I’ve Built…

It has always been important to me to be transparent about my shortcomings and the strengths. I don’t try to pretty anything up. Too often, people pretend their lives are so perfect online, with perfectly posed, edited photos, but you never see the truth of what goes on behind closed doors because all they care about is the imagery. That’s not what attracts me to people or to their work. Honesty and humor attract me. Real humor; the kind that isn’t forced, that isn’t passive aggressive, the kind that is wholly natural. It takes a lot to make me laugh. In the past week or so, I’ve maybe laughed four times. Each time, my cats came to see what was going on. “Is she having a stroke? Should we get help?”, they probably wondered. Of late, laughter hasn’t exactly flowed.

As an extremely private person, I still know that being forthcoming about my suffering (From A to Z) has helped others get help, come out of their shells, talk, trust again… I know this because they have e-mailed, messaged, and shared these facts with me, even if it took them a few years to say anything. I didn’t know my voice would help people, but it has and it will continue to do so, because I know the power of using your voice for change.

Wishing you all a safe, warm, stress-free weekend.

P.S. I will be listing charities ASAP who are helping out with the crisis in Texas. Every penny helps. It took our government way too long to respond to the need for help, and our own people were forced to endure this without an immediate helping hand. It’s disgusting beyond words. It’s Puerto Rico and Hurricane Katrina all over again, and it is NOT acceptable.

I know people who are 6-7 days without power and who have no clean water. Power is being restored slowly, and many are afraid of what will happen when they return to their homes. Will the pipes have burst (A much more common occurrence in colder climates.)? Will they be able to return home safely? They have no idea what they’re walking into. They are NOT prepared for the kind of weather they got. Never again should states be lacking a strong electrical grid, not have adequate salt, sand, and plows for snow removal, etc. This is not being discussed enough! I’ll do my part and hopefully there can be some unity in this country to help where needed.

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.

 

No Matter How Close We Are…

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish – consciously or unconsciously – that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.” ―Dean Koontz

People Are Going To Come Into Your Life

“People are going to come into your life, and God is going to use them to help you. To them you’re insignificant and don’t matter. They are not going to understand you, or even see the point of why God had you hang in there with them for so long. Remember this: Sometimes meeting someone has nothing to do with what you can provide for him or her and everything to do with what God needs you to recognize in that person. If you didn’t understand the message, God will keep sending the same person or situation into your life.” ―Shannon L. Alder

Confrontation

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Anyone who has read my work for more than a month or two can likely tell you basic things about my character. My friends can tell you precisely who I am and what I stand for.

My own brother has described me as, “The last person I ever want to disappoint because you’re scarier than Mom and Dad combined. I’m more scared of your reaction than I am anyone else’s.” I was surprised to learn this, but it explains his behavioral patterns around me because he knows I see through all the bullshit.

Whenever someone describes me, these are the key words used: Honest. Loyal. She says precisely what she means; there’s zero sugarcoating involved. She’s not exceptionally forgiving, and that’s because she knows the difference between a mistake and patterns.

One of my own physicians said he knows I don’t hold back and he respects that because he sees other people do it and wonders what they aren’t saying, but never wonders with me because I’m not afraid to be forthcoming and extremely honest about everything. When I hear myself described like that, I know I am a solid person, regardless of what the occasional idiot may think or be stupid enough to say.

In life, forgiveness is something people have to earn. Once you break my trust, will I forgive you? Or will I listen, merely because I prefer closure? I suppose it depends on the person, but I am now faced with this in my real life.

Early this morning, something popped up in my Facebook memories that pissed me off. I was so angry for a moment, I saw red. Red is a warning sign. It’s like blood spatter to Dexter Morgan. Anger fuels me to be a better person, but that moment where I see red? That’s dangerous.

A former friend who made plans with me and then texted, weeks prior to arrival, to say her boyfriend had scheduled a private tour of the zoo the day we intended to meet up decided to pop back up with apologies. In truth and fairness, I baited her because I was enraged by what I saw.

When she had originally asked if I could make time during the month of May to meet up because she couldn’t wait to see me and missed me, I set an entire day aside, and not for nothing, it was the anniversary of my mother’s death which is SO hard for me. Lesson learned; I will never do that again, especially not for someone who flakes on me.

Quite frankly, I am astounded that anyone over the age of twelve, or someone studying certain forms of biology and/or science, would desire a tour of a zoo. 🙄 It breaks my heart to see animals in captivity. The only thing I do appreciate is the preservation of big cats. Leopards, certain types of tigers, cheetahs, and some of the smaller exotic cats are becoming extinct. This is not news, though. I don’t want to live in a world where these amazing creatures do not exist. I appreciate the wild preservation of their habitats in South Africa immensely, especially all the work being done in Namibia. However, that’s not what angered me.

It was not a change of plans, as she seems to believe, but the disrespect of my time and not immediately standing up to said boyfriend and letting him know that she already had plans that day. You can’t text me and say, “Just FYI, he scheduled a tour of the zoo that day. He’s trying to change it, but…” But nothing. I replied by saying, “I don’t even know how to answer that, so I won’t.” That moment, right there, is when you reschedule or call me about alternatives. You address it in the moment. Especially since she’s here at least 2-4 times a year to visit him.

The post in my “memories” credited me for the friend I am to her, and after deleting my initial response from two years ago where I stated that I’d always have her back, I let it be known that real friends learn how to apologize so they don’t lose their ride or die support system. She immediately replied with an apology and wanted to get into it. 😒 It’s pretty sad when someone waits and waits before they finally get called out. My anger was my error at seeing this proclamation which feels faker than a three dollar bill, and feeling as though a nearly eight year friendship was a total lie.

When a person says they were ashamed and too shy to contact you because they figured you needed time to forgive them, I find that a mixture of pathetic and laughable. I’m not a rabid beast; you just have to communicate properly. All she had to do was reschedule and be respectful of my friendship and time. That’s how adults resolve things. I would also love to know why she thinks I’m going to forgive her, because if you know me, you know forgiveness isn’t a likely scenario. I’ve got boundaries and self-respect.

Also, and this is important: I don’t permit men to tell me who I can and cannot be friends with. Nor do I allow men to make decisions for me OR disrespect my friends and family. I’d sooner stick a fork in his thigh. I’m not someone’s mouthpiece or tool, and I do not suffer fools. I’m not some delicate little flower. I am a lotus.

If you’re in a controlling relationship, naturally that person doesn’t want you to be around friends who are loyal, honest, smart, make you laugh, and who, up until this occurred, I would have cheerfully shot in the leg and buried alive. I will never, EVER support a friend who chooses to remain in an abusive relationship simply because they see the abuse as a form of love. I assure you, I’ve lived it and witnessed it, and it’s NOT on the same plane of existence as love. Perhaps some beggars refuse to make the choice for themselves because they’re not strong enough.

An abusers’ ultimate goal is to isolate you from your friends and family almost entirely. The sad part is that so many people let the abuser win. If you confront that friend, suddenly you’re labeled as “jealous”. 🙄😂 No sweet pea, I feel sorry for you. No one sane wants to be in an abusive relationship, and I will absolutely give you credit if you have gotten out of one. By “you”, I mean whoever is reading this and nodding their head in agreement because they understand what I’m saying. They understand because they’ve escaped the madness and uncertainty of being in a relationship with a gaslighting, narcissistic, abusive, disrespectful jack ass.

Instead of letting this discussion become Facebook fodder, I replied by saying we should discuss it privately. I don’t do drama on my page at all. Also, I need time before I say anything, but I’m willing to hear the nonsense out. Perhaps I’ve already made my decision and DO want closure. I’m not entirely sure. In truth, I am still so angry that anyone thinks this is acceptable treatment of a friend who has been the highest quality friend one could have or hope for.

An old friend once said, “Lisa isn’t to be trifled with.”, and I think that sums things up nicely. People assume I’m nice, sweet, caring, kind, and a host of other things that nauseate me. Clearly, I have my moments and some good qualities or no one would ever be able to call me a friend, but the second you cross over the line, you’re going to meet the other side of me. The one I often refer to as “The Dragon Slayer”. When you meet that other person who is professionally icy, you might not know what to make out of her. That’s okay. She’s already seen you coming from a hundred miles away and she’s not in the mood to psychologically break you into bits, but she will, if necessary. Many women are as multifaceted as what I’ve just described. We can be your best friend, your biggest supporter, or we can be an enemy. The grey area is ambivalence. It always is.

When you call me your “sister”, that’s a fucking privilege. It’s not some cute word to throw around. Fact: I will always be someone’s sister. I was born a sister. I am a sister to my brother, and to several of my cousins. My best friend and I have basically grown up together, and she is 7000+ miles away. She is 100% my sister. 100% family. She wouldn’t dream of disrespecting our friendship in any way. She would never fly into town and NOT see me. She would never disrespect our friendship, our time, or our bond. I would never disrespect her, either. Alas, I now realize how one-sided this other “friendship” actually was.

I was the support system. The therapist. The one with a fully functioning brain. The one with the grace and maturity I’ve possessed for the majority of my life without truly seeing it until someone pointed it out to me recently. I got nothing out of this relationship, except the feeling that I was always on call, like a doctor. When communication stopped, I felt free. I felt like I hadn’t been able to breathe properly, and suddenly this drain on my life force was no longer present. I was relieved. I was done.

I don’t know if there’s anything salvageable here. The pretty words of apology and love are just that; they’re pretty fucking words that mean nothing to me. They are not the actions of someone who is truly sorry and apologized on their own. I forced it by calling her out, and she would have waited for me to make a move until she died if I hadn’t had that flare of anger. I can legitimately say nothing for the remainder of my life and be good with that. If you’re trying to play the silent treatment game with me, you will lose. It’s NOT a fucking game, it is real life. Friends are not expendable beings.

My closest friends often say, “You’re honest and direct, but you’re also supremely fair. So if someone has pissed you off or hurt you, they deserve whatever you dish out because they didn’t have any respect for you.” That acknowledgement and validation is like music to my ears because it’s pure and true.

I don’t do disrespect in my relationships. I don’t make plans and leave people hanging without a word. I will never intentionally flake out on you. I’m not rude and disrespectful. I will be on my best behavior when you drag the uninvited boyfriend along without telling me in advance. Basically that means I won’t poison his food or accidentally, on purpose, stab him in the neck when he says something disrespectful to you that makes me want to slap him while you sit there and take it. Ultimately, I’m YOUR friend, NOT his, and I reserve the right to judge him. 😉 #BarelyKidding

The one time I had a huge disagreement with a friend, I apologized because I was wrong, but the friendship was very much like this one. I realize that now. I overvalued it because to me, friendship is a commodity I don’t play games with. But there I was; the rock she was desperately holding on to, until a bigger rock came along and I was tossed aside like garbage.

I don’t like leeches and I really don’t like psychic vampires. They are referred to as such because they drain you. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. To the point where you eventually avoid them or cut them loose. Dealing with them causes disabling fatigue. Unfortunately, you can’t increase your iron intake and be good to go. The only way to stop the drain is to deny them access to you.

I have never seen any relationship successfully recover fully from disrespect and a breach of boundaries and trust. I’ve tried with one person in particular. Repeatedly. I inevitably decided five years ago that enough was enough and that if they came back tomorrow, I’d listen, but the friendship would still be over. Essentially, I feel the same about this situation. There’s no emotion involved at all, except the previously aforementioned ambivalence, and that’s no way to rebuild something, or start from scratch with. You can’t slap me and tell me you love me. It doesn’t work that way. It never has.

I’m in control of how accessible I am, so she will be sweating it out for as long as it takes me to be patient enough to listen without rolling my eyes. I make no promises, though.

I am not afraid of confrontation. Not even a little bit. I know who I am. I know where I’m coming from, and I know where I’m going. I can’t save every broken birds’ wings. That is not my job, nor is it a role I want to take on. I wear many hats, but it’s time to send the wrong people packing. They were never meant to be a part of my long-term tribe, and that’s okay. I’ve grown and changed, and the last thing I want to do is take on any type of false superhero aspect. In life, your ultimate, true savior is YOU. Grab a sword and take a stab at it. Please don’t wait for someone to rescue you on a white horse. This only exists in fairytales. Perhaps before you buy into such bullshit, you should read about faeries and learn something.

© 2020 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

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By the way, Peace Talks by Jim Butcher is now available for pre-order. FINALLY! Release day is July 14th. There, I promoted something for another writer. Jim’s a badass wordsmith who shares the same birthday as I do. Give him a shot, and start with Storm Front. You won’t be sorry. #DarkUrbanFantasy

It Hurts To Let Go…

“It hurts to let go. Sometimes it seems the harder you try to hold on to something or someone the more it wants to get away. You feel like some kind of criminal for having felt, for having wanted. For having wanted to be wanted. It confuses you, because you think that your feelings were wrong and it makes you feel so small because it’s so hard to keep it inside when you let it out and it doesn’t coma back. You’re left so alone that you can’t explain. Damn, there’s nothing like that, is there? I’ve been there and you have too. You’re nodding your head.” ―Henry Rollins

It Hurts…

“It hurts to let go, to say goodbye for the final time and remain distant in your closure, it may even tear your heart out to the point of insanity; but somehow in it all you find the pieces of your worth and you start creating yourself again, and in that journey of transformation you find the essence of what truly matters, inner happiness. It’s life, we all fall at some stage but it’s up to you, to decide how long you want to stay there.”
―Nikki Rowe