I know everyone wants to be hopeful today, and many are full of joy, as the 46th President of the United States is sworn into office, alongside the first female Vice President (!). I have to be honest; I always thought Hillary Clinton would be the first female President, but I am quite hopeful for Kamala Harris (She’s smart, strong, and incredibly likeable.) and her role in how we move forward as a nation, but I realized earlier today that I had ignored my own mantra for a while in my attempt to tune as much of this out as humanly possible.

My mantra has been, “Question EVERYTHING” for as long as I can remember. It’s a good mantra. I am not the most trusting person. I often wait for people to fuck up because it’s inevitable. But today, I can only hope the new President doesn’t fuck up royally. This country can’t afford any more screw-ups. We have to take care of our citizens and remember who our long-time allies are. Now is not a time to pick fights or look for war, because it’s all too possible the war we face is on our own soil.

Many of us are far too young to remember slavery on U.S. soil, Civil War, World Wars I & II, Pearl Harbor, or Vietnam, but we aren’t too young to remember 9/11, Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, ISIS, or the constant crap pulled by Hamas, the “Palestinian Authority”, and other extremist terrorist groups. Let the record state, I feel it’s important to discuss terrorism on all levels.

As I listened to people I know talk about their views, post the incident at the Capitol Building earlier this month, I realized how sheltered many truly were regarding White Supremacist “organizations” and other documented hate groups that are alive and well, functioning daily in this country.

Growing up in New York City, I didn’t encounter a lot of these things (Jehovah’s Witnesses? Yes, on the regular. I’ve actually never managed to escape them wherever I’ve lived. Unlike my Great-Uncle, I have never felt the need to invite them in for coffee and a religious debate.), but I was always highly aware. I was the girl who was always writing, but I was also the person who wanted to become a police officer who would make detective, and then move on to the FBI. Law enforcement was something I believed there was honor in. My detective instincts are a natural part of who I am; ask any of my friends who’ve been on a bad date or had a guy mistreat them. I recently offered to do a background check on someone, and I wasn’t joking.

My awareness of hatred started way before kindergarten, and because I’ve been lucky enough to have certain opportunities, groups like the KKK are something I’ve always known about. I knew they had a plethora of fringe groups with similar ideas and ideals, and there are so many of them who recruit online, but I could never wrap the blind hatred around my own mind because nature versus nurture is a real thing. It’s also impossible to brainwash me because I truly do question everything.

Nancy Pelosi was one hundred percent right to call out the fact that many wore Neo-Nazi t-shirts. She referred to one individual in particular and called him a, “punk”. The truth of this statement was way too polite, but I was proud of her in that moment. I hate politics, but I respect people who can honor the wrongs and do their best to correct the hate we are seeing rise every day. I’ve never stood for hatred of anyone, but I always stand for truth.

If you lost family during the Holocaust, you would understand this feeling (seeing those shirts) in a deeper way. Jews were not the only people murdered. Hitler was insane and evil (Remind you of anyone?) and believed he was annihilating anyone who didn’t fit into his, “Master Race” image. The Nazi regime also killed their own people who would not help them (Many died by refusing to turn in neighbors, friends, etc.), Roma Gypsies, anyone who was disabled or ill, and anyone from the LGBTQ+ community they could find.

My cousins were freedom fighters during the Holocaust, putting themselves at severe risk. Whenever someone denounces it as being “a Jewish propaganda lie”, wears an offensive t-shirt, or accuses Israel of apartheid actions, I think of them, and wonder how many people are alive today because of them. How many people got away, immigrated to another country, and rebuilt their lives because of their kindness and fighting spirit? I will never know, but I do know they’re out there. I occasionally wonder where my fighting spirit comes from, and despite not being like anyone else in my family, I know I’ve inherited traits along the way.

The Holocaust is not the only mass genocide the world has seen; and many ignored it while it took place. Until the camps were liberated, we cannot ever forget that the United States turned people away on their shores, people who arrived by boat, and they did so by Presidential order. It’s not spoken about enough. However, the Holocaust is not alone in its horrors. It is not without equally disturbing stories which took place in other countries.

The Armenian Genocide came first, beginning in 1915. Turkey still denies this ever took place. As though a million people, possibly more, simply vanished. Many other countries have committed atrocities against their own people over the centuries, and it needs to be discussed openly and honestly. If I can’t shrug my shoulders about any of it, then no one else should get away with that type of behavior, either. It is not okay to denounce the horrors man has allowed. When I think about these things, it fuels me into a tunnel vision mindset.

Slavery was once rampantly accepted all across this country. It’s heinous. It is now synonymous with human-trafficking, and the darker undercurrents that many are blind to. I can’t close my eyes and pretend I don’t know about these things. I don’t want to ignore the history because if I do, then I’m just another ignorant person who is useless to this world and its betterment.

Overall, it would be nice to have hope, but seeing as how I’m always going to be myself ,and this lends to certain things, I can only say I’m going to be realistic. Because after the past few years, it’s truly all I’ve got to offer. Realistic honesty.

If you have hope, more power to you. I’m tired of all the division and hope it can be bettered, but again, I’m realistic and honest about change.

Here’s to 4-8 years with minimal fuck-ups.

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

Last Sunday



Last Sunday afternoon I was hit in my lower back at a small, local grocery store. The woman who hit me slammed her full shopping cart into me, and it was heavy. I could feel things in my lower back scream in agony at me. I immediately knew this was BAD.

Instead of reacting like a normal person, she said, “Why are you standing there?!” in a condescending “the world revolves around me” tone of voice, and proceeded to clip my right hip on her way out the door. I was in so much pain, but I did not scream or fall on the ground. I quickly assessed the busy store, the lack of attention to what had just occurred, the cashier bagging my items while my card payment jingled musical approval, and immediately realized that if I fell and called 911, I’d be a YouTube joke and the stores’ employees could be fired. Yes, those are selfless thoughts in the midst of mind-shattering pain, but screaming out in a store rife with elderly people didn’t seem like a smart idea, and I knew every other person would be whipping out their phone. We live in a very sick world where people think that’s appropriate.

I lost a week of my life to someone’s awful behavior. I had hoped I’d be able to go to my appointments, run errands, do laundry, clean, organize my clothes, and live my usual existence as a sufferer of Fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Instead, the pain was not something you could think through, or past. it was all encompassing.

Ultimately, I sent the store’s corporate headquarters a strongly worded e-mail. I do NOT want to this to happen to another customer. Talking to my best friend tonight, her seven hours ahead, she told me, “I bet this has happened before. You cannot be the first person this has happened to in one of their stores.”

Last week I consulted briefly with a personal injury attorney, and was told I definitely have a case, despite the fact that the store has no cameras. I was told, “You were injured on their premises. That makes them liable. Regardless of whether or not you already suffer from chronic pain, they should cover your medical expenses, any testing your insurance will not cover, pain management and medication, pain and suffering, and any potential lost income.” One lawyer wanted an obscene retainer. The first simply advised.

I’m not greedy. I simply want this accident, which increased my pain tenfold, to be over. I want the pain to stop. I don’t want to live in traumatized fear that some stupid bitch is going to hit me again and cause further harm. Today, someone missed me by an inch, except they immediately apologized and asked if I was all right. See the difference? I do want the tests covered, and the income I had to turn down last week when, suddenly, people returned to me with huge editing jobs. I can barely sit without wanting to die, so I had to say no to two big contracts. I said no to smaller things, too. I don’t usually say no, even on open-ended deadlines. If I don’t feel I am healthy enough to finish a job (both of which required my full attention and roughly sixteen hour days doing nothing, but focusing on their manuscripts.), it is wrong to say yes and accept 50% of the payment upfront. If I can’t deliver, that’s not fair to the client, but I knew I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tolerate the pain enough to block it out.

You’ll notice I did not name the store, the location, or give any other identifying info. Not only am I a loyal customer, but they don’t deserve the negative publicity.

Despite what I’ve been through, I would like to keep a positive mindset. I want to move forward. I don’t know if I’ll be able to, but I have no choice but to go back to my spine specialist and ask him to run the tests based on the fact that I was clearly injured. The one good thing in all of this craziness is that my doctors here have ALL ignored my lower back completely. They’ve refused to run tests, but I can’t keep going like this without x-rays and an MRI. I need to know what is causing the pain because this doesn’t feel muscular, it feels like bone. It was warm for January that day, so under my coat, I only had a t-shirt on instead of my usual 2-3 layers. There was nothing to cushion some of the damage or any of the impact.

If I don’t survive this week, I will have someone post a notice. In the meantime, I am praying and I hope the Universe will be kind in return.

copyright 2019 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All written work may not be re-posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under United States and International copyright laws. Additional protection is covered under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.