

The very small group of people that matter in my life: THANK YOU. You all know who you are. I am blessed with people who talk me down from my various ledges, entertain my insanity, listen to me, commiserate with me, support me, and are loyal with kind, caring, generous hearts. I respect and appreciate the lack of drama. I respect and appreciate your love, friendship, humor, and the things so many of you go out of your way to do to make me laugh, smile, and/or cheer me up. The thoughtfulness knows no boundaries. It is amazing to know that there are people who have my back, as opposed to those who would prefer to stab me in it. Please know how appreciated you all are. I have an outrageous amount of love in my heart for all of you.

It gives me an endless amount of professional pleasure and pride to be able to bring you “Poison In Lethal Doses”. Tomorrow marks 20 years of both my experience as an editor and the amount of time I have spent writing “Poison” pieces. It feels like it all just started yesterday. I’ve grown so much as a writer that I know time has passed, yet it feels surreal to me. What I used to do and what I do today are two very different beasts. The evolution is amazing for me to see.

2015 will challenge me in my personal and professional lives. I pray it is not quite as challenging for all of you because I would not wish aspects of my life on anyone, but I do hope it challenges you in positive ways that brings an abundance of happiness into your lives.

Ultimately, my vow is to be here and be present for all of you, and for myself. I vow to finish the unfinished and move forward with things that are of the utmost importance. On a smaller note, I am going to attempt to be 98% caffeine free by February. I would prefer to use it just when I have a migraine, as opposed to using it as a stress crutch.

Big things, little things, good things, bad things. No matter what, let us be grateful for it all and what it teaches us. Life is short. It’s not always easy, and it’s a very lonely place without someone in life to turn to that understands. Tonight, no matter what it is you’re doing or believe in, stop and say a little prayer for everyone that matters to you in life. It’s not about religion or belief systems, it’s about humanity. Once you lose sight of that, it’s all downhill, so I think it’s important to remain in touch with what makes you a human-being. While not the most friendly person on the planet, I still have compassion and empathy for others. I still make an effort. I am always present for those I care about, no excuses. Practice a random act of kindness, you’ll see how good it makes you feel as well, thus serving a dual purpose. That which you send out into the world comes back to you threefold. Make it count.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and safe New Year!

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Friendship -VS- “Friendship”: Sincerity Or Malice?

FRIENDSHIP -VS- “FRIENDSHIP”: SINCERITY OR MALICE?

If there’s anything I truly hate in this world, it’s people not knowing how to be decent friends. It takes two, truly. Both people have to be committed to the same cause, which is the core of the friendship and what it is built upon. Unfortunately, you will often find that the other person generally doesn’t know your intentions and you may not figure out theirs until it’s too late.

Throughout the course of my life I have had both friends and “friends”, and it’s fair to say that we all have. The latter are the bottom feeders in this world who only come to you with falseness in their hearts. They pretend to be genuine, but they’re either intimidated by you, scared of your strength, jealous of you, or never have good intentions towards anyone. Sometimes it’s a mass combination of all of the above, and so much more. They are the types of people that are 1000 shades of fucked up and, no matter how sweet, kind, entertaining, genuine, or funny they appear to be, they are hiding behind a facade and not only lying to you, but lying to themselves. They will seem selfless, but they’re selfish, self-possessed, and have cruelty and hatred residing within their souls, and they choose to take it out on people that do not deserve it, as opposed to directing it at those that do.

I can only use myself as an example here. I give a LOT to the relationships in my life. I don’t know any other way to be. Need advice? I’m your girl. Need help hiding a body? What body? No one will ever find it. I have helped friends whenever they have needed help, regardless of what that help entailed. I feel that is the right thing to do. I do not like seeing my friends struggle and suffer if I am in a position to do something about it. I will talk to you for hours about anything and nothing, and I will truly listen to you. I’m not on the other end of the phone rolling my eyes or making faces, I am fully engaged. I am loyal and I am devoted. In short, I know my worth and value in all things, but especially as a friend. It is one of the things in life I am most certain of.

A lot of missteps in friendship are based on poor communication. If you choose not to say something to someone when, and if, it bothers you, that is YOUR fault, not THEIRS. Take ownership of your short-comings. I have my own faults here too. Sometimes it will take me a few days, weeks, or months to call somebody out on something I feel was inappropriate, wrong, and/or offensive. I don’t allow disrespect. However, even if it takes me some time, I will still do it. I do not avoid confrontation, and I always feel better once I’ve clarified with someone what is, or isn’t, going on and how to come back to a good place. It doesn’t happen with every single friendship, sometimes a friendship has run its course, reached an end and that, too, is ok, but the effort still needs to be made.

If ever you want to end a friendship, as in all relationships, it is crucial to tell the other person. For one, it shows good manners and two, it brings closure to the relationship. It doesn’t matter if you were friends for three months, six months, a year, or if you’ve been friends for 30 years, have some fucking decency in your dealings with others, lest you gain a reputation for the way you handle your personal relationships. Especially with other women. I can assure you that women talk. If you’ve been a bitch to a woman and later become friends with someone she knows really well, she won’t hesitate to tell that friend exactly what your deal is. I’ve had more than one or two of my close friends warn me about other women, and they were always right. Thankfully, I wasn’t fully invested into the new people, so it wasn’t a big deal or the end of the world.

I always encourage people to communicate with me. If you don’t like something I’ve said, come to me and Spit.It.Out. Just be honest. You’re not sure what I meant by something? FUCKING ASK. Things like that frustrate me. I don’t like wasting my time with anyone, nor do I like it when people attach my name to bullshit stories that are fictional beyond words, and delusional by half.

If you have an issue with me, say it to my face. Be direct. Don’t run and hide like a toddler, and don’t tell lies. I may not be perfect, I’m certainly not winning any awards for warmth, fuzziness, or coddling, but at least I know what respect, loyalty, and real friendship is all about. Once I lose respect for you, you do not exist. If you close the door, I will put Wolverine’s adamantium claws on my end of the door so that if you ever try re-opening it, you get to hang on your own sword, and your own mistakes. That’s how it works. If you want to be someone’s friend, have honor and dignity. Unless you’re incredibly self-absorbed and shallow. I assure you, NO ONE wants a false friend.

Choosing to be a part of someone’s life as their friend is something so many take for granted. Extending the hand of friendship, to me, is a big deal. If you bite that hand, be prepared for what comes next. People often underestimate my nice factor, which I can tell you from experience, is limited. Treat people the way you want to be treated. If you want love and acceptance, be loving and accepting. If you want or need a certain thing in a friendship, as in any relationship, it is perfectly ok to ask for it. If you’re going through a rough time and you feel like you need a little extra emotional support, say so. Don’t expect everyone to be a mind reader, because the simple fact of the matter is, there’s no such thing as mind readers.

If friends or family treat you like shit and you always allow them to return to your life, you are allowing the behavior and accepting it. In fact, you’re encouraging the cycle to continue. Over time, you lose sight of what it’s like to be treated the right way. In the grand scheme, your acceptance of such negativity allows the chains to wrap around you. This extends to all relationships in ones’ life. Allowing bad behavior, accepting it, and never saying anything in response is encouraging it. If I, as your friend, have encouraged you to put your foot down and you ignore me, I lack sympathy when it continues to happen to you. Not because I’m a cruel person, but because you have been repeatedly given sound advice. I do not mince words and I do not suffer fools gladly. I mean what I say, unless I’m pissed, in which case I will probably say nothing until I cool off. If I am wrong and I know I am wrong, I will always apologize.

This was not written for any particular reason, so do not presume it is directed at you, the reader, in any way, shape, or form, except maybe in an advisory capacity. I’ve had this on my mind for a while and felt it cathartic to put it into action.

We have three different types of friends throughout the course of our lives, and in some instances, for many, many lives, until we learn our lessons and get it right. The different types of friends are “those for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. If you’re going to be the type of friend to me that I am to you, then you’re ride or die, and you are in my life for a reason and a lifetime. I will always be loyal and devoted to you. However, if you’re only sticking around long enough to use me, please, fuck off now, and take your insane monkeys with you.

If one person is a flake, don’t take it personally. If one person is over-sensitive and cannot handle the truth, then that person needs to work on themselves and letting them fly is the best thing to do when they refuse to listen. Not every friendship is forever, but maybe that’s because the ones that are, are so much more valuable, and are built on a solid foundation, as opposed to being built on one person’s immediate interests.

In closing, I am incredibly GRATEFUL for the lovely, talented, graceful, elegant, mature, beautiful on the inside and outside, kind, generous, hilarious, devoted, loyal friends in my life. I can count them on two hands, but quality is far superior to quantity. Some have been a part of my life for a short period of time, but are no less special to me. Many have been with me for 18-25 years and, despite our imperfections and character flaws, despite agreeing to disagree, we love each other, we care about each other so very much, and we’d do anything for each other. A friend recently told me that I have been there for her through EVERYTHING, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and she thanks God for me. Another told me how people are always using her, but that I am the bright spot in her life. In friendship, things should be positive. If they aren’t, detox yourself from the poison. You’ll find a lot of clarity there.

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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