Eighty One Years Old

It’s International Women’s Day, but it’s also the anniversary of the passing of my Grandmother. This year, I choose to honor one over the other. Obviously, I’m going to choose my family. 

My Grandmother helped raise my brother and I, and she did so happily. She lived directly across the street, and was a solid fixture in our daily lives after my Grandfather passed away. I never had babysitters or strangers around me; there was always a family member present, and for the first half of my life, that person was almost always my Grandmother.

There was never a time she was not present for a graduation, a birthday, a holiday, gymnastics, various performances, etc. She paid for my voice lessons, and was the first person to offer up ANYTHING she deemed necessary for her grandchildren. We were always a priority. She attended everything my brother and I participated in. She took us to movies, museums, parades, and anything cultural and/or artistic. She kept your favorite ice cream in the freezer and always had matzo ball soup on hand for when we were sick. I spoke to her almost daily.

When my Grandmother called to say she’d been diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t believe her the way I would now. I was in denial. I also didn’t know half as much about it as I do now, and for that I live with terrible regret.

I remember precisely what she said to me three weeks before she passed away. Despite being her only Granddaughter, I didn’t receive a lot of compliments, but that day, it was as if she was seeing me for the first time. I did my best to keep my promises to her, but alas, I failed on all accounts. I honored her the best way I knew how, and I still do. I remember everything with such clarity that it often haunts me.

I’m sorry, Grandma, that I could not keep my mother alive, “keep the family together”, or be the “peacekeeper”. I’m not sorry for everything I did right, though. Unfortunately, not everything was within my control.  

My brother & I loved our Grandmother to pieces. No matter what, we know where we came from and how we got where we are. I know she still looks after all of us. Always with us, always in our hearts, always loved. 

Pokoysya s mirom, milaya babushka. Vy navsegda v nashikh serdtsakh.

copyright © 2019 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. This authors’ work is protected under U.S. and International copyright laws. Further protection is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

    

Musings Of An Unquiet Mind

My closest friends and family, my loved ones, are the absolute BEST reflection of who I am. When you have healthy self-respect, self-esteem, dignity, a seemingly unending source of inner strength, and an innate sense of self, you don’t wait for some mythological superhero to rescue you. You’re your own damn hero, and I’m SO PROUD of the inspiring women in my life who’ve been through HELL and back, but are SO wise, kind, caring, and fierce when necessary. Me? I’m always fierce and this week, that ability to go from perfectly pleasant to ice queen in less than half a second was considered “intimidating”. I’m only intimidating if you’re fucking weak. Perhaps you should not challenge someone you don’t know well enough to challenge. Turns out, I’m venomous when necessary. 🤷

img_20190208_110735_201

 

I was raised to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships and friendships. It’s why I ditch toxic and/or narcissistic people without a care in the world. I KNOW my worth and value in ALL things.

My best friends are these AMAZING, strong, witty, “I’ll do anything for you.” kind of women, and I firmly believe like attracts like. Loyalty attracts loyalty. Honesty attracts honesty. Ride or die types of people attract the right friends to them. My friendships have lasted longer than most people’s marriages, and if you can devote that much care to a friendship, it says a LOT about your character.

I’ve met many soul mates in this incarnation. The best friend soulmate; the professional development soulmate, the sibling soulmate, etc. Unless you’re a new soul, this is not uncommon.

Almost two years ago, I was filling out paperwork and glanced to my left. A pair of blue eyes met mine and I immediately knew I KNEW this person, though we had definitely not yet met in this incarnation. Every time I sit across from this person and we’re deep in conversation, it builds a stronger foundation. And yet, when someone refers to this relationship, even if they think their comments are benign or funny, I am immediately protective of this person. It’s the same type of fierce protection my friends and family benefit from, and I still don’t fully understand the relationship other than to say I’m incredibly grateful to have this person in my life. Not in a codependent kind of way, but in a “Do NOT fuck with my people.” kind of way.

In the past year, shitty people have shown me their true faces, and wonderful people have stepped up and into my life in a myriad of roles. I hope everyone understands how much I value them.

You don’t have to be a romantic partner for me to show my respect and appreciation. I have impeccable manners and I make sure this translates onto my social media platforms.

My friends KNOW who they are and should know how much I love them. Anytime you work to establish and continue building a friendship, I know you’re not full of crap.
My family members are few and far between, but they’re MY family. I would take a bullet for many of them and just like with my friends, if you hurt someone I love, I will personally hunt you down like a hungry lion and destroy you. Don’t test me. Most likely to take a bullet, but also most likely to rip you to shreds and scatter you like dust. I don’t know about some of you, but I’d WANT that loyal, fierce friend/family member in my life because you know where you stand with authenticity. People masquerading; not so much.

Matt, thank you for identifying authenticity in others and ALWAYS being this amazing reflection of who EVERYONE should be. You are such a beautifully evolved soul. 😘😘😘

Identify your tribe. Love them fiercely. But don’t hesitate to cut cancerous toxicity away when necessary. Remember that you matter, too.

#Honesty #Soulmates #Love #SoulFamily #Familia #Friendship #TribeOfGoofballs

💜🖤💛💚💕💟💞💗💖

soulmate

copyright © 2019 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. Excerpts and quotes from the material also require consent. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws. Further protection is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Let Us Be Grateful To The People…

img_20181122_135536_339

This pretty much sums up every day, at least for me. I have amazing friends, which is an incredible blessing (I’m not too shabby, either. 😉 Some of you are extremely lucky to have me.). I have a handful of family members who value me. I’ve got people on my side who respect me, care about me, and treat me like a human being with a great mind. I’m not fully capable of happiness at the moment, but someday up the road… Maybe.

Sending love and hugs to everyone today.  🦋🔮💛

P.S. Cooking shall begin in about an hour. I’m not looking forward to chopping several pounds of vegetables at the last minute, but I only learned yesterday afternoon that I’d be cooking at all. I’m grateful I was able to sleep with the level of pain I’m in. I’m currently praying I can avoid Urgent Care this weekend. Something about this weather has my sinuses and ears in agony. I keep hoping it’ll pass, but the last time I did that, I ended up with three infections. 😦 Bleh!      

Saying Goodbye

I’ve never been happier to say goodbye to a month. 😦 The month I most look forward to every year, October, has been bitter, painful, and full of things I do not want to take into the coming month, or any month in the future, for that matter. I feel like a snake, preparing to shed its skin. I NEVER want to feel the things I have had to feel this month.

I want to persevere in November. I want to pretend the birthday from hell never happened, despite the daily reminders of how demeaning and insulting it was. An epic slap in my face from pretty much every side you can think of (I refuse to celebrate from here on in, unless it’s by myself. People SUCK.). I want to remember who my real friends are. I want to be constantly reminded who my real family is, as opposed to those who simply get the label via birth.

Ultimately, I want to survive this month. I want to successfully achieve the goals on my list, one of which feels absolutely impossible. The last time I felt that way, I nailed it and was able to breathe again. All I want to do is achieve the impossible and breathe. I need to make it to 2017 in one piece.

I also apologize for all delays, as I burned out my laptop battery earlier this month and, to add insult to injury, fried the adapter. Say a little prayer for my laptop, ’cause I’m praying HARD for it.

Survival and deep breaths. Seems simple, but it’s not.

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

ghosts
It’s true.

P.S. And despite all threats, I did not give Cat away to a nice family tonight. She’s been taking care of her poor, sick Mommy when she’s not aggressively attacking her sister. Kitten is right by my side, as always. 🙂 I shall spend tomorrow squeezing them silly!

 

Sisterhood Unraveled

icant

The majority of my closest friends have been in my life for longer than most marriages last. We’re talking twenty years, on average, for each of my best friends. One, now officially former, best friend has spent the past six and a half years ignoring me. There was no disagreement between us, we’ve never had a legitimate fight. Absolutely nothing occurred to warrant her going radio silent. This, however, is her behavior whenever a new man enters her life. It’s utterly baffling, and such an immense turn-off that she truly believes she can come and go in the friendship as she pleases. I’m a person; not a revolving door at a hotel or airport! It’s unacceptable behavior. So, I’m going to write my feelings out of my system today. I’ve never blatantly outed a friend in such a manner, but it’s time to light a Yarhzeit candle to the friendship. For now it is time to remember, and move on.

Here’s a fact about me: When I’m done, I’m truly DONE. I find it sad that after all this time, she doesn’t know me well enough to know that I will cut her out of my life permanently. She doesn’t seem to realize that I will exterminate her like a fucking termite. She’s gotten far too comfortable in the friendship, and has forgotten what loyalty and true friendship are, and for that, there’s simply no forgiveness left in me. From here on out, I will refer to this person as Two-Face.

Two-Face and I became instant best friends from almost the first encounter. We said the same things, thought a lot of the same things, had a similar sense of humor, liked nearly all of the same things, and she stood up to people who challenged my role in her life many times. We were thick as thieves; always laughing hysterically for hours on end. She called me her sister, often saying I was closer to her in life than her own sister could ever be. It certainly seemed that way, because her sister isn’t anywhere near as good to her as I was from day one, but apparently she forgives her sister damn near anything and has an extremely short fucking memory. I’m more like an elephant. I might forget that I left tea in the kitchen for two hours, allowing it to brew too long and go bitter, but I do not forget the long-term. In fact, it’s all so sharp and clear, it’s eerie.

For me, referring to any friend as family is the highest compliment I can pay someone because I don’t consider my own relatives “true family” most of the time, except for those who actually stand by me, as opposed to doing so merely when it is convenient for them. I have family that will call me family when they please, as opposed to daily. That doesn’t fly with me, which is precisely why none of those people are my true family. I share bloodlines with them, but beyond that? Nothing. I would not give them a bodily organ if they needed it and I was the only match on the planet; I’d give it to the stranger whose family needed them instead. Through time, they’ve shown me how little they value me, so why should I hold them in high regard?

It’s important to be careful how you treat your friends. Friendship is a delicate thing. It can wax and wane like the moon, but it can also grow stronger daily. My best friends, those who’ve never left, seem to know me better than she does. I often thought she & I were closer, not just logistically speaking, but because we shared such a daily chunk of each other’s lives that the others often miss out on. I was wrong.

I have never dropped a friend for a man, or for another relationship. Not ever. I might be happier, perhaps a lot more playful and silly, but my friends play a significant role in my life. I do not exclude them simply because I am in a relationship. I don’t ditch them for months or years at a time, as if they are toys to be placed in a drawer and taken out when I choose. I find that disrespectful, and incredibly unhealthy. I am at my healthiest when I have my girls to turn to no matter what, because I’m genuinely a Girl’s Girl to the core. Women supporting other women, in good and bad times, is a remarkable thing. It is something I respect wholeheartedly. Don’t get me wrong; I will tell someone they’re wrong when they’re wrong, regardless of gender. I have absolutely no qualms about letting people know I have boundaries and human emotions, but I’d never intentionally hurt a friend. If you do something once and you ask for forgiveness; it’s a mistake. We all make mistakes, no one is perfect. If you repeatedly do something ugly; it’s a pattern and a choice. I do not have to accept choices that are continuously hurtful. I have enough issues; I don’t need my friends to emotionally cut me to pieces, nor will I allow it.

Two-Faced, now on marriage number three (Which, at the point, means you shouldn’t even bother. Unless you have children together, are planning on having children, or it’s for insurance purposes, that piece of paper is clearly ridiculous. That’s my OPINION, but I also know her so well that I know the second the relationship crumbles, she will be back at my feet, begging for forgiveness. Her absence will be blamed on HIM, not on HER.), was married when we first became friends. Her husband was utterly lovely…and she treated him like shit. My first impression was that it showed strength (No, I don’t think it’s okay to treat your partner like shit. I did not see it for what it was initially.), but over time I realized they never should have gotten married, that they only did so out of family pressure. They didn’t want the same things. They grew apart. When she called to tell me they were divorcing, I was heartbroken for her, and very protective. They stayed together for a period of time to get their finances in order, and parted ways amicably. They didn’t have any children, so it was a clean break. It was harder for their families than it was for them, because her family loved him and his family loved her. I’ll give her one thing; she’s great at fooling people.

She moved to another city and immediately started dating. He was re-married to someone else quickly after they were divorced, and was expecting his first child. She’d disappear for short periods of time between boyfriends. It was utterly obnoxious, and I’d never seen this side of her before. I started filtering myself in regard to my own relationships because I was somehow able to manage more than one person in my life at a time, never making excuses. I could keep my friends, be a part of my family, AND keep a guy in my life, without issue. Why was this such a problem for her?! In fairness, I’d soon discover it was a problem for a lot of women, and to this day, I will NEVER be able to wrap my mind around that. Relationships come and go, they’re not etched in stone, but friends should be forever. Where are you in life without at least one true friend?

whenigive1

She came to visit me at one point and was an absolute bitch for roughly 85% of the visit. Perhaps I should be ranking that at a higher percentage. I had the hardest time not knocking her teeth out, because I’d be appalled if I ever behaved that way toward a friend, especially in their home, and worse, several times in front of their family. Nothing was good enough for her, but in actuality I know that she was acting out, which is sad because by doing so, she ruined much of the time we spent together. When a major snowstorm hit the day before she was supposed to leave, resulting in approximately a foot and a half of snow, you would have thought I’d caused it by her behavior and attitude towards me. I had paid for her plane ticket and treated her like family; and in turn, soon after the visit, she didn’t speak to me for almost a year. I was utterly THRILLED when I dropped her off at the airport. Her behavior was SO awful that I honestly didn’t care if I ever saw her again. After 9/11, she e-mailed me to make sure that my family & I were safe. Our friendship resumed at that point, she seemed genuinely remorseful. “It’ll never happen again, Lisa. I honestly don’t know how I survive without you.” Whatever.

Maybe six months after flying out to visit her, she stopped speaking to me once again. I called her at work one day, after she’d been ignoring me for weeks, because my mother was in the hospital and I didn’t think she was going to live. I was devastated and needed my best friend to talk to me down off a ledge. She actually got on the phone and told me “I have problems of my own, I don’t have time for yours!” and hung up on me. In hindsight, I NEVER should have allowed her back into my life after that move. I should have ripped her to shreds, but I didn’t. My mistake, because that won’t ever happen again.

Maybe the following year I got a letter explaining that she’d hit a rough patch soon after I left, and decided to move back home to be closer to her family, and again, the friendship resumed with her, once again, pleading for forgiveness. “It’ll never happen again, Lisa. I swear.”

But it did.She never truly apologized for anything, not once. 

She met husband number two, who was moved in very quickly (She should get U-Haul discounts on how quickly she moves men into and out of her life. I’ve never seen anything like it. Why can’t you just date like a normal person?!), and this guy hated me. He didn’t want her talking to me, and he didn’t want me visiting. She claims he made her choose between us, and we’d lose three years of friendship to a marriage where I am almost certain of his verbal abuse, but even more certain that the abused became the abuser. I feel she’s always had that in her; and I am sure that is why her first husband moved on so quickly to someone who was so drastically different in every way. Poor guy dodged one hell of a bullet! 😦

Her relationships are what they are. It’s her searching for love in all of the wrong places, because, despite being eternally selfish to her core, she does not have the capacity to truly love anyone, not even herself. She puts on a good show though, an Academy Award worthy performance, but it’s all incredibly fake. She is, in essence, the Phantom of The Opera in his mask. So filled with self-doubt and internal torment, the mask is a shield to keep people at bay, to hold everyone at arm’s length, until it suits her to get closer. She’d openly deny this, because she is so blinded, she cannot clearly see herself. I find it sad.

At her best, she believes she’s a decent person and wants to be better and grow, but she always gets in her own way. I’ve been friends with her long enough to see the good, the bad, and the ugly, so I am certain her relationship with me was borne out of needing someone stronger in her life to be friends with, because she has no other true friends who’ve seen it all with her. She has people she works with who only ever see the mask, but I’ve seen the pain. I’ve seen the roots, and I understand them, but I do not accept the fact that while she believes she’s “grown”, she’s truly still at square one. Other people who’ve gotten close have crossed boundaries and felt her wrath. There’s a reason I’m referring to her as Two-Face. It disturbs me that she can have two completely different sides to her and not own it. I know I have both darkness and light within me, and I am very open about that, but I am NOT two-faced. I am the same person at all times. I will always apologize if I’m brusque or bitchy without cause. Always. Sometimes I don’t hear how I sounded until 1-3 days later, but I’d rather apologize and own it than pretend to be something, or someone, I’m not. She thinks she’s the same way, but she most definitely is not.

Several years ago, I wrote her a letter and let her know precisely how I felt about the friendship and what she’d done/was doing to it. It took me almost a year to write it without being vicious, so even now, I’m trying to not be batshit crazy over how I’ve been treated. I laid it all out for her, and told her that this was unacceptable behavior, and that I knew for a fact she’d never allow me to treat her this way, so why was it acceptable for her to treat me so horribly? I even said we’ve never fought or argued, and that neither of us had done anything unforgivable (up to that point). I said it was all about communicating openly and honestly with each other, which we’d always done. I told her if she wanted out of the friendship, she need only say so.

However, here I sit six and a half years later and I find, I’m the one who wants out. I’m DONE. I was never anything but an amazing friend to her; loyal, devoted, present, caring, and generous. I loaned her money when she went through a couple of horrible years and had trouble making ends meet. I wanted to help her and keep her safe during that time because her family was refusing to do so (most especially, her sister, who is apparently a saint now.). I didn’t expect to be paid back, but when I think about the fact that it’s somewhere between $10,000-$15,000 owed, I do find myself wanting that money back. She always promised it would be paid back because it was a LOAN and not a gift. There’s a difference in the phrasing. I would already have sued her for it, if the state she resides in allowed people to be sued for small claims. It doesn’t, and I think we can all safely agree that the number is definitely NOT a “small claim”. I would even accept installment payments at this point. Unlike running out on a credit card; I am a human-being and I deserve to be paid back. I don’t care how you treat a billion dollar business, but I DO care how you treat me, the loyal friend who has stood by you when others, including your own family, have walked away or stepped back.

We were sisters, and I was always there for her no matter what. She didn’t just unravel the sisterhood, she broke it. She continued to hammer away at it until I said “Enough!” When I wrote that letter, I let her know it wasn’t an ultimatum, but that I wasn’t going to hold on to how I felt and allow it to continue to hurt me. She e-mailed me a month later and said she’d read the letter multiple times and would e-mail me in a few weeks after she thought things over. I never heard from her again. Knowing her; she lost the letter in her many moves since receiving it, and didn’t have the guts to get back in contact with me and face the issue. She can’t say she doesn’t have my e-mail address because I’ve had the same primary e-mail address for over ten years. Her cowardly behavior is another strike against her. You don’t let things slide and not apologize. It once took me eight years to apologize to a friend for potentially hurting her, but I apologized, and the apology was accepted. The friendship did not resume because, much like Two-Face, this person could not maintain a marriage, a family life, and a best friend. Apparently it requires a really high I.Q., multiple doctorates, and/or maybe some special gift I’m unaware of. I do NOT understand it, and I’m done trying to.

I hold many titles with ease, and Grace. Daughter, Granddaughter, Niece, Sister, Best Friend, Friend, Cousin, Writer, Editor. I hope to add other titles to that list, and I’m certain I left a few out because I’m focused on what I have to say, but my point is, I do maintain each title. I am still my parent’s only daughter and my Grandparent’s only Granddaughter, even in their physical absences. Two of my Grandparents have a second Granddaughter, and for that I apologize to them because she’s an embarrassment on every level as a human-being. I am my Aunt’s only niece and my brother’s only sister. I’m a best friend and friend AT ALL TIMES, not when it is convenient to be so. I try to be there for my cousins because I choose to have relationships with them, even when they’re not ideal relationships, even when the other person is difficult and makes me sorry I bother. I make an EFFORT. I’m imperfect, and in that imperfection, I am unique and solid.

When I think about Two-Face I am reminded of good times, of laughter, of travels, of so many hilarious moments and shared thoughts and secrets. I will take her secrets to the grave, but I will not allow her to harm me any further. She is the only person who, in the role of a friend, managed to turn something unbreakable into something broken. Her deep desire for self-destruction isn’t going to take me down with her. She is sitting somewhere now, possibly believing that she ended the friendship on her terms or that the revolving door with remain revolving, perhaps not even giving it a second thought. Ultimately, I am the one cutting her off and out. Permanently. I am not going to be vicious or vengeful. I am not going to allow myself to feel the hurt, anger, or utter betrayal a second longer than I already have. This, however, will take time; for I’m so angry as I write this, I’m shaking.

I am not going to cut myself off from who I am as a person, and what I have to offer others. I am going to continue being myself. I will continue to be intuitive and mindful of new people. I won’t allow anyone in my life when there are red flags of warning. I’m not going to stop being a loyal, damn fine friend to people. I am not going to allow this to turn me into a bitch, or allow myself to think that I deserve to be treated like that. I know better.

Friendships aren’t gifted to us so that we may irrevocably damage and break them. They are gifted to us in order to support us through thick and thin, and they are indeed a gift because true friendship is so unbelievably rare. I realize I am a rarity in how I handle my relationships with others. No matter how bad my life may be, and believe me when I say that it isn’t easy, I’d prefer to continue being the kind of friend I’ve always been to people.

She may have hurt me, but she did not break me. She did not win a damn fucking thing. When all is said and done, she will be as alone as she was when she came into my life; a broken child in need of a place where she belonged. I gave her that, and I never judged. I’m still not judging, but I am saying “No more.” I’m placing a wall made of concrete and steel between her and I from here on in. She can get through electronically, providing I deign to open an e-mail from her, but she cannot reach my heart or soul ever again.

There’s only so much damage I’ll allow. Breaking the bonds of sisterhood is on the list of “ultimate betrayals” for any female friend. She was given the choice to repair the damage, and instead, she chose something else instead of realizing she could have both. She chose selfishness. I am not selfish. In fact, on many levels we are polar opposites. Perhaps that is why our friendship was so incredibly close and was then twisted into something ugly by her. She doesn’t know that there’s no going back, that my ability to accept is gone. I feel sorry for her. She always comes back, but this time, she has no idea who the other person is that she’ll be faced with. I’ve changed for the better. Once I cut you off, there’s nothing you can say or do to get back in. Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice and you’d better find another planet to reside on.

Interestingly enough, the last time I was this done with a person; it was a man. He’s in town this weekend and all I can think is “Motherfucker, don’t you DARE darken my door.” That I’d put them both into the same category today is interesting, because that’s how she & I became friends.

Never Again. Done means done. Friendship is an ultimate strength, NOT a weakness. Other people have stepped up in your absence and replaced you; something I once thought would be unheard of. Stick that in your bitch pipe and smoke it.

May life provide you with precisely what and who you deserve. I am off to light a candle and say my goodbyes. If you get in touch, expect a fucking bill.

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

burnyourbirdges

Family First

itsduring

Yesterday morning my brother was admitted into the hospital with what is, as of now, a form of heart failure. The doctors are baffled; stating that they don’t know how this happened because he is far too young. Unfortunately, he is far from being out of the woods. He is scheduled for a serious procedure today, and I am sadly all too familiar with it.

My original post probably won’t go up today because I’m sitting here speechless, sick to my stomach. I have words, there are things I want to say, but I feel the need to keep it inside for now.

I don’t talk about my personal life an awful lot, and there’s a reason for that. Most of you that know me off of this page are my friends in everyday life. You have the ability to call me, e-mail me, text, or visit, etc. But for those that do not personally know me, my heart, or the deeper aspects of my life, I tend to keep those things to myself. There’s plenty of people telling their life stories on blogs, but this is not a blog for me; it is my platform as a writer. I am a writer, I have been for 28 years. I’m not a blogger, at least not here, but perhaps that is just semantics for some people. I, however, stand by those words.

This week, I worry (It’s a Jewish woman thing.). I will try to push past the pit of hell inside my stomach. I pray for healing, for modern medicine to do what it’s supposed to do. I pray that some dietary changes reverse this, as a doctor told him it could/would, with some serious effort on his part, but only if it’s a specific type of heart failure.

The words “Life Vest” were used. That kind of technology did not exist when a doctor wanted to crack open my mother’s chest ten years ago and attach a defibrillator to her heart. Her doctor was over 80 (I wanted to punch this man at least three times, but it would have been disrespectful. I told her if he’d been 60, I’d have knocked his teeth out.), did not care to explain the procedure in a gentle manner, and was so rude that he only managed to turn the issue into a “Hell no!”, as opposed to “Can we discuss this?” Everything is being thoroughly explained to my brother, and for that I am grateful. He’s also smart enough to ask questions that other people might not think of and then discuss his options with me, that way there’s a proactive person involved in his recovery.

I know that many of you will understand if I am silent for a while; that family comes first. Today, and maybe most days, I am my Grandmother’s granddaughter. I do put my family first, but I am not afraid to handle the tough stuff. That’s why during the worst times in my life, I handle what needs to be handled, even if I’m not happy about doing it. Even if it breaks me.

Lack of a family unit has really bothered me these last few years. As I sat here yesterday making calls, I realized that about a dozen people did not need to be called, because they don’t give a fuck on a good day, and I will not give them the satisfaction of lapping up misery. I appreciate the people who offered up prayers, but I very nearly told someone off who made an off-hand comment without knowing precisely what is wrong. I had to take a huge step back, realizing that I’m emotional and snapping when you’re upset is not conducive to quality communication with others.

It would be hard not to be upset, angry (because I have tried for YEARS to take every bad thing out of his hands when I knew it was being over-done.), frustrated, and scared. I wouldn’t be human if I felt nothing. But I do feel, and I pray that this procedure holds answers as to the how and why. I pray to all that is holy that this is merely a bump in the long road of life. I pray that my brother sees the error of his ways, realizes he is being given a second chance, and takes that opportunity instead of squandering his brilliant mind.

I thank the doctors and nurses caring for him and the four different people who stopped him from an attempt to sneak into the parking lot for a cigarette! I’m embarrassed he’d stoop so low. They all yelled at him (His words were “They bitched me out!” I said nothing, because I feel he deserved it.), and he was later given a patch, so I am praying this is the end to me saying “You need to quit smoking before it kills you.” My brother may not be receptive to my direct honesty, but he’s taking it from doctors and nurses and I think that in and of itself is a positive thing.

I hope I’ll be able to say something more definitive in the next few days. In the meantime, I’m packing and trying to do all that I can for my brother. Because no matter how big a pain in the ass he is, and my GOD, I swear I inherited a big baby, he’s still MY brother. No one else alive can say that, and I told him the same thing. “No one else alive can say that I am their sister, so stop acting like no one cares about you.” I yell because I care, so when I stop yelling, he’d better start worrying.

As of now, I do not know with any certainty whether his medical expenses will be completely covered. If they aren’t, I will be posting a link at a later date to a fundraiser where even the smallest donation will help, but I will only do so if there’s a huge issue.

Thank you for listening to my insanity this morning. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. 🙂

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

thereareoften

Actions & Words

Last week I was struggling pretty hard and opened up to a friend. Most people run for the hills when you’re blatant in your honesty with them, especially about anything difficult, but this friend showed me that I was not going to be kicked while I was down, that her arms and heart were open for me. Actions speak louder than words. You can say you’ll always be there for me, but actually being there? That’s far more important to me. Words, it turns out, are often meaningless when it truly matters. So, thank you for being there for me, B. I won’t forget that. XO.

When you’ve spent most of your life being abandoned by people, you come to expect that it will continue to cycle, regardless of what you do to try to break the chain. Forgiveness isn’t an option for me in most instances. I will let something go…for me, but I don’t allow the same people back into my life to continue to hurt and harm me. Once I no longer feel anything for you, be it love or respect, I’m emotionally done. I used to think that was odd, but it turns out it’s not. The heart, mind, and soul have boundaries too, and it’s okay to accept and honor that.

I’ve been contemplating for some time now getting in touch with family I haven’t spoken to in several years. Ultimately I have decided not to call until Thanksgiving, because I truly don’t feel as though I’ve ever been part of the family, and there’s only so much effort I can make. In my mind, this is their last chance and I’m not going to make any bones about that. Not everyone you share blood lines with is going to be true family. Thankfully, you can choose your friends, which makes up for everything you find lacking in your family. If you met 99% of mine, you’d never know I was related to them. My best friend Marion suggested a DNA test to make sure they’re actually my relatives. She was appalled by the differences. I spent my entire life thinking there was something wrong with me, but it turns out, it’s not me, it’s them, and she helped me see that.

1185615_10200624467248279_1429350281_n

 

This morning I learned of a friends’ miscarriage, and it put a lot of things into perspective for me. My heart breaks for the loss of the twins they were expecting. Yes, miscarriages happen every day, but if any two people deserved to be parents, it was them. I know in my heart that the right children will be gifted to them at the right time, and that they need time to fully mourn, but it knocked me down with immense sadness. An absolute stranger could tell me about a miscarriage and I’d feel sad for their loss. It’s called empathy. It never ceases to amaze me how much people are lacking in this department. I have moments where I only need to know the facts and how to fix the situations presented to me, but I’m not self-absorbed. I don’t ignore other people’s pain. Other people may ignore mine, but the humanity in me doesn’t allow me to ignore theirs. I don’t require a pat on the back for paying attention or looking deeply at other people. I’m simply being myself.

Take a moment during your busy day or week to look a little deeper at someone and a little less at yourself. You might be surprised by what you find.

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

The Long Slow March Towards…More

nobodycanreplaceit

Someday in the not-too-distant future, holiday weekends such as this one will have more meaning for me. They won’t just be about the “official end of summer” or hoisting the flag in a show of patriotism. No one should need a holiday to be proud of where they’re from. Unless, of course, Barack Obama is your President, is systematically destroying this country, and we’re heading into an election year, but I digress. Weekends like this will eventually be about family.

I wish I’d known ten years ago how fiercely I wanted the things I want today. I wish I’d known then that it was okay to pursue those dreams and goals, without fear. By fear I don’t mean fear in the traditional sense, more in the “How the hell am I going to do THIS?” sense. No matter how much faith and confidence you have, we all have moments of self-doubt. It’s normal. You can do every single thing in your life the “traditional way” and it can still go to shit before your eyes. I think people become consumed with honoring other people’s wishes, hopes, and dreams, and lose sight of their own.

When I said that I was going to make a career change, that in no way entailed the end of me putting ink to paper. It meant “I need more.”

I have a family member who is incredibly content to fill her home with rescued animals. And by fill, I truly mean FILL.

I was told, no joke, that I should feel “immense guilt” for not choosing to personally save more lives. I had to flat-out say that while admirable, I want my life to have more to it than that. Animals are wonderful, anyone who has spent five minutes reading my work knows that I love cat and kitten, but is that all I ever want to come home to until the day that I die? No. I respect her choice, but she cannot comprehend mine because she made her decision years ago. I find it simple: We want different things. That’s okay. It doesn’t make one person better and the other worse, it means we have different ideas for our lives, and she should be able to accept it and let it go. My life is not an animal sanctuary. Anyone who cannot understand that probably shouldn’t be a part of my life in any capacity.

Each of us wants different things in life. Some people might want the traditional life of a husband/wife, 2.5 kids (or no children), a dog/cat (or no pets), and the white picket fence. And others…we want more. It has nothing to do with material things and everything to do with depth. That’s precisely what I seek; Depth. Material things aren’t always yours “forever”, but the miracle of your own flesh & blood…that’s eternal.

In life, we all deserve the chance to find the things that make us feel whole, whatever that may be. Wherever you find your happiness, may it be the ‘more’, the depth, and the eternal truth that we all seek, whether we admit it or not.

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

dontequate

 

 

Thank God It’s Saturday!

10370958_630541790414994_235974584005112688_n

I hate the traditional work week, which is probably why I don’t have a “traditional” job. Granted, with my injury and upsetting things going on in my personal life, I spent most of my week making phone calls, practicing self-care, doing extensive research, texting with a close family member, and trying not to commit any type of crime that would land me in prison. I’m too pale to wear orange.

The future is unclear, so perhaps I will do a tarot reading and see if the cards have any answers for me. I haven’t had to do that in a while, but I know that whatever is placed before me, even if I say I cannot do it, I WILL persevere. I can have a breakdown when the storm passes, but not before.

One of the worst things about this week has been the weather. Hot or cold, sometimes both in the same day. The trees are blooming up a storm, the bees are enormous and keep bumping into the windows, and the pressure in the air has been hell on my body. There were many nights I was in bed by 7:00 PM because the pain was simply too much to bear. I slept a full 12 hours one night this week, waking up truly wanting to remain in bed. “Mama said there’d be days like this”- hell yes, but do they all have to be in the same week!? In that moment, I hated the clock and all it stood for. Too much daylight, not enough night. It’s poison to those of us who identify as night owls, and I’m speaking for myself.

Weekends are always way too short, but they do give us a reprieve from some of the things we think during the week. For many of us, it gives us time to get things done that we’re not able to do during the week, like grocery shopping, laundry, or catching up with a movie or TV shows we didn’t have time to watch. Or it allows us to spend time with friends or family. Two of my favorite shows return this weekend: Bitten and Orphan Black. This is the time of year when many shows wrap for the season and others begin, which means you don’t have to spend the entire summer wondering why you pay for cable, satellite, or streaming service.

This past week I’ve really been able to take stock of the word “family”. I’ve also been able to take stock of the word “friend”. Some people say things because it sounds good, and other people mean it. Many talk for the sake of talking. My definitions are pretty cut & dried. If I love you and care about you, you can pretty much guarantee that I’d take a bullet for you, be you family member or friend. However, I do not forgive and forget. If that works for you, I think that’s great, but it doesn’t fly with me. I might forgive a person at some point, but I’ll do it for myself, not for them. I will never forget. Sometimes when words get thrown at you, there is no way to unhear them.

Proper communication is crucial in relationships and it’s incredibly important not to take out your own issues on someone else. If you do, apologize immediately. Hear yourself. Don’t make excuses for vile words and pretend that it can be swept under the rug. I own my shit. If I hurt or offend someone INTENTIONALLY, and I am one of those rare individuals who KNOWS when she’s doing it, then I will apologize the second I realize my mistake. If you hurt or offend me and the words “I’m sorry.” or “I was out of line.” never come out of your mouth, then don’t expect me to apologize for something I haven’t done or to accept an apology that comes too late.

A mistake some people have made with me over the past few months is to throw out the words “You misinterpreted what I said.” I’M NOT DEAF and my I.Q. hasn’t dropped. This is NOT a habit I have. If it happened daily, you could say it was a pattern and take issue with it, but it isn’t. For many, the problem is that I actually called them on their shit, pointed out a major flaw, and they don’t like it. Or, they always believe they’re right, and/or cannot admit that they said or did something inappropriate, wrong, or hurtful. Put your adult panties on, apologize, and move on. Don’t drag it out. The world doesn’t revolve around any one person, myself included.

I have work to do this weekend, in between two errands. I’m double-booked and one of those jobs is due for completion on the 24th, so I’ve got to focus and get it done. Here’s hoping I didn’t ask for too little money on this one. Unfortunately, one never knows until one is presented with certain things.

Have a nice weekend everyone. 🙂 I am off to take as much Aleve as possible and crawl into bed in the hopes that I do not waste another day in pain.

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

11109430_515201731967994_4527646659707155493_n

Sleep Interrupted

imaybe

I was in bed last night right after The Blacklist ended (If you don’t watch this show, you should. I never intended for it to become something I watch, but the pilot had me hooked from day one.). I flew up the steps, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and after double-checking cat bowls, got into bed. I slept well, until about 5:30 when I started smelling coffee. You know what that means, right?

Just yesterday I told Him “Do not touch my non-dairy creamer. I need it for my tea.” I made threats, none of which were nice, all of which were serious. I take tea time very seriously. When you drink 3-5 cups of tea a day, it’s clearly something you enjoy. I like mine a certain way and plain is not on that list.

I went downstairs in search of the smell, but He was in hiding, and rightly so. When I find him, it won’t be pretty. I fed cat and kitten and stomped back up the steps, furious, but still in need of additional beauty sleep. I was able to get a little more sleep, and have been awake ever since. He is going out later and replacing my creamer because I am not pleased that I can’t have tea until it arrives. Bastard.

This morning, waking up was not what I had in mind at all. It feels like a Saturday, perhaps because it is deathly quiet out. Apparently the kids are not in school this week, which makes no sense to me since Passover is next week and I don’t know how prudent it is for them to have two weeks off, but whatever. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

I’m stressed and I HURT. The weather keeps going back and forth between the 20’s and the 60’s, and while it is utterly beautiful to have milder temperatures, even if it’s a rainy day, it still messes with my body.

I have no plans this holiday weekend. Technically, Passover begins tonight at sundown. My family is scattered across the States and overseas, so I’m not attending any seders, nor was I invited to any. I will keep editing this manuscript so that I can move on to the others she has in store for me, and watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. I’m trying to make tentative plans for tomorrow, just to be able to enjoy the day for a few hours out of doors, but nothing is etched in stone. If I’m feeling up to it, maybe I’ll just take a long walk.

As I’ve said before, the holidays are lonely. I miss my parents and Grandparents terribly. Loss often feels like it happened yesterday, but the years come and go and life moves on, even if the pain of each loss remains with you. I find myself astounded by people who never seem to be affected by the loss of a loved one, who return to work immediately, who never discuss the person again, etc. Are people really that cold and detached, or is that the “coping mechanism” utilized by most people? What is your take on that?

Regardless of what you celebrate, I wish you a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, laughter, joy, and peace. Me? I just want my tea. LOL.

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

11094245_977684598922113_7216514816946553_n