“When you make the decision to start something new, first figure out the jobs you want to do. Then position yourself to play where no one else is playing.” ―Whitney Johnson
“For every pleasurable memory, we are bound to find just as many painful recollections.”
This sums it up in a short and sweet kind of way. 🙂 Due to time constraints, and being sick this week (I’m not better, but it’s predominantly allergy-related, as far as I know.), what I originally prepared will have to be re-worked. It’s worth the wait, though, because it was fun to write.
Thank you for listening to me and being here, from one year to the next. Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and safe New Year. Take care of yourselves and be well.
“Be patient with yourself, for we are all on this journey of life together.” -Jay D’Cee
This is incredibly timely as I polish off this amazing manuscript. It’ll be hard to say goodbye to these characters, but they will be back for a second chapter. As will I. As will all the new projects coming up the pipeline. I have so much gratitude for what the past year and a half has brought me.
When I decided to take “Poison In Lethal Doses” from a printed, exclusive, personally publicized format to an online, public, still personally publicized, but zero profit format, I opened it up in a way I wasn’t quite expecting. I won’t lie; having experience helped. Having confidence helped even more. In no way was I “just starting out” or “testing the waters. I had an established portfolio. I had a built-in following. I did not feel the least bit hesitant about this next step. I came from a place of confidence and knowledge.
To this day, I still feel blessed to every single person who helped me pave my own path. Especially the teachers I had in the New York City public school system. They broke the mold with those original English, History, and Science teachers who took a shine to me, and the many who kept in touch with me for years after I graduated. Between them and my Mom believing in my work, I was able to shed my skin and focus solely on what I wanted to do.
When I worked in Public and Fan Relations for professional athletes (FYI: I am entirely self-taught in this particular field. It always seemed to work smoothly, despite the difficult people I worked on behalf of. I actually walked away without references or letters of recommendation simply to get out of an increasingly toxic environment. I have no desire to return to that kind of work, but if I had to do it again, I am fully capable of doing it for myself or for someone else. That’s a skill set you can’t be taught; you either have the ability to do it or you don’t. Knowing how to do it and do it well is a gift. I am grateful for the opportunities and experience, and proud of myself because I took it on and made a name for myself. Don’t be afraid to be an assertive individual who can take charge; sometimes doors open for you because of that tenacity.), people told me I was too talented to waste my time in those roles. Essentially, they were right. To a degree; as I am a relatively ego-free individual. I walked away because I outgrew it. Sometimes, a dramatic change is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Even still, it took time to be comfortable being the main focus at all times, and yet it’s completely gratifying, based solely on the feedback I receive, and knowing when something I’ve written is good, or not.
A few months ago, I changed my Instagram handle and decided to make “Poison In Lethal Doses” my main focus, personally and professionally. There are two separate accounts for this on Instagram, and I have since expanded with a second Twitter feed for a new project. I quietly made plans for expansion this year, and I know I can work hard to achieve launch by year’s end. I may be planning and God may be laughing, but I’d rather plan and create something successful, funny, entertaining, and relatable, as opposed to not planning at all and sticking to the status quo. That isn’t enough for me; ergo, new project.
The craziness and uncertainty of the Coronavirus cannot be allowed to stop everything in my life, so I put my foot down and made some decisions. I will keep making those decisions and prepare to achieve a goal I feel is quite doable. Like anything else, it does require patience and a considerable amount of startup material from me, but I have to stop underestimating myself. I’ve already achieved things most people haven’t, so this is a period of reflection for me. I need to remind myself who I am and what I am capable of. I’m not going to place an expiration date on myself with this.
Over the past few years, I have felt like I was in an episode of Supernatural, waiting for a crossroads demon to appear, and grant me my deepest, darkest wish in exchange for my soul. Hey, you can laugh, but stranger things have happened. The last time I felt this way my life took a sudden, and extremely drastic turn. It was something I was completely unprepared for, yet I handled it to the best of my ability. Soon after, the path was lit up and clear. But now? Now there’s just me in the center, and what seems to be a hundred different forks in the road in every possible direction. I actually found myself doodling this precise visual when I was on hold one day. When I glanced down, I realized my subconscious was in perfect understanding and agreement with my current thoughts.
Moving forward, this is maybe the second time I get to make the decision for me, and me alone. I don’t have to factor anyone else into the equation. I am not responsible for anyone else, and I do not have to feel a sense of responsibility for others, either. I am free to do this for myself. And anyone who is a part of my life can choose to grow with me, or go off on their own. It’s a little unnerving to feel so rootless, but another side of me wonders if this isn’t the entire point. Be rootless. Follow your own arrow/path. Let other people do their own thing, and don’t read anything into their decisions, focus ONLY on yourself and where you want to be. People often refer to this as, “being selfish”. It’s not selfish. It’s prioritizing. As someone who isn’t selfish, I would know the difference quicker than someone who is predominantly selfish and has never considered another person in their entire life.
When I am making big decisions and I’m questioning myself, or feeling like there’s major risk involved, I will often turn to a deck of tarot cards to give me a little guidance. The Rider-Waite deck never fails to put me at ease. I do this once or twice a year, if that. The cards are honest. If they tell me my path is unclear, they aren’t kidding. For years, I would pull many of the same cards and be told to be patient until things became clearer. My most recent reading has some insightful, positive reality in it.
Drawing the Two of Wands in my chosen reading is about a challenge to learn to use downtime productively. Certain aspects of creativity require leisure. There is no available energy for forward progress at this time, so I am advised to rest and restore myself. Rather than waste time during such an opportunity, I am to use it for relaxation or meditation. I am not to worry about how to orchestrate things just yet; but open myself to the sights, sounds, and realities of the situation as it is. This will put me in a more favorable position when the time for action arrives.
Like I said, it was insightful and positive. It’s also true. I have been stressed about the orchestration because it feels like a lot of things need to get done in a short period of time, but I’m going to live and let myself be guided. I don’t need to have all the answers in this precise moment. I do, however, need to breathe and refocus.
I was impressed that the cards immediately picked up on this for me. When I am choosing my cards, I make sure to pull only when I feel 100% positive that I am making the right selection. Not once have they lied to me, and since you’re using them as a guidance tool, accuracy is awesome. Sometimes a message might be confusing, until months later.
I do not feel like I’ve had a moment of true “downtime” during quarantine, or even now, as states are in different phases of reopening, or in some cases, going backwards. My strongest sense is that we might end up at square one, locked down again, based solely on my sense of things and the number of cases escalating each day. I don’t know if all jobs will be affected a second time or not.
If you thought it was perfectly okay to go on a big vacation to another country during all of this, I hope your idiocy doesn’t land you in a hospital somewhere. People have taken to social media to share photos of vacations they are currently on, which I find ignorant and highly irresponsible. Especially the people who said, “We were bored, so we took our newborn and went to visit family.” Or the people who went away for six weeks to two different European countries (to visit family with their eight month old) where the numbers aren’t good. Did you just have a face palm moment? Yeah, so did I, after I rolled my eyes to South Korea and back. There’s a ton of irresponsible, and downright egotistical behavior going on. We’ve already been told that traveling isn’t 100% safe (and I’m talking about the airport terminals above all else. You can’t tell me they’ve ALL been sanitized within an inch of their lives, or that they’re sanitizing hourly.), and many countries will not allow Americans entry. People are truly showing their privilege, and it’s disgusting, yet important to see people for who they truly are. If you do something stupid and make it public, people have the right to call it out as irresponsible. I say this as an imperfect person. I’m not doing things to put myself, or others, in harm’s way. I am trying to be as smart as humanly possible at all times, even though it’s boring as all get out and work has been difficult.
This is a time where the perfectly healthy should count their blessings hourly, and display some compassion for those of us who are at risk. I have multiple autoimmune diagnoses, so every time I go out wearing a mask and no one other than me keeps their distance, I am more at risk than the healthiest person.
I don’t have the patience to argue the fact that masks are necessary, but WEAR A DAMN MASK. I wear gloves, too. Most people do not. I dispose of these items in a garbage bag, NOT in the parking lot of the store I just left. That’s disgusting and completely disrespectful of the employees who will later have to clean that mess up and risk further exposure. Who raised all these assholes? I also want to address the lack of social distancing. The next time someone walks past me like I’m invisible, I cannot be held responsible for my actions. I’d also like to maintain six feet of distance between myself and others after we’re free of this virus, because I think it’s a good idea. Yes, I am being entirely serious. I have no clue where some of these people have been.
The wearing of a mask is extremely claustrophobic and disorienting for me. It really effects me in a negative way. I’ve come close to the occasional nervous breakdown wearing one in public, but I still do it because it’s nonnegotiable. Even when I’m convinced I can’t breathe. Or when I’m close to having a panic attack. Let’s face it; we are all trying to cope with them. I would say most of us are doing the best we can, and that’s reasonable and fair. It does not mean you need to be glued to the news 24/7. That’s not healthy for any of us, but I do understand the fears many have. Especially as we go into learning that babies and children have always been at risk, and we’re seeing this with numbers of infant and toddler cases globally.
Like anyone else, I know the economy needs to be infused with business. I know many restaurants and small businesses are rapidly declining, as well as enormous businesses. I have noticed the immense increase in online shopping in my own neighborhood (not just for groceries). I have had so many companies reach out to me with products they want reviewed over the past six weeks or so, and I feel inundated at times because I’m trying to figure out what to do with all of it. I am doing more brand calls than normal, which is great. I am in a certain level of professional element when working with different types of brands, and it is wonderful when the point person for certain brands e-mails me later on to say, “They really like you. They said you had the most insight out of anyone else they spoke to.” This kind of feedback is what gets you involved with more and more brands. Of late, it’s been less about the fact that they’re paying me and more about the fact that my mind is being challenged. Be it for phone calls, video calls, or product reviews for websites, it feels good to be challenged in positive ways right now. I have had to rid myself of negativity and toxic people during this situation. There’s only so much I can do, or so much effort I can give before I burn out, especially when your efforts aren’t appreciated or respected. I am putting a lot more boundaries in place now, and they are necessary. I’ll address this at another time, but basically, I get it. I understand where people are coming from. Hopefully most people get where I’m coming from, too.
As I “ignore the crossroads”, things will slowly fall into place. Big change is coming and I am open to the positive energy of this change. I want goal-oriented change. I embrace it. I hope you’ll all be there with me and that prioritizing, “Poison In Lethal Doses” will come to mean as much to you as it does to me.
May my message always find you well.
*Horizontal rules are free to download at: bellsnwhistles.com <<—Link attached.*
copyright © 2020 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
“It hurts to let go, to say goodbye for the final time and remain distant in your closure, it may even tear your heart out to the point of insanity; but somehow in it all you find the pieces of your worth and you start creating yourself again, and in that journey of transformation you find the essence of what truly matters, inner happiness. It’s life, we all fall at some stage but it’s up to you, to decide how long you want to stay there.”
I was talking to my brother recently and, on occasion, he’ll say something completely on point to my internal dialogue. He doesn’t know he’s saying something that will spark a reaction from me, but that’s okay. His head is big enough. 😉
Whenever I talk to someone who genuinely knows me and knows my heart, they are the first people to read this title and say, “How much more honest can you get? Have you MET yourself?” This title isn’t about dishonesty or coming clean, though. It’s about getting honest about goals. I can only speak for mine.
The words, “Oh, you have a blog.” are particularly demeaning to someone who is an experienced writer who uses this as a platform. I didn’t create it for any other reason. Its sole purpose; a writers platform. I’m the writer. That’s pretty transparent from where I’m sitting.
I, personally, only use the word blog to describe my beauty blog or anything that feels more like a blog, as opposed to a singular voice. That’s not an insult. I’m friends with some incredibly lovely bloggers who are kind, caring, creative introverts, much like me, except I’d never use the words “kind” or “caring” to describe myself. Ever. I’m the evil fairy on your shoulder; not the angel.
There are likely billions of blogs on the Internet. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration; I’ve never looked at statistics. Everyone wants to stand out. Some people go to great lengths to make themselves seen and “heard”. Many make the move to YouTube.
Initially, that was the plan. I had EVERY intention of taking Shadows & Highlight, my beauty blog, to YouTube. I started filming last Spring and only shared the videos with my best friend. I filmed, didn’t edit because I couldn’t figure it out with my phone and because I speak the way I write, which leaves editing a question mark as opposed to a necessity. I would listen first and then share.
My take away from the experience is that I hate the camera. It’s extremely odd to see your face in a manner that is foreign to your own eyes. It’s awkward; kind of like EVERY bathroom selfie I see posted across the Internet, and it’s uncomfortable. It’s NOT who I am and it’s definitely NOT what I actually look like. Anyone can show you makeup and explain how to use this or that. It’s all been done. I want a broader audience. I want depth.
Ultimately, THAT is who I am. I’m the girl who’ll dig deep if I care enough to help you, or hide a body. Just because I wear makeup doesn’t mean it’s all I want to talk about or show people. Over the past year, I have found myself less and less interested in moving forward with it. I’ve been far less interested in makeup, too, often forgoing it entirely, which isn’t a strong indicator that this is something I remain passionate about. And so, as I listened to each video, I realized my voice is always going to be my strongest gift.
I deleted every video where I had to watch myself speak and realized that it truly is awkward as fuck, and not something I plan on getting used to. Because it’s something I do not feel I can get past. I’m my own harshest critic. For the record, there’s nothing wrong with my face, but leave it to me to find small things that I suddenly want fixed yesterday. It’s sad, because in this heavily edited “Instagram perfection” and obsessive use of filters, Photoshop, and Facetune culture that we see every day, rarely do people point out their own facial or physical flaws. I am the first person to tell you that I have two completely different eye shapes, which I expertly correct with makeup. And yet, when I look in the mirror I see one that is more uptilted and the other is more round. I will even argue which is which, at times. If I didn’t point it out, no one would ever see it. I pointed it out to someone early last year, long before I started filming, and even behind the makeup, they were like, “If you hadn’t pointed it out, I never would have noticed it.” Only recently did I notice my brother has it, as well. How weird that I’ve had it from about age 3-5 and he’s developing it as an adult. I don’t pretend to understand such things. Genetics isn’t my line of work.
I’ve been using my voice for a long time in different ways. I have always had specific goals in mind, and I’ve earned my various platforms. Nothing was handed to me. I’ve never made an ass out of myself or tried to be a different person. The second you try to be fake, your readers, as an audience, will figure it out at some point. Buying subscribers and followers is NOT who I am. I’ve watched people do it, but they aren’t fooling me. That which is natural and authentic has a good feeling to it, and that which is “trying too hard”, I pick up on immediately. I can tell when things aren’t kosher, for lack of a better word.
I’ve set specific goals for this year and will be sharing updates as things come to fruition. There is a plan in place. I want to keep this close to the vest because imitation doesn’t flatter me. I want to bring this to you in an organic manner, and I don’t want to force it down your throat. I want people to be interested because they’ve been on this journey with me, and for no other reason.
I don’t worry about being liked. That is something you need to leave in junior high, where it belongs. If you can’t, I strongly suggest speaking with a qualified therapist. We all have issues and drama in our lives and, sometimes, in our families, but when you can leave that at the door and not take it with you everywhere; that’s when you start getting honest with yourself.
It’s important to me to remember precisely who I am and what I bring to the table. It is important to me to work from a place of strength. Dealing with abuse for the majority of my life; I am constantly criticized and picked apart, and often told I am worthless. The words are vicious, ugly, hateful… Until you realize they stem from another person’s issues and you do NOT have to hold on to the ugly, hateful, bitter rhetoric others might spew in your direction. In fact, you can walk away from it completely. I have been doing this for over seven years (walking away) because if I engage with low level bullshit, I will rack up a staggering body count. People often think I’m a nice, sweet person, but I’ve never owned niceness or sweetness. I have, however, owned the fact that I don’t care that deeply about another person’s life if they’re mistreating me. As a friend often tells me, “Yes, you can be harsh, but you are also supremely FAIR in dealing with others.” These are facts. It’s the people who know me best who help keep me grounded in reality, as opposed to allowing me to believe that I’m worthless when I am anything but.
Unfortunately, true friends are few and far between. I am reminded of this whenever I talk to my best friends. They’ve known me for such a long time and I’ve grown, but I haven’t changed. They always remind me of these facts. Even my brother often reminds me of just how far I have come on a personal and spiritual level. But I don’t absorb these things and allow them to make me egotistical. I keep them in the back of my mind and allow them to fuel me and help me heal when things bring me down.
Inevitably, not every day of your life is going to be happy and perfect. We all have bad days. I’m insanely honest about mine. Are you?
Will this year be the one where you get honest and realistic with yourself and your goals? I am taking baby steps. I’m stepping into a new comfort zone for overall betterment. I look forward to the new, better chapter because the last one is boring me to death. As it turns out, I can grow and still remain true to who I am, without sacrificing my soul in the process.
Recently I expressed how sick and exhausted I have been. A friend said to me, “Let us know when the Phoenix rises.” How perfectly apropos.
copyright © 2020 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
It’s been over five months and I’ve missed you all SO MUCH. I wish I was in the perfect head-space for my return, but I’m not. Things have happened, and not happened. Things have been said and cannot be taken back. Things have been done, and subsequently, not done. People have come and gone, and I’m still pretty fed up and angry, which is justified. I’ve been bottling it all in this entire time, which has been difficult for me since I am a communicator, but I’m thrilled to be back here where being my authentic self is appreciated, respected, and dare I say, valued.
Health-wise, things have been rough. There’s been a lot of medical neglect from doctors who are seemingly both too arrogant and “too busy”. I am now under the care of a new primary care physician, so I’ll see how that goes long-term. At the end of this month, I go in for another round of treatment for chronic migraines. They have had their ups and downs. Summer was nightmarish for me with them, and I’ve recently begun getting regular headaches and tension headaches. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but when you suffer from migraines, you have to be certain what you have and how to treat it. A regular headache responds just fine to an OTC NSAID. Migraines do not.
Thanks to one of my best friends and my brother for gifting me a laptop for my birthday. It was the only gift I received in terms of the physical. It was also my only material goal for said birthday, and I’m immensely GRATEFUL to be back, even though this laptop is temporary and there’s a learning curve since the keyboard isn’t like my last two laptops, where I could type perfectly in the dark with zero errors. When you type as fast as I do, you can wear out the keys. This one is pretty solid, because the keyboard is completely different, but I’ll be okay. I still have software to buy, files to transfer, etc. I will get there slowly over the next few months. For now, just being able to talk to all of you is what I need.
I will continue the Black & White Photo Challenge until I hit two hundred days. I think that’s reasonable, and I’ve enjoyed doing it. Perhaps next year, I’ll do an HD color photo challenge. 🤷 We’ll see.
There will be add-ons and big changes over the coming year. I’ve had plenty of time to decide which direction I want to take this in and how big I want this to be. It’s time to expand and take some leaps of faith. Especially since so many people are supporting the expansion. Support doesn’t hurt.
I’ll be back with something more in-depth soon. For now, I need to get my head on straight and finish up my cleaning for the day. The fact that I went to bed early, woke up early, and did nearly all the cleaning I set out to do is miraculous. My body will either pay for it later or tomorrow, but pay for it, it shall.
I hope everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy their weekend. Have a good one, folks!