As Real As It Gets

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WARNING: Potential Triggers

I’m a ridiculously intuitive person, which has the tendency of scaring people if they aren’t used to it. I live my life paying attention to the same things most people ignore. However, it is virtually impossible to ignore your body and mind when they’re screaming at you. No matter what bad thing it is that you may be going through, it is sometimes important to take a step back, allow yourself to feel what you feel, without apologies, and regroup tomorrow.

For the majority of my life, my purpose wasn’t clear. I don’t know if I ever considered the purpose for my existence. I had so many responsibilities, and I openly admit that I took them on myself. When most people would have been taking care of themselves for their “most selfish years”, I was taking care of two sick parents. I was dealing with burying friends and loved ones, and so it took until maybe this last year for me to say “Enough!” and begin focusing on myself. I now know that it’s not selfish to be focusing on myself at this point in my life, it’s survival.

I’ve been through some awful things, a lot of which I try not to focus on. There’s a saying about not looking back or you’ll only manage to hurt your neck. In many respects, that is true. I gain nothing from reflecting on pain, but I do gain something for having survived all of it. I know that I can get through the horrible, never-ending cycle of suffering, I know I can come out the other end a far better person than I was today, but it’s not a choice one ever wants to make. It’s “kill or be killed”, so you have to regroup and “kill”, even if only metaphorically.

In times like this, a lot of people turn to religion. I am not hardcore religious, but I am spiritual. I pray several times a day for the peace and the concept that someone Higher is listening to me. That someone Higher cares. Through trial and error, I have found that most people care about themselves, and they have no room in their mind or heart for anything or anyone else. I’ll never understand it. The average person cares about five people, or less. Are we such a selfish, self-absorbed, self-centered society that we take no time at all to care about the person next to us? I often hear myself say that if a situation does not directly affect me and/or those I love/care about, then I cannot put forth the emotion to worry about it. The point though is that I actually love and care about other people. I’ve spent a long time placing others before me, and I still do it at times, but ultimately I don’t have my head up my ass. I find it easy to be emotionally present for others, and a lot less easy to be emotionally present for myself.

I’m sick of my internal dialogue because it’s so abusive. It’s something I call “self-abuse”. You’re cutting yourself apart as if you were actually cutting, but there’s no blood, the wound is entirely internal and it grows daily. You wouldn’t even feel it if someone dipped you into the Dead Sea, because you’re already a walking wound of agony.

I can point out positive things in other people, but when it comes to doing the same for myself I usually say “I’m loyal.” and when asked how I’m feeling I often say “I exist.” I will never lie and say “I’m fine.”, because then I’d be lying to myself. I’m not fine. I’ve never been less “fine”, but because I’ve been through so many “not fine”, “not okay” times, I would rather not pick at the scabs, so to speak. How much negativity does one need to focus on before they become batshit crazy and hurt someone, or themselves?

I will never lie about often feeling suicidal. Never. I will never pretend that darkness doesn’t coat aspects of my life so thickly that it’s hard to see the light. I will never say it is a topic that is “off-limits” or “taboo” because the fact of the matter is, not everyone acts on their thoughts, but those that do aren’t weak. It takes an immense amount of strength to say “I’ve had enough pain.”

Many people advocate for “assisted suicide” for terminally ill patients, but what do we advocate for when a person cannot be healed in any way, shape, or form, through no fault of their own? Do we pretend the issue doesn’t exist and go off into our own selfish bubble? Do we say “That’s not my problem?” Do we walk away? Do we ignore it?

So many people have been unable to see the signs in a loved one and have later been devastated that they chose to end their own life. Instead of thinking about how much pain THEY had to be in to go there, to reach that point, all I ever hear is “How could s/he do this to me?”, “How could they leave me behind?”, “Why didn’t s/he tell me?” Bringer of honesty: It’s NOT about you. 

It amazes me how people don’t look closely at situations or loved ones. It blows my mind how people choose to see the surface, and nothing more. It behooves me how few people ever say “I’m here for you, no matter what. And I will NOT judge.” Once a person commits suicide, people can lie ’til the cows come home, but they are absolutely judging. If you’re unaffected by the deeply personal pain of others, you aren’t human.

It is important to check in with those we love. It is important, and crucial, to look deeper. There will still be times when you will not see what a person chooses not to show, but there will also be times when a hug, a hand to hold, a kind word, a moment of inspiration, a thoughtful phone call, or card will pull a person back and show them that they mean something, that their life has value and purpose.

This will be painful for some people to read because they choose to avoid brutal truth. This may be painful for suicide survivors who are still left asking themselves “Why?” As a person who thinks about it deeply, I have very few reasons for not acting on my feelings. Those reasons become less important each day.

I am touched by the people who genuinely reach out to me in love or friendship. I am touched by the people whose actions say “I’ll always be here for you, no matter what.” But those moments, and people, are few and far between.

One day I may not be able to rely solely on my self-talk to pull me back. And the excuses you might very well hear in the wake of that will be: “I work 60+ hours a week, I have no time to talk.”, “I never returned her phone call. I feel TERRIBLE.”, “I didn’t answer her text message.”, “I stopped speaking to her because she was too honest.”, “She was so young, smart, creative, and beautiful…I don’t understand. She had her whole life ahead of her.”

No one will say “She was in so much pain, she couldn’t take it anymore and I understand.” No one. And that is truly fucking sad.

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

idonot

Total Recall

Sometimes when you remember the worst days that have occurred throughout your life, the simple notion of recollection can make you deathly ill. Everyone is different in this respect. Some people have no reaction at all, and others mourn for years, feeling as though their lives are immersed in various forms of tragedy. The fact that I have total recall of events like this makes it harder for me to heal and “move on”, though I am a firm believer that we should all go through the different stages of grief in our own time and at our own pace. No one should ever tell you that something happened “so long ago” and to “get over it”. If they do, you have my full permission to beat them with the weapon of your choice and tell them to “get over it”. (Disclaimer: I am not promoting violence.)

Sixteen years ago, a friend of mine lost his life. He should have lived. I’m thinking of his kids today and it makes me nauseous knowing how their father was snatched from them so early in their lives. Alas, setting my emotions aside on this particular subject is difficult. I could go on and on about it for a year, but it would only end up being repetitious. So for now, I have to move on to another subject, but it’s hard to forget. 😦

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I spend no time at all worrying about whether or not people like me. Likeability is highly overrated, and it reminds me of all the people-pleasing children in kindergarten who, oftentimes, become people-pleasing adults. That this is taught by parents and continues to happen makes me sick to my stomach. Who are people helping here, other than psychiatrists and therapists? I was raised with a very simple concept: Not everyone is going to like you and it is almost guaranteed that you won’t like everyone either, so just be yourself. Thank you Mom! 🙂 She didn’t just give me good genes, she gave me an exceptional mind and didn’t foster negativity.

Why am I talking about this? Because it disturbs me how society seeks constant approval. Do you like this? Am I pretty? Should I get Botox? Should I get breast implants? Do you like these shoes? What do you think of the car I just bought (And by all means, let me tell you exactly how much it cost, too.)? SERIOUSLY?! When did we stop asking ourselves what WE want and like? Why do we give a shit what the “color of the year” is? If you can explain any of this nonsense, you’ve already thought about it way too hard. It’s a statement, it doesn’t require a response.

All of the things that matter most in life: Health, happiness, family… It’s damn near thrown on the side of the road like unwanted garbage. There are people who would kill to have their health in tact. There are people who are desperately seeking even just small aspects of happiness. And family? Well, everyone’s interpretation is different. As long as there is love, care, support, honesty, laughter, not to mention safety, then that is a huge part of what makes a family. As a product of an abusive home and someone whose mother ultimately put her foot down and said “No more.” and left, I only wish she’d done it sooner. I often wonder if things would be different now if she had, but I try not to look in the rearview mirror too often because it’s unhealthy to be so distracted when there’s so much in front of you.

rangerstown

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer here in the United States, but it’s also about remembering why we have the freedoms that we do and honoring those who have fought for this country. I am not a fan of summer (and it’s way too cold at the moment to even think about the intensity of summer heat and humidity), but I have family members and friends who have served in different branches of the armed forces, and I salute them all.

No matter where you reside in this world, take stock of the things that are most important this weekend and take the time to enjoy something and smile.

Have a happy & safe weekend.

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