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. 🤷

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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

💜🖤💛💚💕💟💞💗💖

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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.

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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“Get Rid Of Your Americanisms”…

marc-hackI am a firm believer that no matter where we’re from, it is always a part of who we are. The place where we grow up and spend our formative years is instilled in us, no matter how far away we may move.

As a Native New Yorker, you will never, ever hear me say I am from anywhere else on this planet. “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of…”

I’ve lived in other places over the years and to this day people still stay “You’re not from around here, are you?” I will never get rid of my subtle accent, and I refuse to allow anyone to make me feel self-conscious about it. I didn’t grow up easy, but I’m proud of where I’m from.

A friend of mine, after several years of “marriage” (I have a hard time calling it that), is immigrating to the United Kingdom. Her husband told her she had to “get rid of her Americanisms” because she will be “British”. I was utterly appalled reading her Facebook post, as if this was something cute. “Yes hubby bunny, I’ll get right on that.” I had a thought that went with that bit of submissive nausea, and I totally blame Jodi Ambrose for it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😛 (I’m kidding, slightly. It just goes to show you our minds are both in the gutter, and thank GOD for that! Make sure you read Jodi’s awesome Eulogy post. It is a work of art.)

I was quick to inform her that citizenship, which will take 2-3 years, as she will be there temporarily on a spouse visa, will not make her British-born. She will never stop being a native of the country she was born in. That’s like me dying my hair blonde, moving to Finland, and claiming to be a native. No one would EVER believe me, so why pretend? Why would anyone ask you to change how you speak and how you think in order to make you something you’re never going to be, except on paper? It blows my mind.

She’s not American, but she was raised to speak American English and taught to aim for a better life. I told her she’s being brainwashed, and she is, because she’s willing to let someone a good 20 years older than her tell her how to think, write, spell, what to wear, eat, etc. Five years ago, she may have been single, but she knew how to think for herself. Now she has a “husband” with all of her passwords (If you’re one of “those types”, I strongly question your I.Q.) who is very quick to jump down anyone’s throat for reminding her that she has a mind of her own. I suspect there’s a reason he’s so controlling; and I don’t find anything cute or attractive about it. It’s worrisome, to say the least. Have we been over the fact that if you use the word “hubby” in my presence, I might lose my lunch? He’s British, shouldn’t she just refer to him as her “old man”? It’s what he is, let’s be technical.

Every friend I have that isn’t American born, but has dual-citizenship in this country, is the first to say “I’m Italian.” or “I’m Swedish.” They are proud of where they’re from, they’re proud of their U.S. citizenship, but that doesn’t stop them from also being themselves as people. They haven’t stopped saying “In my country…” no matter how long they’ve lived here. I find nothing wrong with that and I’d NEVER correct them or tell them to “adapt” or to change their method of thinking or their speech patterns. They are who they are, and I respect that. They can lapse into any language they want to speak in front of me, I do not find it offensive, its merely force of habit. They do it in front of husbands, wives, children, etc. It is what it is. But when someone is controlling you, it’s a whole other ballgame and it’s NOT okay. There’s a reason men don’t talk to me like that; it’s because they value their natural teeth and the family jewels.

Maybe submissive women is a thing I’m unaware of. I was not raised to be a passive, submissive, unquestioning, brainless, giggling little fool. If being a wallflower spouse/partner does it for you, well good for you, but it repulses me. Even when a man is super quiet and lets someone run roughshod over him, it’s repulsive to me. When people make their relationship your business by publicly discussing their life via social media, they should expect people to chime in. Her husband attacked me once for being honest with her and I told her if he ever did it again, he’d be sorry for it because her friendships aren’t his business. I’ve been friends with her for over 20 years. I’m not going to blow smoke up her ass. Good friends tell you the truth.

He got her a puppy about ten months ago and she is leaving three animals behind in another country to be taken care of “by family”, with no intent to bring them to England whatsoever. That too, is absolutely disgusting and heartless to me. I suggested re-homing all of them so that they could have good lives and her response was “This will be our vacation home, we’ll be back here when we retire, so we’ll see them when we come back.” I have NO IDEA what dream world she’s living in, but in my world, you don’t leave animals behind. That is cruel and evil. She has no guarantees whatsoever that her “family” is going to take care of her home and animals. I do not want to hear how that ends, but I’m sure I will.

When you truly love someone, you don’t tell them they need to change, unless it’s for health reasons via doctor’s orders. When you truly have someone’s best interests at heart, you realize that they’re uprooting their entire life to live in a foreign country for you and that it’s an immense sacrifice. They’re not “visiting”, though I already know the outcome of this story.

I am not good with “yes people”. It physically makes me ill when women behave like that in relationships, especially when they genuinely mean it. It’s not like the sarcasm of “Yes, dear.” that many American women use. Most of us say it, but we don’t actually mean that we’re going to wash, fold, and iron your underwear for you. If you do wash, fold, and iron someone’s underwear, I hope he’s paying you incredibly well, or he’s your son and you want him to look his best. Whatever floats your boat. <rolls eyes>

Wherever you are from, BE YOU. Don’t ever let anyone, not even a spouse, tell you there’s something wrong with that. My best friends are almost all overseas, and I love them like sisters. I would never tell any of them they have to change their speech, thoughts, views, etc., to be anything more than who they are as people. One of my best friends does hope to achieve American citizenship at some point in the future, which I will support, encourage, and assist with in terms of helping her study American history so she can pass her tests (She’ll probably learn way more than I ever did, or more than I can remember.). I want her to achieve that dream and be able to live out her days with an American passport if that’s what she desires. Why not? In my mind, if a friend has a dream, you help them to the best of your ability if they’re unsure if it is attainable or not. You support and encourage. Moreover, as a life partner, I cannot ever imagine turning to a man and saying “Could you not be Welsh, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Swedish…”, etc. and don’t speak the language in front of me “because you’re AMERICAN NOW!” Not only is that rude beyond words, but it’s disrespectful.

If you’ve been with a person for a while and marry them or live with them, then you pretty much know what you’re getting into. Yes, they’re going to have odd little quirks that will drive you crazy, but if someone is going to be a psycho control-freak, you might want to re-think how you’re treated and have a major discussion about respect and boundaries because being told you’re not good enough unless you do A,B, C, D, and E is utterly unacceptable.

When I hear crap like this and a woman accepts it like that’s what you do in a marriage, either to avoid conflict or to be a submissive dumbass, it 100% makes me want to say “FUCK NO!” the next time someone asks me to marry them.

No matter where I go in life, no matter where I live, no matter who I’m in a relationship with, I intend to continue being a badass bitch. Take it or leave it, gents.

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

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It’s Okay To Change Your Mind

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It amazes me how different people identify different things within you. Some people have this incredible ability to truly see inside your soul, whereas others only see enough until you no longer serve a purpose in their life.

A friend recently told me I had a “beautiful light within” and later pointed out that I am a “ride or die friend”. She & I haven’t been friends long, so I found it interesting that she was able to pick up on crucial things about me so quickly.

There will always be people in your life who will look for things to pick apart. Ignore them. I’m not kidding, flick them away with your finger. They are so screwed up inside that the only way for them to feel better about themselves is to look at someone else and try to tear them down. It’s not about you, it’s about the sickness inside them. I can’t look at anyone and try to make myself feel better by over-analyzing their flaws. We are ALL flawed. No one is perfect, though I HAVE had people profess to be. All one can do is shake their head at blatant lies like that. People like that have forgotten that once you lie to yourself, it’s game over.

On occasion someone comes into your life and you connect. You feel like they’re a kindred soul and will be a part of your life forever. And then, in an eerie moment, they show you how false they are. How their friendship comes with terms and conditions that would make a credit card company proud. In that moment, it is entirely okay to change your mind and say “On second thought, NO THANK YOU.” Cut that plastic son of a bitch up with the sharpest scissor you can find, and send their falseness into the trash. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

I don’t respond well to passive-aggressive bullshit or ultimatums from people who are the wrongdoers playing victim. It goes all over me the wrong way. I can give a person credit for saying they’re sorry, but sometimes it truly is “too little, too late”.

Crappy people remind me who are my true friends are. They remind me why I’m not open to letting new people in. They remind me that no one has the right to hurt me, not even me.

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

canyoudie

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, in an extremely bizarre reality, I was in a relationship I should not have been in. The warning signs were there, but some people burn so brightly that you don’t seem to notice you’re going up in flames and turning to ash. Immensely large red flares of danger were being sent up so I wouldn’t get burned. Did that stop anything? Not so much.

He was the quintessential “bad boy”, complete with motorcycles, fancy sports cars, tattoos, multiple drug addictions, and a boatload of issues. Maybe the maternal, nurturing aspect of me wanted to fix or heal him. I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’m thankful every single day that it is no longer a part of my life.

Initially there was no reaction or emotion from me towards him. He was just a guy, a guy all kinds of women fell for, but I prided myself on not adding myself to the throng of fools. Until one day, when I was seemingly drawn in like a moth to a flame. Except I wasn’t a moth, I was a butterfly, and yet, I suddenly had to have him. The pull was intense. He was crazy about me; The only person who challenged him, who questioned everything, and who was not impressed by anything. The problems though, they were simmering under the surface, just waiting to come out, one by one.

They started relatively early. I had never been told I was “too skinny” before. Even as a former gymnast that had experienced bouts of bulimia on & off for about two years after realizing that I’d never be an Olympic anything. I did not consider myself “too skinny” or “too” anything, really. I had the mouth of a Marine on leave, a writing career that had taken off in an amazing way, and a guy who told me he loved me, but to this day probably doesn’t know the meaning of the word. You’ll find him in the dictionary, somewhere between the words “Douchebag”, “Hypocrite”, and “Liar”, providing you’ve opted for a Webster’s upgrade.

His career allowed me the independence and space that I like in a relationship. I can’t have someone in my face 24/7, nagging, or standing over my shoulder like a watch dog. It drives me insane. He respected that, until the possessive behavior became more than just one or two phone calls a day. At first it seemed like he was going out of his way to surprise me and brighten aspects of my life, but that wasn’t it. Not at all.

The man could spit out promises just as quickly as he broke them, I just didn’t know he was trying to break me in the process.

The criticism I endured throughout the course of this relationship was harsher than what I dealt with from my family, and even though I had a comeback for everything he said, the words still haunt me…

I went from being vibrant, smart, confident, & 100% in control to depressed, unhappy, paranoid, angry, & jealous. I was reduced to questioning why I was somehow not good enough for him. It was irrational and insane. There was always an inner voice telling me “He’s not good enough for you. What are you doing? This man is poison. Tell him to go to hell and walk away.”

I remember crying one night to my best friend at the time, after a particularly shitty thing he’d lied about. Here I was, the strongest, toughest, most direct chick people knew, asking “Why would he lie to me like that? Why would he lie about something so important? Why am I not good enough for him?” I was devastated by the pathological way in which he’d lie.

My best friend consoled me quietly, basically saying she didn’t know why he had lied or why he would, but months later she told me I was “Too smart, too pretty, and all around way too good for the likes of him!” She was furious that he would hurt me in such a manner and then behave as if all was right in the world, and her anger continued to fuel when he showed up at a work event we all attended with a married woman on his arm. “A friend”, he’d called her. More like a drug supplier he’d hooked up with. He was spiraling and wanted to take me with him, but I would not allow that.

For the record, I was already ass deep in alligators when I realized how big an issue the drugs actually were because they weren’t an issue at the onset. It went from being an old football injury to being an all-consuming, problem-inducing, complete lack of grip on reality. It started out small, as many addictions do, and escalated until it had to be confronted. I did not condone it in any way and refused to support the habit. I was not going to be in a relationship with an addict, period. I was the catalyst to get him into rehab, explaining in list formation all that he would lose if he did not get clean. But as most people can tell you, 30 days in rehab will detox you, it might even get you to talk about why you got into it in the first place, but it’s every single day after leaving a protected environment that matters most. If you have people who love & support you, you have a greater chance at remaining sober. You might slip up, recovery is going to be a constant for the rest of your life, but the effort you put forth is SO important. However, if you immediately return to the same lifestyle and friends you had during the height of your illness, it will revert you right back into it at some point, especially if you have no real desire to be clean, no willpower, and no real desire to live. It’s a way of committing suicide slowly, secretly hoping that one day it’ll all be over and you don’t personally have to do the heavy lifting, or deal with the aftermath.

Part of what saddens me about the relationship itself is that I defended, protected, and shielded this man. I was the epitome of devoted and loyal to the Nth degree. My love was genuine, and yet I was constantly criticized, going as far as to be told that I wasn’t good enough to be introduced to his parents, who for years, he told me were dead. I’d later find out he only wished they were. Our differing religions was the reason given when I questioned why I was somehow “not good enough” to meet his parents. Who the hell were these people? England’s Monarchy?! How isolated and ignorant were they to think their religion was the only one that existed in this world?! This was not the first time someone had taken issue with my religion and tried to make me feel guilty for it. I was considered “not Jewish enough” by one guy’s family, and now I was being made to feel like I was somehow inappropriate and shameful. And the worst part? He wasn’t religious, AT ALL. 

Suddenly, after years of knowing our religions were different, it became this big issue, and we fought about it a lot. Would I be willing to convert to Roman Catholicism? HELL NO. Would I sign a pre-nup? Whoa, where the hell did THAT come from?! You want to marry me. You’ve asked, I’ve accepted, but now you’re afraid I suddenly want to be with you for financial gain? Are you serious?! Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always taken care of myself. He knew that. I don’t expect a man to pay for my lifestyle. I’m fully capable of making my own money, buying my own clothes, jewelry, etc.  I think you should want to take care of your partner and be a provider, but relationships are give and take. I did not expect to sit on my ass and be given anything, so I waffled back and forth on that little tidbit. It is a deal breaker if it’s not a document protecting both of us.

The ever-present “Would you please eat?!” grated on my nerves. He’d bring me food for several years of our relationship, but not in a loving, caring, concerned way (I do like it when I’m sick and a guy has the sense to bring me soup or Italian food. There’s something very nurturing about that.), but in an extremely controlling manner. As soon as I gained about 15 pounds from this constant influx of food, I was suddenly told the exact opposite. Now I wasn’t thin enough, I was becoming the woman who he didn’t want anyone else looking at. What was so shameful about being curvy? He’d have a fit whenever we’d be somewhere and someone else would check me out. I was not the one doing the looking, yet he was suddenly paranoid that anyone who checked me out was somehow going to end up in my bed. It was eye-rollingly ridiculous.

He’d do something shitty, and I’d be “rewarded” with jewelry or flowers, sometimes both, depending on the situation. It got to a point where I began to loathe the pink & purple roses I loved so much. To this day if someone sends me roses, I cringe inside. He would promise to be somewhere I needed him to be, but was almost always off feeding his drug habit, or as I would later find out through a friend, a habit for other women.

It was demanded upon me that I be 100% faithful. That was not an issue because I’d never cheated on someone and wasn’t about to start, but because he was the one doing all the cheating, he started having people follow me to find out what I was doing every time I left the house. Stalker much?! It was sick. It was also an excuse.

I’d had enough after confronting someone he often had tail me, and I put my foot down. I’m not big on ultimatums, but he needed to hear what his behavior was doing, that it was unhealthy and damaging, and completely unwarranted and unacceptable. It came down to this: He needed to return to rehab, fully commit to it, and he then needed to be clean & sober for a year before I would agree to marriage. It was time for him to prove that he was worthy of me, not the other way around.

He went to rehab for a few months, coming back apologetic, and for a while things were simply tense. We talked, but clearly he was refusing to hear me. He was about to do something he’d probably been considering for quite some time, and simply hadn’t been man enough to say to my face. With marriage promised, it probably made me believe a slew of lies I was too smart to actually buy into in the first place, but there was something slightly blinding & intoxicating about it. But the truth of the matter is, it was just plain toxic.

The problem with relationships slowly turning abusive is that, initially, we think we’re in the right relationship with the right person, until suddenly, we’re not.

For years after this relationship ended I’d hear “Oh, LET IT GO!” whenever I mentioned how hurt, angry, or betrayed I felt; as if emotions could be turned on and off like a faucet. How could I not feel all of those things?! Saying “I love you” is not a cure-all. Actions speak louder than words. His actions were atrocious.

With a ring solidly on my finger, he married someone else, just weeks after saying we were good and moving in the right direction, that he was trying. I had to find out via an announcement his new wife was sending to friends & family. She was pregnant before they even said “I do.” He would go on to have several children with her, each time choosing names we had decided on for our future offspring. That was the icing on the cake. I seriously worried about my ability to be around him in any capacity after that, so I disengaged. I made sure that whenever he’d be around, I would not be present. Hurting someone you claim to love in such a manner is vile, but to then go on living your life as if said loved one never existed is even worse. I started to think I was losing my mind. If it had not been for the fact that I knew the relationship had occurred, and exactly what I had endured, I’d have felt like I was being erased, or replaced.

Up until a few years ago, he & I continued to have mutual friends. I finally got tired of hearing the lies and cut everyone off. “He asked about you.”, “He hopes you’re all right. He just wants you to be happy.”, “He cares about you.” PLEASE! He never cared in the first place, it was a fucking game to him. No matter how many times I would ask these friends not to relay anything he said about me, it would come up in conversation, until I finally changed my phone number and said “No more.”

Not one to eat bullshit politely with a knife and fork, I have gone out of my way to avoid him since all of this went down. I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I didn’t do anything wrong, except believe in a person I shouldn’t have given the time of day to, but hey, we all make mistakes. Avoiding him is my way of remaining a healthy, non-toxic human-being.

I know eventually, at some point, we will run into one another, and I pray that I am not carrying a loaded weapon that day or wearing particularly high heels because even though people tell me I’m not a damaging, harmful person to be around, and that I’d never willingly hurt someone, I cannot promise the desire to harm him won’t be there. Some of the rage goes away with time, but any time the relationship is mentioned or I come across something from that time period, I am flooded with everything I thought I’d already moved past. For me, that lets me know the damage runs deep. It does not, nor will it ever, mean that I care about him. I don’t. I wouldn’t spit on this man if he was on fire.

Once I no longer love/respect someone, my emotions will often turn to pity, anger (at myself & the other person involved), & my anger is a burning rage that can simmer and bubble for years until it is truly out of my system. If the anger is unjustified, it eventually dwindles and the flames put out, but if it IS justified, stay the hell out of my way. I can go from zero to bitch in about half a second.

Unfortunately, there are so many different kinds of abuse in the world, that it’s sometimes hard to pinpoint if you are the abused or the abuser. Sometimes you are simultaneously both, even if you don’t intend to be.

Writing this makes me feel a bit like I’m back in Psych class, but I’ve been revisiting certain things lately, which is why I am writing about such a personal, private matter. If what I’m saying helps even one person get out of a toxic relationship, then that’s important and necessary.

If you’re in any kind of relationship where your words and feelings are being defined in an incorrect manner, where you are constantly insulted and berated, it is time to take a closer look at this relationship. Thinking this person is “the best you can do”, having low, little, or no self-esteem, or coming from a “people pleasing” type of family are all potential signs you’ve probably overlooked. Most people do. When you’ve been taught that everything around you is “normal” and a part of your daily life, you stop questioning things. You begin to lose your inner voice. Once you lose your inner voice, you start to become everything the abuser has defined you as. Your thoughts, feelings, actions, everything is now completely defined by someone else. Moreover, you question yourself and promise yourself you’ll be better for them, that you will do everything right, not realizing that your life is your own, and it is not owned by someone else.

I am a product of abuse. Not just from the relationship I am talking about, but from my childhood. I am very forthcoming about that fact when approached, but generally I keep such things to myself. However, when a person comes to me and needs help, I am the first person to listen, and the first to say something.

For many, many years I handled the abuse (verbal, emotional, and physical) by throwing myself into my writing and my singing. One day I snapped; I’d had enough. I was 100% committed in the fact that I’d kill the other person and spend my life in jail, but I believed in my cause because I was protecting two other people. I took the brunt of everything so they wouldn’t have to. To this day, one of those people denies that 99% of the abuse ever occurred. It must be nice living in such a warped bubble of false memories, but I know what I lived, I know what I saw, and it is sad for me to see this person deny the abuse and become the abuser themselves. If you correct this person, or disagree with them, they will say YOU are abusing THEM. It’s a vicious cycle, however, I know that by standing up and saying ENOUGH, and being committed to putting a stop to it, that I did the right thing. If I hadn’t, I’d be in jail now. Or worse.

People are often shocked to learn that I’ve been through such things. I don’t deny being strong and confident, and I don’t deny that I will say something is wrong when it is wrong, regardless of who is saying it. I will admit to being wrong on the rare occasion that I am. But I will not allow myself to live a life of abuse. I won’t allow someone to define me, to disrespect me, to use me, to tell me what I think, to tell me where to go, or tell me what I am allowed to do. When someone behaves that way around me, I am very happy to show them the door. I know I deserve better.

I look for different things in people now, and I always pay attention to my intuition. It is an immense part of who I am. If someone or something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If something feels innately wrong, re-evaluate it and follow your instincts. Intuition will never lie to you, but the heart will. If your relationship involves young children, get out NOW. You do not want your child/children to be affected by the abuse inflicted upon their mother in front of them. I know people who have stayed in these relationships because they believed that taking their children out of the home during the formative years was the worst possible thing they could do. It’s not. The worst thing you can do is stay and allow them to think that what they’re hearing, seeing, and living is normal. If you get out early enough, you will save yourself and your child/children a fortune in therapy bills.

Once upon a time, I was a moron. It won’t happen again, because I am firmly committed to not allowing it. No one defines me, except me.

*If you need help getting out of an abusive/unhealthy relationship or are living with domestic violence and don’t know where to turn please go to any of the following organizations for assistance: http://soarinri.org/  http://leavingabuse.com/, http://www.thehotline.org/, http://www.nrcdv.org/dvam/,http://www.teendvmonth.org/, etc.

Do not be afraid to search the Internet or the Yellow Pages for additional resources available to you in your area/country. If your abuser uses the same computer, always be sure to delete your browsing history to protect yourself from additional harm, or go to the library if available and search for information there.*

“Once Upon A Time”, and all material herein, unless otherwise indicated and credited to its owner(s), is copyright © 2013-2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Mother & Daughter

motherdaughter

First friend; best friend.

The reason I am who I am.

The person who encouraged me never to follow, but always to lead.

Guide-post. Lighthouse. Anchor.

Part angel, part saint.

The best listener.

Could always see the best in me, even when I didn’t believe there was any.

Teacher of so much.

Giver of books, music, art, culture, and life.

Laughter ’til we cried.

Taught me, in part, how to be a mother with a very simple gift.

Saw my talents clearer than anyone else.

Hated it when friends disappointed, lied, and hurt me. Enraged when men did the same.

Was always in awe of my strength.

Was not afraid to lean on me and allow me to be strong when she was not.

My first audience.

Lover of sunsets, rainbows, lilacs, and cats.

Honesty, Integrity, Loyalty, Love, Friendship.

You thought I was the blessing, but I know with certainty that I was blessed to have you as my mother.

You worked two jobs, took care of your children, and never once looked back. That is immense heroism.

Small aspects of who you are and what you mean to me.

Words fail…

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I learned from my mother, but I also taught her in kind. Our relationship was one of kindred spirits. I’m strong and fierce because she was not able to be that kind of woman, having been raised differently. She encouraged my voice because she often felt she did not have one that others would listen to. She is the reason I am a supremely confident writer.

Days like today are very hard. They are made easier when one can honor their loved one, in their own attempt to heal. Truth be told, I don’t think one can ever repair the hole inside my heart at such a devastating loss, but I’m trying.

lilacs

“Serenity is yours.
When chaos looms seek the sweet
Surrender of simplicity.
Gaze above at the glassy sky,
Feel each blade of green
Beneath your feet,
Listen to the sound of faith
Like a reed flute playing
Inside your chest.
Breathe.
Stand in witness of
Your true nature.
Remember the compassion
Of the lover’s eyes,
The calm wisdom of
The elder’s voice.
Go within. Be at rest without.
Fall to your knees in gratitude.
You have all you need.
Turn from the riot of distraction.
Let it roll over and beyond you.
Serenity is yours.
It lives always within your reach.”

-Ching Qu Lam

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.

yf

A Hard Week Ahead

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A Hard Week Ahead

Seven years ago this week, my father passed away. He bravely battled various forms of cancer for 15 years. Eight years “clear”, cancer resurfaced. It continued to be a battle on and off for the remainder of his life, which ended at age 63. Way too young. From year-to-year, I have mixed emotions about the relationship I had with him and a thousand other little, and not so little, things.

On a whole, this is an extremely hard time of year for me. I know for some people, they bury a loved one and after a few months or maybe a year or two, they don’t think about it much. However, I’ve been burying people damn near my entire life. I have next to no immediate family left, and unfortunately two members of my family have really pissed me off over the past few weeks, this was exacerbated early this morning to the point of me seeing blood. Extended family pisses me off, period, but I’ll save that story for another day.

Some people have trouble with the word “No.” or, “It’s 12:30 a.m., I JUST fell asleep, I am in agonizing pain, LEAVE ME ALONE until later. Let me fucking sleep!” I think they’re simple, honest statements and requests, but apparently some people struggle with comprehension. If I tell a person at 8:30 PM that I am going to bed, then I strongly encourage them to leave me the hell alone unless their issues fall into one of the following categories.

A) You are bleeding and I am the only person within a 10 mile radius that can help save your life.

B) You’re on fire and need me to help put it out.

C) You need to be bailed out of jail, and in truth there’s not much I can do until morning any way, so leave a message and call back in the morning. Provide pertinent info, I will find you. Believe it or not, they DO allow you more than ONE phone call.

D) You are drunk and have no money for a cab. I will send one your way.

E) Someone has died, in which case, please leave a message because I really do need to sleep to be able to handle this in the morning.

I think those are pretty fair categories, but some people are anal-retentive and cannot listen to simple instructions. Consider what constitutes a TRUE emergency by emergency standards and proceed accordingly.

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My second family issue is with a person not thinking before they speak, talking down to me, being disrespectful regarding someone they do not know, and making demands that I find over the top for someone who has not known me their entire life. Moreover, after well over 10 days of pure silence from my end, they call or e-mail acting like NOTHING is wrong, but they include an additional demand that just plain makes you want to smack them.

Generally, if I don’t respond to an e-mail within a few days, it probably means I am BUSY. I do work and I DO have a life, but in some rare cases, I am ignoring you for a while so that I don’t tell you exactly where to fly and how high. 98% of the time, it’s truly just the fact that I am busy. I almost always call people back if they’ve left me a message, BUT if I don’t call you back within 1-7 days and have repeatedly explained that I am not feeling well and that I am going through some heavy shit, respect that answer and stop shoving yourself down my throat.

Unless you are my brother, Aunt, or one of my dearest friends don’t EVER call me at 10:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and assume I am “spending the day all alone” because that’s how your day is going. I hate assumptions, you know what people say about them, so just DON’T. By the way, I was COOKING, so I didn’t have time to reach over and spend the next 7 hours “chatting”. I think my days of speaking to people I barely even like are 100% OVER. If I take the time to call someone myself, it’s genuinely because I want to speak to them, care about them, and like/love them. The list gets shorter by the day.

On an entirely different subject, it is starting to annoy me when people use languages I don’t speak as a means of “good wishes”. English is my first language. I am well know for saying thank you in Italian on a consistent basis, no matter where I am. I am also well known for answering the phone in Italian, Spanish, or Russian. These are simply things I do, BUT it’s not out of an attempt to annoy someone. In fact, I try not to do it all the time because I understand it can be annoying on the flip-side too. So why would you constantly do it to someone when you KNOW they don’t speak the language you’re using?

I have yet to decide whether or not to say something about it. In fact, the “demand of the day” is that I speak to the previously aforementioned person right about the time I plan on making dinner tonight. Mind you, I was not asked about MY schedule, simply INFORMED that she’d be calling between one time and another because that’s when she’d be home from all of her appointments today. I had a hard time not responding with “I’m NOT speaking to you right now.” I really want to tell her off, but I think it’s best said in a few weeks when I’m calmer. I really want to make a great meal tonight and do some Chanukah prep, so I definitely think pointing out all of these things is best kept for a post-holiday discussion. In fact, I think it’s good karma to rid myself of it before the end of the year.

If I’ve repeatedly said this is a hard time of year for me, you can either be supportive and back off, or simply let me know you’re available if I need to talk, but you don’t need to be a monkey on my back. I don’t respond well to tacky aggressiveness.

As we go into the holidays, do you have any family members that drive you absolutely insane and/or make crazy demands of you and your time? Or invite themselves over when you truly don’t want to be bothered? Please let me know how you deal with this insanity in the comments section.

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

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There Are Days

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There are days, weeks, months even, when I have absolutely nothing to say. It doesn’t mean I’ve shut down or that the thoughts and ideas in my head have stopped, it simply means I’ve got nothing to say. Sometimes it’s very individualized. I have friends I speak with regularly that I do not tire of, and others where I feel like they’re so dramatic and heavy, that I often need a break from them. This goes for family as well. Sometimes, you just need to step away and step back, even if only to give yourself some breathing room. In some situations, you need more breathing room than you do with others.

It takes a special kind of person to know when I am joking, when I’m being serious, when I need space, comfort, etc. Too many people think they’re so incredibly funny when they aren’t, or they think they’re kidding when what they’ve just said is a truly unhealthy thing to say to someone like me.

This isn’t a sensitivity issue. I have my moments, we all do, but mostly I’m soft with who I choose to be soft with and I am harder with those who have proven they do not deserve a softer side. Some people get a blend because that’s truly me. I’m a multi-faceted individual, I suspect many people are. However, I try to read very little into others because most people are just trying to be nice or polite. Others… Others have ulterior motives and they’re ugly.

There’s something about the holiday season that can either bring out the beauty in people or the ugliness. Right now, I am seeing a whole lot of “Run and hide!” I have no idea how people contain their crazy for 11 months out of a year and then unleash it for a mere four weeks, somehow magically reining it back in on December 31st. That’s a level of crazy I can’t comprehend. I don’t do multiple personalities in the sense that a person suppresses all of their issues for so long that they unleash it towards the end of the year like a bomb just went off. Not my deal.

I do think that when large quantities of alcohol are involved, people often use that as an excuse to be free with their words. I don’t. Whatever I say to you when I am sober is the exact same thing I’d say if I was having a glass of wine. I’m not a big drinker, but alcohol doesn’t change my personality in any way, shape, or form. I’d rather just say what needs to be said than later say I was a bitch because I had too much to drink. No, that’s not an acceptable excuse or reason to bring out the bitch card. I don’t care what time of year it is. If you’re going to drink to excess, make sure you have a reliable, safe designated driver or cab fare with you.

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So, what am I doing right now? I am rocking out with a good station on Pandora Radio and trying to come up with some ideas for this lousy weather. Heavy rain is much more preferable to several feet of snow, but amid all this unpleasantness, my crazy ass has to hit the grocery store. In pain, on no sleep, and on empty thoughts. On the plus side, I did make a list when I WAS able to think clearly, so all I have to do is find it and toss it into my purse otherwise it’s pointless. The rain is a good excuse to not wear anything too nice since I will come home having to throw everything right into the washing machine. Trust me, it could be worse. I’m counting my blessings and taking the time to get my brain focused. I hope this fogged brain clears up soon. I can deal with a lot of things, but this is just plain weird, even for me.

I hope everyone is having a good start to their week. I am sure many of you are finishing up (or just starting) your holiday shopping. I was notified a few days ago that I am “expected” to get my brother a gift. All of a sudden?! I honestly want to tell him to go fly a kite. I am being hounded several times a day about this “gift”. What do you get for the person who appreciates little to nothing? Do not for a single second think I have not received extensive e-mails about this, all of which included links and instructions, because, in his eyes, I’ve never purchased a gift before in my life. <rolls eyes> Normally I do all the gift-giving and he does NOTHING, so to say I am annoyed would be a vast understatement. I have been informed that I am not only expected to give him a gift, but I am also charged with preparing a meal for the holidays. “I’ll help.” are the famous last words of ANYONE I know. I don’t like anyone else in my kitchen and I can’t stand anyone standing over me while I am working. Moreover, I have no ideas on what to make.

Chanukah food, traditionally, is predominantly deep fried or lightly fried, and unless someone else is doing all that deep frying, I don’t want to be involved at all. The thought of all that oil makes me want to gag. There’s nothing appetizing about any of it, so I guess I’ll just have to wing it next week at the last minute. I pray I am able to figure it out and that it won’t drain the rest of my life force.

I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted beyond words. All I truly want is quality rest. I know I’m not the only one hoping & praying for this very simple request. Bad weather is poison to Fibromyalgia. So while I love the silence of a rainy day and what it provides me, I do not love the way it makes me feel.

And off I go… Maybe to read until the rain dies down a bit more.        

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

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