Juggling On A New Level

I am functioning on less and less sleep these days, which screws with my day-to-day life, but seems to do wonders for my productivity. Yeah, I don’t understand it either.

My current WIP (work-in-progress) is at eight-four thousand words. I achieved those numbers in slightly over a full month. I put in a lot of hard work, and long hours, which I am proud of. Every day, it gets better.

Obviously, I’ve taken time to sleep so I come back refreshed, but I am looking at this material every single day. Even on days when I say I’ll take a break, I still put a few hours into it, or I do a quick read-through before bed to make sure I like how it flows. I allow myself to cut what doesn’t work.

I’ve written an insane amount of words this year for various manuscripts. People keep telling me how impressive this is, but honestly, it’s a job, like any other job. It’s important to me for anything with my name on it to feel like it’s work readers are familiar with, regardless of the topic at hand. This one in particular is not something I’d considered doing before, so as I write and catch myself enjoying it, I feel that translates to how a reader will catch my sense of humor or my snark within. Both of which would be incredibly hard to miss.

The majority of writers, if they are truly lucky, have a distinctive voice. I am constantly told it’s crystal clear when I’ve written or contributed to something. That is positive reinforcement to keep writing and making contributions. To keep creating. I’m not sure I know how to stop. I don’t like ignoring solid ideas. I don’t like putting things aside to work on what is selling and/or more relevant, but I’m only one person. There are only so many hours in a day, and I’ve been putting in an extraordinary amount of time on every detail. I’ve researched, studied my ass off, and I still do that several hours a day to make sure I’m in the right mind-set. We all need to source inspiration from something, someone, or somewhere. On occasion, all of the above.

What I’m writing is something I have actually lived. That is why I had not written it, until now. I have changed names and switched things around for obvious reasons (To protect the innocent, not the guilty.), but there’s extensive truth on every page.

There are genres I love to pieces, and there are genres which will always sell. That’s something all writers have to factor in. I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been at square one. I’m not starting over. I’m too experienced and too smart to try and diminish myself, and box myself into one aspect of what it means to be a writer. I refuse to go in the opposite direction.

I re-set everything this time around. Brand new playlist. New pre-writing routine. A whole different set of rituals. I want what’s on the page to feel fresh, because it is a story being told in real time. I dated it back a year, but everything else is current, and I like the way it flows from one chapter to the next. When I don’t like something, I go back into earlier portions and write a new chapter, or I build upon something I started, but needed to take a break from. We all have days when the material is never-ending, and days when it lags. I am trying to stay on schedule with the current portions, because some of that material is easier to write. The schedule is my own. I am looking at what I have for October and November, and this should be ready for submission in early to mid-2023, providing I remain on pace. The timetable includes several rounds of editing and rewrites. Right now, the manuscript is pretty clean. Most of mine are.

A genuine benefit of having an editing background is that I see errors in everything. Not only in my own work, but in a brand new novel that just came out, a restaurant menu, a street sign, or a glaring continuity issue in something written for television, etc. I am constantly correcting something, or someone. I am also highly aware I have a terrible habit of correcting people as they’re speaking. Sometimes I do it mentally, but other times, it slips out. It’s an occupational hazard, not an intentional dissection of others. That’s a whole other ball game.

It’s a damn good idea to write what you know, but it’s also important to be realistic about what you don’t, in case you do decide to break out of your comfort zone. The work I have done for the past few years has been, one hundred percent, me coming out of my comfort zone and making myself uncomfortable as hell. I needed a challenge, so I gave myself several. I found a weak spot and I lunged for it like a tiger. There’s nothing wrong with feeling strong enough in your body of work to say, “I can do this.”, and then follow through.

Coming off of a holiday weekend here in the United States, I have been diligent at keeping myself writing. I thought this week, I might miss a few days, so I was tripling my word count for days. For now, I’m okay-ish.

My migraines have reached a critical point where the nausea, dizziness, and vertigo are out of control. A few weeks ago, I called to make an appointment with a specialist who is focused on migraine-related vertigo. I didn’t have to wait very long to get in, which was quite shocking. The first appointment was hearing and vision tests. No hearing issues; I can pretty much hear every pitch imaginable. The vision tests were nauseating, and I have not been the same since hot air was forced into my ears. Initially, there was some dizziness, but I’m less than forty-eight hours out of the tests and have fallen multiple times, injuring myself. The doctor was amazing and very kind and empathetic. We talked about how, if it’s not my ears, then it could be my nose, throat, or a deeper inner ear issue closer to the brain. Clearly, it’s something and not a simple connection. I’ve already been told I will likely be sent an order for a brain MRI. I’ve been begging my headache specialist to order one for far too long, so to have someone run tests and not waste my time is so crucial. I meet the actual specialist at the end of the month, and as long as he has all the tests in front of him, I will potentially start a treatment plan at the end of September, and that’s more than reasonable. I do expect to be sent to a regular ENT specialist, as well, but I am grateful that when I called, there was no real wait time to get started. That’s extremely rare, and coming across someone who specializes in this is equally as rare. I just have to see how it plays out these next few weeks/months, and hope there’s help around the corner. Basically, getting an accurate diagnosis so I don’t end up with broken bones would help tremendously.

What else is going on that I can share? Oh, that’s right; it’s private AF and I might never talk about it. I know some of my friends have caught on, but for the most part; I’m writing. I juggle it differently these days, but I get it done EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. In case no one has mentioned it before, that’s the job.

Let’s roll into Fall, everyone. September 23rd will be here before you know it! Special thanks to all the new readers; I see you. 😉

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino-Molchanova & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

The Art of Storytelling

Nonfiction is where I shine. When you’re obscenely direct as an human-being, to the point where your honesty has been called, “intimidating” by others, you should stick with what you know and what you are solid at. Over a decade ago, I decided to test myself and began writing fiction. I think my migraines got worse as a result.

Fiction is a whole other beast for a person whose primary focus is honesty. It’s the curveball you’re not expecting when you step up to the plate. It is challenging. Perhaps that’s part of the allure. I’m the type o personality which will tell you to throw the fucking ball right at me. I’ll catch it or I won’t, but more often than not, I’m catching.

I had written a solid starter novel which I ended up shelving because I felt like it had already been done so many times before. No one wants to write a cliche, even though they sell. I now know the timing of my work coincides with some current life events. Despite my ability to tell a story differently and my OCD attention to detail, I realize now it did nothing to boost my confidence as a writer, because fiction is not my safe space. I live in my head enough that fiction should be incredibly easy, but it isn’t. I have no shame in admitting that.

Slowly, over the past six months or so, I started parceling out parts of that starter novel to other projects. I had written so many fantastic scenes, and another writer had told me to save everything. “Write more than you know you will need, because those scenes can always be used up the road.” She was right, and it was something I’d been doing my entire career. I always save partially written scenes and see them come alive months, or years, later. I draft so many ideas which are brilliant in the moment, as many writers do, but when something nudges me and tells me the story needs to be written, and I have to tell it, that’s when I make a concerted effort to listen to that message. When I need a break, I take a break. I come back to the material in a fresh way, and it always feels better when I do. I like coming back to several hundred pages and being so involved in the story, I completely forget I wrote it. For me, that is what a gifted storyteller does.

I’m working on something new right now. It’s one of those things I began writing out of nowhere about a week and a half ago. I found myself inspired by very specific honesty, integrity, and energy, and decided to put ink to paper. Essentially, I wanted it to be larger than life.

The art of storytelling is to tell the story your way; leaving the opinions of others where they belong. It’s a different way for me to use my voice, and still share and discuss issues I deem important. I pulled myself out of a box and opened up on a level I am proud to put on a page.

I’ve written twenty-three thousand words, thus far. None of which I’d cut (I’ve already done some of that.). These characters are so unlike those I’ve written before. I wanted to be more inclusive, and so far, so good. It requires going into a different head space, but that’s part of what I like about it. I want the cultures and flavors to be present from cover to cover.

I’ve learned so much about myself while exploring fiction as an alternative avenue. One of the most important things is to make sure you’re telling a story for the right reasons. I looked at my typical lead characters and decided to switch shit up in a big way; which is deeply important to me. It adds depth to the storytelling. I want those first few pages to grab you, and this is something I’ve always been able to do. Grab someone’s attention for the full ride.

I find all of this works best when you have someone to refer back to as inspiration. I lucked out there, and had been a bit blind without realizing it, which is mentally and emotionally embarrassing. I’m grateful for the enlightenment, though. I can only describe it as a soulmate moment. I have nothing else to compare it to, other than the automatic knowledge that you’ve met someone who is part of your journey, whether it’s permanent, from a past life, or a soul acknowledgement. You feel it from head to toe. You automatically know things you shouldn’t know. You can read them as though you’re looking in a mirror. This has happened to me a handful of times, but this feels so much deeper, and it’s impossible to ignore.

Being able to see something so serious through someone else’s eyes is an important aspect of both personal and professional development. I want to say the absolute lack of aggression and hostility is what hit me the most. The approach had zero malice. The kindness, compassion, emotional intelligence, and deep empathy reached my soul, and I know I am a better person for paying attention and listening. I am still listening, and will continue to do so, because the lens is clear for me now, where before, I couldn’t connect. The inability to connect was completely on me, but again, the approach had a lot to do with my receptiveness. I rarely connect with a person on such a level, but when I do, it is deeply meaningful. I always ask for guidance, and the Universe heard me loud and clear.

Writing multicultural characters helps me connect with my own cultures, as well as those which are currently foreign to me. It broadens the horizons. I have always connected through my love of languages, art, architecture, and individuals who are great guideposts. I feel good, and proud, of the work on the page. I put a lot of truth into fiction, and I’ve addressed issues which I’ve remained quiet about because I never felt it was my place to speak on behalf of things which were not in my wheelhouse. I was not indifferent, I simply felt the need to take a small step back and observe. I don’t jump on bandwagons. I educate myself fully before I mention anything, and if I have questions, I would much prefer to do the research or talk to someone who is more knowledgeable on a matter than I am. I don’t ever want to come from a place of ignorance or say something hurtful to someone. It’s not who I am as a person, and it isn’t the kind of writer I am, either.

In a lot of ways, this year did not go as planned, and there’s still five months to go. I have been stalled, like many other people, regarding major business decisions and steps I intended to take long before Covid hit. However, other things have shown me how far I’ve come from 2021 to 2022. My priorities, relationships, and business acumen have all shifted greatly. I allow myself to set larger goals, even when they make me a little nervous.

I received an e-mail last week to let me know I’d been nominated for an award, and I am humbled by this. My presence on Instagram has exploded. I dialed it back on Twitter. I update less often, so I know the award is based on different aspects of my content. I try to create things that matter, inspire, and bring people together. I try to inspire the way I’d like to be inspired. Inevitably, I’ll make mistakes. No one is perfect, but I am highly aware of my faults.

During a conversation last week, I was informed how good I am at being hard on myself. This was during a video chat and I responded by saying, “I can’t believe you just said that to me!”, because it came out of left field. The response I got was, “Oh shit, did I say that out loud?” The person I was talking to actually ducked in the middle of that exchange, as if he thought I was going to throw something at him. That moment of humanizing me and letting me know that yes, I’m a perfectionist and it’s both a blessing and a curse, but it does make me more self-aware, was actually helpful, even though we were both laughing, which sort of defeated the purpose of the point he was trying to make. It was deeply acknowledging, though, and I do appreciate a person who has truly taken the time to get to know me, being able to have lighthearted moments with me, and no, I wouldn’t have thrown anything at him. The playfulness of the exchange really makes me laugh even now. It’s so similar to a sibling dynamic, but this is someone I have great respect for, and I have seen from day one, how much he respects me and my insight. Knowing what a positive, healthy relationship it is gives me that push to be fiercer each day.

When a person acknowledges how prolific I am in my writing, and how I will always have great ideas and opportunities… It’s so complimentary and supportive. It’s even more supportive when the same person says, “You have grown so much since the day I met you. You are worlds away from who I was first introduced to, and you have every right to be proud of that because you show up and you do the work.” That’s special. I don’t see myself the way others do, so I’ve received a lot of feedback of late that was so loving and supportive, and maybe it was a small confidence boost professionally, but more so on a personal level.

Like anyone else who is going through a lot, but who is also taking time out of a day to write for 12+ hours, I feel closer to a few of my larger goals.

Here’s to better days, brighter tomorrows, and all the inspiration a person can hold in their head and heart. Have a good weekend, my people. 😊

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino-Molchanova & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

I Can’t Believe This Needs To Be Said

It’s all black spots around my vision right now. The entire week has been a struggle and a daze for me. Yes, I’ve shared a few things on social media this week and made sure my website was updated; but that doesn’t mean I’m all right! I’ll respond to people when I can. I will write something significant when things feel less like constant emotional vertigo. I know my reaction is a trauma response and I have work to do, but I also know I can’t stare at a blank screen and force anything out of myself. I’m mentally, physically, and emotionally sick to my core.

I appreciate the few who reached out to ask if I’m okay or if I need anything, mostly my writing colleagues. I was genuinely touched by the sense of community and affection sent in my direction. It touched my heart.

When you try and process senseless loss, you also begin to see your circle more clearly. Unfortunately, mine needs a broom and hockey stick, and I have learned to be okay with clearing house when necessary. I’m a different person than I was when I last lost someone important to me. The mind does things to protect you without your realizing it, until the mental floodgates open. The body truly does keep the score, and the brain goes into self-preservation mode. This time around, I’ve gone into protection mode because I am always the protector of everyone I love. Loyalty is important. Some people have no intentions of riding out storms with you, and that’s okay. Better people do come along, and they stay. They listen. They hear you even when you’re not speaking. They care. They don’t take shit personally. Those are your tribe members; love them hard. 🖤💙💜

She Had Always Found Villains More Exciting…

“She had always found villains more exciting than heroes. They had ambition, passion. They made the stories happen. Villains didn’t fear death. No, they wrapped themselves in death like suits of armor! As she inhaled the school’s graveyard smell, Agatha felt her blood rush. For like all villains, death didn’t scare her. It made her feel alive.” ―Soman Chainani

Three

“La tristesse durera toujours.” [The sadness will last forever.] ―Vincent van Gogh

The past four plus days have been a nightmare. First, I ignored a very obvious death sign. I won’t explain it since most people are not believers, but it shakes me to my core. Between Thursday and Sunday, I lost three people. Two old friends, and a relative. I am upset about the former, but the latter really took me down. I haven’t really stopped crying, and I am NOT the person who reacts like this to loss, either. I’m not the crying type. My eyes are swollen, though, and my head is on fire from a migraine I simply cannot shake. Someone needs to make sure I never drink two shots of espresso in anything, for as long as I live. 🤦‍♀️

I believe in the preservation of life and memories. I have a photo of Tim and I in my jewelry case. I was never sure how it got in there, but I am glad it’s with me. It reminds me of a previous life and career. Losing Dave startled me; he was actually the first person in this terrible cycle of loss, to pass away. Both of these individuals were friends of the family and treated me like a damn Queen in every situation. They will be missed. My Great-Uncle, Uncle, and two cousins should be up there to greet them, along with the many other friends we lost along the way.

Losing a relative who did nothing but love you is very hard. She was the last mother figure with family ties that I had. The last person who truly saw me for who I am and accepted me so completely. So yes, the sadness will last. For those who may have wondered, YES, this triggered me badly. I am retraumatized as someone who has already lost her own mother. If a few people hadn’t cared about me these last few days, I’m not sure where I would be in all of this.

This year, my best friends have both lost their mothers. One lost her father 3-4 weeks prior, as well. It’s something I can only be supportive about because I have lived it, and their experiences are different from my own. Coming from a place of experience, you can often help others navigate the pain, or simply listen to them. I wish I’d had that kind of support, but I can give it.

The Traumatic Journey: Part I

I’ve been quiet for what seems like forever, and anyone who knows me knows I use my platform to communicate and inform; even if my subject matter isn’t popular.

It’s likely obvious to my regular readers that I am going through some heavy shit. I am. Unfortunately, I am also numb to a lot of the things other people are talking about right now. Not because I lack empathy or compassion; neither is true. I am trying to work through a 747 full of trauma, and through that journey came more trauma, and more, until I reached a breaking point.

Let me be clear: I’m okay. I am on the other side. Mostly, I am angry, in a lot of pain, and trying to be strong. A lot has been going on for me, and it will come out in the pieces I am writing, just not all at once.

I am coming off of a fresh set of nerve blocks and once again, I am sorry I did it. Once I feel better, I get to begin to fight for occipital nerve blocks. My doctor has already heavily documented occipital neuralgia in my chart, but my insurance has refused to pay for these injection sites, claiming they are experimental. They aren’t. She actually told me not to fight for it. Any doctor who would say that to me clearly doesn’t know me very well. I know it’s a covered procedure. The nerve blocks they immediately agreed to pay for are actually far more expensive than the one’s they don’t want to pay for. It makes NO sense, and I’m nothing if not a fighter.

This was my third time getting supraorbital nerve blocks. These hurt like I cannot explain. There are multiple injections, and they go under and into the brow bone on both sides. Because of the dose, it’s not quick. You’ve got a needle jammed into your bone for a good 45 seconds or so. The majority of my facial structure is bone, as so observed by my doctor. For me, I then have to apply pressure because these locations bleed heavily. There are a few which go into the supratrochlear nerve, a series goes into muscles in my shoulders, and she chose to add extra starting at the top of my spine, under my hair, going 3/4’s down the spinal column where I already have arthritis and Lord only knows what else, because my doctors won’t order additional tests if an x-ray will do. If she didn’t give me the medication, she’d have to throw it out. They are paying for an entire vial of medicine, but telling her not to give me a particular set of injections. One day she mentioned, in her frustration, how she is forced to account for every drop of medication she tosses, and how it’s incredibly wasteful for them to only pay for small amounts of these medications, and then ask her to throw it out. My nerve blocks are steroid free and are supposed to last 6-12 weeks. I was asked to give it a year before I say yes and continue, or decide to stop them. I don’t know where I stand on this moving forward. It’s a lot of work suffering from chronic migraines and worse with a spine that’s badly damaged. I’m definitely not having any fun on that level. 🙄

As she was injecting my shoulders and spine, my doctor told me she could feel how tight the muscles are. Mind you, I am also on long-term muscle relaxers for a full body experience. I’m careful with them because too many, “relaxing” medications can cancel each other out. If I don’t take them, I can’t always move, and if I do take them, I don’t always feel them working. 😔 I worry they will be taken away because so many doctors are making pain patients choose between treating our pain and treating our mental health. It is wrong, and I am vehemently against any doctor who tries to pull this on anyone. Mental health IS healthcare, and if doctors ask you to choose, find another doctor. The fear-mongering in medicine has got to stop. I’m sick of it, and I know I am not alone.

Much of the time, I factor in how long I’ve suffered from migraines. It will be twenty-five years in December. That’s a long time to suffer from anything, but imagine daily migraines. I was given my diagnosis at my very first appointment, a diagnosis most people wait 1-5 years to get. I tried all the usual suspects medication-wise, and they failed me. Each time a new symptom surfaces, I hesitate to bring it up with my doctor. I asked about a medication I had never heard of and she shifted her tone and behavior immediately, because the medication in question is a narcotic abortive nasal spray. I’m glad she decided she, “Won’t be prescribing THAT,”, but I wanted to say, “What if it REALLY helps me? What if that drug is the only medication to stop my suffering?” She was so dismissive, she wouldn’t even look at me. I immediately felt less trusting, overall.

Most doctors require a reminder of the Hippocratic Oath when they make such bold refusals. “Do no harm.” They absolutely, be it intentionally or unintentionally, ARE harming their patients. I have seen things in my medical record that make me want to scream. So, many doctors are harming their patients, en masse. As is the government, which needs to get the fuck out of my health care, as well as the insurance companies. Our pain is a political business to them, nothing more. All they care about is money, and if you don’t believe me, look into how much the government paid for your Covid vaccinations. They don’t come cheap. Doctors at hospitals are on salary and insurance, along with the government, dictates what they can and cannot prescribe. That is NOT okay. Pretty soon, they will be regulating alcohol and killing off millions of dependent alcoholics. Just like with pain patients, the only people who care will be those who get left behind. And the brands who depend on the business. It could all come crashing down.

I am frustrated as hell living with multiple diagnoses of pain disorders and only having a tiny percentage being looked after. Something I take, as needed, might be causing serotonin syndrome. I have to stop taking it, and this is something that costs a fortune out-of-pocket, until I speak with my doctor, who will almost certainly run lab work to make sure I’m not in the rare danger-zone. My symptoms indicate I might be, and that’s scary as hell.

The more I deal with medical professionals, the more I am marginalized and traumatized. It’s a system that is irreparably broken. It is rife with systemic racism and people who never should have gone to medical school in the first place because they have mind-blowingly limited knowledge in their chosen field. If you can’t do a little bit of everything and truly care about your work and how you are perceived by your patients, then please go the world an epic favor by going into a different line of work. We don’t need anymore crappy doctors. You’re embarrassing the few good doctors we’ve got!

With all of this going on, I am also working on two manuscripts. I wanted to make them a Spring/Summer project to see which one would be near completion by the end of October. They both have enormous potential, but I’ve written double the word count on one, whereas the other is about seventy thousand words. If either starts to get on my nerves, I’ll work on the dark urban fantasy material, instead. Because I’ve been in such crippling pain, I have written and read a lot less this year, but I am trying to get my shit together on that. Even if it’s just to challenge myself to get two thousand words written a day, that’s reasonable. Others would say to start at a page, but I am experienced enough to know I can accomplish the higher word/page count. There will be days when I double, triple, or quadruple on this, and days when a page will be enough. Know yourself, know your limits. It’s not dissimilar to the days when I’ve walked eight miles and it takes me a week to recover. There was a time when I wouldn’t stop until after dark, but those days are long-gone. Coming to terms with that, with the loss of complete health… It’s not easy. For people to insinuate that anyone enjoys suffering is just plain sad. For them. For the warped mind who dares to go against every doctor you’ve had to struggle through, for every diagnosis you’ve fought for. There’s a special place in hell for people of that nature.

And on that cheerful note, I’m on my way for now. I’ll be back as soon as possible.

Have a good week, everyone.

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

Black New Moon In Taurus

Closing out the month of April on a high-ish note. Change is coming, and I am preparing for it to the best of my ability. This month was rough, and I am trying to recover to avoid issues with trauma moving forward.

Anyone who has been reading my work for more than a year knows May is a difficult month for me, filled with loss, mourning, and more tragedy than any one person should have to endure. I am hoping this year, it’ll be far more positive. To start, a very close friend is moving to the area and I look forward to spending time with her and (finally!) having some fun, as well as mutual respect and appreciation. Most of my closest friends live overseas, so it’s not like I can call them and ask if they’d like to see a movie, go hiking, shopping, or simply have dinner together. It’s a luxury and a privilege to have my friends close at hand, so I am excited she will be here soon. 😊

If I’ve learned anything in life, it is to go where I am most appreciated and valued. Anyone who chooses not to see the real me is someone I do not want, or need, in my life. They can take their negative energy and vile attitude somewhere else. I don’t deserve the bullshit, and yes, I am working on a piece where this subject will come up. I don’t play games and I’ve reached my boiling point. Unfortunately, I have simply been too sick the last few weeks to complete what I’ve been writing, but I assure you I’m getting there. Slowly, but surely.

Bright Blessings, one and all.

Sinking

The precise word I’ve used to describe the hell I’ve been going through is, “Sinking.” I say this to my doctor at least twice a month; “I’m sinking.” He gets a confused/torn look on his face and tries to distract me with questions. I’m thisclose to losing my patience. 🙄 I worry that one day, I will not employ a filter and will say, “You went to medical school to give me that face? I hate to inform you how ripped off you were.” Alas, I try not to be rude to the one person who, medically, has my back. I respect the fact that he doesn’t humor me, roll his eyes, or try to dismiss what I’m saying, but sometimes, I think we’ve collectively met a frustration moment because nothing is helping me.

Am I sinking right this second? Yes. I had a mental plan in my head for how today would go. I woke up early. Much earlier than I planned, so I shut off my alarm and started my day. I cooked a real breakfast, which seems like nothing special, but I am not always afforded the time and space to do this. Today, I was, and I feel healthier for starting the day without having my eating disorder screaming at me. I took care of Cat and Kitten (mostly because Kitten came looking for me a little before 5:00 a.m., but also because she was staring at me. Hard,). I responded to some business e-mails and found out a package will arrive today, one which was not expected to arrive until the 16th. Not bad. Then I started hearing potential construction. I figured maybe a neighbor was having gas or oil delivered, but when I checked and found all these trucks and equipment, I nearly lost my temper. My next door neighbor is having her driveway ripped up and expanded. Okay, great, but did they have to start working before 7:00 a.m.? 😡 They are also incredibly close to the property line, so I keep waiting for them to do something stupid, knock something out, or damage something. At this point, nothing would shock me. There are chunks of concrete just piled up on the street. I don’t want to assume they will remove it properly. I can’t be the only person agitated by this. They are taking up half the damn neighborhood.

Ultimately, this incident messed with my mindset. I had a panic attack from the noise, and now my adrenaline is dropping. Turns out, adrenaline crash is serious business. It made me realize I didn’t get enough sleep to do what I’d planned for today, and whenever I can’t do something, I feel worse than anyone could possibly imagine. I am going to give myself some time, and if I can do it, great. If not, I will add an additional hour to my prep time and do it tomorrow morning. Not ideal, but at least it will get done, and I can see how I feel when I leave the hospital.

I have to stop beating myself up when unplanned things trip up my anxiety or add to my stress levels. I’m not good with external noise. It’s reached trauma-level for me. I used to think I was being unfair with that, until a friend admitted she feels the exact same way and talked about how it affects her. I suddenly realized I’d been gaslit into thinking I was the problem. Mind you, I’m not outside attacking anyone or screaming. I’m just suffering in silence, and that’s unhealthy.

Over the past few days, I’ve received some texts and lengthy messages thanking me for various small gestures. That was nice (Wait, I’ll get there.), but having to turn down a standing invitation nearly made me tell one of these people that I will never, ever spend a holiday with them.

Let me preface this by saying that this person is a repeat offender and I’ve got no patience left to deal with the rudeness. A deeply disrespectful comment was made to me about a year or so ago by this person’s partner. Instead of putting this person in their place for how disrespectful they were to me, I moved into a place of, “This isn’t going to work out if I can’t be honest.” I’m tired of having to protect the other person from their spouse. I chose to say nothing, because sometimes silence is the only answer someone deserves. It’s not about being mean or manipulative, or even hurtful. Those thoughts don’t cross my mind because I know who I am and where I am coming from when I stop speaking to someone. The silence is more about someone crossing your boundaries and you deciding what’s best for your well-being. I decided it was best for me to back away even further, because I don’t need anyone’s toxic opinions or bullshit directed towards me. That’s not welcoming, that is behavior which instantly pisses me off and let’s me know that I will not be able to remain civil moving forward. Like I said, I know where I’m coming from. This person has no clue how I think/feel, and they don’t care. It’s not worth me turning it into an argument because there’s no peace to be had. I know this.

If I am, for example, having a horrible day (Usually pain related, but it can be other things affecting me, as well. I’m human,), it doesn’t give me the right to go out and be toxic towards others. It doesn’t give me the right to be a disrespectful bitch, either. It’s actually when I most need to withdraw from society, write, listen to music, cry, whatever I need in that particular moment, on that particular day. I give myself the space to honor me. I say nothing. I speak to very few people. Believe it or not, about ninety-eight percent of people don’t care about your feelings or what you’re going through. They care that they aren’t the one going through it if it’s bad, though, so it’s important to surround yourself with the two percent who actually give a damn about you, good or bad, no matter what. For me, that’s under ten people. I am okay with those numbers, because it’s honest. I see these people clearly, and their support and love comes from a genuine place.

One message I received sent me right back into a state of pure silence with a specific individual, after I rolled my eyes in disgust. It was a lengthy, “all about me and my life” kind of message, with a few lines asking about how I am doing. Three in total. If my phone wasn’t expensive (I feel like they ALL are, especially these days.), I would have thrown it across the damn room. I came away angered, irritated, and physically ill. This person is so fucking toxic, and my body responds negatively to interactions with them. I tend to keep them to the bare minimum, and I’ve actually ceased most communication. I’d sent a polite holiday card and received verbal diarrhea as my, “reward”. I have to make the decision to cease communications permanently. I have to put my health above their stupidity.

Sometimes, there are clear signs you need to cut a relationship off. You might try to hold off on this for days, weeks, months, or in this case, YEARS, but inevitably, you cannot continue on. Ten plus years and I am still trying to give this person chances. It is okay to acknowledge this and the fact that I can no longer do it.

It doesn’t necessarily matter who the person is, because if you feel sick after dealing with them in person, or you get physically ill after reading a message from them, then your body is keeping the score. Your vibration is rejecting their stupidity, selfishness, ego, attitude, or something else that you inherently CANNOT work with. It is completely fair to honor this about yourself.

I am moving in a different direction. I wish people well, but I can’t stay on their level. I have grown and I have leveled up. I can’t take myself down to their level whenever it suits them to deign to say something to me, and then be sick from giving them the benefit of the doubt or another chance. I’m not going to shrink myself to make anyone else feel better ever again. I deserve better, and they deserve to have people in their lives who vibrate on their lower level. It isn’t my responsibility to take care of everyone. I tried. I even asked someone if I was being fair and they said, “Lisa, you’ve been fair for twelve years. This is out of fucking control.”

I am many things, but I’m not a people-pleaser. I’m not going to gossip about anyone. I am not going to engage after you disrespect me or mine; that’s a line you don’t want to cross with me. I am not going to play into anyone’s victimization of self. I’m not going to constantly give someone chances to hurt, minimize, or disrespect me. I feel like that’s been a running theme lately, and I refuse to engage with it. I’m not going to permit ANYONE to re-traumatize me. I’m going to be stronger, smarter, and meaner. I’m going to be exceedingly discerning as to who I let get close to me on ALL levels. The door to my life is not open for newcomers. A spot at my table is a spot which must be earned. My time is valuable, and I won’t waste it on anyone who doesn’t understand that relationships are two people giving one hundred percent. Yes, there are times when you cannot do that, but you admit it instead of pretending.

I won’t be responding to anything or anyone while I focus on myself. I’m truly done giving out extra chances and opportunities. If people fall to the wayside as a result, that’s fine. I know who I am and what I bring to the table. This isn’t about being cruel or hurtful to anyone, as they have consistently chosen to be unacceptably rude to me, but it is about taking my power back. It’s redefining the term, “No.”, and sticking to it because these interactions affect my sanity. I deserve to let, “No.” be what it is. A complete sentence.

We’re currently in Aries Season♈, which is the first sign of the zodiac. For me, one means ‘New Beginnings’. I also look at the Hebrew aleph bet in a similar way. Aleph is the first letter and represents the number one in Kabbalah. One means starting from scratch, if you must, and rebuilding things in YOUR true vision. It’s the beginning of the zodiac wheel, and I take it seriously.

As the eighth sign of the zodiac, I am the embodiment of life, death, and rebirth. I might fall, but I’ll come back stronger. The actual symbol for this is tattooed on the top of my spine. You’ll sometimes hear people say we have four phases as Scorpion, Serpent, Eagle, and Phoenix, where others will omit the Serpent completely. I’m moving towards my phoenix phase. I can feel it. Others can see it in me. People have commented about my new energy or my good energy, usually people I don’t expect it from. That, in and of itself, is a positive thing.

Some people can see/read auras and some people simply pick up on a vibe from others. I saw auras more as a child, and I still see them around babies/infants and animals. Most animals are gold or silver, which to me, represents their pure natures. Babies might come up in lighter shades of purity, too. If I close my eyes, I can feel my aura is indigo and blue. Sometimes I can see the colors out of the corner of my eye. I don’t come across a lot of people who have these colors intensely attached to them. Sometimes I know there’s purple or yellow around me, or even grey or red. Not all colors are permanent aspects of one’s aura. Sometimes we will temporarily have an inauthentic color attached to our aura due to life circumstances, stress, illness, etc. The issues will pass and the color will leave. Anyone who talks about auras and their colors will see things differently and read color differently. I know someone who constantly talks about how rare pink auras are, but then declares every other woman pink. They will also say not all people are empaths, but will then declare every other person they read as an empath. That’s inaccurate, so I give myself space from people who don’t practice what they preach.

I’m moving towards physical, mental, and emotional betterment. I don’t have time for anyone who isn’t on the same frequency. I have to release all the negative energy which others have placed upon me in their journey towards whatever… A true empath knows it’s not his or her energy to own, but the ugly energy others have given out. It can cling to us like soap scum. Not only am I wearing sage perfume from here on in, but I’m done being the emotional dumping ground for people who cannot return my energy. I know my worth.

In life, sometimes silence and walking away is the healthiest choice you can make before officially cutting people off. Today, I’ve made my choice. I say goodbye to the energy and happiness vultures, for which there are many. I wish them growth and healing, just NOT with me in their lives. My journey no longer involves their presence.

I thought I had finally gotten a handle on my sleep, until Saturday night. I tossed and turned for three hours. I was then furious at the wasted time, so I got up and occupied my mind until I finally knew I would fall asleep. It was freezing, so Kitten was with me, trying to stay warm and still be close by. She was pacing in agitation, because she knows I’m not okay, and she tries to make sure she’s with me as much as possible, but to own a cat is to know that they will choose where they’re going to lie down and they will also choose who they will be with. Unfortunately, I don’t have the option of my current sleep cycle this week. I have four doctor’s appointments beginning tomorrow, one of which is an emergency appointment to rule out surgery. Only one is a video this week, which means I can stay home that day, so I am trying not to have a complete and total meltdown knowing I am dealing with so much. It brings a lot of anxiety to the surface, unfortunately. If you are lucky enough not to experience such feelings, that’s all well and good, but for those who do suffer from anxiety, we aren’t harming anyone. We’re struggling.

Two appointments this week are for in-office procedures. One hurts like hell, but isn’t a huge issue. I have experienced far worse pain, but it’s something done without anesthesia, and my doctor is exceptionally blasé about telling you how it will feel and how it will or won’t heal. She has repeatedly failed to provide information to me which she puts in my medical chart, which genuinely angers me. I only found out when her partner informed me during a Telehealth appointment, and he was very helpful and descriptive. I followed his instructions and was pleased that he got me in three months earlier than originally planned. I will likely say something about her lack of information this time because I’ve had enough. The other procedure requires at least two solid weeks of physical rest. It means adhering to little to no activity, except for walking (You live, you learn. When I rest, I don’t suffer constantly. If I don’t rest, I suffer terribly.). That’s if I get the okay from the orthopedic surgeon to walk on my injuries. I have no idea what he will or won’t say.

A little over two years ago, I fell and injured my right knee, foot, and ankle. I had fractured bones in my foot and there were some tears in various tendons in all areas. The doctor saw me about two weeks after I fell. He wanted me to make big changes to my footwear (I have.). He also wanted me to stay off of my right leg whenever possible, while still being realistic that even in pain, I have to move around. He was hopeful that it would heal on its own and I wouldn’t require surgery, but he was honest and made no promises. At the follow-up appointment, I was lectured that if I didn’t stay off of it more, I’d almost certainly require surgery. Inevitably, I left the office incredibly frustrated because I had truly stayed off of it to the best of my ability. Then Covid put us all into lockdown and my June follow-up was canceled. Without calling me, his office proceeded to cancel appointments for July, September, and then they didn’t bother to get back to me at all when they reopened. He was backed up with surgical patients, post-op appointments, etc. I let it go because I wasn’t in constant pain, but a few months ago, I felt things get bad again. I thought I’d sprained my ankle, but no, it was the whole knee, ankle, foot combination all over again. I have since done something to my left knee, as well. I was granted an appointment via their cancellation list, mostly because they saw that they’d canceled on me multiple times without an official notification of any kind. Mind you, I hurt myself in January of 2020. I don’t know what he’s going to say this time. He had initially prescribed high strength Aleve, and I still have most of the bottle. It simply isn’t strong enough. I’m not going to argue with him about it, but if surgery is involved, I am getting it in writing that my pain will be fully managed before, during, and after the fact. I am not playing the, “You need six months of physical therapy.” bullshit with him, or anyone else. I can’t even say how often I am using Magnesium Spray or topical lidocaine patches for temporary pain relief. I’ve barely made a dent in the bottle, but it feels like I use it way too often. On the plus side, it is fast-acting, as opposed to taking a daily supplement. It’s drying on the skin, but nothing a little extra moisturizer won’t fix. There are days when it is my saving grace. I try to use homeopathic remedies so long as they work, even though they aren’t covered by my insurance.

Having a week with a bunch of appointments squeezed together over the course of three days isn’t common for me. This happened and I had to give myself time to agree to it. I’ll feel a lot better when it’s over and I know more. At least I hope I will. A girl can still pray for good news and quality medical care.

So, that’s where I’m at this week. One hour at a time. I’ll be back, as I pray for a complete reduction of pain from head to toe.

Have a good week, everyone! 😊

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Chronic Insomnia & Trying To Combat Terrorism

I only have a few days to recalibrate before I have to force myself to function like a “normal” human-being. I can’t exactly walk into multiple doctor’s appointments and fall asleep, though that might help the message sink in for some of them. I’ve been trying so hard and today I failed. Epically. I hardly even know what day it is. All I know is that I was in bed last night by 8:45 PM. I was up after 2:00 a.m. due to pain and my cats waking me up, all upset. I couldn’t get the pain to calm down, so I waited for lidocaine and a muscle relaxer to kick in. Once they did, I was out like a light, and I stayed that way. That’s the most disturbing part; I remained asleep and would not have woken up without having a twelve pound cat jumping up onto my head, then to the floor, then back up. She finally made an alarming sound which jolted me awake, and I found myself feeding my cats and trying to figure out who/what/when/where/why and how. I still feel shaky and out of it. Then I saw the news, and I was sick to my stomach.

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. But I’m also sick of the violence directed towards Israeli citizens. Yes, it’s the only Jewish state in the world, but it is also home to Christians, Druze, Muslims, and people of other faiths. Every year, during Ramadan, Arabs attack in completely unprovoked ways and they kill people. Whether they themselves live or die, their families are then paid for the rest of their lives as long as a Jew was killed. That’s YOUR tax dollars, no matter where you live, paying a terrorist and their family. How does that make you feel? Are you sitting in comfort over your vote(s)?

For me, I don’t judge based on party affiliations. It isn’t my business and I don’t feel that politics should decide who my friends are, or aren’t, but the murdering of truly innocent people? Yes, that’s my business because those are my people. I would love to see the reaction of people all over the world if Jews suddenly took to the streets with guns, knives, swords, and other illegal weapons and just started taking people out. Here’s the truth; THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN. We’re civilized. We value life. We don’t have “Pay For Slay” programs, because we aren’t sick bastards. We are not evil. Let’s face it; terrorists are evil and they have no religion.

My prayers are with the city of Tel Aviv and those who lost loved ones and have injured loved ones. My prayers are with every single person who had to check in with family to make sure they were safe. Thirteen Israelis have been murdered in less than two weeks, and all I am seeing from the people I know is silence. It makes me question so much about people who claim to be activists or to care about humanity at large. You’ve chosen to leave certain groups out of your activism. That’s selective racism. I am paying attention.

While news comes in from those I know who ARE speaking up, I will experience another night as a chronic insomniac. Worrying about family and friends in so many different countries, all at once, is shattering. I’ll be close to my phone, hoping and praying for news that doesn’t kill more of my soul. Perhaps I’ll even get some work done, and yes, it might be the “too personal” kind, but certain things need to be said and I’ll be damned if I don’t speak up.

Setting my personal health issues aside, of which I’ll have to face some of them next week; I am a writer. I will always be a writer. It just so happens that this time around, the writer is pissed off. Never piss off a writer. We’ve got a way with words. Well, some of us, any way.

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.