The Well-Placed Word

dowhatyoufeel

Not that long ago, what I can only presume is an “older gentleman”, and by “older”, I mean over fifty, but probably closer to seventy, sent me a private message on Facebook to complain about my use of a word. I remember reading the message and thinking “Are you for real?” Initially I ignored it, until I decided to reply and set him straight.

As a writer, and especially with something like this platform, I don’t feel I have to edit myself or dumb myself down. In fact, I transitioned to this platform from another one that is still “active”, because I felt like I was neutering myself there and wasn’t fully being the outspoken person I always am. I needed to remind myself how I started out and how I have grown, but not changed my voice and how I use it.

I have come to resent myself whenever I am not 100% me, especially when someone turns to me and gives me any type of “warning” about how vocal I am or how they would like for me to “behave”. I’m not a child or a trained dog, so that kind of behavior, when directed at me, is a quick way to get yourself on my shit list. I revel in authenticity. You cannot ask me to me something I’m not; because the results will be negative.

The word this man took such issue with is one I did edit, slightly. Instead of using the word I wanted to use, I said “effing”. If that offends someone, that is a sad state of affairs to me because that’s pretty clean in my eyes. I couldn’t get more “clean” with that specific word, either. Perhaps I should have used symbols, instead? I know lots of us use this word in our daily lives because no one is perfect and it’s probably an overused word in many instances. I’ve never counted, but I’m sure I use it daily.

I remember consciously making the decision to use it in that “edited” way so as not to offend anyone. And yet, I get someone who is offended by it. Big surprise. He somehow felt the need to inform me that I shouldn’t use it in connection with God on a public forum. I love it when people think they’re lecturing me. <rolls eyes>

“I don’t mean to come off judgmental…” Really? How did you expect to come off? When surfing Facebook or the Internet at large, I am certain we probably all come across things we don’t like, or things that affect us in a negative way. You have the right to engage or scroll on. Hell, you can walk away from your phone, computer, tablet, etc., and disengage entirely.  I will usually scroll on if something isn’t worth my effort because unless I know someone, what’s the point of engaging? Would I engage with a stranger on the street who said something stupid? It depends on the situation, obviously, but for the most part the answer is “No, I would not.” I’m not that nice, or approachable.

As a result of this person’s comment, I ended it with respectful wishes for the upcoming holiday (Passover) and left it there. I’ll probably have to block him if this comes up again, lest I offend his delicate sensibilities with my honesty and directness regarding Israel, Judaism, or perhaps the placement of the sun in the sky.

When something is titled “Poison In Lethal Doses”, you can come to expect certain things from me, since I’m the one producing the written content. Anyone who has read my bio can probably figure out that I’m a “take no prisoners” kind of chick. From day one, the way I have conducted myself as a writer is the reason I have received respect, not to mention a widespread audience. There are Harvard educated doctors who read my work (Yeah, it shocks me, too.). If they’re not offended by the occasional use of profanity to make a point, I’m good with that. This is definitely not the place for anyone who is sheltered or buttoned-up so tightly that an edited word bothers them.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve ever had someone approach me in ANY way during the course of my career and tell me that one word I used bothered them. I think I’ve maybe offended one other person with my “brazen authenticity”, but for the most part, people either like me or they don’t. I can’t control how I affect others. I’ve mellowed over the years (sort of-ish) and curse a lot less than I once did, so I found myself staring at this message for a while, pondering how to handle it. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have replied in such a polite fashion, but I was incredibly polite. I let him know, in no uncertain terms, that HE contacted ME, and that if someone takes issue with a word I use, the issue lies with them, not with me. I’m not so sheltered that people have to curb their words with me. I’d be more concerned with the tone of voice you use, because that’s something I am more inclined to get in someone’s face about.

On the Internet, unless you’re on YouTube, you can’t really pick up on tone from people you don’t know. I have relatives who I communicate with who I am positive do not pick up on my tones when we speak. If they did, they’d stop talking. I have several tones that are “warning tones”. My voice drops several octaves and my responses become icy, or short. A lot of my text messages are “warning tones” because I’m probably pissed off at the other person for being nosy, presumptive, rude, disrespectful, hurtful, etc. I don’t always pursue my anger towards someone if I know how it will be received. It’s not an easy choice to make, but it’s knowing who and what to argue about. If someone keeps talking or texting through the “warning tone”, I do not feel sorry for them when they inevitably incur my wrath.

I have many different tones to how I speak and express myself. There’s my “dry tone”, which is all about timing. In my family, we refer to it as my “dry, British humor”. It’s my Judi Dench tone, along with the accompanying expression, and sometimes I throw in the accent for good measure. It can be delivered in a myriad of ways. There’s my “funny tone”, my “sarcastic tone” which are also, all about timing and delivery. What I find interesting is how people who know me well are never entirely sure which tone is which. Whereas my brother KNOWS if I’m being a smart ass or just being me. He knows my “warning tones” because he will often remind me, when I use them, that stabbing someone with a fork is illegal. He can even pick up on it in a text message. He gets me, even though he often pretends not to.

Nine times out of ten, I get accused of being sarcastic when I’m simply stating the obvious. That’s when you know, for sure, that a person is making an assumption. Don’t make assumptions via text message, because you’re probably wrong. I simply don’t have time in my day-to-day life to use a “tone” via text. Unless you’re an absolute moron, I’m probably just stating facts. No one said I’m not rolling my eyes while swiping my reply. I might be, but the other person can’t see me and that’s probably a good thing, though I wouldn’t shy away from rolling my eyes at them if they were in front of me. I’m not two-faced.

My daily vernacular is a combination of varying expressions, both in English and other languages, along with wit and measures of sarcasm and honesty. In certain situations, I dial myself down approximately five to ten percent, because I have to filter myself with the other person. I don’t like being unable to fully be myself, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.

A family member pushed my buttons last winter. After giving them ample time to “get over themselves” and apologize, they continued to treat me like shit and be rude and dismissive. Publicly, they behaved like nothing had occurred. Because this person married into my family, I have to shield my actual blood relative from the incident, and my subsequent feelings. But first, I wanted to verify if the behavior was normal, so I asked this person’s sibling, with whom I am equally close to, if this was normal. They told me “That hasn’t been my experience.” and proceeded to ask if I had said something offensive or hurtful, leading the person to respond negatively to me. I had done no such thing, and I found the question borderline absurd. They quickly dismissed the subject after I replied that I’d done nothing but be nice and kind, and went back to talking about themselves (Yeah, that’s my family. I wonder if group rates are offered in family therapy…). I have now spent over a year shielding this family member from my true feelings. Someone I respect said “Well, you’re keeping the peace because you don’t want to lose another friend.” I stared at him blankly, because he clearly forgot who he was talking to when he said that. “Keeping the peace” isn’t how I do things. That’s “people pleasing” behavior, and I REFUSE to do it.

Since the initial incident, I have tried my best to be polite to this person, but I’m sure I’m failing miserably. My concerted effort has clearly not been well-received because even after sending this person a birthday card, something I did NOT have to do, I’ve continued to be treated as a threat. However, I have to be honest with myself about how I feel. I cannot be fake.

Fast-forward to last week, when I received a text message inviting me for Passover. Normally I am invited at the last-minute each year to most holiday occasions, and while I consider the invitation supremely kind and genuine, it’s the last thing in the world I want to reply to. I’m not known for my diplomacy. I know I can’t say what I truly want to say in response, so naturally, that upsets me.

On pretty much any given day, the last thing I want to do is sit in a room with a group of people I don’t know and pretend to be interested in forced, polite chit-chat. It’s not who I am. Food is of zero interest to me, and people I’ve never met before rank up the list, too. I appreciate the invitation, but there’s no polite way to say “I’d rather remove my eyes with a melon baller.” On top of my very real feelings, there is always my health to consider. I try to be around as few people as possible with uncontrollable chronic migraines and all the other health issues I am currently trying to navigate. I just took my last round of antibiotics this morning, and I don’t even know if they helped, which is worrisome.

Chronic illness makes me unreliable for many events, especially anything short notice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to heavily caffeinate in order to go to a doctor’s appointment or something else I committed to in advance. Inside, I feel like the biggest mess on the planet, but on the outside I don’t think people ever notice that something isn’t right. After all, the majority of people are only looking for visual clues. They’re not going deeper.

I ended up sending a very polite text reply to the invite last night. I was downright polite and borderline diplomatic (for me), but I didn’t get into any detail as to why I could not attend. If I’d been asked, that would have been a problem, but I wasn’t. Instead, I was told I am welcome anytime. I know it was genuine, so I was genuine in turn. I’m good with large crowds of strangers when I’m speaking in public or have a commitment, but there are still times when I will say no to such things.

This year, I need to spend the holiday focusing on my health, and giving myself a short break from all the craziness because I’m really suffering in terms of quality sleep. My body needs rest in the worst way. 😦 I won’t make any appointments those first few days (March 31st might have been a good day to get my MRI out of the way, but I’d feel bad doing it on a holiday.), but I do have things that I will need to get squared away during the following week.

Words are important in society. It’s how we communicate, because not everyone responds to non-verbal cues. I find that the well-placed word is crucial. It can be the difference between “keeping the peace”, should you enjoy the route, or starting a fight, but it can also be the difference between complimenting someone and making their day or going through life as an extremely unpleasant person. Each day, we make choices with our words.

No matter how you choose, I’ll be over here, maintaining my authenticity as a “Speaker Of Powerful Words”. 🙂

copyright © 2018 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Be Honest With People About Who You Are

IMG_20171112_021828_839.jpg

Earlier in the day I was thinking about someone I know, and how long he had to keep his sexuality a secret, out of fear that his friends, family, and career would all fade away. It disturbed me. It still does. I’m happy that he was able to tell everyone in his life, met someone, got married, and his friendships and career remain in tact.

I don’t sit around much thinking about hiding anything about WHO I am as a person. I believe we all deserve a huge measure of privacy for things that simply aren’t someone else’s business, but I’m also judged as a heterosexual woman who isn’t married.

Between the cat jokes, which I don’t find humorous, to men, on occasion, slamming a door in my face in public. I don’t believe I am a minority, but as I look around, I know that I am, in pretty much all aspects of my life. There is always an assumption made about me. Each one is wrong.

There’s nothing wrong with knowing your worth and adding interest. There’s nothing wrong with being a strong person who, on occasion, needs to meltdown and rebuild herself out of the ashes.

I am still trying to accept me, and I imagine many people struggle with this privately. I find myself needing more quiet than normal, because I’m going through some awful things and it all wounds me deeply. But I’m trying.

I’m real. I have standards, and there’s NOTHING wrong with any of that.

Trying To Cope

11182314_391118801075909_4844715758370178550_n

Have you ever wondered if you’re trying too hard? If you have to question yourself, then you probably are. But what if you’re being told that you aren’t trying hard enough? It’s incredibly confusing, and downright counterintuitive, to have someone tell you you’re not trying hard enough when they don’t actually see how hard you try to begin with. When they only see a small percentage of your daily battle. Alas, welcome to my world where I’m never good enough, not unless I’ve somehow done something magical to meet someone else’s approval for the week. And even that is never truly “good enough”. I’m constantly met with a disapproving face or attitude, or something to let me know what a complete and total letdown I am. If you can explain to me how that is “being supportive”, I will buy you a fucking lottery ticket.

I am a firm believer that if you truly love and care about someone, you use your words. When someone is going through something horrible and you can’t be bothered to check in with them and see how they’re doing, but you can be bothered to talk to them about nonsense, there is no way in hell the person feels loved, cared about, heard, etc. They will NOT come to you with anything serious because you’ve already proven to them that you don’t take them seriously; that their life, their pain, suffering, etc., is a fucking joke to you. If you want your love and concern to be taken seriously, you have to bring it to the table. It cannot wax and wane like the moon.

I absolutely HATE hearing anyone tell me they “don’t know what to say to me“. Good. Say NOTHING. Be silent. It tells me everything I need to know, truly. By being silent, you’re reaffirming what I already know.

People who never ask how I’m doing, but are happy to come to me with their issues drive me INSANE. It makes me feel even more invisible. There’s never even a polite “Hey, how are you doing?”, it’s just “Let me tell you what I’m going through.”, because apparently the world revolves around other people and their idea of “problems”.

Here’s my take on this: If you’ve got a roof over your head, money in the bank, a good job, a working vehicle, food, health insurance, clothes in your closet, money to buy medicine if you aren’t well, and can pay your bills each month without ever being broke, and you’ve got the majority of your health (or all of it), then I genuinely don’t want to hear your “privileged people problems”. If you’re sick, suffering, struggling, truly battling something real, and understand how hard it is to survive in this world, then I am more than happy to listen, but I can’t do the privileged bullshit crap. If your wealthy family can bail you out of a problem in a New York Minute, then I have a hard time relating because if I need to be bailed out, it’s probably because I’ve finally killed someone. My “family” has made it clear that they enjoy seeing me suffer and do not care about my pain. That my losses are basically icing on the cake for them. Does that sound loving to you? That’s because it isn’t love; it’s hatred. I genuinely hope that one day, one of them needs a bodily organ and I am the ONLY match in the world that could save their life. I’d rather give that organ to an inmate on death row.

Call me crazy, but I prefer to be spoken to, not AT. I honestly need to start charging people for the “therapy sessions” I am providing because it’s gone too far. If they respected my time, then maybe by receiving a weekly bill, the 10:00 PM-5:00 a.m. texts about bullshit would stop. The hours of Facebook Messenger nonsense would stop. If a pop-up message comes up while I am writing, you’ve just cut into my hourly rate as a writer, which is quadruple my editor’s rate. If you interrupt me while I am writing with dramatic bullshit, I should be able to bill you. Unless you’re my brother, best friend, a doctor, or the two women I call sisters, then you probably don’t need to be contacting me after a certain hour unless there’s a death-defying emergency (and how many doctors would be calling after ten o’clock? None I know.). Truth be told, I’ve lost my ability to care.

My cousin had the audacity to tell me that he & his wife are “always here for me because ‘that’s what family does for family'”. I wish all of you could have seen the look on my face when I read that message. The one time I asked him for a favor was well over two years ago. He made excuses and said no, all after having given me the “I’ll do anything for family” rhetoric many times before. Clearly this is a selective thing. “I can be there for you when it’s CONVENIENT to be there for you.” That’s what it really means. That’s why it annoys me and that’s why, ultimately, it pisses me off.

A lot of his invitations over the past year or so have been super last-minute and I’ve had to say no. You can’t give me 24 hours notice for anything and expect me to show up. You’ve got to give me a month or so. I must have the physical, mental, and emotional energy, and you have to know a holiday gathering of 50+ people is NOT how I want to spend my time. I’m not married to you, or your wife, and I am not obligated to be a part of these gatherings. I’m family, yes, and thanks for including me in your thought process, but I’m pretty much always going to say no when you ask me at the last-minute.

Now it may have bothered him that while I did not attend his son’s Bris after being given four days’ notice (I was sitting Shiva), I did turn around the following weekend and meet up with my sister, Britt, in Boston. He didn’t say anything and quite frankly, Britt and I had those plans for MONTHS. However, not once has my cousin even offered to meet me halfway. He could be in a neighboring town and not even say “Hey, do you want to get a cup of coffee.” If I did that to him, I’d never hear the end of how I was in his part of the city and didn’t stop by. Drama, drama, drama.

I firmly believe that if you really want to be there for me, you will be. He speaks for both of them (I HATE when couples do that. It nauseates me. I can’t speak for someone else; it’s rude. That person has a mind and opinions of their own. I’m also smart enough not to stick them with my family! Escape while you can!) and I wanted to respond and say “There’s no way in hell I am going to ask either of you to be there for me! You have a new baby and while your heart might mean what you’re saying, we both know you’re not going to show up for me, so thanks for the sentiment, but you won’t be hearing from me.” Like, EVER. (To quote Taylor Swift.)

Have I mentioned I can’t stand his wife (I’d NEVER say this to him and hurt his feelings. For some unknown reason, he thinks she walks on water and performs miracles. Ad nauseum.)? Now that she’s not pregnant, she’s behaving differently towards me, but I will probably never be able to get over her bitchy rudeness directed solely at me while she was pregnant. I checked with other family members to see if it was her normal behavior or an isolated incident and apparently she fits in with that side of the family really well because it was directed only at me, which makes me extremely wary of her. I have made all of my close friends promise to have a “Come to God” meeting with me if EVER I behave like that towards the kindness of others while pregnant. One of my closest friends said to me “You’re not a piece of shit, so I can’t imagine you ever being so ungracious to someone. She was really fucking rude to you.” Sometimes, it’s good to get that extra feedback so you know you’re not crazy.

I’m going through all of this disturbing, upsetting misery day in and day out, and I legitimately hear from three people daily because they actually care about me, and my best friend e-mails me on the weekends. Everyone else is purely radio silent, until THEY have a problem and then it’s all about them. And like I said, they don’t ask how I’m doing, they just start talking at me. Not only am I invisible, apparently, I also have zero emotions or emotional needs to be met. It’s always nice to know this is how others perceive me. As a sounding board. Or a door mat for people to wipe their feet on, so they can walk away feeling better about themselves.

Over the weekend, I ducked into PetSmart to grab a bag of cat food. There was the most gorgeous green, orange, and yellow parrot there. Birds don’t normally come up to me, but this one did. They don’t usually make noises and do tricks for me, but this one did. It made me emotional, because I felt like this bird understood me. I wanted that bird. I’ve met so many birds over the years, all different types, all different sizes, but I’ve never wanted to take one home before and have a new friend.

I feel completely abandoned by Cat and Kitten. They used to spend time with me and care for me, or they’d hang out with me and be loving, but now they eat and sleep, and at three PM each day, they come downstairs and start staring at me, waiting to see how they can con me into giving them their dinner early. Mind you, they do NOT starve and they have food and fresh water all the time, but they’ve become regimented in their meal-times and it’s seemingly all they care about. They have their separate spaces, their cat beds, and zero interest in what I am going through. This, I am certain, is why people have dogs. Alas, I’ve got no energy for one, or the room. Or the patience and tolerance levels required. At this point, I’m best suited for a pet rock, and even that is a stretch. 😦

I’m quickly becoming one of those people who is going to spend the rest of her days talking to herself, getting answers back. Oh wait, I already do that! Excuse me while I go back to producing a flood of tears.

American Horror Story: Lisa’s Life

copyright © 2017 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Pull The Trigger

Almost two weeks ago, after an appointment with the Certified Nurse Practitioner at my doctor’s office, I went into the afternoon with one thought in mind: What are my triggers? It began to nag at me, until a few things dawned on me.

I keep a food journal to track what I’m eating each day. I’ve done this for a little over a year now, mostly because I wondered if something I was eating was causing my migraines to become worse than they were prior to my move. After going over it repeatedly, I genuinely don’t think my diet is triggering me in terms of stress or my migraines. It’s simple, boring, repetitive, crazy healthy (for the most part), and I’d probably murder you for a Triple Classic with bacon and cheese from Wendy’s and a baked potato with extra sour cream if I went within a minute of the place. Notice I didn’t say a mile. I haven’t touched fast food in almost a year and a half. I catch myself missing it when I’m stressed, or a few days a month when I just NEED a change of pace.

The CNP was exceedingly clueless as to what is causing my blackouts. I would refrain from blonde jokes temporarily, but she opened the door wide open the following morning when she called and yelled at me about the medication that was prescribed to me after she’d left for the day. And by yell, I mean she has a very shrieky voice and it is offensive to my ears, especially when it goes up an octave and she’s actually yelling. She blew off my lab work like it was no big deal when I questioned it, thus leading me to wonder if she can read lab results because I can, and I’m not a medical professional. I questioned the issues because they’re exceedingly visible (Elevated white count, which is NOT uncommon in Fibromyalgia sufferers or in anyone with an autoimmune disease, except I never used either word in my visits to this doctor’s office. I knew my blood work would speak for itself.) and her answer was “Can you like pop in next week and re-do it?” (Said precisely like that.) Um, NO. I’ve got a hematoma that spans three fingers on the inside of my left forearm that IMMEDIATELY bruised. I hadn’t even left the office and it was BLUE, which never happens to me. I’ve applied Arnica gel to help speed up the healing, and it’s looking a lot better now. It went from looking like someone had taken a mallet to my arm, to looking like a trauma version of Saturn, to looking like a heart, and now that it’s almost gone, it’s just plain ugly.), but I’m not rushing back for blood work any time soon. If you aren’t concerned enough to call me about that, which my physician did NOT, then I’m not concerned enough to come running in. In fairness, my doctor should have looked at it and called me to go over it. That’s what every doctor should do if something doesn’t look right. I went in running a fever and that was also blown off like it was no big deal. “It must be because it’s a warm day.” No, that’s not it, USE YOUR BRAIN.

The entire appointment was useless. I didn’t need to come in to tell you I could fail a baseline test, or that my neurology appointment couldn’t be moved up. You didn’t “save me” a trip to the emergency room by having me come in to “assess the situation”. And for the record, they thought I’d come in because of my migraines, NOT because I’m blacking out and losing time almost daily. Why would I go to a primary care physician’s office over migraines?! I wouldn’t.

A smart person would have ordered an MRI or a CT scan ahead of my neuro appointment, just to be on the safe side, but this chick didn’t even have suggestions (Did you know CNPs earn roughly $98,000 a year when they are part of a medical practice? Factor that in and you’ll be able to tap into my disgust.). I was so distracted that I forgot to ask about new anti-nausea meds and a muscle relaxer. It only took three phone calls for that to get cleared up.

When she called to yell at me about the medicine, it was because, in her words, I should “only take the muscle relaxers at night”. I had to bite back the “Duh!” that I was thinking when what I almost said was “Chill, blondie! I wasn’t prescribed an entire bottle of them. I was prescribed fifteen pills.” I paid roughly .30 cents per pill because the doctor who wrote it (not mine) was afraid to give me a full prescription. That annoys me, because it’s more cost effective for me to have a prescription that is a month of medication, as opposed to a few days worth. The normal daily dose for this drug is 80 mgs. I was prescribed 10 mgs. One pill does NOTHING. Two is slightly helpful, but 30 mgs does the trick and helps all of the muscles in my body ease up a smidge. I am going to be extremely honest with my doctor about that when I call for a refill. I don’t particularly like the drug, but if it helps my muscles not be stiff when I wake up, then I’d prefer to stay on it until another doctor says otherwise.

The anti-nausea medicine is for twenty-one pills, which is a little more practical. The whole “passing the buck” onto the neurologist pisses me off. Implying that they could get me in sooner to see him was obviously not handled properly, if at all. The neurologists’ office told me when I got the appointment that this was the first opening available with any of their doctors. There were literally two times on the same day, and I chose the earlier of the two. I took what I could get. I know they’d contact patients if they had cancellations, but obviously, there’s no room. As a first-time appointment, I expected to wait. I’d rather wait and actually get the doctor’s full attention, as opposed to deal with a rushed physician who is completely overbooked.

In all of this craziness, I learned that my ultimate trigger isn’t something I’m eating, but an actual person. Anyone who seems to gain from your misery, pain, isolation, and fear that something is seriously wrong with you is just plain evil and is someone you should probably avoid. It’s not often I find myself hating people, but I realized I hate how I’m being treated. I hate how anyone can deny how horrible their treatment of me is, and in the classic deflection technique, tries to turn it back on me. That’s not love, it is hatred, and it is so palpable, it enrages me.

This person is the ultimate “self-harm”. Rarely is a kind word spoken to or about me, unless there’s an insult thrown into the mix. I’d elaborate, but it chaps my ass to the point where I just can’t. Repeating hateful things said about me that aren’t true is giving the other person credence. When you tell someone who is chronically ill, and has been for the majority of their life, that they “Don’t want to get well.” because they didn’t go running to pick up two prescriptions the second they were filled, or ask for someone else to pick them up, there’s not a whole that that you can say to that, is there? It’s a crock of shit. If a muscle relaxer and anti-nausea medication would cure and/or “heal” me, then I’d have been on both years ago. Is waiting 48-72 hours going to change anything? No. Not one bit. Those medications are not cures. They’re temporary solutions to long-term problems. They will not magically heal me.

When you genuinely care about a person, you don’t ever want to cause them harm with vicious, hateful words. But now I see what others have been trying to tell me for probably the past twenty years; this person doesn’t love me. Maybe they think they do, but when you love someone, you want what’s best for them. You can always say things without being cruel, hurtful, or harmful. If you can’t, there’s something wrong with you.

When you realize that a person in your life, however close or not, is a serious trigger for you, you need to be self-aware when you’re around them, especially if you’re left without a choice. I feel my best when I am completely away from my triggers, both human and otherwise, but I know that’s not always a possibility for everyone. Hell, it’s not a possibility for me at the moment, but at least I’ve fully identified the target and know how to deal with it.

The neutered, “I’ve been to therapy” Lisa would disengage, say nothing, and walk away, but would internally be enraged. However, I’ve decided that particular version of me isn’t acceptable in my daily life any more, whether I’m going to therapy or not, so I’ve decided to let the other person (and people) know that their mouth is a problem and that I expect them to keep it in check with me. Yes, they will likely slip up here and there, but it’s my duty to correct them immediately, or the issue will get bigger and continue to fester. It’s easier for me to say what needs to be said and shut it down, so I am able to let it go. Mostly because, I don’t think I’d be a very good inmate.

When coping with triggers, it’s important to first identify them. If you are able to write them down and nail them the first time you try, that’s good. If you need to nail them down in therapy, or over time, that’s good, too. It shows growth. It comes down to “What/who hurts me the most.” I see a lot of people mention family issues as major triggers, or their wife/husband/partners, friends, children, etc., and all of that is normal. You definitely want to write those down if they’re affecting you and find a way to turn it around, but also look at your past and present, as well. You might even want to look into future things you know will take place that are causing you some form of triggered pain.

Ultimately, we’re all different. I’m not Zen enough to ignore rudeness and insults that are blatant and feel personal. I can let a lot fly, but there are things I MUST call people on. And if I happen to remain silent about something, it will eventually come out at a more appropriate time. I do believe in the “write it out” philosophy, too. I am lucky in that 99% of the people who effect me do not know I write and if they do, they don’t read my work, so I can come here any time and write exactly what I’m thinking or feeling. I can be my authentic self, and if they ever stumble upon it (they aren’t interested, so the chances are slim to none), they’re probably too stupid to know who or what I am talking about.

When I used to write about friendships, one of my best friends thought everything I wrote was about her (on occasion it was. She should know better than to piss me off or push my buttons.), but I never named names, and I never would. Most of the time what I am writing is a generalization and pertains to no one in particular. If I have to resort to calling someone out by name, that’s a pretty sad day in my writing career, but I’d do it in a New York Minute if I had no other choice. Otherwise, I like to keep my integrity in check.

From here on in, I am willing to “pull the trigger”. That’s my analogy for shooting down someone or something that is causing me any form of harm or emotional pain. No more.

I’ve been through hell and back. I have the scars and the ashes to prove it, but I’m done feeling victimized and/or excluded from my life. I’m in control. I am the boss. If you step out of line, prepare for the warning shot. I only warn once.

‘Pull The Trigger’ is copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.