My Life Is Not an ‘Acceptable Loss’ During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Out Of Sorts, And Then Some…
I’d like to thank the two people who reached out to me with messages of encouragement, respect, and kindness after my last post about how horrible I am feeling (My feelings have only worsened.). Steven & Tasha; your words genuinely helped me and, from the bottom of my heart, they meant the world to me. Thank you both SO much. I don’t even have the words for how touched I am.
As for the rest of the world; I’m not really feeling people too much these days. Granted, I am not a people person on a good day, but it would certainly be nice if some people were more aware of their words, behavior, and attitudes towards me. I’m sick of being told how I am speaking, how I sound, how I’m behaving, etc., because I’m well-aware of my intent when I’m being human. If you don’t know my tones, then you don’t know how I’m speaking, how I sound, or precisely how I am behaving. I’m not two, and I don’t require psycho-analysis by people who really ought to save that for those who need it. You’ll only piss me off, and at the moment, I’d shy away from that if at all possible.
I believe that life, and people, has/have highs and lows, but what do you do when you’re stuck on LOW and don’t know how to rise, and cannot find a reason why you should? I’m hardwired to get up each morning, feed Cat and Kitten, sometimes feed myself, but of late, I’m so physically, mentally, and emotionally drained that I don’t know how to do it any more. “It” being “anything”.
I adopted Cat and Kitten to help keep myself alive. Cat was a foster from a kill shelter, so I felt like by rescuing her, I was saving my life, along with hers. Win-win. Kitten is from a no-kill shelter; and I love to support no-kill shelters because they’re crucial to the survival of so many animal’s lives. Unlike Cat, who has divided love/loyalties (I’d like to say she has a big heart, but I’m genuinely not sure she even likes me most of the time.), Kitten is my faithful companion. Even when I move her off of my blanket at three in the morning so I can get comfortable or grab a few hours of sleep, she forgives me in minutes. Cat holds a grudge if I move her or rearrange her on the bed. In fact, as I am typing this Kitten is making little sounds in her sleep and giving me her belly, instinctively knowing that I am by her side. She is named in honor of my original Tortoiseshell. I’ve noticed over the past two years that she is basically a gift from her; a true companion sent to go through life with me. She’s not a “replacement cat”, she’s a piece of my original cat that I know in my heart was sent to me. But lately, caring for both of them each day has been physically and emotionally taxing.
I have reached out to organizations to try to get emergency help in order to feel better, but after applying for insurance MONTHS ago (which should be underlined ten times), I still haven’t been approved, nor have I received anything in writing from them, which they’ve repeatedly promised each time I’ve called. The answer I’ve gotten is “You’re in the system. You should hear from us in approximately 2-3 weeks by mail.”, before I’ve been hung up on! There’s a reason they call them Massholes, and it’s NOT because they’re all perfectly well-mannered (a small percentage, yes. The rest? Not so much.). I believe they had roughly 30-45 days to approve or deny me from day one, and that I’d then have a period of time to appeal, if denied, but at this moment I feel like I’m stuck at square one. In turn, after giving them one final call this coming week, I am reapplying. I’m utterly tired of the bullshit, because this is clearly a runaround, so I am going to fill out the application they deigned to send me (I have my original documents from last year, all I have to do is insert the same answers), attach copies proving that I’m a legal citizen with a bank account, and fax it instead of mailing it. That way, I’ve confirmed receipt of the documents and won’t feel jerked around, as I have clearly been for all these months. I’m sick of paying for medication out-of-pocket when that $20-$35 (it ranges based on the discounts I’m able to find) could feed me, or my cats. Overall, I’m sick of the struggle of trying to live, and failing miserably. I need to be able to see doctors without cringing over out-of-pocket costs that frankly, I can’t do.
Everyone’s definition of “failure” is different. Not being able to take care of what is most important in my life; that is true failure to me. Not being able to protect my loved ones and keep them safe; that is failure. Thankfully, I care, I am emotionally present, and I’m not a vile human-being, so on that front, I am NOT a failure. I’d hate to be a heartless, cruel individual who only cared about herself. Thankfully, I was raised by two wonderful women (My mother and Grandmother) and selfishness wasn’t a part of their make-up, so it isn’t a part of mine. I miss them both more than words can say. Everything feels like yesterday in terms of loss; at least for me.
This evening I merely want to survive the mind-numbing migraine that exploded on me this afternoon in the grocery store, to the point where I had to run to the ladies room to be sick. 😦 That has never happened to me in public before (except after having blood work done, and that was one time), but after that I quickly made my way to the register and went outside for some fresh air, despite the fact that it was indeed freezing and took over forty-five minutes before I could feel my ears again. The smells inside the store were making me violently ill and the noise wasn’t much better. This afternoon I indulged in silence, darkness, and a nap, but it only made the migraine that much worse. At the moment, I am praying that three ibuprofen will kick in, along with caffeinated tea I’ve been nursing since three o’clock this afternoon. Some people need coffee to feel human; I need strong Earl Grey with real sugar.
This week and this weekend, I am definitely out of sorts, but don’t worry… I’ll be back soon with something I’ve been dying to write, but have kept under wraps for years. No more. The Beast Is Back.
copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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.
Personal Year In Review
I wish I had fabulous things to share here as I look back on 2016, the year itself as a complete “body of work”, as opposed to how I genuinely feel about it.
Here’s the unadulterated truth; I’m filled with mixed emotions, anger, pain, and the more I think about it, additional anger on top of the original anger, which is never a good sign. I make no apologies for my honesty. I’m many things in my imperfect human way, but dishonest isn’t on the list.
I take no issue with the company in my life, or lack thereof. I am a firm believer that we all go through hard times and that hard work, love, and prayer will get us through it. I take no issue with surviving (Life should be more than that though, right?) and having a few good days here and there (Though I am determined to not allow people to ruin my days when I’m feeling good and their moods aren’t meant for me. However, this is a process. It will not happen instantaneously.), but I do take issue with things outside my control.
I am a self-admitted control freak when it pertains to a lot of things in my life, and with other things, not so much. Overall, I’m tired of my best not being good enough, and having people remind me of my failures. Never look down upon someone unless you’re helping them up. Asking for help through tough times is not a grave sin. It’s honest, it’s real, and it’s admitting something vulnerable and scary is occurring that you cannot figure out how to face on your own. Why do we diminish that?!
I was raised to believe that as long as I do my best, it is always “good enough”, because it shows effort. And then I moved to another state where I know very few people, where “my best” is NEVER “good enough” because some unattainable level of perfection is expected at all times. It makes me feel like a bad Stepford Wife. 😦 I would not know what happiness was if a radioactive spider bit my ass. I haven’t known happiness in so long, it scares me. I feel emotions, yes, but happiness is almost never among them. How’s that for honest?
My brother has been through a torturous, evil kind of hell this year. I highly suspect that whatever was done to his heart set off a myriad of other health issues because I cannot recall a time when he wasn’t under the age of ten and on antibiotics as often as he’s been this year. He has been in and out of the hospital so many times that I’ve damn near had a multitude of nervous breakdowns every single time. I am currently waiting to hear back from a surgeon as he embarks on surgery number five in just slightly over a year; which is more surgery than he’s ever had in his entire life. It worries me on such a deep level, it’s difficult to convey.
I am immensely disheartened by how uncaring and unkind people are being towards him. At the beginning and end of each day, we only have so many family members in life, and as we’ve established, life is as short as it is long. My brother & I don’t have a lot of family, so we’ve had to rally around each other and be each other’s biggest support system through what has been, in essence, the gates of Hell. I may yell at him and get frustrated, I may say nasty things to him in the heat of the moment because he pushes my buttons, but ultimately, I’m not ignoring him or pretending he doesn’t exist in the hopes he’ll simply go away. I might not respond to a phone call or a text message when I’m sleeping, and sometimes I am guilty of ignoring him for a full twenty-four hours because I can’t handle the stress, but I do speak to my brother. I might not admit this to him, but he’s one of my best friends.
I say a painful goodbye to 2016, a year that has made me suffer in ways I can’t discuss; physically, mentally, and emotionally. I hope and pray that 2017 offers me more opportunities, better work, better pay, the same high-quality friendships I’ve maintained since day one (I’ve gotta say it; my friends are the BEST friends. They’re the first people to ask if I’m okay, to see through answers when I’m 100% NOT okay, and be as supportive as they can through crises. I would not have made it through parts of this year if it weren’t for the relationships in my life, both old and new, that have helped reinforce who I am as a person.), a real directional shift that leads me exactly where I need to be lead, and a year that allows me to achieve goals I have set for myself. The big goals, because at the moment, small goals aren’t cutting it.
I’d like to see some medical breakthroughs to help me better manage my pain and overall health. I was hit in the back with a shopping cart today at a local grocery store. This woman was on her cell phone and obviously thought she had enough room and/or didn’t even see me. I swear I am invisible to 99% of the “human race”. Initially my response was “Excuse YOU!”, but the lunatic just kept on walking, loudly debating stupidity on her phone. I did not feel it was worth pursuing in the moment, but now I am sorry I didn’t. I’m not sure if she did any real damage that wasn’t already there, but the level of pain I’m in is not something I want to take with me into the coming year, or any other year. I truly think CBD oil is in my future, as the “war on opiates” in this state is far too ridiculous to pursue with a doctor. I will, but I, like so many others, need a backup plan to help manage the pain in my life. No one should ever have to live like this.
Blessings to you all, as we say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in what will hopefully a bright New Year!
copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
National Kitten Day
Today is National Kitten Day! 🙂
You’ve all heard me go on about my love for cats, and have heard me talk about Cat and Kitten. My relationship with cats evolved from childhood into adulthood.
My mother’s cat was rescued out of a rose bush as a kitten. My mother was a dog person, so she was committed to cleaning her up, making her feel safe, giving her all she needed, but she made it clear to my father that he HAD to find her a home. He kept saying he was “looking”, but inevitably, that tiny kitten became a cat and remained the family cat until the end. She never forgot that my Mom was the one to save her, so she was truly HER cat.
She was there before I was born, and she didn’t take kindly to me trying to ride her like a miniature pony, pulling her tail, or her whiskers. She once stood up on her back paws and pushed me down on the floor (My mother was trying not to laugh, because I became hysterical.). In my young child’s eyes, she was far larger than a domestic house cat. I reacted to her gentle shove as if a dinosaur had tried eating me alive. It was that day I learned to respect cats.
Before Cat and Kitten came along, I had a very special cat in my life who will forever mean the world to me. She was 100% my baby. She taught me how to love unconditionally, be a mother, and blessed my life from the moment she chose me to be her person. She passed away with me sleeping beside her, holding one of her paws. It was one of the worst moments in a life full of “worst moments”. However, I know she had a long, amazing, predominantly healthy life with me full of love. My last words to her were that it was okay to leave because I’d be okay, but that she couldn’t hold on for me any more. I assured her we’d be reunited and told her how loved she was. It was the goodbye she deserved, for no one alive or dead had ever been so loyal, faithful, or committed to me, except maybe my mother.
When I adopted Cat ten months later, I didn’t expect to fall in love meeting this beautiful little face at the front door. I did not expect to be so charmed by this sweet, beautiful creature, but every single day she does something affectionate, kind, caring, and reminds me that she loves me. She’s truly one of the sweetest cats on the planet.
I adopted Kitten as a companion for Cat, who truly needed another cat to play with. She was lonely, and she was acting out multiple times a day, biting me, attacking me, etc. I researched her breed and found out they do well with companions, that it helps them thrive, and that their sweet nature will become aggressive if they’re not given companionship of another animal. I wasn’t enough for her, and I had always intended to get her a friend, but so many opportunities that presented themselves did not feel right to me.
Their initial meeting wasn’t a good one, but she quickly fell in love with her, often using her as her very own personal teddy bear (She’d kill me for telling this story.). Kitten is the HAPPIEST CAT I’ve ever met. She’s extremely loving and while a little rough around the edges at times, she and her sister are the reason I’m alive.
Kitten is formally named after my previously aforementioned “special cat”. I translated her name out of several different languages into English, as an homage to a cat that was one of the finest creatures I will ever know in life. Unbeknownst to me, they’re actually a lot alike. It’s not just the fact that the first cat was a Tortoiseshell and I intentionally searched for another Tortie. Kitten is by no means a “replacement cat”. Her coloring and markings are different, she’s a darker Tortie, but she looks like someone painted spots of light on different parts of her body. The first photo I saw of her looked like sunshine had been painted across her face. I knew immediately that I had to take her home. Her shelter name was a close match for my previous cat’s real name. Her foster mother and I also have the same name. We laughed about it, because it was clearly fate.
Driving home that evening with my new little friend in the backseat, I was inspired to give her a special middle name as well. Her response to all the excitement was to fall sound asleep in the cat carrier, completely oblivious to the fact that she’d found her forever home and her forever person.
This little cat with the enormous paws is my best friend (I LOVE Cat, too. However, she prefers others over me. I’m not her whole world.). I’ve lost count how many times she has taken care of me when I’m sick or come running to stay with me the second she knew I was upset about something. Her favorite place is next to me. That’s precisely where she is now. She’s all tucked in like a baby that simply wants to be close to her mother. Safety, warmth, and love are easy to provide. G-d, please don’t ever let me fail either of them.
So today, I honor Kitten (and Cat, because she’s used the word “Mutiny” in their communications, and they out-number me.). Thank you for coming into our lives and bestowing us with love and sweetness. You’re a blessing many times over.
copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
December. My new month, chock full of triggers.
I woke up Thursday morning and didn’t know where I was. From the colors around me, to the sounds; I was completely and utterly disoriented. And then, it came crashing down on me in one fell swoop; it’s December 1st.
Last year, my life changed drastically on that very same Thursday morning. I worked hard to make sure the change wouldn’t come, but there are things outside our own power structure and oftentimes, we have to learn to adapt and try not to take painful tragedy personally. However, it was indeed tragic, it will forever remain personal, and it breaks pieces of my soul every day.
At the time I said I’d probably never discuss it, and I’m still not discussing it, not in its entirety. Perhaps, one day, in therapy, I will feel comfortable and safe enough to let chunks of pain out, but for now? No. There are some things that are personal; things you’ll carry with you, because they cut too fucking deep and, a year later, the memories continue to haunt you
I cannot tell anyone the last time I was truly happy, if ever there was a time, or even a moment of happiness. My life is very ordinary, and extremely unhappy. Write, edit, cook, clean, wash dishes, do laundry, shop for groceries. Lather, rinse, repeat. I sing when I cook, if I don’t have a migraine and happen to be in the mood for music. I even danced the other night while cooking, because the song was perfect. I couldn’t remember the last time I had danced around a kitchen and dining room. I take care of Cat and Kitten, because they love me unconditionally and would never intentionally harm me in any way. I have been constantly reminded that I’m “not someone’s mother”. In fact, this year I’ve constantly been reminded how little I matter to those in my life, and especially to those around me. Many people have stepped back (some permanently, others I let go of), but others have stepped up and in to my life in larger roles. I am immensely grateful to those who truly stand by me, even when I’m suffering, and don’t push. I am grateful to those who take the time to get to know you, because they genuinely want to know YOU, because they CARE. They show you your value by their words and actions. As I told a friend recently “Friendship is free.”, because it is. However, it is also an immense gift in times of good and bad. And if you’re dealing with horrible shit, you quickly learn who will stand by you and who will not.
I’m happy to say I’ve made some new friends this year, and managed to strengthen my long-term bonds into something richer and deeper than ever before. That makes me proud because I highly value my friendships. It’s nice to receive text messages that make you smile, or items in the mail that mean SO MUCH because it’s truly the thought behind the gesture. It’s nice when friends say “I wish you lived closer.”, because they mean it. I’m almost certain I’d be in jail if all of my friends lived within 1-4 miles of me. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing, either. I might benefit from being on a first-name basis with more police officers. LOL.
I am trying hard to turn my triggers into positives by changing my reactions to days of the week, to numbers on the calendar, etc. It’s not easy, it will take time, but I am trying, and I give myself credit for the effort that takes.
So, while this will be a difficult month for me, I look forward to coming out the other side a stronger, smarter person who can look for the silver lining amongst the clouds.
copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.