Cats Are Life

It’s been a rough week. At times, Kitten was my saving grace, curling up next to me to sleep and keep an eye on me. When I rested after my procedure, she didn’t disturb me, as she is wont to do. She often jumps up at my head and scares the shit out of me with her silence. Even if I wasn’t able to sleep, she was hanging out with me. Cat has only shown interest in me today, when I offered up fresh catnip.

If you aren’t a cat owner, I can’t explain the bond of raising kittens (which is what builds trust), but it’s amazing and such a good life lesson. My cats go where I go. That’s always been my rule.

As I approach the 13th anniversary of losing my first (owned solely by me) cat, I feel terrible. She is buried at a small pet cemetery out of state (Obviously, since I’m not from Massachusetts and haven’t lived here that long.), and I have not been back. It’s so painful, and completely breaks my heart. I’ve been reliving her last moments over the past few days and it has nearly killed my soul, at times. I lost her sister over five years later, during an awful time in my life, and when finally given no choice at all, I went against my core beliefs and had her cremated. Her ashes are with me. She is the photo on my laptop screen and the everlasting love I have in my heart. The only thing I have left of her are some photos on my camera, and all the memories of adopting her and loving her right up until she took her last breath. They leave this plane of existence, but they truly do stay with you.

Kitten is her namesake (Her real name is translated out of Old Norse and Hebrew.). My amazing cat, who chose me, taught me how to be a mother, how to love, how to be patent with animals and small children, and she loved me probably as much as Kitten does. They are similar in some ways, with Kitten being less gentle, but I will always have a Tortoiseshell by my side. They are a color, not a breed, but they have these unique personalities and spirits that let me know I was probably once a cat. Kitten was meant to be mine, just as Cat was meant to go home with me and keep me honest with myself.

Today is the first Saturday in a while where I’ve embraced, “Caturday”. I didn’t wake up early and rush out anywhere. I’m hanging out in sweats and a t-shirt, and they are enjoying the sun and bird watching. It’s a low-key afternoon. I’m contemplating whether to cook or order in. The mourning doves are cooing. But I still remember my first “Cat and Kitten” with all my heart. I made promises to them and I kept them, and I made the same promises to these two characters.

They ARE family. Even when they torture me at 4:00 a.m. or harass me for treats an hour after they were given treats. They’ve been happier, a lot more playful, less stressed out, and more affectionate since recovering from the trip to the “evil vet”. 😉 She’s not evil at all, but I know it’ll go better when I can go in with them. They really don’t like not being with me. Dogs have their place, but when a cat is waiting for you at the window or the door, it’s not because they’re trained to do so. Nope. It’s one hundred percent their choice. That individuality is one of the things I love most about cats, but when I see mine waiting for me, it makes me smile. Even if only for a brief moment.

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

Ignoring The Crossroads

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

lisa

*Horizontal rules are free to download at: bellsnwhistles.com <<—Link attached.*  

copyright © 2020 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Reaching Out… What A Fucking Joke

**POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING**

I’ve reached a point in my mental health journey where I’m DONE. I’m not saying this lightly. I’m also not saying anything to seek attention. I’m just speaking. Period. It’s extremely important to be honest when discussing matters, such as this. 

I’m sick of people, their snide, ignorant  comments, the stigma of the uneducated, and I’m tired of all the excuses and bad behavior. I’m a human-being and I don’t want or need, “shiny, happy people” talking down to me. Who the fuck do some people think they are? 😠 At any given moment, you can be stricken, same as me. No one is immune.

In the past year, I have reached my maximum number of failed medications at around forty. Yes, you read that correctly. Forty drugs from the start of my original diagnosis, which was incorrect, until a month ago, when the final drug failed and made me wish I would just stop trying altogether. It was pointless. Perhaps I am, too.

I felt completely dead inside before starting this medication. I went into it 1000% unsure because I was preparing myself for the 50/50 possibility. This medication was an enormous risk. The failure of it made me sink. I looked around for quick sand, hoping it would swallow me up. I was, and still am, SO angry that this was other people’s “miracle medication” that gave them back some semblance of normalcy, if not restoring their lives entirely, but for me, it was yet another epic fail. If you heard me say this, you’d know I’m saying it flatly, with no inflection whatsoever. Speaking about it does not make me a “victim”; it just makes me extremely honest.

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I’m SO unbelievably sick of people saying, “I’m here for you.”, or, “If I can help, just ask.” 🙄 I’m sorry, did I just roll my eyes out loud? Yeah, probably.

If you’re, “here for me”, then I would actually be seeing you or talking to you semi-regularly. If you want to help, find something within your means and do it. I am not in the correct headspace to give you an itemized list of “things that will help”.

When someone has the flu, you might bring them soup, juice, magazines, etc. Things to help them feel better or things to distract them from how awful they feel. Or maybe that’s just me. Why do people need a guide for everything they can research? For all the advanced technological access at our disposal, people never cease to amaze me with their utter laziness.

I feel ZERO comfort in reaching out, and I’m so sick of the word, “No.” when I do ask for help. I’m constantly being told I don’t know how to ask for help. I do, and asking is one dead-end at a time. I have stopped asking because I don’t have the trust to offer up anymore. I am not going around begging for people to care about me or what I’m going through. Because here’s the truth; “reaching out” is a fucking joke. If a person cares, they will reach out to you. And if they don’t, you have to understand that the majority of people have their heads shoved so far up their own ass, they can’t see a damn thing. Their world and yours do not mesh, and that’s okay. Rid yourself of those who do not come into your life on your frequency. You’re trying to grow and better yourself, and sometimes, that means growing apart.

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In a world completely obsessed with social media, I decided to scale back quite a bit. By doing so, people did reach out to me, but ONLY so they could complain about things they’re going through. 🤦 It was very much a, “Are you okay?” and quickly became, “Because I have a lot to tell you.”, which made my head spin. It also made me angrier than a hornets nest after it has been kicked.

Why? Because the messages came from acquaintances, not my hardcore group of friends. I was put off by it, which might be slightly irrational, but I’m not going to sugarcoat how it made me feel.

If someone is expecting to see, “ALL of my posts” via social media, I’m mostly on Instagram these days. Some of those posts make it to Facebook, and some do not. It’s not the end of the damn world!

Whatever happened to asking a person directly, like a normal human-being? A phone call? A text? WhatsApp? Facebook Messenger? There’s more than one way to get in touch and stay in touch. Of course, you’d first have to prove you care and earn my trust to have access to my phone number for some of those methods of communication, but others are rather simple. 

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In the past year, I had a now former friend medication shame me. I was beyond suicidal at the time. I’m not sure if anyone knew, aside from my doctor. I wasn’t exactly shy about it, though. I was SO hurt by her comments about how I, “should stop taking that poison.” Yes, those were her exact words. If she tries to deny it, I have proof of her stupidity. I have her blocked on social media now because a REAL friend stands by you; they don’t judge.

This comment threw me for a loop. I read the initial message rule out in public, and I was incredibly insulted and hurt by it. Here I was, trusting her, and divulging something extremely painful, and she’s criticizing me. The ugliness of the comment is similar to telling a cancer patient to, “You should stop chemo. It’s poison.” 😠 No one does that though, do they? No, because they want their loved one to LIVE, to “beat cancer”. Apparently, people judge harshly when it’s medication they themselves have NEVER experienced.

Does anyone understand or realize that medication is often the difference between life and death for millions of people? I would NEVER tell someone to “Stop taking that poison.”, unless they were talking about street drugs, in which case I think we can ALL safely agree that it’s wise to get clean.

Instead of compassion, she showed me she’s an extremely ugly person, inside and out, which should have been the final nail in her coffin. Alas, when I schooled her, she didn’t apologize. Instead, she dug herself even deeper with her complete ignorance regarding depression and how it affects people. She went so far as to brag. “I’m ALWAYS HAPPY.”, she declared. Having written a character reference to a judge on her behalf, as she fought for sole custody of her youngest child, I beg to fucking differ, but I guess she’s not going to ever speak the truth because she refuses to see herself clearly. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. 😒

I don’t care what a friend comes to me with, they will NEVER hear me say, “I don’t know anything about it.” Let’s say I didn’t. On occasion it happens, but it takes less than ten minutes to educate yourself. That’s WHY we utilize search engines. Part of growth means constantly educating yourself. At least it does where I come from.

How is ANYONE over the age of twenty-five going through daily life without ANY knowledge about mental health? Please, elaborate. It’s 2019, and there are ZERO excuses for that level of ignorance. It’s inexcusable.

“Stop taking that poison.” Um, you admitted repeatedly that you guzzle down bottles of wine because you’re stressed, sad, not to mention, in compete denial of your true self, but medication is poison? Okay, wise one. 🙄 And by all means, FUCK OFF with your low level thought process. You’re not, “enlightened”; you’re fake and a complete fraud. I’m so glad to be rid of your drama, self-absorbed attitude, and your negativity.

Having me as a friend is something you should respect and appreciate because I don’t play games. You screw with me and my loyalty will become loyalty to myself, NOT to you.

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Another now former friend was self-harming and as a result, extremely horrible things happened. I will not disclose the deeply private pain shared with me because I’m better than that. Yes, I’m angry as hell and would cheerfully share her name, address, and phone number, but again; I AM BETTER THAN THAT.

I proactively encouraged her to seek help. I was constantly consulted for advice regarding doctors, therapists, and medication. I could go back into my phone log app and count EVERY single phone call I took when I should have been sleeping, because apparently MY well-being was never more important than her incessant dialing.

I called various mental health clinics (from across the country) to see if they took her insurance. That, my dear readers, is a TRUE friend. I’ve gotta say, no one has EVER tried to help me like that, and truthfully, I’m smart enough not to allow myself to get to that point of no return.

Everything changed after all my guidance, though.  I probably saved her life, but she thinks her part-time boyfriend is, and I quote, “Superman”. 🙄 You can think like that when you’re in single digits, but if you’re over twenty-five and have divulged an extremely abusive, manipulative, narcissistic relationship, one I witnessed in person, but you stay, then maybe, just maybe, you’re getting what you deserve because you aren’t smart enough to see things clearly, and you wrongly assume that a smart friend saying something about it automatically means that woman is jealous. Unless you live next door to a flagship Ulta, believe me when I say I’d NEVER be jealous of anything, and lately, even Ulta has lost its shine for me.

If you’re suffering, but have time to complain about how, “I gained fifteen pounds in a month.” because of depression medication, then maybe you need to sort out your priorities. I offered a list of medications where weight gain wasn’t a side effect. How did it turn out? I don’t fucking know. When a friend begs for your time and then blows you off, it’s perfectly acceptable to be silent until they apologize. It was her responsibility to make sure she didn’t permanently damage or destroy a long-term friendship. She didn’t make an effort whatsoever, though. That was her choice. Instead, she took the time one random Monday morning to “unfriend me” over a year later. Precisely who is the immature one here? I actually laughed. No one has to follow me on social media, and a real friend doesn’t announce it after years of calling you at all hours and pretending to love you like a sister. I decided this person was SO far gone that I wasn’t going to engage in the attention-seeking behavior they crave because she desperately needs this attention in order to feel “whole”. Except, the feeling is fleeting, and she will keep doing whatever it takes to get more. I should feel bad for her, but once I’m done, I’m DONE. I don’t give people the opportunity to come back, either. Friendship is a gift and a choice. If you throw it away, that’s on you.

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When I started taking medication for depression, I gained over 250 pounds in two years. It wasn’t from food, it was a side effect of drugs forced upon me, because hospitalization was always a threat if you didn’t take the medication prescribed to you. I underwent a lot of blood tests to show where my medication levels were and they NEVER reached “therapeutic levels”, mostly because they weren’t the correct medications for what I truly suffer from. I’m under 5.4″ and I’m a former gymnast. Doctors didn’t care about the weight gain, they just kept pushing drugs at me. Some of these drugs will threaten everything you hold dear before you finally put a stop to it. But now, EVERYTHING is blamed on your weight. Sore throat? You should lose weight. Ear infection? Well, you need to lose weight. Migraines? Lose weight. Unexplainable chronic pain from head to toe? I was told I should get down to “sixty pounds” to be pain free. Yeah, I’d also be dead, but the doctor repeated it three times because I gave him the opportunity to self correct his words. He just kept repeating it, like he was the smartest person in the world. I should have punched him in the throat.

Over the past eleven years, I’ve gotten closer to my goal weight. I KNOW I can achieve the final goals and have lifelong results/benefits, but I’m sick of women being negative over five, ten, fifteen, or twenty-five pounds. I understand it being frustrating, but calling yourself, “fat” is ugly and unhealthy for the mind. When people constantly do it in front of me, I automatically wonder what they say about me behind my back. Unlike many people, I don’t judge my friends based on looks, age, skin color, country of origin, education level, or weight. I’m selective; not petty. I treat my friends the same way I’d want them to treat me, and rarely am I treated as I deserve.

When I hear your self-talk and criticism, I question what you say to and about me.  I have about sixty pounds to go. It seems like a lot more on a smaller frame, but whenever I hear, “You REALLY have SUCH a beautiful face.”, it’s actually a backhanded comment about how I’d be so much prettier if I was a size zero. Zero isn’t a fucking size, not unless you’re a supermodel and play into that bullshit. Even newborns aren’t born a size zero! My NYC hair stylist disagrees with this, and once explained that my face shape (Which is oval.) is the perfect shape for a woman to have because it means every haircut will look good with her facial features. I don’t know that I agree with him, but he’s never tried to bullshit me. He’s also the only person I can trust to take me from my natural hair color to blonde in less than six hours. 

However, my main point is that you aren’t going to physically be 13, 14, 15, or 16 years old for the rest of your life. Jeez, I thought I was “fat” then, and I wasn’t. At all. Our bodies change. Our hormones change. We all age differently. But I’m not okay with hideous negativity and societal pressures. And I’m REALLY not okay with “friends” who have, “first world problems”.

Your health is your wealth. Weight should NOT be what you’re focused on when you REALLY need the medication keeping you alive. It can be a goal when you’re feeling stable, not before.

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I called my doctor late last month, wondering if he’d noticed that I’d cancelled on him. I legitimately do NOT cancel or miss appointments, even when I would much prefer to remove my eyeballs first. When he called me back, he said he trusts me to know when I need to come in and when I don’t. So, he clearly didn’t hear what I was saying, either. I won’t lie; I didn’t call him back because I was annoyed. I could easily slip back into not seeing someone for a year, or three. I told him that at my most recent appointment. Not only did he give me extra time, which he didn’t have to do, but he was in agreement with me about severing ties with a therapist who wasted a year of my life by being useless, and that’s me being civil. I’ve grown and I’ve changed, but she was not a part of any of that growth. I’m disgusted beyond words by her treatment of me.

I cancelled my final appointment with her because I knew I’d walk in, “hot”, and that means I knew my temper would flare into flames. I knew she could not accept the truth, so I decided that I don’t require closure in this particular matter. I decided that my sanity was more important than telling her what a useless sack of skin she is. I decided that insulting her and telling her how much her, “help” did NOT help, wasn’t worth me losing my temper. However, her one star rating on Healthgrades makes me feel better.

Will I go back to therapy? I don’t know. My doctor is going to do a deep search of all hospital employees and see who knows who. He knows if he screws up a third time, I’ll paint his office hot pink while he’s on vacation.

Have I reached out to anyone about what I’m going through? No. After recounting my father’s fifteen year battle with cancer to my best friend, who was unaware of all I’d gone through, I found myself in tears. I’m not generally an emotional person, meaning I don’t cry, unless it’s something serious, and even then, I might not. My reactions to things that bother and upset most people are not the reaction anyone is looking for, so I keep my mouth shut. And yet, I’ve written over three thousand words here, explaining myself when I don’t owe anyone an explanation.

Those of you who reach out with messages and comments, and thank me for writing things like this mean a LOT to me. If my words help you confront your pain, then that’s a positive takeaway.

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Ultimately, mental health is a personal, painful journey. It’s a road often taken solo, for obvious reasons. Support may come easy for many of you, but for me? Well, I’m lucky to be a force to be reckoned with. It was my mother’s wish for me, and my strength is deeply engrained in who I am. Sometimes, I just need to remind myself who the fuck I am and where I come from. Hopefully, someone reading this will understand EVERY word.

Also, we don’t lose friends. We simply learn who our TRUE friends really are.

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Copyright © 2019 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, 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.

Instagram > Reality

I was stupid-ish for thinking I’d be okay post-procedure. Pain that is complex, high fevers, stomach related issues, and where did all these bruises come from? Is life even worth it? I often ask myself this question. I struggle every second of every day to survive in tact. This is NOT the life I signed up for. 😔

How many people will read that and think the polar opposite of what I mean? Don’t think at all; yes, I’m serious. Just listen.

In the past dozen or so years, I’ve been through hell and back. I have the scars (physical, mental, and emotional) and ashes to prove it. I don’t sugarcoat pain, regardless of the form. I’m extremely transparent about it. Mostly because, pretty words don’t make liars any less ugly. Ten people will be analyzing that statement to death; the texts and email accusations will start ten minutes after this is posted. 😒

I’ve questioned everything my entire life. Not important moments or decisions, but the difficult “in between” phases that many women pretend do not exist. Maybe for them, they don’t. 🤷Denial is a coping mechanism for many, but so is alcohol. Who knows, really. We are all different, and for good reason.

I don’t take drugs. I rarely drink. I’m not boring, but I’m also not typical. The things that matter to me don’t matter to 95% of the people I know, and G-d Bless them for being so uninitiated. 🙄 Every person who has preached how enlightened they are is living in such a state of bullshit, it’s not even funny. Why can’t you admit you DON’T have your shit together and that life is not a fairytale? Why is everyone SO committed to “Instagram > Reality”? I’ll never be able to fathom this particular thought process.

A friend of mine recently confessed to “taking a break from social media”. She truly believes that everyone else is “living their best life” and she’s stuck, suffering. I broke it down and explained it to her from an extremely honest perspective. If you’ve got to brag about it via social media; it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

I know people who’ve been married 3-4 times since I first became friends with them. I’ve been best friends with each of my best friends longer than all of those marriages combined, yet people are desperate to post photos on a  constant basis.

How many engagement rings do you need to show the world? How many wedding cakes and wedding dresses do you REALLY need to see from the same person in 5-10 years? No, I am not “asking for a friend”, I’m just being honest.

I encourage people to live their lives OFF of social media. I, myself, question whether or not to share a thought, photos, happy moments, positive things, etc. Nine times out of ten, I send the photos to my best friend, we talk about the happy moments (and the bad. We don’t bullshit each other. I talk to her almost daily. My other best friend is going through a LOT at the moment, and I feel like the best thing to do is let her know she’s ALWAYS got my support, no matter what, but I also know she needs to be able to focus. I’ve been there and have lived it, so I take nothing away from her. She didn’t stop being my best friend.), and I don’t publicly share any of those things.

The other day, a lady asked if I’d take a photo of her with her grandson. I was only too happy to oblige. She immediately confessed, “I’m not allowed to show his face.” I said, “There are apps that allow you to have a great photo, and still protect him while he’s so young.” She kept trying to cover his face with her hair, but, like most babies, he was obsessed with me (Have I written about this before?) and wasn’t interested in her hair until the end. She got about five or six great photos for herself and others for social media purposes, but honestly, I’m all for protecting a baby. 👍

Someone stated almost a year ago that I am both a “public figure” AND an extremely private individual. I don’t consider myself a “public figure” at all. The first time a family member used that turn of phrase, out of concern for my physical safety, I nearly laughed until I cried because the expression sounded utterly preposterous. The sentiment was of a genuine nature. She was concerned that I’d be targeted for writing the truth in such an “in your face” manner.. I remember my response was, “They can TRY. I’m trained to take someone out, if need be.” This required further explanation because this person’s fears are SO great, the concept of physically fighting back was not something she had ever considered. It wouldn’t occur to her to fight back with words, either. 😔 As a result, I encouraged her to take some self-defense classes and/or Krav Maga, especially if she was going to keep saying she “doesn’t like guns”. You don’t have to like or love any instrument, tool, or experience that is the difference between your life and death, but you shouldn’t be ignorant, either. Women should know how to protect themselves, and pray daily that you NEVER have to utilize the training. 

I do bite, but I think it’s all in how I’m approached. If you saw someone walking around blatantly publicizing my work (via merchandise, like a t-shirt or phone case), and you wondered if it was me, a normal person would probably just come up and ask. I *almost* ordered a customized case last year as a promotional tool before replacing my phone, but if you’ve got to think about it for six months, it’s okay to pass. I might do it when I upgrade.

I have hundreds of ideas involved with my writing and the expansion of my work, but I know when to make a move and I also know when a promotional move looks completely desperate or pathetic. I’m many things, good and not so good, but I’m NOT an attention seeker.

Weeks ago, I noticed an awful lot of bragging from someone in my acquaintance circle. After rolling my eyes (A LOT. I’m not going to lie. This person gives off SUCH a fake vibe to me, and honestly, I’ve tried figuring out why, but I can’t. Once I detect that a person isn’t authentic, I don’t invest additional time into them. Your first instinct is almost always the right one.), I decided to do a little homework. If it was legit, I would be supportive and cheer this person on (a little), but I ended up having a good laugh, sadly enough. I was utterly wowed by the stupidity. Instead of the “achievement” being 110% authentic, I quickly learned it’s smoke and mirrors. 🙄 I CANNOT support a lie. It’s a costly decision, and to each their own, but that’s not going to be something I will support. It definitely falls into the “Instagram > Reality” mindset. The grass might appear lush and oh, SO, green, but the reality is this, it’s been fertilized with epic amounts of manure. 

I know how easily people fall into the trap of following one over the other. It stems from monotony and unhappiness that, all too often, is not discussed. Reality is something people now think of as “television entertainment”, as opposed to me smacking them in the head and saying, “No. Your LIFE is reality, not an image or having an outlandish imagination.” If I smacked more people, this world would do a total 360 quickly. It’s not the worst idea I’ve ever had. 😉

There will be people who love what I’ve written here, and others will get upset and/ or have hurt feelings. I’m good with both because I know what reality is.

I don’t have time for bullshit. I have time for authenticity, for pausing before I do something publicly, and I have time to say, “This is who I am. I haven’t changed. I’ve grown 🌱, but my core values and message, no, that has not changed.” I’m going to remain my mother’s daughter, and I’m beyond good with that. 💜

Which do you prefer? Instagram or the truth?

© 2019 by Lisa Marino and Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

From Scratch

img_20190315_195918_668Two days. That’s all it took to completely erase me. My entire past and much of the present; things I’ve held onto tightly because I believed I had something in life worth fighting for. I still had hope. I believed in the responsibility. I believed in keeping specific things, and people, alive, and sacred. Now, I have to start over, with nothing but memories that take over my mind and torture me. How much trauma can someone with Complex-PTSD can handle? Step into my pain; it’s not a pretty or fun place to be. 😦 I’ve got zero hope left. 

Some people might relish the opportunity of a clean slate, a new beginning, or whatever one would call this hell I am trying to live through. Me? I feel completely dead inside, and no one directly around me allows me to talk about what I think or feel. They change the subject and talk about nonsense, or they only want to talk about themselves. It’s unbelievable how selfish others are. They “don’t want to hear it” if I have something to say, no matter what the subject may be. They ignore the suffering, they ignore the pain I am dealing with, and they show me how much they care…about themselves. Writing is the only place where my thoughts, views, and feelings are respected and/or accepted. You don’t have to understand it or even be able to empathize. You simply read, or not. I cannot hold it against you. There’s a lot to be said for pouring your heart into something and clicking PUBLISH. More often than not, I forget what I’ve said after that. Not because my short-term memory is that bad, but because writing is pure, honest freedom for me. Until I start receiving messages about how much my voice has helped others, I forget about a lot of the subjects I’ve covered over the years. I don’t know that this will help anyone other than me, but purging a tiny amount of the pain I am dealing with is not a selfish thing to do. Last time I checked, my name was on this platform. No one else gets to speak for me. 

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When you lose everything you’ve ever owned; including your family’s entire history, every photo dating back to pretty much the beginning of photography within your family, all of your clothes, computers and other assorted electronics, carefully chosen furniture, jewelry from every major life event, the one piece I had of my father’s mother, and everything that belonged to my mother and Grandmother. A myriad of pieces given to me to commemorate important life events. 99% of it from people who are no longer alive. Books I treasured, absolutely everything I held dear, because the majority of it was a part of who I am, and I’m left wondering how to pick up the pieces. It’s more than jolting. It’s traumatic beyond words. Only one person told me they would feel precisely as I do; hurt, erased, traumatized, in deep emotional anguish. If one more person says, “It’s just stuff.”, I will personally rip their eyeballs out and force them down their throat. Or worse. I have no clue why people think I’m a nice person and incapable of physical harm. Don’t test this Scorpion. 

As a direct result of this loss, I have to change all of my legal documentation. Someone immediately tried opening accounts in my name. Thankfully, it was red-flagged and I was contacted via e-mail and phone, but I don’t know if any damage was done before it was flagged. Someone stupidly said to me, “Who would want to steal YOUR identity?” Are you serious?! I don’t know how these particular criminals think because I’m not a criminal, but I don’t believe they give a damn about who they steal from. It can happen to anyone, and it does. Identity theft is something we all need to be protected from, and made highly aware of. This was something I was concerned would happen. Always, ALWAYS listen to your intuition.

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Every single day of this “new life” is a reminder of all the problems one faces as the direct result of others actions, and inaction. It’s a reminder of exactly where you stand in this world, as well as with the people in your life.

I catch myself thinking all the time, “What’s the point of all this? What the hell did I do to deserve such torture?” I’m the one in tears, living with doubts. I”m the only one deeply upset and troubled by this. And each time, I wish I simply wouldn’t wake up the following day, that a car would hit me, that something or someone will finally realize there’s only so much even a strong person can cope with before they are done. That’s where I am; Done. My life could not be more meaningless. 

Between this, and the injury sustained in January, who wouldn’t be done? I’ve got an idiot doctor who refuses to manage my pain (and clearly cannot be bothered to return a phone call. He is about to receive a strongly worded, unpleasant e-mail. By ordering a necessary test, he’s not doing me a favor, he’s looking for additional damage. He makes it sound like a negotiation. It isn’t; it’s my health, and my life!), so I am constantly throwing up because there’s only so much pain the body can handle, or so much stress. I can’t keep food down most days, and someone recently implied that I’m doing it on purpose; not eating. If you actually care about me, don’t EVER fucking insinuate that I have an eating disorder. 1) That’s not concern, that’s being cruel because you don’t understand what this level of physical, mental, and emotional pain is like. Ignorance is bliss. Be glad you don’t know, but don’t toss your ugly negativity in my direction. 2) Comments like that are hurtful, thoughtless, unnecessary, and do not meet the realm of “love” or “concern”. 3) Comments such as they are, are accusatory and full of hatred. Do those comments make you feel better about yourself? Are they necessary? Ask yourself these questions before you open your mouth. 4) A truly caring, loving person would be on my side. They would be so concerned that pain is doing this to me, and they’d be physically and emotionally present. They would show me their support. I’m pretty sure the FedEx delivery guy has more compassion for me right now. Yes, that’s sarcasm. 5) If you’ve said any or all of these things, you should be ashamed of yourself, because I am/was ashamed for you each time these barbs were thrown my way. You’re lucky I have the grace to walk away. That is a testament to the existence of a Higher Power. It’s a testament to a lot where my character is concerned. 

No one seems to understand how bad all of this is, nor has anyone been able to understand where my head is at. There’s no victim mentality in my mind, heart, or soul, this is simply me conveying enormous difficulty, as many writers do. I can’t even be “fake polite”, so what you get is exactly who I am. I don’t have the time or the patience to pretend. My life is not, nor will it ever be, “Instagram perfect”. There is beauty that comes from being authentic, from suffering and growing through the pain, and from being a person who would prefer to build people up, instead of constantly tearing them to shreds. Imperfect and honest is beautiful; don’t EVER let anyone tell you otherwise.    

My anxiety is through the fucking roof. Almost to the point where I considered asking my doctor to put me on a higher dose of anti-anxiety medication or switch the medication up entirely. I am depressed beyond measure (Please don’t worry about this; I am under the care of a physician. He hasn’t called me an idiot to my face, and actually said he never would, but when he rolls his eyes at me, I KNOW I’m being an idiot and that he’s being incredibly diplomatic. I trust that this doctor has my best interest at heart.). I have no emotions; just anger, hatred, and a truckload of sarcasm. No one has really noticed. Everyone is pretending, or living on their own planet. and that’s insulting as fuck. One of my best friends pointed out that I’ve never not been highly communicative, even when my father was dying, During the worst shit in my life, I still took the time to listen to other people, no matter what is was they were going through. During some of the worst times in my life, I have helped others and they had no idea what I was going through. Again, this lends to character. 

When you’re going through awful things with damn near zero support, it makes things even worse. When a person has very little to wear, buying a t-shirt or a sweatshirt does not fix the profound loss of their clothing, sneakers, shoes, boots, etc. It’s a nice gesture, but it does not fix the long-term issue. It’s appreciated, but it doesn’t solve the problem at hand. Knowing precisely what is missing and how much I relied on my wardrobe hurts like hell. Granted, most of my clothes might not have been valued by anyone other than me, but I deemed each item critical. I take really good care of my clothes and have had many sweaters and sweatshirts since junior high. Now? Now, I have little to nothing. I would have to do laundry every few days if I was constantly out of the house because I don’t have enough of any one item to go more than a week or so without washing mostly all I own. In the past, I could have gone months without doing laundry and still had something clean to wear each day. Sometimes, I think that is an American luxury.  

Initially, a few people (friends, mostly, and one family member) offered to help. They said, “Put a list together and we will try to help however much we can.” I was genuinely touched by that offer, but then I did the math on the “list of replacement items” and deemed it unfair to ask other people to fix MY problems. I’m not selfish. I’m desperately trying to figure my shit out. I know I will be able to replace certain things slowly, but the big stuff weighs heavily on my mind and breaks my heart. It’s like someone walked up, stabbed me in the stomach, and took my soul along with the knife. I mean hell, I cried over everything that was once in my kitchen. Priceless items that were passed down to me. I’ll never be able to get these items back. They were NOT “things”, they were history. No one deserves to have their history erased. 

For the evil people who have my belongings; I hope you understand karma. You took away the last shred of my hope and faith. I hope you rot to death, because people like you are walking cancer and your level of evil does not deserve to exist. Evil does not deserve to be saved, to be rescued, or to be loved. It’s wholly deserving of punishment. And yet, we rarely get to see truly evil people receive their punishments in life, do we? A friend recently mentioned seeing someone’s downfall and laughing about it. I’m not cruel enough to laugh, as she did, but I would, on occasion, like to see justice. Mostly, I just see repeated injustice and I don’t want to live in a world where this is everywhere. I’m waiting for the phone call I am sure to receive when my previous engagement ring is pawned. It is laser inscribed and would be very hard to cut down. The second anyone sees it, they’re not going to want to touch it. They can, and will, end up in jail. It is insured by my ex-fiance’s family and they are aware it is missing. They wanted me to keep it because they were never going to approve of another woman. The stone has been in their family since it was first cut over a century ago. I was once very proud to be wearing it. Life changed, but I am hopeful the ring will be returned to them. It was never truly mine, but I valued it and took exceptional care of it.    

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When I left Pennsylvania, I did so with just two framed photos: One of my mother, Aunt, and Grandmother, and another of my Grandfather and I as a baby. My baby book is gone, along with all of my baby photos. Pictures of me holding my brother and photos of us through the years. Thousands of photos which marked half of my life, my entire career, and it’s all gone. Same for my brother. Unlike me, he doesn’t seem to care. He’s got clothes and other things to keep him going. I do not. I’m barely making ends meet at the moment (I had to turn down a lot of work that came my way these past few months. I cannot sit for sixteen hours editing any more. My lower back is a disaster and my neck flares up from stress in five minutes.) and there’s a lot of financial pressure on me. If prostitution was legal, I’d be on a street corner tomorrow. I’m not joking.

I have nothing to go back to, and nothing to go back for. I have been erased. There’s nothing left of me or for me. 

I have to say that in all this personal horror and pain, the kindest thing someone did for me, a perfect stranger, was find an autographed first edition book from one of my favorite authors (I had an extensive collection of first edition books from authors I admire, respect, and whose work I absolutely love. I loved those books like some people love their children, and I took exceptionally good care of them. They were on shelves in my living room, in alphabetical order. All of my music and DVDs were also in alphabetical order. Yeah, I’m a bit of a freak. Live and let live.) and have it shipped to me. I was so stunned by this gesture of kindness. When I opened it, I immediately shed tears of shock, and felt such overwhelming gratitude because, again, this person doesn’t know me, and yet, they treated me with such sweetness and generosity of spirit. I will NEVER forget the gesture and I will absolutely pay it forward.

I was raised to always lend a hand, always help friends and family when you are able, and NEVER keep score. I’ve helped people even when I wasn’t able, because sometimes all a person needs is to be heard and understood. Sometimes, a person needs to know they’re valued. I have no such knowledge at the moment. 

I feel utterly abandoned by the vast majority of people who claim to love and care about me. Everyone claims to be “so busy”, but if you have time to post selfies non-stop and be obnoxious in general online, then you have five minutes to check in with someone and make sure they’re okay. A text message is a quick means of communication when you don’t have hours to spend on the phone. My days of spending hours talking to anyone via phone are dead and buried; I don’t even think I like enough people to want to spend that much time talking. I don’t have anything of value to discuss. At least not at the moment.  

If I don’t answer someone, it ISN’T because I am busy. Sometimes I am, and I’ll reply to let you know that I am indeed busy and not ignoring you. Time gets away from me very quickly these days, but it doesn’t mean people aren’t on my mind or in my heart. Other times, my silence is the only thing keeping the other person from having to breathe through tubes. Thoughts don’t hurt, but my hands around someone’s throat is a whole other ballgame. 

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A little over a month and a half ago, an incident occurred and as a result, I asked several close friends if they perceived me in a negative light. I used very specific words when I asked the question. Most people openly said, “Absolutely not.” and one encouraged me to “Always be myself.” One friend, who I thought so highly of, gave me a reply that was hurtful, insulting, rude, and disrespectful. I would like to think she didn’t mean to come off like that, but I refuse to make excuses for people. Once you say it, you can’t take it back unless it’s within thirty seconds and comes with an epic apology. Think before you fucking speak. After reading what she said multiple times, I decided that it was best to keep my mouth shut. To discover that a close friend is secretly judging you behind your back is extremely hurtful. If she wanted to play games and/or pick on someone, she chose the wrong person because I can hit you and I will always hit harder. I’m exactly as advertised; not that nice. 

When a person has stressed positivity to you and comes at you with immense negativity, not only are they a hypocrite of the highest order, but they have clearly forgotten all the times you have blindly supported them. They have also shown you their true colors. They’ve been unmasked and there’s your ultimate sign. Her comment made me think of all the times where I had momentary judgments I pushed into the far corners of my mind because I don’t like being the girl who is judging her friends. In moments like that, I keep my mouth shut. I work really hard not to be that kind of person, because not only is it unattractive, but no one would want to be friends with someone like that; someone secretly and cruelly judging them. Especially me. Suddenly, I wanted to remind her of every single lapse in her judgement in her life on this earth, as opposed to my rare lapses. I’m not tooting my own horn, I’m just sharing my honest thoughts. You can be honest without being cruel or hurting someone intentionally. 

There is always a way to answer someone and NOT be hurtful. It’s called TACT. I know, because I specifically ask people if they want the truth or if they want my opinion. I give them a brief way out because I know at times, I can be quite harsh. Most times, people don’t want the truth at all, they just want to be told they’re right when they’re wrong. Still, there’s always a way to talk to someone without deeply hurting them or permanently damaging a relationship. Always.

What I found most interesting about this particular situation is that I’m not a big sharer regarding my personal or professional life. I could have twenty kids and no one would know, including my family. People have often said I’m the best person to share things with because I will take something they’ve told me to the grave, and that is true. If I don’t trust you completely, I will keep you at a distance where it pertains to my life. I am not an over-sharer. My best friend once thought I was mad at her because I replied with two words instead of a paragraph to a text. I wasn’t mad, but she’s right; I’m wordy. However, in that moment, two words seemed like the appropriate response and we easily cleared things up once I told her that I’ve never been mad at her. Not ever. She is a rarity because usually people screw up with me at least once. In the 20+ years of our friendship, I have never been mad at her, angry, etc. We don’t fight. When you have healthy friendships, there’s no need for nonsense. So for someone to say I am “surrounded by drama” was extremely hurtful. There’s a level of blame in that comment, and I don’t take kindly to it.

I am solely responsible for how I behave. I can not be held responsible for the actions, words, or behavior of others, be they friends, family, or a random idiot who wants to hurt/harm you because they have unresolved personal issues. They are not my problem or responsibility. I don’t have to take the abuse of anyone, regardless of who they think they are in my life. Chances are, if you’re being or have been abusive towards me, you mean less than nothing in my mind/heart/soul. If that was your goal, bravo. 

I’m not perfect, nor have I ever claimed to be, but I’m not a horrible person, either. I don’t wake up each morning with a list of people to hurt and/or insult. That’s not who I am and that is not the message I want to spread. If I’ve said something publicly about someone, like a doctor who treated me in a horrendous fashion, for example, then please know my comments are wholly warranted. There are a myriad of situations in which I will speak up and speak out, but I only speak when I know I’m right. If I feel I might be wrong, I keep my mouth shut. I’ve always felt like that was the safe, smart option; keeping your mouth shut when you’re uncertain cannot harm you, nor can it harm anyone else.

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So here I am, suffering, struggling to remain alive, asking for nothing because I know better, and there are only a handful of people who are not attacking me almost daily. When a person suffers from any form of illness and has said to you, “There is too much pressure on me. Please stop. It will be handled.”, but you keep pushing and pushing, to the point where the other person is about to explode, then you are part of the problem and you won’t get your way by continuing to push. It’s important to back off when a person has given you a boundary warning. It’s even more important when I’m the person warning you to give me space in which to breathe. Piling more on top of someone, especially when you have zero idea what they’re fully going through, is wrong. If you want an extraordinary amount of respect, then you have to be willing to give it, in kind. If you want to be hated, keep piling on the pressure. It will almost certainly involve a trip to the emergency room…for you. Once I lose the ability to care, and this has happened a few times in my life, I shut down and I feel absolutely nothing for the other person. They could suddenly be on fire and I would have no reaction whatsoever. 

I feel like much of this comes back to not being a big sharer. I don’t have the trust to give anyone. Some people earn it. Some people you automatically click with, and others you work hard to try with, but you shouldn’t have to work so hard where trust is concerned. If it isn’t there, don’t force it. If you’ve spoken to someone for over six months and you don’t even want to see them, leave alone talk to them, then there’s definitely no trust established. It’s okay to admit that and move on. And sometimes, it might be someone you’ve known your entire life, and all it took was the wrong sentence or behavior, perhaps both, for you to shutdown and realize that you cannot dwell in their toxicity any longer. The person you owe the most respect to is yourself. I don’t ever want to lose sight of the fact that I am a priority, and that my thoughts and feelings are valid. Especially when I am so often told that I’m wrong. Statistically speaking, I cannot always be wrong. Again, there’s a reason I only speak when I know I’m right, so if you’re someone who wants to discredit my feelings and views, just plain fuck off. That is the nicest possible thing I can say to people right now. Be supportive and kind or fuck off.   

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I find it sad that so many people feel the need to show off every single aspect of their life, but will never share the darkness. They will never be honest about how hard things can be. Nothing in life is perfect. There’s no such thing as the perfect relationship, or the perfect marriage, or the perfect anything.

I have my battles and my struggles. I am open and honest about them. There are things I will probably never write or talk about because they’re so painful, I can’t even let my mind go there. I keep pieces of myself for myself, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It does not detract from my authenticity or how I explain things. It does not diminish me as a person, take away from my talent, or make me lesser. I work really hard not to dwell in the dark and the places of pain, but it is not easy to throw yourself into the light. Some days, as always, will be better than others.

Today I stand here as someone who reached out to her doctor when her medication seemingly failed overnight, and made me sink into suicidal thoughts and feelings. I know he will get back to me. It is important to have a doctor who is on your side and who is objective enough to hear what you’re saying. As someone who spends more time with me than most people, I would like to get to a place where I don’t have to constantly be in his office. Especially since my OCD slipped one day and told him I desperately wanted to paint it (his office). Interestingly enough, he agreed with me and has since asked me about which colors would look best. Yes, I find that funny, but I actually appreciated that he didn’t take offense. 

A few months ago, when I first used the word “erased”, someone asked if I felt that way “in this room”, and they meant in the room with them. I said no, but their behavior has dramatically changed and I feel like it’s time for them to either get with the program or it’s time for me to move on. I am good with either option. I guess I’ll know more about that next week, and in the many weeks to come.

I am sad, depressed, hurt, and trying to rebuild myself and my life. People look at me and have no idea how much of a mess I am. And many have made it clear that they do not care. It’s important to know who does. I’m not looking, but I AM paying close attention.

I’m doing my best. My mother always told me that my best is always good enough because it means I am trying. So for the person who doesn’t think anything I do is right, are you good enough? Not so much. Not from where I’m sitting.

I’m starting from scratch, like a newborn. This time, it’s all going to go quite differently. 

P.S. Before I forget, thank you to anyone who was involved in my being named an “Inspiring Writer of 2018” and an “Inspiring Writer to Read”. It means so much to me and my heart just bursts from the messages and feedback on Twitter and Instagram. Let’s go for a three-peat, shall we? 😉  

copyright © 2019 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, 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.

I Love It When…

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I love it when a friend says, “I’ve got your back.”, and truly means it. I love it when someone says, “I will ride this out with you or I will die with you trying.”, and they keep the promise. Some women don’t know how to be solid friends, and that is a enormous character flaw as far as I’m concerned. Not everyone is born to give 110% to anyone other than themselves, and women like that are not the kind I want in my life.