Memorial Day Silence

memorialday
It’s so important to remember what this weekend is truly about. I have deceased family members that served and one family member who currently serves. My brother’s best friend returned with a Purple Heart. He always says “the real heroes came home in coffins”.

I got to spend half of this holiday weekend solo. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy “me time”. I was able to enjoy a long walk, a manicure, and have lunch by myself. Even though the walk killed my legs (I’ve walked so much the last few days, I’m probably going to be crawling in the morning.), it was nice to be out of the house, breathing fresh air, and enjoying pretty decent weather.

It’s 11:00 PM on a Sunday night and I’m singing at the top of my lungs, and because there’s so much wood around me, the acoustics are amazing. I am reminded that my professionally trained voice is pretty damn good. I need to sing more, because I need that creative outlet, just as I need my other creative outlets. Not singing is like cutting myself off from oxygen. It’s also a waste of talent. I hate wasting my talents, regardless of what they may be.

I definitely need to write more. I have two things I am working on, plus the novel. I also have a seven hundred page book to tackle as a reader. That’s a lot of work and a lot of words, but I love it. Tomorrow, I will write and read, and enjoy what’s left of my solo “me time”.

blue-ruler

Exactly how did I come to be solo this weekend? My cousin Julia is getting married in Vermont. By now, she’s about four hours or so into “wedded bliss” (Yes, I just rolled my eyes. I won’t lie about it, either.). As far as I can tell, my brother & I are the only family members who were excluded from the guest list. Believe me, this did not come as a great shock. The family dynamics are such that I do not consider them family any more. I grew up with Julia and her brother, Jamie, along with three other cousins. I can honestly say I felt my cousins were forced upon me at times, but I always loved Seth, Jamie, and Julia the most. So yeah, it’s a slap in the face and the epitome of rude, but it just reaffirms why I distanced myself after my mother’s death. This behavior will remind me why I will continue to avoid them on a whole. These are the kind of people that would eagerly attend a book signing as “family”, but only so they can say they know me. They’re happy to jump on the bandwagon, but they can’t be genuine family members. Here’s a fact; they don’t me. They stopped “sort of knowing me” by age fifteen, and even then, they didn’t truly know a damn thing about me

The things that were said and done are completely unforgivable. I rarely think about it or focus on it, but this was one of those defining moment reminders that I’m “not goof enough” in their eyes to be treated with any level of respect. Family embraces you; they do not throw you to the sharks and allow you to be eaten alive.

In fairness, I would not have attended even if I had been invited, but when you have a wedding and turn it into a four-day weekend, it’s a little over the top for me. I know destination weddings are popular, but they’re also expensive for attendees. The one family member I know who is attending actually said “Thank God it’s not in Hawaii!” I know people who’ve gotten married in Hawaii and didn’t even tell people. If you want a vacation wedding, you don’t need to drag 100-500 of your closest “friends” and family along with you. If you haven’t seen or spoken to someone in the past 2-5 years, and will not see or speak to them again for the next 2-5 years, then they don’t need to attend your wedding. Those are actually a set of rules every good wedding planner will tell you about your guest list. I know this because I’ve planned a wedding that didn’t work out. My up-to-date guest list is currently at under ninety people, and approximately 50-60 won’t attend. I look at it like this; those that do attend will have one hell of a party to enjoy. My cousins, who had actually been on the list, have since been removed. My Grandmother would be appalled at the mere thought of me not sending them invitations, but I can’t abide by her every wish.

When I do get married, I want the people around me to be those who are genuine in their love and respect for me. I don’t need anyone who is full of crap attending simply because they were invited. Nor do I want gifts that have even a trace of negativity in them. BTW: If you’re getting married, register for things in reasonable price ranges and use registries from different stores, not just a few, because it’s unfair to expect people to attend an out-of-town function AND spend a fortune on a gift. My cousin’s registry was appallingly out of touch and overpriced. Buy your own damn vacuum cleaner! Don’t register for one that’s $600. Maybe get with it and DON’T register for a $900 gift from Bloomingdale’s (I’m appalled that this was actually fulfilled. I hope like hell it was his parents or hers, because that’s INSANITY.). Asking for a $2,000 gift card to Anthropologie is taking it a bit far. Am I off-base? I would cringe at the mere suggestion of asking people for such things. In fact, I’d rather people give to a charity that’s important to me. How many people use a $400 vase? Not many. Even if they’ve been married for thirty years. And honestly, I’m surprised she’s not registered at Tiffany’s considering the prices on some of these items. There’s nothing down-to-earth about any of that.

I get invited to funerals, but I don’t get invited to weddings. What does that say about my family? It says “You’re not good enough to celebrate the happy times, but come and pay your respects.” I have an answer for that; no. I did not attend my Great-Aunt or Great-Uncles’ funerals. I was not personally contacted about either passing. It’s not hard to make a fucking phone call, I made tons after my parents passed away and not once did I complain about who I had to call or how many calls I had to make. I did it all by myself.

My Great-Aunts’ funeral was seven months after I lost my Mom. I was a third-party mention. I was in the process of moving, surrounded my boxes and tons of junk. I didn’t have the ability at the time to drop everything and run three and a half hours away. I sent sympathy cards to each of them, one of which was returned to sender. But when my Great-Uncle passed away, I never would have found out if my Aunt hadn’t told me.

I take great issue with my mother’s immediate side of the family trying to use my Aunt as the go-between, and saying things about me that aren’t true. I was accused of being “hateful” and “angry” at my mother’s funeral. I was mourning TWO PARENTS who died young; how exactly did my professional courtesy toward them become an accurate portrayal of how I feel or think? They don’t know me to decipher that aspect of who I am. Not one of them said “I’m so sorry for your loss.” or “Call me if you need anything.” There was not a single kind word spoken to me or my brother. There was zero sympathy or empathy. For all I know, they might have been wasting the thirty minutes it took for them to show up and pay their respects! You can tell a lot by watching a person’s face and the three of them looked like someone had interrupted their Wednesday afternoon.

I was insulted by one cousin who, in response to the eulogy I gave, came up to me afterward and said “You’re such a great writer. You should really do something with that.” Wow! Why don’t you slap me?! The woman has zero tact and even less common sense. I have no tolerance for crap like that. It was a backhanded “compliment” and I could have let it go, but when I heard that I was “hateful” toward them at the funeral, which is untrue, I lost it. If said to my face, none of them would have faces to walk around with, so why say it behind my back? If you think there’s an issue to be resolved, grow a pair and say something to me directly.

Ultimately, the world doesn’t revolve around them, even though they believe it does. I was barely aware they’d be attending. I was dealing with a lot, and I still am. Have any of them reached out once in nine years to see how my brother or I are doing? No, but they’re more than happy to discuss me behind my back. That’s not family. They’re merely people I dealt with growing up. Family behaves like family, not when it’s convenient, but all the time. I just happen to have the unfortunate luck in being related to them, despite the fact that they’re my first cousins once removed (which to me, is basically saying they’re my second cousins. I don’t care about being genealogically correct on this one.)

I spent most of my life being compared to their children. My Great-Aunt would brag to my Grandmother (In her eyes, her Grandchildren were somehow superior to me simply by existing, My mother & Aunt also dealt with this while growing up.) and in turn, I’d have to hear “Why can’t you be more like…” How about because I’m ME. Being myself is damn good, and I’d prefer to remain me. With all due respect to my Grandmother, who was an amazingly tolerant, kind, giving, generous woman; I’m glad I’m me. She took a lot of shit from my Grandfather’s family, as well as her own, and having witnessed all that I did between her and my Mom, I won’t stand for it.

I have cousins who CHOOSE to be a part of my life. We didn’t grow up together, and at least one cousin feels robbed because of that fact, but we’re close and that’s a lovely thing. They’re smart enough to see me as I am and accept me. I can only have a relationship with people who are open to having a relationship with me. If you’re going to treat me like second-hand shit, and tell blatant lies about me, then NO, I am not going to engage with you. I have the right to pick and choose my friends, as well as my family. Simply put, I don’t need the drama, or the hassle.

I find myself content sitting here typing, with Kitten by my side being a cutie. I have thirty minutes of a movie left to watch, and I can binge-watch Pretty Little Liars on Netflix until I get sleepy. I can finish my laundry and just breathe. I am grateful for the time spent on self-care. I am grateful for the songs I’ve sung tonight, for the solitude and peace of it, and for the fact that I can pull some of that solitude back into myself Tuesday afternoon when I return from my doctor’s appointment. I missed NOTHING by not being invited, and I do not feel excluded. In fact, I feel superior.

Even more so, I am content in the fact that by being me, I’m one of the strongest people I know. I don’t have to be false or put on airs, or waste time thinking about what others think of me. Think away, providing your combined I.Q. isn’t equal to your shoe size. Life is short. I have real problems. Who gives a fuck about self-absorbed idiots? Not I.

P.S. Grandpa, I am deeply sorry that your sister’s children are not what you thought they were. I’m glad I see everyone clearly. I know you can see it, too.

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

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, in an extremely bizarre reality, I was in a relationship I should not have been in. The warning signs were there, but some people burn so brightly that you don’t seem to notice you’re going up in flames and turning to ash. Immensely large red flares of danger were being sent up so I wouldn’t get burned. Did that stop anything? Not so much.

He was the quintessential “bad boy”, complete with motorcycles, fancy sports cars, tattoos, multiple drug addictions, and a boatload of issues. Maybe the maternal, nurturing aspect of me wanted to fix or heal him. I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’m thankful every single day that it is no longer a part of my life.

Initially there was no reaction or emotion from me towards him. He was just a guy, a guy all kinds of women fell for, but I prided myself on not adding myself to the throng of fools. Until one day, when I was seemingly drawn in like a moth to a flame. Except I wasn’t a moth, I was a butterfly, and yet, I suddenly had to have him. The pull was intense. He was crazy about me; The only person who challenged him, who questioned everything, and who was not impressed by anything. The problems though, they were simmering under the surface, just waiting to come out, one by one.

They started relatively early. I had never been told I was “too skinny” before. Even as a former gymnast that had experienced bouts of bulimia on & off for about two years after realizing that I’d never be an Olympic anything. I did not consider myself “too skinny” or “too” anything, really. I had the mouth of a Marine on leave, a writing career that had taken off in an amazing way, and a guy who told me he loved me, but to this day probably doesn’t know the meaning of the word. You’ll find him in the dictionary, somewhere between the words “Douchebag”, “Hypocrite”, and “Liar”, providing you’ve opted for a Webster’s upgrade.

His career allowed me the independence and space that I like in a relationship. I can’t have someone in my face 24/7, nagging, or standing over my shoulder like a watch dog. It drives me insane. He respected that, until the possessive behavior became more than just one or two phone calls a day. At first it seemed like he was going out of his way to surprise me and brighten aspects of my life, but that wasn’t it. Not at all.

The man could spit out promises just as quickly as he broke them, I just didn’t know he was trying to break me in the process.

The criticism I endured throughout the course of this relationship was harsher than what I dealt with from my family, and even though I had a comeback for everything he said, the words still haunt me…

I went from being vibrant, smart, confident, & 100% in control to depressed, unhappy, paranoid, angry, & jealous. I was reduced to questioning why I was somehow not good enough for him. It was irrational and insane. There was always an inner voice telling me “He’s not good enough for you. What are you doing? This man is poison. Tell him to go to hell and walk away.”

I remember crying one night to my best friend at the time, after a particularly shitty thing he’d lied about. Here I was, the strongest, toughest, most direct chick people knew, asking “Why would he lie to me like that? Why would he lie about something so important? Why am I not good enough for him?” I was devastated by the pathological way in which he’d lie.

My best friend consoled me quietly, basically saying she didn’t know why he had lied or why he would, but months later she told me I was “Too smart, too pretty, and all around way too good for the likes of him!” She was furious that he would hurt me in such a manner and then behave as if all was right in the world, and her anger continued to fuel when he showed up at a work event we all attended with a married woman on his arm. “A friend”, he’d called her. More like a drug supplier he’d hooked up with. He was spiraling and wanted to take me with him, but I would not allow that.

For the record, I was already ass deep in alligators when I realized how big an issue the drugs actually were because they weren’t an issue at the onset. It went from being an old football injury to being an all-consuming, problem-inducing, complete lack of grip on reality. It started out small, as many addictions do, and escalated until it had to be confronted. I did not condone it in any way and refused to support the habit. I was not going to be in a relationship with an addict, period. I was the catalyst to get him into rehab, explaining in list formation all that he would lose if he did not get clean. But as most people can tell you, 30 days in rehab will detox you, it might even get you to talk about why you got into it in the first place, but it’s every single day after leaving a protected environment that matters most. If you have people who love & support you, you have a greater chance at remaining sober. You might slip up, recovery is going to be a constant for the rest of your life, but the effort you put forth is SO important. However, if you immediately return to the same lifestyle and friends you had during the height of your illness, it will revert you right back into it at some point, especially if you have no real desire to be clean, no willpower, and no real desire to live. It’s a way of committing suicide slowly, secretly hoping that one day it’ll all be over and you don’t personally have to do the heavy lifting, or deal with the aftermath.

Part of what saddens me about the relationship itself is that I defended, protected, and shielded this man. I was the epitome of devoted and loyal to the Nth degree. My love was genuine, and yet I was constantly criticized, going as far as to be told that I wasn’t good enough to be introduced to his parents, who for years, he told me were dead. I’d later find out he only wished they were. Our differing religions was the reason given when I questioned why I was somehow “not good enough” to meet his parents. Who the hell were these people? England’s Monarchy?! How isolated and ignorant were they to think their religion was the only one that existed in this world?! This was not the first time someone had taken issue with my religion and tried to make me feel guilty for it. I was considered “not Jewish enough” by one guy’s family, and now I was being made to feel like I was somehow inappropriate and shameful. And the worst part? He wasn’t religious, AT ALL. 

Suddenly, after years of knowing our religions were different, it became this big issue, and we fought about it a lot. Would I be willing to convert to Roman Catholicism? HELL NO. Would I sign a pre-nup? Whoa, where the hell did THAT come from?! You want to marry me. You’ve asked, I’ve accepted, but now you’re afraid I suddenly want to be with you for financial gain? Are you serious?! Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always taken care of myself. He knew that. I don’t expect a man to pay for my lifestyle. I’m fully capable of making my own money, buying my own clothes, jewelry, etc.  I think you should want to take care of your partner and be a provider, but relationships are give and take. I did not expect to sit on my ass and be given anything, so I waffled back and forth on that little tidbit. It is a deal breaker if it’s not a document protecting both of us.

The ever-present “Would you please eat?!” grated on my nerves. He’d bring me food for several years of our relationship, but not in a loving, caring, concerned way (I do like it when I’m sick and a guy has the sense to bring me soup or Italian food. There’s something very nurturing about that.), but in an extremely controlling manner. As soon as I gained about 15 pounds from this constant influx of food, I was suddenly told the exact opposite. Now I wasn’t thin enough, I was becoming the woman who he didn’t want anyone else looking at. What was so shameful about being curvy? He’d have a fit whenever we’d be somewhere and someone else would check me out. I was not the one doing the looking, yet he was suddenly paranoid that anyone who checked me out was somehow going to end up in my bed. It was eye-rollingly ridiculous.

He’d do something shitty, and I’d be “rewarded” with jewelry or flowers, sometimes both, depending on the situation. It got to a point where I began to loathe the pink & purple roses I loved so much. To this day if someone sends me roses, I cringe inside. He would promise to be somewhere I needed him to be, but was almost always off feeding his drug habit, or as I would later find out through a friend, a habit for other women.

It was demanded upon me that I be 100% faithful. That was not an issue because I’d never cheated on someone and wasn’t about to start, but because he was the one doing all the cheating, he started having people follow me to find out what I was doing every time I left the house. Stalker much?! It was sick. It was also an excuse.

I’d had enough after confronting someone he often had tail me, and I put my foot down. I’m not big on ultimatums, but he needed to hear what his behavior was doing, that it was unhealthy and damaging, and completely unwarranted and unacceptable. It came down to this: He needed to return to rehab, fully commit to it, and he then needed to be clean & sober for a year before I would agree to marriage. It was time for him to prove that he was worthy of me, not the other way around.

He went to rehab for a few months, coming back apologetic, and for a while things were simply tense. We talked, but clearly he was refusing to hear me. He was about to do something he’d probably been considering for quite some time, and simply hadn’t been man enough to say to my face. With marriage promised, it probably made me believe a slew of lies I was too smart to actually buy into in the first place, but there was something slightly blinding & intoxicating about it. But the truth of the matter is, it was just plain toxic.

The problem with relationships slowly turning abusive is that, initially, we think we’re in the right relationship with the right person, until suddenly, we’re not.

For years after this relationship ended I’d hear “Oh, LET IT GO!” whenever I mentioned how hurt, angry, or betrayed I felt; as if emotions could be turned on and off like a faucet. How could I not feel all of those things?! Saying “I love you” is not a cure-all. Actions speak louder than words. His actions were atrocious.

With a ring solidly on my finger, he married someone else, just weeks after saying we were good and moving in the right direction, that he was trying. I had to find out via an announcement his new wife was sending to friends & family. She was pregnant before they even said “I do.” He would go on to have several children with her, each time choosing names we had decided on for our future offspring. That was the icing on the cake. I seriously worried about my ability to be around him in any capacity after that, so I disengaged. I made sure that whenever he’d be around, I would not be present. Hurting someone you claim to love in such a manner is vile, but to then go on living your life as if said loved one never existed is even worse. I started to think I was losing my mind. If it had not been for the fact that I knew the relationship had occurred, and exactly what I had endured, I’d have felt like I was being erased, or replaced.

Up until a few years ago, he & I continued to have mutual friends. I finally got tired of hearing the lies and cut everyone off. “He asked about you.”, “He hopes you’re all right. He just wants you to be happy.”, “He cares about you.” PLEASE! He never cared in the first place, it was a fucking game to him. No matter how many times I would ask these friends not to relay anything he said about me, it would come up in conversation, until I finally changed my phone number and said “No more.”

Not one to eat bullshit politely with a knife and fork, I have gone out of my way to avoid him since all of this went down. I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I didn’t do anything wrong, except believe in a person I shouldn’t have given the time of day to, but hey, we all make mistakes. Avoiding him is my way of remaining a healthy, non-toxic human-being.

I know eventually, at some point, we will run into one another, and I pray that I am not carrying a loaded weapon that day or wearing particularly high heels because even though people tell me I’m not a damaging, harmful person to be around, and that I’d never willingly hurt someone, I cannot promise the desire to harm him won’t be there. Some of the rage goes away with time, but any time the relationship is mentioned or I come across something from that time period, I am flooded with everything I thought I’d already moved past. For me, that lets me know the damage runs deep. It does not, nor will it ever, mean that I care about him. I don’t. I wouldn’t spit on this man if he was on fire.

Once I no longer love/respect someone, my emotions will often turn to pity, anger (at myself & the other person involved), & my anger is a burning rage that can simmer and bubble for years until it is truly out of my system. If the anger is unjustified, it eventually dwindles and the flames put out, but if it IS justified, stay the hell out of my way. I can go from zero to bitch in about half a second.

Unfortunately, there are so many different kinds of abuse in the world, that it’s sometimes hard to pinpoint if you are the abused or the abuser. Sometimes you are simultaneously both, even if you don’t intend to be.

Writing this makes me feel a bit like I’m back in Psych class, but I’ve been revisiting certain things lately, which is why I am writing about such a personal, private matter. If what I’m saying helps even one person get out of a toxic relationship, then that’s important and necessary.

If you’re in any kind of relationship where your words and feelings are being defined in an incorrect manner, where you are constantly insulted and berated, it is time to take a closer look at this relationship. Thinking this person is “the best you can do”, having low, little, or no self-esteem, or coming from a “people pleasing” type of family are all potential signs you’ve probably overlooked. Most people do. When you’ve been taught that everything around you is “normal” and a part of your daily life, you stop questioning things. You begin to lose your inner voice. Once you lose your inner voice, you start to become everything the abuser has defined you as. Your thoughts, feelings, actions, everything is now completely defined by someone else. Moreover, you question yourself and promise yourself you’ll be better for them, that you will do everything right, not realizing that your life is your own, and it is not owned by someone else.

I am a product of abuse. Not just from the relationship I am talking about, but from my childhood. I am very forthcoming about that fact when approached, but generally I keep such things to myself. However, when a person comes to me and needs help, I am the first person to listen, and the first to say something.

For many, many years I handled the abuse (verbal, emotional, and physical) by throwing myself into my writing and my singing. One day I snapped; I’d had enough. I was 100% committed in the fact that I’d kill the other person and spend my life in jail, but I believed in my cause because I was protecting two other people. I took the brunt of everything so they wouldn’t have to. To this day, one of those people denies that 99% of the abuse ever occurred. It must be nice living in such a warped bubble of false memories, but I know what I lived, I know what I saw, and it is sad for me to see this person deny the abuse and become the abuser themselves. If you correct this person, or disagree with them, they will say YOU are abusing THEM. It’s a vicious cycle, however, I know that by standing up and saying ENOUGH, and being committed to putting a stop to it, that I did the right thing. If I hadn’t, I’d be in jail now. Or worse.

People are often shocked to learn that I’ve been through such things. I don’t deny being strong and confident, and I don’t deny that I will say something is wrong when it is wrong, regardless of who is saying it. I will admit to being wrong on the rare occasion that I am. But I will not allow myself to live a life of abuse. I won’t allow someone to define me, to disrespect me, to use me, to tell me what I think, to tell me where to go, or tell me what I am allowed to do. When someone behaves that way around me, I am very happy to show them the door. I know I deserve better.

I look for different things in people now, and I always pay attention to my intuition. It is an immense part of who I am. If someone or something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If something feels innately wrong, re-evaluate it and follow your instincts. Intuition will never lie to you, but the heart will. If your relationship involves young children, get out NOW. You do not want your child/children to be affected by the abuse inflicted upon their mother in front of them. I know people who have stayed in these relationships because they believed that taking their children out of the home during the formative years was the worst possible thing they could do. It’s not. The worst thing you can do is stay and allow them to think that what they’re hearing, seeing, and living is normal. If you get out early enough, you will save yourself and your child/children a fortune in therapy bills.

Once upon a time, I was a moron. It won’t happen again, because I am firmly committed to not allowing it. No one defines me, except me.

*If you need help getting out of an abusive/unhealthy relationship or are living with domestic violence and don’t know where to turn please go to any of the following organizations for assistance: http://soarinri.org/  http://leavingabuse.com/, http://www.thehotline.org/, http://www.nrcdv.org/dvam/,http://www.teendvmonth.org/, etc.

Do not be afraid to search the Internet or the Yellow Pages for additional resources available to you in your area/country. If your abuser uses the same computer, always be sure to delete your browsing history to protect yourself from additional harm, or go to the library if available and search for information there.*

“Once Upon A Time”, and all material herein, unless otherwise indicated and credited to its owner(s), is copyright © 2013-2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Believe It Or Not, I DO Have Boundaries

“There are two kinds of friendship: the beneficial friendship and the erroneous friendship. The erroneous friendship balances on the principle of “The closer we are, the more okay it is for me to say anything I want to you and for me to treat you any way that I want to, and for me to disrespect you and take advantage of you.”, while a true friendship is rooted in this principle: “The closer we are, the more respect I have for you, the better I will treat you, the higher I will regard you, the more good things I will wish for you.”

You will know someone is a true friend by basis of observing their actions towards you as the friendship grows deeper. A true friend will continue to hold you in higher and higher regard, while the error of a friend will see your goodwill and newfound fondness as basis to do and say whatever he/she wants, that is disrespectful and non-beneficial to you.” C. JoyBell C.

Believe It Or Not, I DO Have Boundaries

Generally I say what I mean and I mean what I say, but when you push my buttons and you keep pushing, you’re going up against the wrong woman. You cannot win, you will not win, and here’s why.

I am not so comfortable with the people in my life that I will over-step my boundaries intentionally. However, yesterday someone SERIOUSLY over-stepped with me, and unless I write my feelings out, I won’t ever speak to this person again, so I’m sorry for involving my readers in something they may not fully understand.

As a friend, and as a person, I am incredibly devoted. Loyal to a fault and “Ride or Die” are the usual terms used to describe the type of friend I am. What I am NOT, is inconsiderate, thoughtless, selfish, rude, bitchy, disrespectful, unappreciative, or a habitual line-stepper. It’s okay to tell me to back off, so long as you do it politely. It’s okay to say “I can’t talk about this now.”, I’ll keep my mouth shut. Basically, it’s okay, so long as you communicate with me properly.

Here’s what is, under no circumstances, NOT EVER okay: Attacking me, accusing, and/or assuming. If you intend to provoke me, do so solely at your own risk, but be forewarned: It might very well be the last thing you ever say or do to another living being.

I do not have the time, patience, or inclination to babysit everyone’s egos. Yes, I have more than one friend in my life. Get.Over.It. I once had a friend who would say “Don’t worry about it, more Lisa for me!”, because she didn’t like to share me with other people. Where is she now? I’d answer, but just in case she stumbles upon this, I will simply say: “ALMOST FIVE YEARS, what are you waiting for? God to say go?!”

I don’t need anyone to pat me on the back for a good deed. You say thank you, and we move on. However, if you’ve done, or are doing, something for me and then you throw it back in my face every opportunity you get, we’re going to either throw down or I am going to throw you right out of my life. I don’t need the drama or the bullshit. Again, I don’t have the time to babysit egos. If you’re feeling “unloved”, hire a hooker, but don’t insult the very kind, respectful, genuine things I say to you, especially after I have just praised you and told you how wonderful I feel you are. When given a compliment of the highest order, say thank you, take it to heart, especially since you know me, but do NOT attack me to the point where I ask myself if you’re worth it any more because I have been betrayed enough to know that walking away from someone is the absolute healthiest choice I can make at times.

Yes, I am angry. Yes, I am pissed off. I’m not going to accept this kind of attitude and behavior from anyone simply because they have been in my life for a long time. I have learned that not every relationship in life will stand the test of time, and while it saddens me to feel this way, maybe saying goodbye (Okay, that would be if I were feeling polite. I don’t feel polite.) is really the best thing for everyone involved.

I have found that people are much more apt to say shit to me via e-mail or social media, than they are to ever so much as consider saying it to my face. There’s a reason for that. Once my tone of voice changes, you might as well just lay down and die, because you will wish for death by the time I’m done with you.

I understand that part of this issue is genuine jealousy and insecurity, and I have no words in ANY language to respond to that. I think the best thing I can say is that I will NEVER understand the way other women’s brains work. I understand myself just fine, but the basic female psyche alludes me. They say that “Men are simple creatures.” (Whoever “they” are.), but the fact of the matter is, men are often a lot less complicated. I say this as a total Girl’s Girl. I have maybe a handful of laid back, easy-going friendships with women, but the rest of them are SO incredibly complicated that it gives me a fucking headache.

Ultimately, I think it is perfectly acceptable to be open about your needs in any relationship. However, your delivery has to be flawless. This is a sad truth. If you say the right thing to a person at the precise right time, you both win. If you say the wrong thing to a person at the wrong time, I don’t expect them to just accept that and say “Okay.” Maybe some people do, but I do not. I’ve been calling people out on their crap since the day I was born, and today is no different.

There is a person in my life who really needs to decide if they are going to “shit or get off the pot.” But make no mistake, once I make the decision that I am done with you, I am truly done. There is no revolving door in my life for bullshit, drama, negativity, childishness, or stupidity. If you go from friend to enemy, you do not go back to friend, not EVER. I do not suffer fools. If you’re going to be a bitch or an asshole, please, do so on your own time, and with someone else entirely. I value my time. Next to my name on the Tree Of Life it says “No time for idiots.” So mote it be.

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Friendship -VS- “Friendship”: Sincerity Or Malice?

FRIENDSHIP -VS- “FRIENDSHIP”: SINCERITY OR MALICE?

If there’s anything I truly hate in this world, it’s people not knowing how to be decent friends. It takes two, truly. Both people have to be committed to the same cause, which is the core of the friendship and what it is built upon. Unfortunately, you will often find that the other person generally doesn’t know your intentions and you may not figure out theirs until it’s too late.

Throughout the course of my life I have had both friends and “friends”, and it’s fair to say that we all have. The latter are the bottom feeders in this world who only come to you with falseness in their hearts. They pretend to be genuine, but they’re either intimidated by you, scared of your strength, jealous of you, or never have good intentions towards anyone. Sometimes it’s a mass combination of all of the above, and so much more. They are the types of people that are 1000 shades of fucked up and, no matter how sweet, kind, entertaining, genuine, or funny they appear to be, they are hiding behind a facade and not only lying to you, but lying to themselves. They will seem selfless, but they’re selfish, self-possessed, and have cruelty and hatred residing within their souls, and they choose to take it out on people that do not deserve it, as opposed to directing it at those that do.

I can only use myself as an example here. I give a LOT to the relationships in my life. I don’t know any other way to be. Need advice? I’m your girl. Need help hiding a body? What body? No one will ever find it. I have helped friends whenever they have needed help, regardless of what that help entailed. I feel that is the right thing to do. I do not like seeing my friends struggle and suffer if I am in a position to do something about it. I will talk to you for hours about anything and nothing, and I will truly listen to you. I’m not on the other end of the phone rolling my eyes or making faces, I am fully engaged. I am loyal and I am devoted. In short, I know my worth and value in all things, but especially as a friend. It is one of the things in life I am most certain of.

A lot of missteps in friendship are based on poor communication. If you choose not to say something to someone when, and if, it bothers you, that is YOUR fault, not THEIRS. Take ownership of your short-comings. I have my own faults here too. Sometimes it will take me a few days, weeks, or months to call somebody out on something I feel was inappropriate, wrong, and/or offensive. I don’t allow disrespect. However, even if it takes me some time, I will still do it. I do not avoid confrontation, and I always feel better once I’ve clarified with someone what is, or isn’t, going on and how to come back to a good place. It doesn’t happen with every single friendship, sometimes a friendship has run its course, reached an end and that, too, is ok, but the effort still needs to be made.

If ever you want to end a friendship, as in all relationships, it is crucial to tell the other person. For one, it shows good manners and two, it brings closure to the relationship. It doesn’t matter if you were friends for three months, six months, a year, or if you’ve been friends for 30 years, have some fucking decency in your dealings with others, lest you gain a reputation for the way you handle your personal relationships. Especially with other women. I can assure you that women talk. If you’ve been a bitch to a woman and later become friends with someone she knows really well, she won’t hesitate to tell that friend exactly what your deal is. I’ve had more than one or two of my close friends warn me about other women, and they were always right. Thankfully, I wasn’t fully invested into the new people, so it wasn’t a big deal or the end of the world.

I always encourage people to communicate with me. If you don’t like something I’ve said, come to me and Spit.It.Out. Just be honest. You’re not sure what I meant by something? FUCKING ASK. Things like that frustrate me. I don’t like wasting my time with anyone, nor do I like it when people attach my name to bullshit stories that are fictional beyond words, and delusional by half.

If you have an issue with me, say it to my face. Be direct. Don’t run and hide like a toddler, and don’t tell lies. I may not be perfect, I’m certainly not winning any awards for warmth, fuzziness, or coddling, but at least I know what respect, loyalty, and real friendship is all about. Once I lose respect for you, you do not exist. If you close the door, I will put Wolverine’s adamantium claws on my end of the door so that if you ever try re-opening it, you get to hang on your own sword, and your own mistakes. That’s how it works. If you want to be someone’s friend, have honor and dignity. Unless you’re incredibly self-absorbed and shallow. I assure you, NO ONE wants a false friend.

Choosing to be a part of someone’s life as their friend is something so many take for granted. Extending the hand of friendship, to me, is a big deal. If you bite that hand, be prepared for what comes next. People often underestimate my nice factor, which I can tell you from experience, is limited. Treat people the way you want to be treated. If you want love and acceptance, be loving and accepting. If you want or need a certain thing in a friendship, as in any relationship, it is perfectly ok to ask for it. If you’re going through a rough time and you feel like you need a little extra emotional support, say so. Don’t expect everyone to be a mind reader, because the simple fact of the matter is, there’s no such thing as mind readers.

If friends or family treat you like shit and you always allow them to return to your life, you are allowing the behavior and accepting it. In fact, you’re encouraging the cycle to continue. Over time, you lose sight of what it’s like to be treated the right way. In the grand scheme, your acceptance of such negativity allows the chains to wrap around you. This extends to all relationships in ones’ life. Allowing bad behavior, accepting it, and never saying anything in response is encouraging it. If I, as your friend, have encouraged you to put your foot down and you ignore me, I lack sympathy when it continues to happen to you. Not because I’m a cruel person, but because you have been repeatedly given sound advice. I do not mince words and I do not suffer fools gladly. I mean what I say, unless I’m pissed, in which case I will probably say nothing until I cool off. If I am wrong and I know I am wrong, I will always apologize.

This was not written for any particular reason, so do not presume it is directed at you, the reader, in any way, shape, or form, except maybe in an advisory capacity. I’ve had this on my mind for a while and felt it cathartic to put it into action.

We have three different types of friends throughout the course of our lives, and in some instances, for many, many lives, until we learn our lessons and get it right. The different types of friends are “those for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. If you’re going to be the type of friend to me that I am to you, then you’re ride or die, and you are in my life for a reason and a lifetime. I will always be loyal and devoted to you. However, if you’re only sticking around long enough to use me, please, fuck off now, and take your insane monkeys with you.

If one person is a flake, don’t take it personally. If one person is over-sensitive and cannot handle the truth, then that person needs to work on themselves and letting them fly is the best thing to do when they refuse to listen. Not every friendship is forever, but maybe that’s because the ones that are, are so much more valuable, and are built on a solid foundation, as opposed to being built on one person’s immediate interests.

In closing, I am incredibly GRATEFUL for the lovely, talented, graceful, elegant, mature, beautiful on the inside and outside, kind, generous, hilarious, devoted, loyal friends in my life. I can count them on two hands, but quality is far superior to quantity. Some have been a part of my life for a short period of time, but are no less special to me. Many have been with me for 18-25 years and, despite our imperfections and character flaws, despite agreeing to disagree, we love each other, we care about each other so very much, and we’d do anything for each other. A friend recently told me that I have been there for her through EVERYTHING, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and she thanks God for me. Another told me how people are always using her, but that I am the bright spot in her life. In friendship, things should be positive. If they aren’t, detox yourself from the poison. You’ll find a lot of clarity there.

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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