We Only Have Ourselves

No, this won’t be a cheerful post. If you ever expect that level of dishonesty from me, please unsubscribe/unfollow now. I’m many things, but direct and honest are the top too words used to describe me as a person. Obviously, I share the good things, too, but I temper most of my enthusiasm. I am not about ego.

Today took its toll on me because I was remembering this precise Saturday, many years ago. I had weird dreams last night into the morning, and then the realization jolted me harshly. Despite taking medication for Complex PTSD, I can see that this time, on the lowest possible dose, it’s failing. Instead of keeping pain and nightmares away, it worked against me. 😦 As the day progressed, I ended up doubled over with what I believe are kidney cramps. I have to give it few days to see if that’s actually what it is. If it passes, or not. Having had kidney stones, I can tell you the pain is excruciating. Right now, I can’t do a whole lot. I can barely go up and down a flight of stairs, but I digress.

I talk about life and loss because it’s part of who I am. I am formed out of loss and built up by life, love, and loss. It’s a vicious, yet honest circle of life.

On the back of my neck, beginning just underneath my hairline, is a tattoo. I call it “The backbone of my life.” because there are others that stretch down the length of my spine (and more to be added), but the first symbol means Life, Death, and Rebirth. It also means Maiden, Mother, and Crone; the three phases of woman. The third definition means Past, Present, and Future. Love, Loyalty, and Friendship is another meaning of this particular symbol. It looks like stained glass. It is done entirely in shades of blue. I get constant compliments on it, but the truth is, I forget it’s there. I forget, until I take a deeper look at my life and how it always cycles back to Life, Death, and Rebirth.

Essentially, it cycles back to all of the key meanings I have shared here. When a friend mentioned how much she likes this symbol and wanted to get it done in the exact same spot, I cringed. She didn’t fully grasp what it means; it was just a symbol she liked, as if looking at flash art in a tattoo studio. She ended up with a massive cross instead, and I breathed a sigh of relief because of how I hold the values of my chosen symbol deeply. It’s not something I did without thought. I actually waited a long time before I decided on something so permanent. I sort of regret the second symbol, but that’s a story for another day.

We all have private pain which is hard to discuss. Some more than others. For me, the memories are so fresh, as if this happened yesterday, but it’s been a long time, and it still impacts my life deeply. As a result, it conjured up dreams about multiple family members. Generally, I don’t dream much about the living, so that was the weirdest part. The dead always visit me. It’s never a question of will they, but when will they.

The past few years have really reminded me how solo I am as a person. This has nothing to do with my relationships, but with how I face life each day. I face it with the knowledge that no matter what, I am an independent individual. I face it without asking for help because people throw what they do in my face. I face it stressed because I am constantly criticized after being praised, It goes back and forth. Nothing I do is ever good enough, so I’ve reached a point where I focus solely on my needs. I’m not a moron and I don’t need to be reminded of anything, especially when I am in pain.

Certain types of people want things they do not give. Respect. Courtesy. Decency. RESPECT. They demand it instead of earning it. Clearly, they don’t know what will work with me, but disrespect and demands will never get you anywhere. I’ll do what needs to be done when I can, but if you place pressure on me, I will snap. Now, more than ever, I am aware that snapping is the next step because I’ve disengaged so many times, and people assume I’m ignoring them. Please don’t mistake my silence for anything beyond silence. I’ve yet to plan a murder out loud. 😉 But man, do some people PUSH until you feel like maybe an orange jumpsuit wouldn’t be so bad. 😦 And please, don’t ever deign to tell me how to speak. I will say what I need to say when I’m ready, not less than half a second after you tell me what you wanted to hear. Genuine thanks comes from the heart and will come once I’ve collected my thoughts; they will not come at all if you try to coach the words. That leads you to, “Go fuck yourself.”, instead of “Thank you.” Obviously, this is a case-by-case basis, but I’m damn fucking tired of being spoken down to.

Tonight, I go to sleep without words. Wash my face, brush my teeth, say my prayers, and that’s the end of the day. Tomorrow, I will relive more of the pain and suffering, and hopefully get a few things off of my list. After all, in the grand scheme of things, we only have ourselves. Obviously, you can believe as you wish. That’s your prerogative.

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, 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.

The Eerie Stillness of Bad News

Today, #Covid19 claimed the life of a family friend. His crime? Being told it was safe to have surgery, so that he could get back to being the healthy, active person he was. 😡 They are NOT preserving a life if Covid is part of the diagnosis, and it’s important for people to know this. They’re too afraid to try and help them in any real way, except keeping them comfortable.

PLEASE, STAY HOME. WEAR A MASK if you must go out or interact with people for work. This person died less than a week after testing positive, and he died alone. I tested negative at the beginning of the month (And I’m STILL sick, but not severely.). This easily could have been me, someone who is immuno-compromised, or anyone I know who has been forced to proactively handle their health during all of this insanity that no one could possibly be prepared for.

My primary care physician keeps telling me it’s safe to go into the office. 🙄 Two other doctors of mine were much more honest, telling me to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary to go in. “It ISN’T safe and they CANNOT claim to provide a virus-free environment. He should NOT be saying this at all.” No, he shouldn’t, and I will be canceling my March appointment with him. I will be canceling other appointments for the beginning of next year, too. I don’t want to risk exposure, and I really can’t afford to be put at risk. None of us can.
I’m not saying you should be scared to live your life, but please, be mindful. Use common sense. Take precautions. Be mindful of the situations you’re putting yourself in.

Yes, we’re all going insane with restrictions and closings, etc. But you have to be alive in order to go insane even a little.

Another family is shattered tonight. 💔 Do your homework. If you can get vaccinated, weigh your options (It’s too early to be good for EVERY person. There ARE risks involved.). If you feel safest at home, I will NEVER judge you for it. But please, think about receiving a phone call at 2:30 a.m. and then wondering how you’ll cope with the aftermath. And if you don’t think about your family and friends, think about how you’d feel if the person was your mother, daughter, wife, father, son, husband, sibling, etc., and they died because you exposed them, unknowingly, to this crap. Yeah, it’s not a good thought or feeling.

Rest In Peace, Robert. You didn’t deserve this. 😢

Life Is Tragic…

“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.” ―James Baldwin

Okay, this turned morbid a little too quickly. 😦

When The Raw Pain Is So Unbearable

“When the raw pain is so unbearable and unbelievable, you may wonder if you can go on. But, you can, and will. And life can be good again—when you work at it. It’s a conscious choice to decide to move through grief, mourn the loss of the person you love, and heal.” ―Chelsea Hanson

Late yesterday afternoon, the news of a death in my family hit me in an unexpected way. One, it is close to home and heart. I’ve lived it and I’ve lived it predominantly alone. Two, it re-traumatized me in a way I never could have anticipated. I couldn’t even speak about it. 

People who have suffered through a lot of awful things eventually reach a level of mental compartmentalization only those who’ve experienced similar situations will understand. We will tell you what we’ve been through and our tone of voice will come across as cool and neutral, or cool and detached. Or completely empty. We’ve legitimately gone through so much that we’ve lost the emotional context tone of voice which newly traumatized people have. We can tell you the worst things you’ll ever hear, and we will often not even blink. We’ve told the story of our pain so many times, we no longer react to it. It’s the reaction of a survivor. Believe me when I say this doesn’t mean we are leaving out details or being dishonest. However, it does mean we’ve continually walked through hell.  

I try to keep the boundaries between my private life and my public life as a writer extremely separate. Sometimes I do discuss situations I am dealing with or have dealt with, but I word things carefully. Today, I can only say a family member passed away. Being excluded from the virtual funeral is something I am trying not to take personally, but I find it incredibly disrespectful. Virtual Shiva is taking place, except for Friday and Saturday due to the Sabbath, but I have made the conscious decision not to participate. I have my reasons.

I’m pretty fed up. I have to keep in mind that when I was the one planning two funerals, I called people personally, except for three cousins who my Aunt is closer to, and she offered to make those calls for me. I didn’t text anyone or publicize their deaths via social media. The only people who knew what was going on were those I had called or e-mailed (due to their location) directly. I remember e-mailing my best friends in real-time, as I was going through all of it. I kept in touch constantly, even when they were both ill and there was a lot of uncertainty. I was careful not to exclude family friends, coworkers, etc. The few people I didn’t reach out to were people I felt were not deserving of being a part of my pain.

I planned everything from transportation of the body to selecting the coffins. I contacted the cemetery. I spoke with the Rabbi. I wrote two eulogies. I spoke at each service. These are not easy things to go through.

This year, people reached out to me on Mother’s Day, but no one remembered the actual date of death, so I suffered privately. I felt incredibly overwhelmed with sadness and zero emotional support. Not a word was spoken to me on Father’s Day. My father’s birthday is approaching, and it makes me sick to think about it.

I can’t help but feel excluded by my extended family, but I AM in control of how I respond to all of them moving forward. I’m no longer making myself available to anyone. Right now, that’s what I need to do to help myself heal. I highly doubt they’ll notice. I’m okay with this. I will be okay. 

Dirge Without Music

“I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.”
―Edna St. Vincent Millay