Ink To Paper

Hello, everyone! Despite being under the weather, I wanted to take a break from the manuscript I am working on and see what I could bring to all of you fine individuals today. 🙂

Writing is going incredibly well, knock on wood. 110,000 words in approximately six weeks, minus things I ended up cutting. That isn’t a normal or common word count in that amount of time, but immersing the story in so much truth is possibly part of why it’s been smooth. This is the truest piece of fiction I’ve ever written (or read), and I’m sure I’ve said this multiple times. I try not to repeat myself, but life happens.

I am in the process of fine-tuning certain scenes and adding things I intentionally skipped at the start because, for certain things, I need to be fully in the correct head space to write it. Some scenes require more anger, more emotion, more sarcasm (Someone I know is reading this and thinking, “Lisa is NEVER without a sarcastic, witty, acerbic, biting comeback. EVER.” It’s true. That’s part of my personality which 99% of the people I know love about me. Only one person has no respect or appreciation for it, and often interprets the most banal comments AS sarcasm or some form of self-imagined cruelty, when it’s generally just dry delivery. To know me is to know that my sense of humor is a combination of all the different personalities which reside in my head, in a non-schizophrenic/dissociative identity disorder kind of way. I have always been a keen observer of anyone who was dark, funny, interesting, or compelling sense of humor. Ultimately, the core of my humor is dark, and I inherited that from my father, who would be pleased to see this project, and others, going well for me.), more love, more passion, just, something more. We’ve all been there. A writer who instinctively knows when more is needed, or less, is one who knows their craft and knows themselves.

I don’t usually write a project from start to finish. Usually I put scenes together as I visualize them. Creative visualization is especially crucial for fight sequences, which I genuinely love writing. This has been a process of A to Z, and then I read through it and add a few things here and there, as needed. Part II of this project is nearing 10,000 words, and the final part of it is at about 5,000, so it’s clear I took this seriously from day one. You might write 20,000 words to challenge yourself and see what you can do, but you don’t write a full-length, highly detailed novel as a challenge. This story came to me out of nowhere and I ran with it. For me, it’s so incredibly different from what I’d normally write, and that’s part of the love for me. I enjoy the lead characters so much. Their story is an easy one to tell, and at times, an emotionally charged adventure. There is so much honesty in it, so on some level, it’s probably easier for me, someone who has a background in nonfiction, to be able to write an honest story, even though it is fictional.

Some scenes I am working on require a certain level of research so that I get them right the first time. Minor details are big details at times, and it’s always important to be accurate, as opposed to attempting to be imaginative. That’s my process, but it isn’t the same for everyone, and I am well aware of that.

I have another large project in the works and was able to get some work done on that this past week, as well. Basically, I am running on physical, mental, and emotional fumes. My eyes have suffered major strain from 16+ hour days doing nothing but writing. However, it is a privilege to do it, and I look forward to everyone’s response.

What else is going on? I’m thinking more about my mental health advocacy in light of specific events. I have a lot on my mind, really. As so much as I can when I am devoted to a project headed for completion. It’s getting all of my attention and mental energy to the exclusion of much, but those things can wait. When I am not writing, I am focused on my health. There clearly aren’t enough hours in the day.

If you’re wondering what I’m up to in my silence, I am putting a lot of ink to paper. I will talk to you all soon.

Be well!

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

From Scratch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

copyright © 2019 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. Excerpts and quotes from the material also require consent. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws. Further protection is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Eleven Years Ago

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I buried my father eleven years ago today. It is the exact day; a cold Sunday that seemed to go on forever. When a funeral home employee pulled me aside that day and asked me to identify the body, I tried holding my brother back, in an attempt to shield him from what I’d just seen. It was not a peaceful image, and it still haunts me to some extent.  

So YES, the holidays are hard, even though Chanukah and Yule are over. Minimal celebration was had this year. It was as if I didn’t exist and YES, THAT HURT.

Eleven years ago, I eulogized my father in front of family and friends (Many of his coworkers attended, and we were quite surprised to discover how loved my father was. At the end of the service, one woman came up to me to tell me how much I meant to him; how he always lit up whenever I would call him. It was hard to compartmentalize the information at the time, and it’s hard now, too.), and his nieces, nephews, great niece, and great nephews didn’t even bother to show up. 😡 They didn’t call, didn’t send a card, and they didn’t acknowledge what my mother, brother, and I were going through. My mother’s extended family was not much better. When someone is more interested in their spin class instead of the death of a family member, I should be permitted to shoot them in the ass, thus making spin class unnecessary.

The family member who called the night of my father’s funeral and told me “G-d isn’t ready for your mother yet.” 😲😡 #InsensitiveAF I don’t think I’ll EVER be able to forgive her for putting that message out into the Universe, because five months later, I had to return and do the whole thing all over again. She offered to be there for me after the fact, but after a few months, I soon realized her guilt taught her nothing and my contact with her ended. 

We knew my father was dying. It was not a secret. He had terminal cancer. I began writing the eulogy in late September, and I finalized it around 2:00 a.m. the morning of the funeral service. With my Mom, it was so unexpected for me that I wrote everything at the last minute. I’m not really sure how I got through either eulogy, but I remember reading them and trying to emotionally detach.   

The holidays are hard for so many people, all for different reasons.

I’m SO PROUD of my amazing friends who baked for people who are suffering so they wouldn’t feel alone or be forgotten, those who passed over time with family in order to help feed the homeless, those who participated in charity fundraisers to help those in need, those who sponsored families to ensure there would be gifts, food, and necessities, and those who donated their birthdays this month to raise money for worthy charities.

Today, I’m trying not to revisit the pain. I’m trying to keep my emotions in check because I KNOW I’m still angry. I also know I have every right to be. My feelings are valid.

Check on your strong friends these next few weeks. Sometimes, the holidays shatter our lives. It may not be permanent, but right now, it certainly feels that way. 😦

I’m okay-ish, but I’m not good. I don’t think people who haven’t experienced loss quite like I have are able to fully understand what it takes each day to get out of bed and live. I know so many people who have never been to a funeral or lost anyone. They have Great-Great-Grandparents who are still alive (which is pretty amazing, when you think about it.)! Their naivete is unbelievable, but hopefully they will understand at some point. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, but I do worry about those who lack empathy and compassion. Where is their humanity?!

Today, I got to relive the horror of what my brother and I have been through. Our text messages to each other were short, simple, and impersonal, neither one bringing the subject up. I know we’re both thinking it, though. I know it is too hard for him to fully focus on, so I take up the responsibility. We’re as different as we are alike, but last year he told me “You are the best of both Mom and Dad. You inherited all their goodness.” I was so stunned by his comment, and now it just makes me wonder because I’d never use the word “good” to describe myself. Perhaps he sees something I don’t. In many respects, I am my own worst critic.

If it wasn’t for medication prescribed for Complex PTSD, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the holidays. I’m barely keeping it together, but my brother’s words… They kind of stick in the back of my mind. I have witnessed so much goodness in him, so I think he might be overestimating me in some capacity.

Regardless, this is rough day for me. The fact that I’ve had a migraine since last weekend hasn’t made things better, either. C’est la vie. Somehow, we survive specific life experiences and we move on, but I’m far from healed. That’s been part of my focus this year; learning how to heal.    

copyright 2018 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All written work may not be re-posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under United States and International copyright laws. Additional protection is covered under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  

 

Dazed, Confused, and Out Of Sorts

I’m running out of ways to describe my current state of mind. Earlier this week I had a different sense of self, and then I came home to discover I had lost my house key and the remote for the alarm. Thankfully, they were found and brought to “Lost & Found”. I received a return call the following morning letting me know they were safe and sound, and that I could come and get them, which I did on Thursday. You cannot imagine how stupid I felt in the moment, especially considering my history. I have had a set of house keys since I was eleven years old. I still have keys for every place I’ve ever lived, except my last place of residence where I tossed the keys onto the front lawn on the final day of moving. That was my way of shedding myself of the negativity of a horrible experience that is still haunting and affecting me on a daily basis. It wasn’t an exact science, but in the moment, I didn’t want to physically be carrying around a physical memory filled with pain.

I don’t normally lose something I tend to keep my eye on. That error made me so upset, and it made me question myself for days. It was an enormous “What the fuck is wrong with you?” moment, at least for me. I know many people will say I am human, no one is perfect, and/or shit happens, etc., but I take my responsibilities seriously. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t know me at all.

Despite that incident, I had an extremely productive neurology consult with a new doctor. I waited nearly six months to see her, and I was definitely feeling iffy walking into the situation. After going through all of the standard questions, a quick baseline test, and doing a neuro history to rule out what I have and haven’t tried, she immediately discussed the treatment method with me that she feels I am the best candidate for. I was relieved to hear someone cut through all the bullshit and go straight to precisely what I have wanted to do migraine-wise for the past six years. I have a three to six month wait, but she feels it will be worth it, and I am hopeful. It’s by no means a cure; I will still get migraines, but after my first year of treatment, I shouldn’t be getting daily migraines any more, or migraines that last for weeks at a time. In less than three years, I have had eighty migraine-free days. That isn’t even two straight months without searing pain. To be taken seriously right out of the gate and have someone treat me with such respect was truly a bit of a shock. As I’ve likely said before, my faith and trust in the medical community is basically nonexistent. In the past year, I have met three good doctors and maybe one or two decent medical professionals, but everyone else has been a medical failure, and for me, even one medical failure is one too many.

When I explained the appointment to my brother and told him how it went, he asked me what I am supposed to do for my migraines for the next three to six months. His exact words were “What are you supposed to do in the meantime? Chew Excedrin?” It was a valid question, and it reminded me that I had not asked for an abortive, so I will call ASAP and see if my doctor is willing to get Relpax approved until the new treatment begins. Thus far, my insurance company has been very on the ball with nearly all of the things I’ve needed, so I hope this won’t become a battle. I honestly can’t handle another moment where I have to battle anyone or anything. I am mostly a basket case (which is truly nothing to joke about) on Promethazine. As it turns out, stress really DOES affect us far more than we realize.

I have seen myself decline in a dramatic way over the past year. I have never felt more “off” or out of touch with myself than I am now. Being chronically ill isn’t fun, nor is it glamorous. It is a daily battle just to get out of bed. This is something people don’t seem to realize, unless it’s happening to them.

I am having a difficult time wrapping my mind around the fact that it is June. I rarely say “I want to go back to this month and start over.”, but I have definitely been feeling like this quite a bit lately. The heat waves and then 30-40 degree drops in temperature have taken their toll on me. But from here on out, I expect this to be a disturbingly hot summer and I am stressed with the thought of trying to navigate through it. I don’t want to deal with being sick, dehydrated, and isolated. There’s not much I can really do about any of these things, but the knowledge that it’s all headed my way is genuinely too much for me.

I am trying to keep up with everything here and still live my daily life. The truth is, my daily life is exceedingly dull and unhappy. I lack the ability to be fake and pretend it’s something it isn’t. So while I am clearly not writing as much as I would like, I am still doing the best I can. I thank everyone who has stuck with me all these years, for better or worse. Having an outlet for my thoughts is important to me.

Hopefully I will be able to write more this summer. I can’t make any promises, but I can try my best.  Here’s hoping I achieve more than heatstroke over the next few months.

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

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