The Struggle

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“The story” is long and hard at the moment. I am writing though, and will hopefully be back soon with something I’ve been working on for a while. Unfortunately, I misinterpreted how much downtime I’d need after an in-office medical procedure which was performed Monday afternoon. Either I’m extremely used to awful pain or I blocked out how bad it can be, because I am MISERABLE. 😦 I should be okay, though.

Lethal Poison And The Scorpion

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The title sounds slightly gruesome (I’m a writer who, up until a few weeks ago, was researching serial killers. Leave me alone, okay? LOL.), but it is merely a reference for people who’ve known me my entire career, or at the very least, a good enough chunk of it, and know what to expect from me.

It seems like only yesterday when I was first given the idea to write something immensely simple. After that, it was as if I’d been plugged in to something unique and special, and I certainly was. Back then, I didn’t know what it was precisely, or where it would lead, but the path less traveled has been both good, and not so good, to me.

A lot of people ask themselves “When do I get to call myself a writer?” or “When am I officially a writer?” First and foremost; there are many different types of writers. Some people write music, poetry, movie scripts. Some write books, plays, or simply share their thoughts in a creative way. When you do it and can’t stop doing it because you are driven by a genuine need to share your thoughts and acquire feedback, good or bad, then you, my friend, are a writer.

Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s important not to twist things; plenty of people “write” and aren’t true writers. It’s a fact. Many are published authors who I will not call out by name, but nevertheless, they’ve hit a lucky strike at the end of a rainbow because there is zero talent to what they’re doing. It’s published gibberish that would make any true writer cringe. I spend more days cringing when work is submitted to me for editing than I do enjoying the work of another writer. Sad, but true. Sometimes, no matter how strongly you guide someone, they simply cannot be a gifted storyteller. There’s no shame in that. I believe it is inherently within a person, or not. It is not something I will ever feel is taught.

Some people come at you, as a “writer”, from a different angle. Satire, humor, playfulness, honesty, anger. The list is never-ending. Choose an emotion and/or a genre and I assure you; someone, somewhere, is writing about it.

I’m told we all have our “gifts”, our niche, in life, and that it is through exploration and exploration alone that we stumble upon said gifts. But there are many people who are lucky; achieving a measure of success through connections, as opposed to genuine talent. Then there are those who are born with immense gifts they’re simply waiting to share with the world, gifts they are, too often, not aware of.

If my gift with the written and spoken word had not been encouraged, supported, applauded, then I might be doing something boring at this very moment; something I loathe with every fiber of my being.

I know far too many people who’ve been in the same job for twenty, thirty, or forty years and absolutely HATE what they do. I have my moments. I’ve never hesitated to discuss them openly and honestly, but my gift? No, I don’t regret it; not any of them.

I’ve spent the majority of my life being put down, shunned, laughed at, and/or insulted for being creatively talented, as opposed to a “follow the rules” type. I would rather live an authentic life, as opposed to one chosen for me by others. I would rather pick and choose my wealth of knowledge, as opposed to doing what is “expected”. That is precisely how one masters the art of being gifted with a talent.

I speak the way I write. I live the way I write. It’s one of the reasons people like and respect me. It’s one of the reasons I get feedback that doesn’t require anyone kissing my ass telling me how great I am. I don’t walk around trying to be anything I am not. In turn, I feel it helps the words be more clear for others. Because it’s honest; it’s easy to relate. I’ve had many people tell me when they could not relate to something I wrote or said, but they still respected the hell out of me for putting my thoughts out into the universe so boldly. I never looked at it the way they did, not until receiving that level of feedback. I was simply writing, and they were reading with their senses fully engaged. I call that mutual respect.

Several years ago I started shutting down certain aspects of myself that I was told were “wrong” or “needed work”. It turns out the people whispering lies in my ears were wrong. Very wrong. The only time I need to work on something is when I choose to work on it, and only then. I am fully entitled to my feelings, thoughts, unique point of view, and even more entitled to live my truth. It is more important to me to tell the true stories than it is for me to pretend.

Whispering lies to someone is a form of manipulative abuse. It’s a way of telling someone they’re not good enough in YOUR eyes, usually because YOU don’t like certain attributes they possess. Often because it makes you uncomfortable, or because you’re jealous you don’t possess the same level of strength. I’ve had people tell me they could NEVER be the kind of friend I am to others, and then turn around and tell me my friends wouldn’t love me if they had to live with me. That came from a former best friend, and it came from a place of jealousy because she couldn’t even be a solid best friend to ONE person, leave alone multiple people. She did not understand how crucial being a good friend is to the core of who I am, and so, a friendship I thought would always be present is a friendship no longer. Her choice. Her immense loss.

Most people don’t think I’m funny, which is perfectly okay. My friends and my brother find me HILARIOUS, and that’s because they get me. I don’t care if other people lack the ability to grasp my humor, because those that do are invaluable to me. Criticizing my sense of humor is only going to make me laugh at you, it isn’t going to poison my mind against my wacky, twisted humor. I have to live with me. I have to look in the mirror and be able to face that person day in and day out.

I wasn’t raised to worry about being liked or loved by others. I’m secure enough in myself to not need the approval of everyone around me. Sure, at least once a day it would be nice to not be insulted or told I’m wrong, or be accused of things I’ve never even thought of, leave alone committed, but that’s not MY issue and I’m not going to carry it with me any longer. I do, however, have to be true to myself.

So, Lethal Poison is back in business. This Scorpion may glow, but she’s not afraid to sting, either. You decide which side you’d like to be on. I’ll keep speaking the truth.

Vi veri universum vivus vic~ “By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe.”

copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

The Ledge

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I’m on the verge of letting go today. There’s no way to pretty it up or sugar-coat the amount of pain I am in, both physically and emotionally. I’ve had enough. Reached the boiling point. Feel as though I am trapped in a maze of never-ending bullshit, and I cannot take another second of this.

Over the past two days I’ve accessed my life and come to this conclusion: apart from my responsibilities and loyalties; my life is meaningless. Well, and truly, meaningless. If I were bleeding on the rug, someone would attend to the stain, but they wouldn’t even notice that a body was present. That’s the truth, whether some people are willing to believe it or not, or admit to it. I’ve witnessed too much to feel or believe otherwise.

I have been in a bad place for so many months now and not a single person has so much as noticed. The selfishness in my presence knows no bounds. There’s zero warmth, care, concern, or love present. And quite frankly, I’m sick of it.

I’ve been in tears on and off for almost three days. No one has noticed, said a word to me, asked me if they could help, NOTHING. This is what it feels like to be “the invisible girl”.

While preparing a salad Saturday afternoon, I banged my right hip into the handle for the drawer next to me. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but it hurt as if I’d just had the bone yanked out of its socket. I actually bit back 95% of what I truly felt physically in that moment, but I was admonished for being “dramatic”. Please, feel this pain for a week and then tell me how “dramatic” I’m being. Clearly, you don’t know true pain.

I am genuinely experiencing the whole “Princess & The Pea” phenomenon, which is not uncommon when you suffer from an autoimmune disorder that revolves around pain. This particular issue is killing me. I can feel every spring in a mattress in such a painful fashion that I want to hurl it out a window. I “wake up” each morning in stiff, agony. Nine out of ten nights, I haven’t truly slept, I’ve simply given up and taken to lying still, in tears, praying for the pain to stop.

I’ve taken over a hundred Aleve in the past month in the hopes that it will provide some small measure of relief, but it never does. I’ve also taken nearly an entire bottle of Ibuprofen because every flare-up makes me feel like an anti-inflammatory MIGHT help “this time”. The pain is maddening, and constant. I hurt so badly each day that I contemplate walking into the middle of traffic, not caring if I get hit or not. My only issue there is that I’d likely survive and remain in worse pain, if that’s even possible. I don’t want to know, I just want this to stop.

I struggle each day to cope with the pain, with my emotions, with stress, but most of all, the pure isolation and loneliness I am forced to carry with me, because I truly am “the invisible girl”.

When I can’t do laundry, take a shower, and do five other things in the same day, I sit here in tears over the loss of life I am experiencing. I have to set alarm clocks and timers to remind me to do things, or they will never get done. I fall at least once a week. No matter how careful I am, the pain brings me to my knees.

Occasionally, I feel okay. But here, in this moment, I’d gladly take death over this agony. Just make sure Cat and Kitten are adopted into loving homes. Cat is aggressive and a bully, so I think she’d do better in a single-cat home at this stage of her life. Kitten is a sweet little angel who loves her Mommy, but doesn’t understand why I have no energy to play and run around with her. Alas, I can’t explain these things to them. All I can do is pray for better days; just not today. Today is Hell and I am burning alive.

copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Sisterhood Unraveled

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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?

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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.

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Prayers & Tears

justlikeI contemplated being silent today because I’m not in a good mood, but I’m also too upset to pretend.

I’ve had less than five hours of sleep. I tried going back to bed an hour ago, but I am unable to focus on genuine rest. That usually means doing what I always do when there are thoughts running through my head; write.

My brother is sick. By “sick”, I do not mean he has a cold or the flu, I mean that he is going into the hospital tonight. Why wait? Because he “doesn’t want to ruin my day”. It’s not meant to make me feel guilty, he’s just utilizing God given guilt.

When I tried encouraging him to “just go” (He totally inherited the stubbornness from my Mom.), he refused, saying he could go tonight “after I celebrate”. I even offered to go with him, which he doesn’t want, not unless major surgery is being performed. He’s not trying to be dramatic, he just is. 😦 He’s also conscious of the fact that nearly every birthday I have sucks in some way, and that he’s usually the cause if I, myself, am not stuck in bed sick as a dog (in the traditional way).

Last night, he informed me of all his final plans. Plans I am meant to carry out, some of which include organ donation. I’ve had to hear people’s “final wishes” more times than I care to count, so last night was too much. My eyes are swollen from crying and my stomach hurts wondering if this is it, if some horrible health issue is going to rob me of the only remaining sibling I have left. Very real possibilities. When he got a clean bill of health three years ago, I was surprised, and relieved, but a lot has changed since then and I am sick with worry.

You know that one stubborn family member who would rather risk his/her own hearing than go to the emergency room for a horrible ear infection?! That’s my brother. Not once, not twice, but three times. The first time he did it, he did lose significant hearing in his left ear because he waited an extra day before going to the ER. The last ear infection was so bad that he now accuses me of raising my voice when I speak at a normal tone. I can whisper, he’ll say I yelled.

Today is not about me. Today is about praying for my brother and what he is going through. It is me praying that he did not have a heart attack and isn’t in congestive heart failure, and that nothing more is going on, though I suspect there is based on what he is saying hurts. Both of my Grandfathers died from heart attacks, but one died at 40, leaving behind a wife, a fifteen year old, and a five year old. My brother started taking aspirin several years ago to “prevent” that from happening to him, but he made no other changes that could have been beneficial. That’s why I’m scared for him, and that’s why I’m sick to death over this.

I will half-heartedly do some important things that need to be done this morning into the early afternoon hours, but after that, I am forcing his ass to the hospital, even if I have to drag him there by his balls. He usually hallucinates when they medicate him, so that would mean being told rather loudly that I am “trying to pull out his IV” or “embarrassing him” when all I’m doing is sitting quietly, or pacing the hall outside a room. I will spend the evening waiting to hear what his prognosis is.

No matter what you believe in, I ask that you say a little prayer today. No one deserves to lose a loved one and no one as young as my brother deserves to go through this.

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

whennegative

Empty

12144943_1168964586449056_1438987978090284685_nI might be writing this from the afterlife. Why would I say that? Because the truly gruesome bruises are gone, there’s not a scratch in sight, and I feel…nothing. Perhaps empty would be the correct word. That can’t possibly be normal. Though my warm shower definitely reminded me that my left knee is far from okay. I will try to get it checked out this coming week.

I am packing my clothes, or at least, I’m trying to. I had no clue I had so many items. I tend to cycle through a lot of the same things over and over, as many of us do, but now that it’s getting colder and I am moving to a colder climate, there’s just cause to make sure my sweatshirts, sweaters, and warmer items are readily available.

I packed several boxes of books. I still have to finish getting all of them into boxes, so this weekend and Monday I will be on a box hunt to see if any stores have boxes from deliveries that they’d normally be recycling. It kills two birds with one stone and since the entire area doesn’t recycle until next week, they will surely have some larger boxes that will help make my life a little easier. With lighter items, the bigger the box, the quicker things get packed. There will definitely reach a point where I just start throwing things into boxes. Hey, it’s what a lot of “professional movers” do. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I keep labeling things STORAGE or HOUSE. I’ve lost the ability to read my handwriting and codes about what is in each box. If I had more time, I’d feel like less of a moron. 😦 I should have cataloged everything with a notebook.

Monday is my birthday. If my best friend hadn’t mentioned it to me the other day, I would gladly have pretended it wasn’t happening. However, I promised her I wouldn’t do that. I will spend a few hours on Monday doing some small “me things”, but afterwards it’s back to work. I shouldn’t be wasting time I don’t have. I can always “celebrate” after the move, in a city where, right now, I know exactly four people. YAY! 😦 I’ll become a proud member of the “Can you open a bottle of wine?” club. #NockingPoint #UnfilteredBlonde

I truly wish more hands were on deck than just mine. Packing up a large house on your own is incredibly difficult. My cousin gave me a very lame excuse as to why he couldn’t help, and has suspiciously been avoiding me ever since. Case Study #1 has to work, which is a legitimate reason seeing as how he’ll be in another country. That’s not his fault, but I’m happy to mention it whenever he says he’s sorry he can’t be of “more help”. Seriously dude?! Case Study #2 is being an immense pain in my ass. By the time I arrive at my destination and clear the truck out, I might be insane and/or murderous. Expect to see bizarre Tweets “from the road” and/or photos posted from odd stops along the way.

I feel bad for Cat and Kitten. They’re going to be forced into their carriers for roughly 4-6 hours and believe me, the chorus of crying will begin the second they realize the house is empty and all their safe things are “gone”. I will pack them up with a blanket each, so they have something soft to sleep on and pray that they both fall asleep at some point. I know where the first stop is and I will make sure they’re okay before the longer shifts of not-stopping occur, but ultimately, I look forward to seeing how they adapt to their new home. I suspect it will be harder on me than it will be for them. As long as they have me, their toys, food, and things that still smell “like home”, they’ll be okay. Cats may hate change, but they do adapt well when you raise them properly. I am many things, and one of those is an excellent Cat Mother. It might be roughly for 7-10 days, but I know they’ll be fine.

Me? I’ll be emotional. I never dreamt of leaving my home, the home I chose for the long-haul, but sometimes shit happens, life changes, and you have to make decisions to better yourself, your health, career, and happiness. I would prefer to be as positive about it as humanly possible, as opposed to holding on to negative energy or emotions that do not enrich my life in a prosperous way. The only way to reach an emotional state of inner peace is to be a positive person. I’m not perfect with this, no one is that zen, but I’m trying.

I hope you all have a wonderful, fun-filled, happy weekend. If you start sneezing for no reason at all, I’m probably talking about you (Just Kidding). LOL.

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

itsclear

Bright, Blue, and Dark

10418355_391119307742525_1244338325782921632_nDespite what the Migraine app claims, I slept horribly (hours don’t count unless it’s quality sleep). Under normal circumstances the fact that I took two Benadryl for my allergies would mean I would have gotten an extra 2-3 hours of sleep. Alas, around 5:00 a.m. I was haunted by Case Study #2. Note To Self: Change locks and murder anyone that wakes you three times in one night for their own selfish reasons. By sometime after 6:00, I was awake, pissed off, and hungry. Thank God for awesome leftovers because that’s all I was craving this morning. When you haven’t made something in several years, having it after so long is like a homecoming. I wanted to celebrate the happiness that was occurring in the kitchen. 🙂 However, I’m not in the mood.

Despite bright blue skies vividly showing off the start to an early Fall, my mood is dark. I would love to say “Oh, it’s just Monday blues.”, but I know that’s not it. I’d love to say “It’s just the holiday bothering me.”, but that isn’t it either. Normally those might have been the lies one would tell themselves to get through a bad day, instead of honoring the fact that some days aren’t good, and that’s okay. We don’t wake up every single day feeling our best, or wanting to cast that cloud on others. I often say my mood first thing in the morning will determine my day, and that’s true. If I wake up on a mission, then I’ll slowly, but surely get things done. If I wake up feeling sick, or in a terribly low mood, then it’s often best to keep my mouth shut and my mood to myself. The last thing I want to do is lose my temper in public.

Because today is a holiday, it is often solemn. I normally read, keep a low profile, maybe talk to someone via phone or e-mail, but basically I keep to myself until the holiday is over. Unfortunately, that’s how most of my days are, minus the minor socialization and reading. I have so much to do and the stress is weighing heavily on me. I know that it will all get done, but man, all I want to do is crawl into a cave today and be left to my own devices.

It is extremely difficult not to feel insignificant in God’s eyes when you are going through difficult things with minimal support. But then you look in the mirror and you realize that ultimately, you support yourself. You look in your eyes and say “No matter what, I’ve got this. We’re going to be okay. We’re going to rise above everything. Hell, we’re going to fly.”

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

depressionissuch

 

Grief Is

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Grief is like a snowflake? If you want to be poetic about it, okay. If you want to be honest about it, which I am going to be, grief is a demonic fucker that sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

I buried my father seven years ago today. The morning of the funeral I was up until nearly 2:00 a.m. finishing the eulogy. I have no idea how I functioned that day because eight hours later I was heading back home, back to the funeral home where I’ve had to bury almost every key person in my life. I stood up in front of family and friends and brought the house down. The rabbi went up after me, saying “She’s a tough act to follow.” My father’s co-workers came up to me afterward, blown away by what I had written and how I speak in public. A few of them had known him for 40+ years, others nowhere near as long, but they all came, right before Christmas, and paid their respects. I can say a LOT about that because it’s a level of respect that I respect and appreciate. It’s something I will never forget. My father’s own family (all but a few did not live locally), never bothered to show up at the funeral, call, or send so much as a card. I damn near kicked a headstone over this disrespect at the neighboring cemetery where, in four inch heels, I flipped out at my Uncle’s grave and told him he should be ashamed of his family. The tone of voice I was using was enough to probably break bone. If any of them ever need an exact match for tissue or organ donation, I would have to seriously re-think my views on “family” because I don’t tolerate disrespect. There are moments in life when you truly see everyone for who and what they truly are. Sometimes it’s heartening, and other times it makes you murderous.

I’ve been sitting here for the last few hours wondering why I feel so terrible. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. I’ve wondered if I was coming down with a cold, and a plethora of other issues. While it is entirely possible that I have a cold in my system, the truth just hit me: I’m upset and when I realized the date, I changed my plans for the day. I don’t want to have a nervous breakdown in public. I will make sure the two places I need to go are open tomorrow and go then, because it’s not an emergency, but it does need to get done before everything shuts down on Christmas Eve, which I totally understand and respect. I think the only thing that will be open Christmas Day is Walmart (Every year I call them to check, expecting a different answer. Every year they tell me “We never close.”) and the movie theater, and probably a Chinese restaurant or two. I’m cooking, so I want fresh ingredients because I am on some insane mission to get through the rest of this year without going ballistic or tearing someone apart. I’m not certain the latter won’t happen. There is a LOT I can accomplish in eight days.

Today, it’s okay to have a mini-meltdown in the privacy of my own home. It’s okay to be upset and angry, and to feel abandoned.

I thought I’d reached the stage of acceptance. Maybe I have, but that doesn’t mean loss is not upsetting to me. When you lose your parents young, the way you view life is very different than it is if you lose your parents at a more appropriate age, like 90. We all live hoping to make it past retirement age, but the truth is, even though many of us say that a specific age is “too old”, we still want to live into the future. Our desire to survive is still present. A family friend once said “I’m never retiring. I’ll still work when I’m 100, so long as I can do so.” He’s a good person, a hard worker, and I pray he makes it to 100 and can see his grand-daughters grow up, maybe even become a great-Grandfather and be able to enjoy that too.

My father never got to see any of those things. I don’t know that he would have truly been interested to do so, but still, it hurts. I do not hurt solely for myself. I hurt for my brother, who really needs a parental figure in his life right now. My father was everything to him. He is not as strong as I am and I spend a lot of time worrying about him because he & I are so different. It’s hard to believe we’re brother and sister, unless it comes down to our sense of humor, passion for things that are important to us, and small things that brand you as “siblings” to others, even if you don’t look alike.

Losing a family member is never easy. Losing one during the holidays is very hard. Having to re-live it year after year is a choice. I tried working through it, but sometimes it creeps up out of nowhere and slaps me across the face. I remember it happening last year too. I did so well on the anniversary of his death, but today, I just have to let myself cry and grieve. Odd as it sounds, tomorrow will come with an entirely different set of emotions.

As the great Billy Crystal has often said “Grieving is a process.”

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