In The Face of Trauma: Fatherless Daughter

Last month, my doctor asked if anything specific was triggering me. At the time, I couldn’t think of anything. Until a specific day came, and I broke down in tears for hours. It had been a long time since I’d allowed myself to do that. 😦

The majority of my breakdowns are quiet. Real quiet. As in, no one else ever knows they’re happening or suspects anything. They have no idea what to look for, either. They have no idea you’re struggling, and they say nothing to help you.

These breakdowns started in late 2002 when my father was in the hospital doing an experimental kidney cancer treatment. At the time, it was still a very rare type of cancer that few people had. He had already lost a kidney to cancer ten years prior. The treatment was via IV and he had to spend weeks on end in the hospital. The key side effects were that it could cause heart problems and/or worsen the cancer you already had. It did both. It took a pea sized tumor and turned it into a constant spread, which eventually became bone and brain cancer. One day, as he was leaving a doctor’s appointment, he turned to my brother and said, “Can you go upstairs and let the office know I’m going next door to the emergency room. I think I’m having a heart attack.”

I remember that phone call like it was yesterday. My whole body tenses up because I truly remember every word. My brother was so panicked and freaked out, and he needed me to do everything. He was frozen and upset, and those are normal reactions, but mine were the polar opposite. They still are. I remember speaking to doctors and surgeons, and making last-minute decisions because my father would have died if I hadn’t known what to do.

The reason my father put me in charge of everything is because he knew my reactions would be in correlation with his wishes. He knew I wouldn’t fall apart or be utterly incapable of speech, leave alone making important decisions in the moment. On occasion, I wish he’d thought I was a moron and laid the responsibility elsewhere. I remember someone implying that he’d made these decisions from a selfish place. I don’t feel that was it at all, but do I resent it at times? A little.

No matter how put together you could ever be, and I have always been wise beyond my years, making medical decisions on behalf of someone who is incapacitated is difficult. Even if they’d laid it all out for you, making the verbal calls is not easy. It’s emotionally taxing. Today is fourteen years since he passed away, and I can say this much; I’ve grown, I’ve changed, and I’m a different person. But am I healed? No. I’m scarred.

Interpersonal relationships are extremely difficult to navigate. To this day, I still don’t understand people the way I feel I should. I constantly find myself frustrated and disappointed in people. The more I feel this way, the less I want to interact with anyone, and it probably shows. I just don’t have a lot to offer certain types of people anymore, and I am learning to be okay with that.

After my father’s funeral, I couldn’t get out of bed for almost three months. I had always known he’d die young. I had always known he would not be present to see the celebratory moments in my life, or my brother’s. I knew he was leaving, and I even told him not to do the IV treatment because it would kill him. He told me he had to try, or he’d be sending his children the wrong message regarding how you fight to live. I still disagree with him, and always will. Intuition doesn’t lie, and when he first told me about it, I knew it was the beginning of the end. I just made sure I didn’t say it to my brother, because that would have been wrong, at the time.

All of this knowledge allowed me to write a eulogy which really paid tribute in an honest way. This sense of knowing failed me, though, because it distracted me from the fact that my mother was dying, and didn’t care. That’s a story for another day, but when I compound the mental and emotional trauma on top of the next set of trauma, which was more sudden, I wonder how I get out bed at all. I question myself daily, and far more than anyone else ever could. I legitimately have NO idea why I’m alive. I just don’t see a real purpose to it.

My mother raised two extraordinarily different children (I was easier; my brother tried to break her.). As adults, you can tell we’re siblings by the way we laugh at the same things, in the same way. My brother says I laugh like a villain, and I’ve also been told I have my father’s laugh. You can see us automatically know what the other is thinking by a mere a glance. On bad days, I will say I look exactly like my brother, except that I have hair (He’s going to be SO pissed when he sees this. He only laughed once when I sent him a hilarious photo which made us both laugh for days.), but in reality, that isn’t true. We’re as alike as we are different. He genuinely passes as ethnic, and it takes people a while to see that in me.

I promised myself a long time ago that I would break the sibling curse which I’ve watched plague my family. Some days, I think I’ve done a pretty good job, and other days I feel taken advantage of. On my end, the effort is present. I try. I know my parents and Grandparents can see that. I know I’m not bringing shame down upon them. Or at the very least, I try damn hard not to.

There will always be days when I question how you move past all of this. Not everyone is built the way I am. There are personality types which I will never understand as long as I live. They aren’t passionate about much, so death means very little to them. They don’t place a lot of value on life or the people in their lives, and it’s obvious by the revolving door I see in their relationships. I’m not like that. I have bras older than some people’s friendships, and many still have the tags on them. 😉 I’ve had some of the same friends for over twenty-five years and I don’t usually ditch people out of the blue. I’m loyal and honest to a fault, if nothing else.

The whole point of what I’m trying to say, and failing miserably, is that healing is different for everyone. I stopped talking about this day with my brother because then he’d stop speaking to me for a few months and that’s not conducive to any relationship. My closest friends really don’t care to listen (I get it; you’re busy. I, too, will be busy the next time you want to talk for five hours about anything. Blowing a friend off is NEVER cool, especially when you would flip out if I treated you that way.), and if someone does, they certainly haven’t communicated that to me. That’s fine. Truly. One of the good things about me is that I work a lot of shit out on my own. I’ve had to. So when my doctor tells me, “You show up for 99% of your appointments. You do the work. You’re growing and improving, and working on yourself for yourself. What’s great about you is that I don’t have to explain a lot to you, because you’re already ahead of it. You see it and you self-correct.”, I have to take that as a compliment. Usually I think he’s trying to boost my self-esteem, but then I look at the actual work and realize that yes, I did it by myself. He’s basically complimenting me for being a self-starter, but I would say some of that is my personality and the rest is nature versus nurture. It goes back to being the responsible party for things, to some extent.

If you know someone is strong and smart, most people will automatically worry less about them. I will never forget my mother saying, “I don’t worry about you because you’re strong, you’re smart, you’re intuitive, you work hard, and you’ll always land on your feet. I worry about your brother. He’s smart, he has great work ethic, but he doesn’t have your common sense or street smarts. I really worry about him.” All these years later I can assure her he finally has a modicum of common sense and a different set of street smarts. He’ll figure shit out on his own. Despite feeling like I’ve been an excellent role model, my brother has the personality type that wants to learn the hard way. It drives me insane, but you cannot change the core of most people.

I’ve done my level best to look out for my brother, and my family in general. Not everyone listens to me, so I’ve decided to stop giving advice and focus on myself. I’ve invested in myself a lot over the past year and that will continue into 2022 and beyond. I am taking my business sense and everything I was taught, and aiming for more.

Ladies, it is perfectly okay to want more out of life. It is okay to do things differently. It is okay to do things in your own time and space. It is okay to say no to things you don’t want because you see what you do want, and it’s all well within your reach. Stop letting small people tell you your worth, or that you can only achieve great things by doing it the way they think it should be done. Fuck that attitude! Not everything in life in forever, but your achievements will always be your own. No one can can touch that, so please, don’t let them.

Please speak for yourselves. Speak loudly for those who are afraid, right now, to use their voice. Don’t let situations or people diminish you. Remember who you are at the beginning and end of each day. There will always be days when you don’t want to be strong, because you’re exhausted. Allow yourself to rest, to rejuvenate, and give yourself permission to heal from anything and everything.

Go forth, trauma and all, and make someone proud. Even if it’s your deceased father who probably wouldn’t care that much. But in truth, know that you’re really doing it for yourself. The future truly IS female.

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

Family First

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Yesterday morning my brother was admitted into the hospital with what is, as of now, a form of heart failure. The doctors are baffled; stating that they don’t know how this happened because he is far too young. Unfortunately, he is far from being out of the woods. He is scheduled for a serious procedure today, and I am sadly all too familiar with it.

My original post probably won’t go up today because I’m sitting here speechless, sick to my stomach. I have words, there are things I want to say, but I feel the need to keep it inside for now.

I don’t talk about my personal life an awful lot, and there’s a reason for that. Most of you that know me off of this page are my friends in everyday life. You have the ability to call me, e-mail me, text, or visit, etc. But for those that do not personally know me, my heart, or the deeper aspects of my life, I tend to keep those things to myself. There’s plenty of people telling their life stories on blogs, but this is not a blog for me; it is my platform as a writer. I am a writer, I have been for 28 years. I’m not a blogger, at least not here, but perhaps that is just semantics for some people. I, however, stand by those words.

This week, I worry (It’s a Jewish woman thing.). I will try to push past the pit of hell inside my stomach. I pray for healing, for modern medicine to do what it’s supposed to do. I pray that some dietary changes reverse this, as a doctor told him it could/would, with some serious effort on his part, but only if it’s a specific type of heart failure.

The words “Life Vest” were used. That kind of technology did not exist when a doctor wanted to crack open my mother’s chest ten years ago and attach a defibrillator to her heart. Her doctor was over 80 (I wanted to punch this man at least three times, but it would have been disrespectful. I told her if he’d been 60, I’d have knocked his teeth out.), did not care to explain the procedure in a gentle manner, and was so rude that he only managed to turn the issue into a “Hell no!”, as opposed to “Can we discuss this?” Everything is being thoroughly explained to my brother, and for that I am grateful. He’s also smart enough to ask questions that other people might not think of and then discuss his options with me, that way there’s a proactive person involved in his recovery.

I know that many of you will understand if I am silent for a while; that family comes first. Today, and maybe most days, I am my Grandmother’s granddaughter. I do put my family first, but I am not afraid to handle the tough stuff. That’s why during the worst times in my life, I handle what needs to be handled, even if I’m not happy about doing it. Even if it breaks me.

Lack of a family unit has really bothered me these last few years. As I sat here yesterday making calls, I realized that about a dozen people did not need to be called, because they don’t give a fuck on a good day, and I will not give them the satisfaction of lapping up misery. I appreciate the people who offered up prayers, but I very nearly told someone off who made an off-hand comment without knowing precisely what is wrong. I had to take a huge step back, realizing that I’m emotional and snapping when you’re upset is not conducive to quality communication with others.

It would be hard not to be upset, angry (because I have tried for YEARS to take every bad thing out of his hands when I knew it was being over-done.), frustrated, and scared. I wouldn’t be human if I felt nothing. But I do feel, and I pray that this procedure holds answers as to the how and why. I pray to all that is holy that this is merely a bump in the long road of life. I pray that my brother sees the error of his ways, realizes he is being given a second chance, and takes that opportunity instead of squandering his brilliant mind.

I thank the doctors and nurses caring for him and the four different people who stopped him from an attempt to sneak into the parking lot for a cigarette! I’m embarrassed he’d stoop so low. They all yelled at him (His words were “They bitched me out!” I said nothing, because I feel he deserved it.), and he was later given a patch, so I am praying this is the end to me saying “You need to quit smoking before it kills you.” My brother may not be receptive to my direct honesty, but he’s taking it from doctors and nurses and I think that in and of itself is a positive thing.

I hope I’ll be able to say something more definitive in the next few days. In the meantime, I’m packing and trying to do all that I can for my brother. Because no matter how big a pain in the ass he is, and my GOD, I swear I inherited a big baby, he’s still MY brother. No one else alive can say that, and I told him the same thing. “No one else alive can say that I am their sister, so stop acting like no one cares about you.” I yell because I care, so when I stop yelling, he’d better start worrying.

As of now, I do not know with any certainty whether his medical expenses will be completely covered. If they aren’t, I will be posting a link at a later date to a fundraiser where even the smallest donation will help, but I will only do so if there’s a huge issue.

Thank you for listening to my insanity this morning. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. 🙂

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Prayers & Tears

justlikeI contemplated being silent today because I’m not in a good mood, but I’m also too upset to pretend.

I’ve had less than five hours of sleep. I tried going back to bed an hour ago, but I am unable to focus on genuine rest. That usually means doing what I always do when there are thoughts running through my head; write.

My brother is sick. By “sick”, I do not mean he has a cold or the flu, I mean that he is going into the hospital tonight. Why wait? Because he “doesn’t want to ruin my day”. It’s not meant to make me feel guilty, he’s just utilizing God given guilt.

When I tried encouraging him to “just go” (He totally inherited the stubbornness from my Mom.), he refused, saying he could go tonight “after I celebrate”. I even offered to go with him, which he doesn’t want, not unless major surgery is being performed. He’s not trying to be dramatic, he just is. 😦 He’s also conscious of the fact that nearly every birthday I have sucks in some way, and that he’s usually the cause if I, myself, am not stuck in bed sick as a dog (in the traditional way).

Last night, he informed me of all his final plans. Plans I am meant to carry out, some of which include organ donation. I’ve had to hear people’s “final wishes” more times than I care to count, so last night was too much. My eyes are swollen from crying and my stomach hurts wondering if this is it, if some horrible health issue is going to rob me of the only remaining sibling I have left. Very real possibilities. When he got a clean bill of health three years ago, I was surprised, and relieved, but a lot has changed since then and I am sick with worry.

You know that one stubborn family member who would rather risk his/her own hearing than go to the emergency room for a horrible ear infection?! That’s my brother. Not once, not twice, but three times. The first time he did it, he did lose significant hearing in his left ear because he waited an extra day before going to the ER. The last ear infection was so bad that he now accuses me of raising my voice when I speak at a normal tone. I can whisper, he’ll say I yelled.

Today is not about me. Today is about praying for my brother and what he is going through. It is me praying that he did not have a heart attack and isn’t in congestive heart failure, and that nothing more is going on, though I suspect there is based on what he is saying hurts. Both of my Grandfathers died from heart attacks, but one died at 40, leaving behind a wife, a fifteen year old, and a five year old. My brother started taking aspirin several years ago to “prevent” that from happening to him, but he made no other changes that could have been beneficial. That’s why I’m scared for him, and that’s why I’m sick to death over this.

I will half-heartedly do some important things that need to be done this morning into the early afternoon hours, but after that, I am forcing his ass to the hospital, even if I have to drag him there by his balls. He usually hallucinates when they medicate him, so that would mean being told rather loudly that I am “trying to pull out his IV” or “embarrassing him” when all I’m doing is sitting quietly, or pacing the hall outside a room. I will spend the evening waiting to hear what his prognosis is.

No matter what you believe in, I ask that you say a little prayer today. No one deserves to lose a loved one and no one as young as my brother deserves to go through this.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Friday Feelings

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What profound, intelligent things can I say today? I won’t give myself that much credit as my thoughts are scattered at the moment, but hey, it has been known to happen. 😉

On occasion, I wish people wouldn’t give me such rich material and expect me not to write about it (That’s okay, the status quo is in tact.). Generally, those who do such things have no idea it’s being written about because they take no real interest in me as a person, but at this point, you’re opening yourself up to be cannon fodder. I make a point of protecting the guilty by never naming names. 😛

Most writers will write and speak from personal experience, even in works of fiction, because daily life is ridiculous and downright comedic at times. I often look around for hidden cameras to make sure I’m not part of some bizarre reality show. Half the time I feel the need to double-check to make sure Ashton Kutcher isn’t going to pop out from behind something to tell me I’ve just been Punk’d. They really need to bring that show back…

I got a surprise phone call yesterday afternoon from the store where I purchased my mattress, the one that somehow managed to have a spring crack and pop through the pillow-top, thus causing a hole that hadn’t been there two weeks prior when I first discovered it. This has been going on since August. When the “mattress inspector” came out early Tuesday morning, and by early, I mean he was here at 8:45 and after a few photos and my signature, wished me good luck with my move, I figured that even with visible proof, I’d be forced to replace it sometime next year. I cannot begin to explain how painful it is, but the inspector was nice. He said they’d take care of me “Even if you are a Yankees fan.” LOL. During the inspection he pointed out that the entire area where the spring popped is caving in slightly. That explains why I have often felt like the mattress was uneven (Total blonde moment. I can say for a fact that I was blonde when I started thinking there was something wrong with this thing.).

The lady from their service department sounded really nice when I answered the phone, but I thought she was lulling me into a false sense of security. When she informed me that the inspector’s report was that the mattress is damaged (“He said your mattress is stain-free and in perfect condition despite the damage, which is clearly not your fault.”), I was thrilled. I paid very little for a higher-end mattress because I purchased it during a big President’s Day sale along with most of my other bedroom furniture. She said I could come into the store anytime as there is now a massive credit on my account, all I have to do is pick out something new and by the way, they’re having a 50% off sale for Columbus Day. My jaw dropped. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am. So, later today (tomorrow if I still feel like crap) I am taking Case Study #2 with me so that I can get a second opinion on mattress comfort. I openly admit I only sat on this one before I chose it, and because my Fibromyalgia has progressively worsened since then, I felt it was important to do some research on the best mattresses for chronic pain sufferers.

I’ve always wanted to upgrade to a Sleep Number bed, but I’ve read mixed reviews from pain sufferers. Memory foam has always felt painful to me, but there is now a new type of memory foam with some kind of gel in the core, so I went on their web-site and found three or four different mattresses to test. No matter how I cut it, I’m still making out like a bandit because they issued me the full price despite the fact that I bought this one on sale. I’m going to look at this as a gift and a blessing because being in pain while I sleep is agonizing. Whoever is looking out for me from up Above, THANK YOU. This means replacing my pillows after the move because I always have a difficult time finding good ones that remain good. Maybe this time I won’t need so many and can downgrade to six.

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However, in my joy, I found out there are also plenty of painful, unshed tears inside me. I don’t want to move and leave what little I have built here behind. I’ve enjoyed living here, for the most part. I’ve enjoyed the area and all that has become familiar to me, but in order for progress to occur, I have to improve upon instead of remaining stagnant. I have to focus on my health and make some big changes before I can consider anything else.

What pains me most about this is that I am leaving behind my closest family member, which is making me worry beyond words. I have looked out for him since before he was born. I take the responsibility of being a sister very seriously. We spend an extraordinary amount of time together for siblings (He gets mistaken for my father or boyfriend constantly because apart from a few features, we don’t look alike.), and I know I will be sick with worry every single day that I will get a phone call with news that I will feel responsible for.

I have taken care of my brother since the day he came home from the hospital. I took care of him even more after we lost our parents. Leaving him behind now makes me feel like the worst person on the planet. No matter how many times he & I have discussed other options, we were railroaded, so now I’m left with no other option. I will be 2-5 hours away in an emergency, depending on my method of transportation, and I am worried because he’s never truly been on his own before. He has always had me to rely on to bail him out of trouble and to look out for him. I always say “Call or text me so I know you got there safely.” and “Call me when you get back, so I know you’re safe.” He constantly makes me worry. We can go for days without speaking and our relationship is not perfect, but he is still my brother and I’d hate myself if anything ever happened and I wasn’t there for him.

Does he feel the same? I honestly don’t know what he feels. He isn’t the most communicative human-being when it pertains to emotions. I’ve only seen him cry three times in the last decade, and that number might be too high if I think about it.

Since informing him of my decision, he has been angry and volatile. He has accused me of abandoning him and said we won’t have a relationship at all once I move, that he’ll be “cutting me off” emotionally. I’ve repeatedly said “We can talk every day, we can text, we can e-mail like we always do, and we can Skype. I’ll be back in a flash if you truly need me and you can always come and visit.” He’s said he won’t visit, which might just be how he feels now, but I truly don’t know. I do, however, feel that he has some major growing up to do and since I was recently accused of “holding him back” simply because I provided unsolicited advice, I feel like it’s time to let him learn the way he’s always chosen to learn; the hard way. It makes me sick to my stomach, I’m terrified over what he might get himself into, but I also know in my heart that I have done everything I possibly can for him and he’s chosen not to change or grow. You can no longer help someone who doesn’t give a shit about the things in life that are truly important.

Cat will miss him terribly. She worships the ground he walks on. Since the first night I brought her home, she has adored him. He was the first person to hold her, the first person she purred for, the first person she chirped at, and the first person she ever gave kisses to. If I thought he could truly care for her the way I do, I’d let them be together, but I know he can barely take care of himself and that the responsibility of a cat is not in his wheelhouse at the moment. I know she will search for him and miss him, but I also know she will never forget him. And I do hope he’ll change his mind and visit a few times a year, because it’s not a huge trip to make when you only have a bag of clothes and your laptop with you. I am hoping that time will show him that I’m not abandoning him, that I’m giving him room to spread his wings. No matter where either of us are, we will always remain siblings. That’s an unbreakable bond, though I realize for many, that the bond does break.

The day he was born my exact words were “I didn’t ask for a little brother. Can we send him back? I specifically said I wanted a baby sister.” I was lovingly informed that I don’t get to choose that sort of thing. God has given me sisters in the form of my closest friends, and for that I am truly grateful, but when it comes to my brother I suspect I’ll always have mixed emotions. Even when we’ve gone years without seeing each other, we have still spoken regularly and communicated better than when we’ve lived in the same home or city/town. Perhaps this is precisely how he learns to be a better brother.

He has, often quite begrudgingly, been there for me these past few years as my Fibromyalgia has worsened and my migraines became more difficult to manage. He has taken out my trash and recycling, picked up medication, brought me emergency supplies when I’ve been sick or in too much pain to get out of bed, done library and post office runs, and been my partner-in-crime nine times out of ten. He has helped me when I’ve needed help, cared for my familiar when I’d go on vacation, dropped me off at the airport and picked me up, even when the timing inconvenienced him, and fixed things for me when I wasn’t 100% certain how to do it myself. No matter how many times I say thank you or do something to show my appreciation for these things, he tells me he has “outlived his usefulness”. Unfortunately through all that help, he has also been highly disrespectful, overly demanding, and extremely abusive. He always expects to be forgiven simply because he is my brother, but it is not always possible to forgive unforgivable things. I realize that is a lesson he needs to learn for himself.

So as I proceed, I am certain my eyes will be swollen shut at some point from all the crying, but hopefully he will flourish without my presence. I will never stop being his sister or his friend, but I’ve done all I can to “keep the family together”, my Grandmother’s dying plea to me. Maybe it was an unfair request, but I think I’ve held up the three promises I made to her before she passed away, to the best of my ability, as this was long before my Fibromyalgia diagnosis when I only had two things plaguing my life.

I don’t know how to turn off the maternal gene, it’s ingrained in who I am. It’s possible I have always been overprotective. Here’s hoping that one day my brother can look back on all of that and know in his heart that I’m not abandoning him, I am simply making important changes with a hole in my heart. I cannot allow guilt to make my decisions for me. I cannot allow tears to hold me back, because no matter what, my life and happiness are equally important.

I pray I am making the right decision for all involved. I also pray that he will soon realize that I’m not choosing someone else over him, but that I am choosing me for the first time in my life.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Misery Wants Company; But Misery Can Kiss My Ass

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I’m starting this the night before (Friday @ 8:30 PM EDT) because I don’t know how much writing I’ll be able to do tomorrow, mostly because migraines and lack of sleep have plagued my existence the majority of this week.

Tomorrow is Case Study #2’s birthday. I gave him three potential options for a really nice birthday dinner based solely on his past & current tastes, and things he has mentioned “really wanting” over the past month. Let the record state that NO ONE in history, be it family or friend, has ever cooked a birthday dinner for me, not unless it was a restaurant chef. At the last second, the plan that had been agreed upon became a huge fight. I think we can all safely agree that no man should ever piss off the woman who prepares 70% of his food. I decided to pretend he had a brain fart/age issue and wasn’t truly stupid enough to talk to me the way he did. So, off I went to the store this afternoon to procure the ingredients for said birthday dinner. By the time I got everything on my list, went through the self-checkout, because, believe it or not, the line was non-existent, and put it all in the car, I was ready to fall on the floor of the parking lot.

I left the store with a dull headache that slowly progressed into a migraine. My 23rd migraine, since the 5th of this month. I’m starting to lose my patience with Topamax. The side effects are ones I am used to, but they’ve been rough on me. I’ve been on 50 mgs successfully for a while now, so tonight I will increase it to 75. That means I already took 25 mgs and that I will soon take 50 mgs before bed. It’s not a great hardship, but remembering is half the battle. If there’s one thing I hate about Fibromyalgia, killer migraines, and stress, it is walking around mentally confused. I have yet to say “What day is it?”, but I do have days where I say “Not today. I need to rest my body.”

I have been sleeping like a jet-lagged monkey. Three hours here. Two hours there. Nothing consistent. This will continue until we turn the clocks back in November, which is woefully late considering it is already getting darker earlier each evening, and that is a huge part of what tells my body that it’s time to go to sleep. Darker mornings also mean that my body says “It’s still dark outside, we need to stay asleep.” Unfortunately, the mind does not always shut off when everything gets dark and quiet. Therein lies a huge problem.

26 September 2015~2:23 a.m. EDT

I slept for just under three and a half hours, waking up with an overactive brain. That quickly turned into post-migraine symptoms, which, if you’ve ever had a migraine, you KNOW is not a fun experience. I then found myself staring at Cat and Kitten who were quizzically inquiring as to my state of “If you’re not asleep, perhaps you’d like to feed us? Look how cute we are…” I honestly just want to go the fuck back to bed for eight hours and not be bothered by anything or anyone, but since I’m awake, I might as well accomplish something.

Laundry and pre-prepping Case Study #2’s birthday dinner are my first two orders of business. I can multitask like a boss.  😉 It will also give me time to decide what I want to say in his birthday card without resorting to “I’m sorry we’re related. I hope you never need a bodily organ.”

When it comes to certain family members, I believe they each have different roles they play in your life. We all have a family member we’d prefer not to acknowledge, or one we’re almost certain we might kill one day, if only by “accident”. I often say “I will kill you and tell God it was an accident.” The only problem is, I mean what I say.

In every family there is the peacekeeper, the overachiever/hero/prodigal child, the scapegoat, the outcast/black sheep/lost soul, and the mascot, etc. There are additional roles within the sibling hierarchy, but basically, this sums it up nicely and will have you looking at your own family if you’ve got more than a few siblings to speak of.

Not all families are like this, of course. In my family, the grandchildren were always compared to one another, as if our achievements defined us as individuals. I am the oldest on my mother’s side of the family, but I’d be introduced by my Grandmother long after she introduced my brother and his accomplishments. “This is my Grandson… He’s done this, this, this, this, this, speaks French, has an I.Q. of…oh, and this is his sister.” I would stare at her whenever she did it, because I didn’t see a need for such nonsense, and I let it slide. There was no need to argue with her or point out my own accomplishments, talents, or achievements. She didn’t understand them, so they didn’t matter to her. It didn’t mean she didn’t love me, she simply came from a different generation. I didn’t care about squeezing into the mold to suit people’s needs then, and I’m certainly not going to change now.

Where am I going with this? Case Study #2 is miserable to his core. Apparently turning another year older, turning profusely more grey by the day, looking more like Mr. Clean (He’d kill me if he saw this.), and looking forward to another year where he mistakenly gets taken for my father (Which cracks me up every.single.time.) somehow requires him to be a vicious animal. He is rude, offensive, disrespectful, unappreciative, and I am not having any part of it.

I’m having a difficult year and a few weeks ago his birthday gift “request” was somewhere in the ballpark of $750 before taxes, which in my mind, is a month worth of bills. I just stared at him, because there was no other normal reaction to have. Not once in my entire life have I ever gone so far as to demand (it truly wasn’t a “request”) such an expensive birthday gift from anyone. I am happy to receive books, CD’s, t-shirts, gift cards to my favorite stores that I never get to shop at because I spend my entire year working, etc. I have definitely received some amazing gifts over the years from generous family members, friends, and ex-boyfriends, but there are also years I went out and bought gifts for myself. I’ve never turned to a soul and said “I want THIS. You owe it to me.” NEVER. I’d like a navy blue Lexus for my birthday, but is it the most prudent gift in the world? No. I’d be happy with a nice pair of gloves and a matching scarf to get me through the coming Winter, or a really nice wallet. Something I actually need, and you can add up all of those things and they don’t even range anywhere within his “request” because I live in reality. No one owes me anything, people who give you gifts do so because they want to and because they can, not because you demand it of them.

I guarantee that a month from now, I won’t get so much as a card. Last year, he wished me a happy birthday and patted me on the head as if I was a dog. A few years ago I went away for my birthday so he wouldn’t ruin it. I didn’t get so much as a phone call. He, miserable bastard that he is, gets a beautifully cooked meal (I don’t keep rat poison on hand.) and one of his favorite desserts. I even got candles. I am a complete and utter moron. 😦

Misery may want company, but this year and from here on in, misery can kiss my ass.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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