“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.” ―Fred Rogers
“When we turn around & come face to face with our destiny, we discover that words (spoken) are not enough. I know so many people who are brilliant speakers but are quite incapable of practicing what they preach. It’s one thing to describe a situation & quite another to experience it.
I realized a long time ago that a warrior in search of his dream must take his inspiration from what he actually does & not from what he imagines himself doing.” ―Paulo Coelho
I have always had an immense connection with my friends, especially my best friends. We do outgrow friendships and relationships at times, but the very best friends grow with you. I am immensely blessed in this department. There is much to be said for being a loyal friend who will always have someone’s back.
When I first started writing, the advice that has stayed with me for 28 years is this: Write what you think, write what you feel, and write what you know. It doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t like it.
There may have been some profanity thrown into the mix, but that was the gist of it. I’ve been writing ever since.
I was a quiet, shy, observant child. Painfully so. Writing became this exemplary form of communication for me. It is through writing that I discovered my voice, the strength in that voice, and it allowed me to become incredibly comfortable speaking in public. I used to avoid eye contact and concentrate on the words I’d written, but now I make a point of making eye contact with people as I speak and memorizing several lines in advance to avoid looking down at what I’ve prepared. I’ve found that this alternative form of being even more direct than usual actually makes people uncomfortable. They look away, but they don’t stop listening.
To this day, I am still quiet and observant. I’m not the type of person that pushes herself upon anyone in terms of friendship, or even conversation. I don’t walk up to strangers and have conversations with them for no reason. I tend to keep to myself and my circle of friends, a circle that I am drawing tighter each day.
In my core group of friends, I am the only writer. I’m also the one who communicates differently than everyone else, probably because I do write and putting my thoughts down, in any form, is generally how I keep from killing others, but it’s also how I fight for the things that are most important to me.
Of late I’ve been reading a lot of different statements about writing from people on different levels of the spectrum, and I either find myself inspired or irritated.
I’ve said it before, but it bears saying again: Proverbial puking words onto a page does not make you a writer. Cohesiveness in storytelling might not even make you a writer. Sad, but true. We are all different. The people who drive me insane are the ones who have, quite literally, been writing for 15 minutes and expect fame and fortune.
Getting published traditionally and being successful to the point where you can quit your day job is a longshot. You might very well have a greater shot at winning Powerball or Mega Millions. A writer I love talks about that a lot, but apparently no one is listening to him. However, I’ve read all of his books since about 2003, so I don’t perceive my work as “perfect”, “fantastic”, or “superior” because I see greatness in so many people’s work. It might be someone on the New York Times Best Sellers’ List, but it might also be a little-known blogger or an Indie author. So many people have great stories to tell, and many more do not.
Several years ago I was in Barnes & Noble with my Aunt. They were remodeling that particular store and the genre I write in had been moved around. There were probably several thousand books, all one genre, all potential “competition”. I could have had an outright panic attack looking closely at them, but I didn’t. I decided that there was room left on the shelf for me. I did have a moment of serious doubt, but it quickly passed. The fact that people have told me they love my characters and would buy my books, based solely on reading a few chapters, is special to me.
This platform is where I come to be myself. There can be a plethora of emotion here, and I do not judge myself, or others, for any of it. In my professional work as an editor, I am supremely honest and direct, just as I am in every other aspect of my life. And when I’m dealing with my fiction material, it’s not that different. It’s still my voice, harsh honesty, and intensely strong characters that you will either like, love, or love-to-hate. I like, respect, and appreciate the honesty within the fiction because that’s what helps breathe life into it.
In the future, I hope to be able to share it all with you. For now, I’ll be here… Writing what I think, feel, and know. I don’t care if it’s liked or not.
copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
At this particular point in time, I am having difficulties seeing the silver linings. Life has its ups and downs. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it sucks. We’ve all experienced this. I’m not quite certain what to do when it’s predominantly sucky.
I work hard, but there is always a problem that arises and it’s always something I have to fix. It makes almost all aspects of life, outside of a handful of things, completely miserable, moving straight into unbearable. When does it end? 😦
At a severe low point, I called a suicide prevention hotline. I feel absolutely no shame in admitting that. I do, however, feel incredible outrage by how I was treated by this hotline that will willingly accept my donations, and yours, but refused to so much as help me when I wasn’t very far away from my personal ledge.
The person who took my call was already on the phone with someone “in a more severe crisis”. I have no idea how she knew this other person was in a more severe situation than I was because the first thing she did was put me on hold for about 30 minutes. Let me reiterate that she never even bothered to ask me if I was all right and in a safe place before she did that. She finally comes back on the line and says that the other call is more important and I should try calling back later. She didn’t ask where my head space was, NOTHING. She spewed the call back later crap and hung up. Even if you’re short-handed, even if you’re a volunteer, that isn’t the way to treat anyone who is calling a suicide prevention line. Clearly, they’re not calling for shits and giggles, it takes courage to make that call. I hung up with my jaw wide open, feeling even more betrayed by the world. It was a gut punch. “Wow! Even the suicide prevention hotline can’t prioritize me for half a second before hanging up!” If I wanted to be treated that way, I have family for that.
Earlier this year a now former friend asked me via text message if I “needed professional help”. Instead of understanding that I was in a bad place and needed support, she ended up blowing me off and later “broke up” with me via e-mail. I thought we’d be friends a very long time, so I was understandably blown away by the dramatic behavior and inability to show compassion to another human-being. I will never name names, but I am also at that point where forgiveness is not an option. You only get one chance with me. (Other things did occur towards the end, but I will never discuss any of that because it’s private. If the other person chooses to say something, they would be wrong.)
Telling me you’re worried about me via text message doesn’t convey care or concern. It’s just words. Picking up the fucking phone and saying “I know you’re not okay. I’m here for you.” is a better way to let anyone know that you’re truly there for them.
One of the biggest issues with cell phones and tablets is that no one talks to each other or communicates properly. The other day a woman took a call in front of me from her mother. Her mother wanted to argue and she said “Lets discuss this in person. There is no need to have this conversation over the phone. I will see you in a few hours.” She repeated the same statement several times because apparently she was dealing with a stubborn parent. When she hung up she said she HATED how people misconstrue things via text, e-mail, and sometimes even over the phone. She was totally on my level, saying how she’d rather be face-to-face with certain people because that way, there’s no misunderstanding whatsoever. It was incredibly refreshing.
I cannot speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. If I sense that someone is going through a rough time, whether they voice it or not, they don’t have to ask me to be a good friend or family member, because I do not lack common sense. I am not the world’s most compassionate soul (I openly admit that.), and I will never win awards for my niceness (The niceness gene died at age 12.), but I am emotionally present. That’s more than I can say for a great many people in my life and those I’ve chosen to get rid of.
If you love your friends, you fight for them. Their well-being is important to you and you don’t need to be insulting in order to get your point across. The same is true for family. I come from a very large extended family, but at the end of the day, they are almost exclusively people I happen to be related to (Who are banned from future book signings and appearances. LOL.). They’re not my everyday “I’ve got your back”, “Don’t worry about it.”, “No problem, I’ll help you.” family. There’s an immense difference. I have friends and family I’d do anything for, but with the rest… I’d break out the marshmallows if they were on fire.
Ultimately, not everyone you know is a good person down to roots of their soul. If you find those that are good, don’t let them go over petty idiocy. Learn how to say “I’m sorry” when you’re wrong or when you’ve hurt someone. Learn how to admit you don’t know it all. Be yourself, be real, GROW.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us. So, I employ a “live and let live” policy. If you’re good to me, I will appreciate that and I will say so. If you’re a piece of shit to me, eventually I will make sure you know what I think of you. Or I won’t be so bothered as to waste the oxygen, that all depends on my mood.
If you’re a part of my life, I am grateful to have you in it. I keep my circle of friends close because of the value I place upon the element of friendship. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have true friends, and I really don’t trust women who don’t have at least 1-3 close female friends. It’s a red flag. Kind of like a man at a bar that still has a tan line where his wedding band should be, but tells you he’s single or how horrible his “soon-to-be” ex-wife is. Unless you see divorce papers, he’s full of crap and is a married man who hasn’t stopped dating.
I’m eternally appreciative that I am one of those rare people who truly doesn’t care if people like me or not. I spend no time at all wondering what others think of me as a person. Those that take the time to get to know me on a deeper level are the ones that benefit from my fierce loyalty and “ride or die” friendship. Those that burn me clearly don’t know that, like the Phoenix, I will always rise again.
copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
FRIENDSHIP -VS- “FRIENDSHIP”: SINCERITY OR MALICE?
If there’s anything I truly hate in this world, it’s people not knowing how to be decent friends. It takes two, truly. Both people have to be committed to the same cause, which is the core of the friendship and what it is built upon. Unfortunately, you will often find that the other person generally doesn’t know your intentions and you may not figure out theirs until it’s too late.
Throughout the course of my life I have had both friends and “friends”, and it’s fair to say that we all have. The latter are the bottom feeders in this world who only come to you with falseness in their hearts. They pretend to be genuine, but they’re either intimidated by you, scared of your strength, jealous of you, or never have good intentions towards anyone. Sometimes it’s a mass combination of all of the above, and so much more. They are the types of people that are 1000 shades of fucked up and, no matter how sweet, kind, entertaining, genuine, or funny they appear to be, they are hiding behind a facade and not only lying to you, but lying to themselves. They will seem selfless, but they’re selfish, self-possessed, and have cruelty and hatred residing within their souls, and they choose to take it out on people that do not deserve it, as opposed to directing it at those that do.
I can only use myself as an example here. I give a LOT to the relationships in my life. I don’t know any other way to be. Need advice? I’m your girl. Need help hiding a body? What body? No one will ever find it. I have helped friends whenever they have needed help, regardless of what that help entailed. I feel that is the right thing to do. I do not like seeing my friends struggle and suffer if I am in a position to do something about it. I will talk to you for hours about anything and nothing, and I will truly listen to you. I’m not on the other end of the phone rolling my eyes or making faces, I am fully engaged. I am loyal and I am devoted. In short, I know my worth and value in all things, but especially as a friend. It is one of the things in life I am most certain of.
A lot of missteps in friendship are based on poor communication. If you choose not to say something to someone when, and if, it bothers you, that is YOUR fault, not THEIRS. Take ownership of your short-comings. I have my own faults here too. Sometimes it will take me a few days, weeks, or months to call somebody out on something I feel was inappropriate, wrong, and/or offensive. I don’t allow disrespect. However, even if it takes me some time, I will still do it. I do not avoid confrontation, and I always feel better once I’ve clarified with someone what is, or isn’t, going on and how to come back to a good place. It doesn’t happen with every single friendship, sometimes a friendship has run its course, reached an end and that, too, is ok, but the effort still needs to be made.
If ever you want to end a friendship, as in all relationships, it is crucial to tell the other person. For one, it shows good manners and two, it brings closure to the relationship. It doesn’t matter if you were friends for three months, six months, a year, or if you’ve been friends for 30 years, have some fucking decency in your dealings with others, lest you gain a reputation for the way you handle your personal relationships. Especially with other women. I can assure you that women talk. If you’ve been a bitch to a woman and later become friends with someone she knows really well, she won’t hesitate to tell that friend exactly what your deal is. I’ve had more than one or two of my close friends warn me about other women, and they were always right. Thankfully, I wasn’t fully invested into the new people, so it wasn’t a big deal or the end of the world.
I always encourage people to communicate with me. If you don’t like something I’ve said, come to me and Spit.It.Out. Just be honest. You’re not sure what I meant by something? FUCKING ASK. Things like that frustrate me. I don’t like wasting my time with anyone, nor do I like it when people attach my name to bullshit stories that are fictional beyond words, and delusional by half.
If you have an issue with me, say it to my face. Be direct. Don’t run and hide like a toddler, and don’t tell lies. I may not be perfect, I’m certainly not winning any awards for warmth, fuzziness, or coddling, but at least I know what respect, loyalty, and real friendship is all about. Once I lose respect for you, you do not exist. If you close the door, I will put Wolverine’s adamantium claws on my end of the door so that if you ever try re-opening it, you get to hang on your own sword, and your own mistakes. That’s how it works. If you want to be someone’s friend, have honor and dignity. Unless you’re incredibly self-absorbed and shallow. I assure you, NO ONE wants a false friend.
Choosing to be a part of someone’s life as their friend is something so many take for granted. Extending the hand of friendship, to me, is a big deal. If you bite that hand, be prepared for what comes next. People often underestimate my nice factor, which I can tell you from experience, is limited. Treat people the way you want to be treated. If you want love and acceptance, be loving and accepting. If you want or need a certain thing in a friendship, as in any relationship, it is perfectly ok to ask for it. If you’re going through a rough time and you feel like you need a little extra emotional support, say so. Don’t expect everyone to be a mind reader, because the simple fact of the matter is, there’s no such thing as mind readers.
If friends or family treat you like shit and you always allow them to return to your life, you are allowing the behavior and accepting it. In fact, you’re encouraging the cycle to continue. Over time, you lose sight of what it’s like to be treated the right way. In the grand scheme, your acceptance of such negativity allows the chains to wrap around you. This extends to all relationships in ones’ life. Allowing bad behavior, accepting it, and never saying anything in response is encouraging it. If I, as your friend, have encouraged you to put your foot down and you ignore me, I lack sympathy when it continues to happen to you. Not because I’m a cruel person, but because you have been repeatedly given sound advice. I do not mince words and I do not suffer fools gladly. I mean what I say, unless I’m pissed, in which case I will probably say nothing until I cool off. If I am wrong and I know I am wrong, I will always apologize.
This was not written for any particular reason, so do not presume it is directed at you, the reader, in any way, shape, or form, except maybe in an advisory capacity. I’ve had this on my mind for a while and felt it cathartic to put it into action.
We have three different types of friends throughout the course of our lives, and in some instances, for many, many lives, until we learn our lessons and get it right. The different types of friends are “those for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. If you’re going to be the type of friend to me that I am to you, then you’re ride or die, and you are in my life for a reason and a lifetime. I will always be loyal and devoted to you. However, if you’re only sticking around long enough to use me, please, fuck off now, and take your insane monkeys with you.
If one person is a flake, don’t take it personally. If one person is over-sensitive and cannot handle the truth, then that person needs to work on themselves and letting them fly is the best thing to do when they refuse to listen. Not every friendship is forever, but maybe that’s because the ones that are, are so much more valuable, and are built on a solid foundation, as opposed to being built on one person’s immediate interests.
In closing, I am incredibly GRATEFUL for the lovely, talented, graceful, elegant, mature, beautiful on the inside and outside, kind, generous, hilarious, devoted, loyal friends in my life. I can count them on two hands, but quality is far superior to quantity. Some have been a part of my life for a short period of time, but are no less special to me. Many have been with me for 18-25 years and, despite our imperfections and character flaws, despite agreeing to disagree, we love each other, we care about each other so very much, and we’d do anything for each other. A friend recently told me that I have been there for her through EVERYTHING, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and she thanks God for me. Another told me how people are always using her, but that I am the bright spot in her life. In friendship, things should be positive. If they aren’t, detox yourself from the poison. You’ll find a lot of clarity there.
copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED