Solidarity

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As I knew it would, this story became about “gun control”, as opposed to addressing rampant global anti-Semitism. There is so much hate in this world directed all over the place, and there are too many people in public office who make an incident like this worse by twisting it into their own hate-filled game. If you, like me, disapprove of the hatred, get ready to vote them out.

We are a country of immigrants and many faiths. Educate yourself instead of fearing something.   

 

Another Caturday In The Books

 

From top left: My first official cat. She was part Egyptian Mau/part Tabby. I loved her to pieces. It is almost the eleventh anniversary of her passing. 😦 Top right: Cat humor of the day. 

Lower left: Cat as a kitten. This photo was her first official full day as part of the family. Lower right: The little Goddess that started my TRUE love for Tortoiseshells. It’s been a little over six years since I had to say goodbye to her, but she is always with me, always a part of my heart, and a huge part of my soul. My Mom always said, “She chose you as her person.”, and it is the truth. Kitten also chose me.

My current duo, Cat and Kitten, have spent the day with me. They hung out, napped, got lots of love, stalked me, played a bit (Cat is back to her kitten ways. She jumps up out of nowhere and tries to bite my legs or my hip. She is a sock thief of mass proportions. This week, a pair bit the dust after she snatched it out of the organizer and tried running off with them. She got halfway up the stairs before I was able to retrieve them. I can probably wear them around the house, maybe? It was cute in the moment. Not so cute when I went to replace them and Target is suddenly 100% more expensive than they used to be. What’s up with that?!), had their dinner, and I have not seen them since. Typical. One or both will turn up around 9:00 PM for treats, and torture. I cannot believe I reward them simply for existing. I mean, no one rewards me for existing. 😉 

Hope you’ve all had a good Saturday.

Bright Blessings,

li

P.S. My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with the congregation of Chabad of Poway in California. This act of hate has me livid as hell. #JewsFightBack #RiseUP  

I’m Still Processing

Hey, everyone. 🙂 It’s been a rough time for me. Unfortunately my “rough time” is on a never-ending loop. No one is more tired of it than I am.

During all of this chaos and pain, I haven’t had “Writers Block”, but I have certainly had “Writer needs a break.” and “Writer needs a fucking vacation.” Unfortunately, the devil is in the details and any kind of break isn’t in the cards.

For me, one of the most crucial things about being a writer is choosing your subject matter. Do I want to write about people dying? Not so much. Do I want to write about Kate Middleton giving birth? No. Do I care about every single thing going on in the world? No, I don’t. That doesn’t make me a bad person, it simply means my priorities are different. My brain has an insanely fast processing system for certain types of information (I’m not kidding. Even when I’m asleep, I feel like I haven’t ever been “powered down”.), and sometimes I want silence. Okay, more often than not, I genuinely want silence. Inner peace is more difficult to achieve than one realizes.

I had a horrible experience last week that I do want to talk about, but in fairness to myself, I am still processing everything so that when I do speak up and speak out, people will understand why I am doing it. It’s important to call certain things into question and raise awareness. When it comes to mental health, any form of chronic pain, and migraines, I am NOT going to be silent about my experiences. These are small medical communities full of daily sufferers who aren’t being taken seriously. They are being cast out and demoralized by the very people they turn to for help. It’s disgusting. I refuse to be someone who doesn’t use the power of her position and voice to help others to the best of my ability.

Initially I was quite embarrassed over the incident. I do plan on talking about it, probably in my next major post. In the midst of having to feel ashamed and embarrassed, I thought “What if this happened to someone who wasn’t as smart or as strong as I am? What if this happened to someone who couldn’t advocate for themselves and go home at the end of this?” It’s been slightly over a week, and my mind is still in shock that I went through it and came out the other side. I know my behavior was in check, and I know I didn’t lose my temper until things escalated, so I shouldn’t be embarrassed at all. It’s important to explain and share it. I would hate for any of you to have gone through this. I had a few minutes where I was angry and afraid, and then this deeper part of me responded. Sometimes I forget that I’m a knock down, drag-you-by-your-hair, lay you out on the ground, make you cry for your mother, FIGHTER. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that. Of course, I’d like to be reminded without the outrageous drama. This will all make sense soon, I promise.

To those of you who have reached out to me over these last few weeks via social media, or by phone or text, please know how much your thoughts, kindness, compassion, and words mean to me. When friends and readers come to you with support, those are some of the best moments in life. Cherish them.

I think part of why I felt overwhelmed by the support I received is because I don’t ever assume my words or thoughts are making a difference for someone else. To then hear how my experiences, struggles, humor, and grace under pressure have helped someone get through their own battles, well, it puts a lot into perspective for me.

For the most part, I write something and I click publish. I might look at it once or twice after the fact, but I don’t usually go back. I put it out into the universe to be read, and I go on with my life. There’s only so much self-promotion I am willing to do. I don’t respect anyone who shoves their work down your throat, so I refuse to be anything like that.

More and more, people are coming back to me, sometimes months later, to thank me for speaking up, for sharing my very real thoughts, and for inspiring them. I am only egotistical to a small degree in that I am proud of the things I put my name on, and I’m the first person who has to laugh at my jokes and weirdness. When someone calls me and they’re genuinely hurting and upset, but by the end of the call they are laughing hysterically, I realize I have a gift that helps people. Perhaps G-d really does work in mysterious ways. 😉 I am a firm believer that people are drawn to you for specific reasons. Anyone drawn to me is either looking for strength, loyalty, a genuine ear, a genuine friend, or all of the above. Because in the beginning, we are all just words. You have no idea how that will transition into real life, but anyone who has ever met me and become a bigger part of my life will tell you I am consistently the same person. I can be hysterically funny and make you feel better, I can completely have your back, I will take your secrets to the grave, and/or I can be detached. I don’t think a single one of my true friends has ever witnessed the detached side of me. I am well aware that I’m rare. I have had to accept my rarity throughout the course of my life, but I feel like the right people come into your life and they stay. Anyone with an agenda, who doesn’t get what they want, is going to leave. It’s difficult to know what someone wants when they’re “new”. I suspect anyone who first meets me is meeting the cool, detached person who isn’t about to kiss anyone’s ass or try too hard for anything. I’m not looking to impress anyone. I am not starving for attention or friendship. I would rather have one genuine friend than one hundred “friends” coming into my life with an agenda. I can spot bullshit immediately.

In the midst of the ordeal I am still processing, I was asked “What do you think your purpose in life is?” I think we can all safely agree that is an exceedingly DEEP question to ask anyone. Like anyone else, I am still discovering my path, navigating my talents, and taking things one minute at a time. I will almost certainly spend more time wondering about purpose, and seeking it out. For many people this is defined by their roles in life. Mine is not. It’s a little bit like when someone says “You’re obviously a great Mom because you have cats.” The look on my face when people say this to me is always one of “Where the hell did that come from?” One thing has nothing to do with the other, and the analogy is kind of disturbing to me. It’s highly possible for a woman to be great at something and not have it likened to anything other than “You are great at this.” As human-beings, we wear many hats, but those hats should not be all that defines us.

I often find myself in situations where I feel appointed as the chief “slayer of demons”. While some people might say I don’t have to take on that responsibility, I will take on that which is of deep importance to me. If something could become a much bigger incident, I am more likely to see the bigger picture and get on board quickly, as opposed to backing down.

As a Scorpio, my sign is ruled by Mars and Pluto. Only one other sign in the zodiac has the same ruling planets. I’ve always found it interesting that Mars, which falls in line with the Roman God of War, would be attached to me. The way other people describe me is much the way astrologers and astronomers describe Mars. Combined with the constant regeneration of Pluto, it makes an awful lot of sense to me. Whether you believe in this sort of thing or not, I always notice how much these things tend to influence us. For many, it is without any knowledge whatsoever. I much prefer to be knowledgeable.

This incident is an enormous demon, and will probably not be the last one I have to slay in my lifetime. Not for a single second did I hesitate about retaliating. So while I navigate all the legalities and take a stand, I hope others will understand that I’m not only doing it for myself, I am doing it for everyone and anyone who is too afraid to speak up, or for those who fear backlash and/or repercussions.

I’ve been reminded of who I am. It’s taking a little time to mentally process all I’ve experienced and the knowledge that followed. I am determined to keep my head fully in this battle, and I know I will get there.

Wishing you all an empowering weekend and a fierce Full Moon ahead. 🙂

copyright © 2018 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Every Witch Way, But Mostly Dead

Authors’ Note: **POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING**

Yes, the title is spelled correctly. Yes, it’s intentional.

Most of my weekends are spent doing things I’d rather not do. The weekends were once my refuge for sleep, quiet, peace, laughter, productivity, cooking, more laughter, and space. They are now filled with rushed moments, trying to pack a lot of time into a few hours here and there. I almost NEVER get to do something I genuinely want to do, and despite the fact that I am being supremely honest about that, I can’t say it doesn’t gall me. It does. There’s not a lot about my current life that I signed up for. I find that’s a repetitive theme these days.

On one hand, a person might try shaming me by saying I don’t appreciate what I have. I don’t recommend attempting that tactical method with me. I might seem nice, but I’m not. Only someone who truly understands what I am going through and experiencing would understand why I say what I say and feel as I do. The truth is; I don’t need to justify my feelings to anyone or have them agree or disagree. They’re MY feelings. I own them, and they are accurate.

By a certain age, we all kind of find our niche and know the direction we plan on taking, whatever that direction may be. It could be personal, professional, or a mixture of the two, but the decision is made somewhere along the way to go right or left, or maybe North, South, East, or West. Some of us meet forks in the road, whereas other people see smooth sailing on the same road from the initial decision until the end of their life. My life, for some unknown reason, is one fork after another. It is an expensive place-setting with more forks than one really need have on a table called life, but there they are; ever-present and obnoxious as hell. I’m not a mermaid, you can’t dangle shiny things in front of me and distract me. Perhaps one should try diamonds instead of forks. I’m a Royal Asscher kind of girl. 😉

For a while now the saying “Different levels, different devils.” has been on a repetitive loop inside my head. I have plenty to write and say, and no interest in actually drafting any of it into a post or anything else. I don’t get writer’s block, but I do experience writer’s boredom. Let’s call me a severely bored writer for the moment. It’ll pass.

My usual desire to be creative on other artistic platforms where I have either interest or talent is also in a “bored” phase. For me to walk into ULTA and come out with NOTHING is almost unheard of. I found it kind of disturbing when I was the person who didn’t walk out with a bright orange bag.

A friend asked me how I was doing last week and I replied “I’m in a state of really not giving a shit about anything or anyone.” Not realizing that her reply could make or break someone else, she responded by saying “Oh. That’s kind of a good thing, I guess.” I informed her it most certainly is not.

I’ve been pretty ill on and off for months. I was holding up halfway decently, and have slowly started to decline. Let’s get something straight; no one should EVER rejoice in someone else’s pain or hardships. You can’t tell me I’ll feel better if “just pray harder” or if I “take a bath” and “light some candles”. Seriously?! What the fuck is wrong with people?

Your mental health, and mine, is just as important as the rest of your health. I call Mondays “Mental Health Monday” because I allow myself that time to do nothing, but take care of me. To shut everything and everyone off and allow myself to get into the correct head space to do what I need to for the week. Unfortunately, I already know that I will be badly triggered tomorrow. As a result, today was not the day I intended for it to be.

I am forced to make a heartbreaking decision. Will it kill me? Physically, no, but it will kill my soul, whatever is left of it after feeling like I’ve experienced various forms of hell for the past two and a half years. If I do it, there’s no point left for me anymore because I will finally know there’s no future left for me to return to. There’s no point in forging ahead without what little in this world that gives me hope and keeps me alive.

As usual, my brother caused critical damage to this situation, refuses to take ownership of his behavior and words, and I have no where else to turn. I have always been told that I don’t know how to ask for help. There’s a reason I don’t ask, and it’s because time and again, I’ve been shown cruelty and the true nature of others. If you genuinely want to help someone, then you’ll do it and NEVER throw it in their face. You won’t lord it over them and tell them what a horrible person they are. If you genuinely want to hurt someone, well, I’ve been hurt enough.

This week will be full of challenges and pain for me. I hate feeling hopeless and I hate feeling like I have failed when the truth is, I’ve FOUGHT LIKE FUCKING HELL to get this far. My body feels like it’s perpetually at war, and it is. My immune system fights itself and it leaves me in a constant state of fight or flight. As I type this, my heart isn’t sure if it should be calm or jump out of my chest. It’s exhausting and I’ve had enough.

I spend a little too much time in Witch City, and have for the past year. Yesterday I was subjected to more people than I EVER want to be around in close spaces for over two hours. I have never been more happy to escape crowds of people. I keep thinking how sad it would be if this was my last weekend ever. I wonder if the selfishness of others would then finally be realized.

I never get to do anything of my own choosing. But I do get to control what I write.

copyright © 2018 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Sunday Night Stress & Strife

My weekend didn’t go as planned. When things don’t fall into place, it’s upsetting and more than a little disconcerting. I am hoping the coming week will be better. I definitely have a lot of corrections to make in my life, especially after realizing some things over the past few days.

I hope everyone was able to enjoy their respective holidays, and that you all had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the amazing Full Blue Moon. I edited the photo I’m sharing. Don’t ask me why I edited it; I was playing with the settings quite a bit and either got out of hand or became a bit cartoonish. I know I went too far because in reality, it had a greenish cast in the sky and it was so golden and rich in color. I have a much better photo I will search for on my phone. I posted it on my Instagram account immediately, for those of you who know how to find me there.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead. 🙂

bluemoon2018

copyright © 2018 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Editing & Earl Grey

creating

Good writers know when their story is finished. We don’t question it; we just instinctively know “This is where to stop.” and often times, we’re satisfied with that. What do you do when your story is still being told and you’re magnetically pulled to keep on writing?

I’m ass deep in alligators on this rewrite. Like an onion, this story has so many deeper layers I have yet to unravel. Today, interesting things were developed. I then saved the file and decided to do a read-through. I cut, I added, I cut some more, and then additional development began. All I could do was type, because in that moment I thought “These poor characters. They’re so desperately trying to know who they are, what their role is in each other’s lives, how to stay focused, how to move forward.”, etc. It was kind of heartbreaking for me.

Initially when these characters popped into my head, I thought this would be an easy write and a very easy read; the kind that is easy to relate to. But then I realized I’d fallen into a trap of creating a character that made a choice out of avoidance. She spent the majority of the story avoiding huge issues when she didn’t need to do any of it.

At the time, a key line from her was “I stopped thinking up ways to tell him.” She was so committed to moving forward and being a strong woman, that she made a grave mistake, and would later realize how painful that mistake would be for her. She spent a lot of time arguing with a doctor, as well, one who was trying to help her, but was bound by patient confidentiality.

I allowed that to play out until the novel reached a crucial point. I loved what I’d written, but I also thought “What if I went in a different direction?” And so, I started from scratch with just a few key chapters to work with.

This current rewrite is the new direction. I don’t know if it’s better or worse, I just know that the storytelling is fair. It’s over 520 pages, and it continues to grow. I know I need to focus less on the page and word count, and focus more on the actual story, but as a writer of substance, I am trying to keep all of it in mind because I’ve already edited out about 200 pages, if not more. And here’s a simple fact; this story will eventually be whittled down to the bare minimum. That’s a given in the story-telling process. You want a clean manuscript, but you also want all of the key points in the final product.

So I sit here with a steaming cup of Earl Grey, with real sugar and cream, and I ponder my direction.

In many ways, this story is parallel to something I am currently going through. It’s a “Do I or don’t I?” story. Do I take this chance? Do I take this risk? What if? There are only three things lacking for me in my decision-making process, because after all, fiction is fiction and it gives you the opportunity to play. Believe me, I wish I had the problems these characters have. I have some of them, just not all of them.

I’ve decided to prepare this manuscript for a few contests coming up. I want to challenge myself and allow it to be read by people who can’t offend me. I’m my own worst critic; so the worst a stranger can say is nowhere near as harsh as I am with myself. It’s simple; you’ll either like it or you won’t. Hell, someone might even love it.

I didn’t really consider the ramifications of taking on a genre that is so well-established and timeless. I just wanted to write something out of my system so I’d stop having dreams about it every night. The dreams have stopped, but the story has not.

I will know when the story is done. I will. For now, I just have to keep writing. I’m either really angry or trying to get shit done when I break out the red mug. The grey mug is so much more soothing, but tonight, it’s red.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

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