Personal Year In Review

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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.

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Give With Your Whole Heart

Tomorrow is my birthday. In honor of this occasion, I am asking friends and my readers to give back.

This is coming from a place of goodness in the request. It’s coming from MY heart, in the hopes that people will make an effort and give with their whole hearts.

I know someone who is suffering greatly due to the abandonment of family, friends, and the system, and I’d like to see this person emerge stronger, but I have immense doubts this will be achieved. 😦

If you have gently used clothing you no longer wear or that your children no longer wear, please consider finding a local homeless shelter, women’s shelter, etc., and donating those items to help someone in need. Sweaters, sweatshirts, fleece and flannel, thick socks; things that will help keep people warm. Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, coats, air mattresses, & tents are all items needed as well. If you live in a cold climate, as I do, you know the importance such items have during the cold, long months of winter. Anything you can do will be an amazing blessing you’re bestowing on someone else.

If clothes are not an option (I know for me, I can’t part with what little I physically have here with me.) then please look into local food pantries and consider dropping off some canned goods OR doing that for a local soup kitchen. Maybe donate the frozen turkey many of us earn “free” by purchasing at our local grocery stores during the holiday season. These are places that provide food to families in need and many churches and soup kitchens help feed our homeless. Toiletries are also in need, so even if you donate body wash, bar soap, or a package of wash clothes and/or towels, that would be awesome, too.

If you don’t have the time for any of these things, as many busy people don’t, then it’s easy to make small donations to various charities that truly help the homeless. Take five minutes and do some research, but leave out places like the Salvation Army who people keep telling me are NOT truly helping people any more. I’ve personally witnessed them blowing people in need off and only accepting donations, as opposed to giving back to the people they’re supposed to be helping, so I’d leave them off potential lists based on that behavior. It’s not hard to do a little homework. Churches, Temples, the YMCA, and many non-profit organizations do great work for the homeless. They provide daily meals, clothes, showers, clean laundry, and the list goes on. They treat people like human-beings, and that’s important.

Please realize that the homeless situation in this country (and many others) is dreadful. Homeless does not always equate to “uneducated”, “drug addict”, “alcoholic”, “lazy person who refuses to work”, or many other stigmas placed upon the word “homeless”. Millions of people have lost their homes due to health situations, banks defrauding people on loans, natural disasters, and they have no place left to turn. They’re depressed, devastated, and even if they’ve spent a year reaching out to different organizations, they are often still at square one. Instead of turning a blind eye, as we’ve all done at least a dozen or more times in our lives, please do something. Even the smallest gesture is huge in the eyes of someone who is hurting. It will make you feel good knowing you helped someone in need.

Nearly a year ago, I was almost homeless. Someone generously reached out with a caring heart and offered me a place to live so that I can get back on my feet, get my health in order, etc. However, I’m not special. Had it not been for this person, I’d be on the streets now. I would have had to give up far more than what I did give up, which was basically 99% of my life. Being as sick as I am; I’d likely be dead today instead of writing this. There is only so much the mind, body, and soul can take before it breaks.

A few years ago I was reading a book (and I’ll happily share the name of the book, if asked) where the “writer” had told her children that “people are homeless because they didn’t go to college”, in a scare tactic to let her daughters know that they all had to go to college, mostly because she did not, regretted it, but is now a millionaire that thinks she’s not raising spoiled, privileged children. I was appalled, mortified, outraged, and utterly disgusted by that particular statement, among many others. I cannot imagine, as a writer or editor (and I’ll use her version of “writer” loosely, because she probably dictated the entire thing to someone), ever allowing a line like that to be published, leave alone letting someone say it out loud to children, OR adults. There are ways to educate your children on socioeconomic issues without resorting to pure ignorance.

There are veterans who are homeless; people who defended our freedoms and should be taken care of when they return, but often aren’t. There are plenty of college-educated people who lost their homes, cannot find work (because despite what you read and get told; employment opportunities in this country are still very bad.), and end up homeless. It’s not a choice; it’s a reality. Yes, plenty of these people are sick, but a great many of them didn’t start out that way.

Ultimately. the good we send out into the world returns threefold. If we do it again, it returns in ten. Do something good. Look people in the eye when you do it. You’ll be glad that you did.

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

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Thank Goddess It’s Friday!

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What a horrific week. I am not sorry to move into the weekend, not even with 4-7 inches of snow currently predicted between tonight and tomorrow. There hasn’t been much snow to speak of this winter. Yes, for that I should be grateful, and I am, but I do like a few inches on the ground to sort of make a weekend feel cozy at times. It’s nice to settle in front of a movie or hunker down with a book and a gigantic mug of tea.

I have absolutely no plans for this weekend. Serious rest & relaxation are probably the only things I truly need now.

I am working on a manuscript for a client and I am doing it completely gratis. Yes, I do have my rules about this sort of thing, I’ve spoken about this many times, but there was something about this person that tugged at my heart, and I 100% offered to do it in my spare time. There’s a difference between someone expecting it for nothing or next to nothing, and an entirely different thing when you are offering to help someone.

Everyone deserves to have a great editor work with them, even if they cannot afford to pay for that person’s services. Good deeds are good for the soul, and they’re unselfish. I had some wonderfully supportive educators very early on in my writing career. By helping someone out, I feel as though I am honoring everything they instilled in me. A mitzvah is a mitzvah, I will not be asking for credit as her editor. It feels good to help someone bring their story to life and to others. If I can empower a woman by assisting and/or advising, I will. I might come off a certain way at times, but at the core of who I am, I’m a good person. No one has to tell me that, I see it in the things I willingly do for others without thinking about it.

To everyone that sent me messages of support yesterday and this morning, or simply checked in on me: THANK YOU (You all know who you are. You guys ROCK!). I really appreciate you all having my back like that. I am considering an alternative, that way you all still get a social media page for this platform. If anyone has any legitimate suggestions, could you please pass them along via the comments section? That would be most appreciated. 🙂 I’ve thought about Google+, but quite frankly it confuses me. However, out with the old, in with the new. When I logged in this morning, Google greeted me like a person. There’s a lot to be said for that.

Okay my lovelies, I am off to check on my girls and, because I’m so sleep deprived, catch some rest. Here’s hoping today is a better day than all the other days that came before.

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

Where The Hell Does The Year Go?

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Where The Hell Does The Year Go?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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