Now Please, GO FUCK YOURSELF

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I heard back from Facebook this afternoon.

I apologize to anyone that followed the Poison In Lethal Doses page or that had me as a friend via the site (you still have me as a friend, and you should know how to find me via phone if we’re really close, or e-mail.).

I want everyone here to know that even after confirming my identity, they have made this claim:

- Your account must list your authentic name and birthday. (It IS authentic, as in FUCKING REAL. I think I know when I was born, it's on all my legal documents! Are we going to crack down on all the hate mongers and question their authenticity? How many people have bullied children into SUICIDE? You're seriously worried about ME being REAL? I am astounded. Is Facebook run by modern-day Nazi's?)
- Personal accounts must represent individual people only. It's a violation of 
Facebook policy to use a profile to represent anything other than yourself (ex: 
celebrities, pets, ideas, objects). (Who the FUCK was I "representing" other than myself?! If you can't tell me the truth about what I supposedly did, you're lying. I don't interact enough on there to have violated anything.)
- Using your account to repeatedly contact strangers for business or dating 
purposes is not allowed. (Yeah, because on top of everything else in my life, I am a hooker and JUST on Facebook. Seriously?!)

Further proof of Facebook's cancerous tumor resides with a writer's group I joined. I was not the only writer/editor in the group and pretty much every editor was looking for work. One in particular said "Will work to pay my rent." I know the problem resides here because as soon as I created a new account to apologize to anyone that might need to know my whereabouts, with the intention of deleting the piece of shit later on today, and joined the group, I was locked out of the new account almost immediately. You don't need to be a brain surgeon to be able to put two and two together.  

If you are a member of this group, be forewarned. I was one of the first 100 members and it has now grown to nearly 3000 people. Someone in that circle has issues, and everyone ought to be very cautious.

Thank you to Facebook for proving what I have always said about it. I apologize to the few people I actually supported wholeheartedly via the site. I will continue to follow you as I am able.

As for Facebook, GO FUCK YOURSELF. And please be advised that I will let anyone and everyone know what a bunch of !@#$suckers you truly are. 

Perhaps I will start a Poison In Lethal Doses Pinterest page instead. As far as I know, they seem to appreciate my honesty and whimsy.  

Love to you all, HONESTLY. 

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

Where The Hell Does The Year Go?

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Where The Hell Does The Year Go?

Every year I’m semi-amazed I’ve survived and gotten this far: Both in life and in the day-to-day struggle. I have a lot to be grateful for.

I’ve had an incredibly rough two years. The years before that were not perfect, some were horrific in their lack of kindness, many had their battles, but this past year has humbled me in ways I never thought possible. It is very easy to lose sight of what we have in life, basic things we should all have. It’s a little too easy to take those basics for granted, until they’re taken away for long periods of time.

I read so many things where people are going through difficult shit. I choose not to advertise my problems because I do have some semblance of privacy and dignity. I also don’t feel that’s what people come here for. I know I can bitch and be myself, but do I really want to dwell on that crap? No. I want things to get better, I want to be positive, and I want to move forward. By whining, you drown in your own crap. On top of being a disgusting visual, it’s also very negative and I don’t want that, for myself or for anyone else.

I am eternally grateful for being blessed with the ability to project my voice through the written and spoken word. As I watch so many people struggle with something that comes so easy to me, I can’t help but see the differences between art and mere words. I openly admit it leaves me frustrated with a lot of people at times.

The very small group of people that matter in my life: THANK YOU. You all know who you are. I am blessed with people who talk me down from my various ledges, entertain my insanity, listen to me, commiserate with me, support me, and are loyal with kind, caring, generous hearts. I respect and appreciate the lack of drama. I respect and appreciate your love, friendship, humor, and the things so many of you go out of your way to do to make me laugh, smile, and/or cheer me up. The thoughtfulness knows no boundaries. It is amazing to know that there are people who have my back, as opposed to those who would prefer to stab me in it. Please know how appreciated you all are. I have an outrageous amount of love in my heart for all of you.

It gives me an endless amount of professional pleasure and pride to be able to bring you “Poison In Lethal Doses”. Tomorrow marks 20 years of both my experience as an editor and the amount of time I have spent writing “Poison” pieces. It feels like it all just started yesterday. I’ve grown so much as a writer that I know time has passed, yet it feels surreal to me. What I used to do and what I do today are two very different beasts. The evolution is amazing for me to see.

2015 will challenge me in my personal and professional lives. I pray it is not quite as challenging for all of you because I would not wish aspects of my life on anyone, but I do hope it challenges you in positive ways that brings an abundance of happiness into your lives.

Ultimately, my vow is to be here and be present for all of you, and for myself. I vow to finish the unfinished and move forward with things that are of the utmost importance. On a smaller note, I am going to attempt to be 98% caffeine free by February. I would prefer to use it just when I have a migraine, as opposed to using it as a stress crutch.

Big things, little things, good things, bad things. No matter what, let us be grateful for it all and what it teaches us. Life is short. It’s not always easy, and it’s a very lonely place without someone in life to turn to that understands. Tonight, no matter what it is you’re doing or believe in, stop and say a little prayer for everyone that matters to you in life. It’s not about religion or belief systems, it’s about humanity. Once you lose sight of that, it’s all downhill, so I think it’s important to remain in touch with what makes you a human-being. While not the most friendly person on the planet, I still have compassion and empathy for others. I still make an effort. I am always present for those I care about, no excuses. Practice a random act of kindness, you’ll see how good it makes you feel as well, thus serving a dual purpose. That which you send out into the world comes back to you threefold. Make it count.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and safe New Year!

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

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Timing Is Crucial

Your voice is one of the most important tools you are given in life. Sadly, it is an under-utilized tool that we are born with.

While I do often say that sometimes people take “freedom of speech” way too far, I also believe that far too many believe hold back for fear of what others will think and say.

One of my best friends admonished me for pulling yesterday’s piece, saying that I should not have to edit myself to appease other people’s issues. I agree, but since this is a newer platform, maybe next year would be a better time to bring up the points I would like to make, and by then, there might be additional like-minded people who wouldn’t be hurt by opinions and basic facts. However, while she’s right about me holding back my voice so as not to stir up drama, I also believe there’s a time and a place, for everything. Yesterday wasn’t the right time, but this will always be the place.

I’ve been accused of having “no filter”, and that’s partially true. I will filter myself in public to some extent, and I will filter myself in a room full of people who I don’t know, but I will still adhere to some basic principles. One of which is: Always be yourself. So many people worry what others will think of them, for one thing or another. I don’t. In fact, if you’re reading this and you DO worry about what people think of you, stop right now.

Ask yourself if other people’s opinions truly matter at the beginning and end of each day. I assure you, they do not. Opinions do not make or break you. What matters most is how you feel about yourself. It’s not ego, it’s not cockiness, it’s confidence and grace. Know thyself, and in doing so, be true to yourself. Don’t tell yourself negative things because that’s what others tell you. For one, it’s unhealthy and two, it’s what I call “self-abuse”.

When your inner voice (not your intuition, but your internal dialogue) turns against you and whispers negativity in your head, tell it to fuck off. I’m not kidding, tell it to fuck off. Do not allow yourself to take any of that negativity to heart. If you do, you’ll spend a lifetime with self-doubt and you’ll spend a fortune on therapy that could be better spent elsewhere.

Ultimately, it comes down to judgement. It’s your call. Speak up and speak out, be yourself, and live a more fulfilling life. In the same vein, sometimes you have to know when to let something rest. Just because you file something away for another time doesn’t mean you have failed in any way. It’s important to know when the time is truly right, even if for something as simple as the written word.

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

There Are Days

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There are days, weeks, months even, when I have absolutely nothing to say. It doesn’t mean I’ve shut down or that the thoughts and ideas in my head have stopped, it simply means I’ve got nothing to say. Sometimes it’s very individualized. I have friends I speak with regularly that I do not tire of, and others where I feel like they’re so dramatic and heavy, that I often need a break from them. This goes for family as well. Sometimes, you just need to step away and step back, even if only to give yourself some breathing room. In some situations, you need more breathing room than you do with others.

It takes a special kind of person to know when I am joking, when I’m being serious, when I need space, comfort, etc. Too many people think they’re so incredibly funny when they aren’t, or they think they’re kidding when what they’ve just said is a truly unhealthy thing to say to someone like me.

This isn’t a sensitivity issue. I have my moments, we all do, but mostly I’m soft with who I choose to be soft with and I am harder with those who have proven they do not deserve a softer side. Some people get a blend because that’s truly me. I’m a multi-faceted individual, I suspect many people are. However, I try to read very little into others because most people are just trying to be nice or polite. Others… Others have ulterior motives and they’re ugly.

There’s something about the holiday season that can either bring out the beauty in people or the ugliness. Right now, I am seeing a whole lot of “Run and hide!” I have no idea how people contain their crazy for 11 months out of a year and then unleash it for a mere four weeks, somehow magically reining it back in on December 31st. That’s a level of crazy I can’t comprehend. I don’t do multiple personalities in the sense that a person suppresses all of their issues for so long that they unleash it towards the end of the year like a bomb just went off. Not my deal.

I do think that when large quantities of alcohol are involved, people often use that as an excuse to be free with their words. I don’t. Whatever I say to you when I am sober is the exact same thing I’d say if I was having a glass of wine. I’m not a big drinker, but alcohol doesn’t change my personality in any way, shape, or form. I’d rather just say what needs to be said than later say I was a bitch because I had too much to drink. No, that’s not an acceptable excuse or reason to bring out the bitch card. I don’t care what time of year it is. If you’re going to drink to excess, make sure you have a reliable, safe designated driver or cab fare with you.

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So, what am I doing right now? I am rocking out with a good station on Pandora Radio and trying to come up with some ideas for this lousy weather. Heavy rain is much more preferable to several feet of snow, but amid all this unpleasantness, my crazy ass has to hit the grocery store. In pain, on no sleep, and on empty thoughts. On the plus side, I did make a list when I WAS able to think clearly, so all I have to do is find it and toss it into my purse otherwise it’s pointless. The rain is a good excuse to not wear anything too nice since I will come home having to throw everything right into the washing machine. Trust me, it could be worse. I’m counting my blessings and taking the time to get my brain focused. I hope this fogged brain clears up soon. I can deal with a lot of things, but this is just plain weird, even for me.

I hope everyone is having a good start to their week. I am sure many of you are finishing up (or just starting) your holiday shopping. I was notified a few days ago that I am “expected” to get my brother a gift. All of a sudden?! I honestly want to tell him to go fly a kite. I am being hounded several times a day about this “gift”. What do you get for the person who appreciates little to nothing? Do not for a single second think I have not received extensive e-mails about this, all of which included links and instructions, because, in his eyes, I’ve never purchased a gift before in my life. <rolls eyes> Normally I do all the gift-giving and he does NOTHING, so to say I am annoyed would be a vast understatement. I have been informed that I am not only expected to give him a gift, but I am also charged with preparing a meal for the holidays. “I’ll help.” are the famous last words of ANYONE I know. I don’t like anyone else in my kitchen and I can’t stand anyone standing over me while I am working. Moreover, I have no ideas on what to make.

Chanukah food, traditionally, is predominantly deep fried or lightly fried, and unless someone else is doing all that deep frying, I don’t want to be involved at all. The thought of all that oil makes me want to gag. There’s nothing appetizing about any of it, so I guess I’ll just have to wing it next week at the last minute. I pray I am able to figure it out and that it won’t drain the rest of my life force.

I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted beyond words. All I truly want is quality rest. I know I’m not the only one hoping & praying for this very simple request. Bad weather is poison to Fibromyalgia. So while I love the silence of a rainy day and what it provides me, I do not love the way it makes me feel.

And off I go… Maybe to read until the rain dies down a bit more.        

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

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Thoughts Through Other Eyes

I am tired in a soul-deep, bone-deep way that I can’t quite explain. I know it is borne out of doing too much, too fast, without proper rest. Sometimes I forget that I have limitations due to Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain and I simply want my normal life back. In turn, I suffer for every move I make in ignoring said limitations. Simply put, it BLOWS.

I hurt from the very top of my spine, which, by the way, is where my tattoos begin (Yes, right underneath my hair down a portion of my spine. Believe me when I say, they did not hurt. The entire experience was very positive. It felt more like being scraped repeatedly as opposed to actual pain, and who better to know the difference than someone who experiences pain 24/7? I sat for close to two hours. I have heavily inked male friends who told me their own ink in the exact same spot hurt like hell and had to be done in 2-3 sessions. They have less on their spine than I do.), all the way to the center of both feet. I’ve done a LOT this week. Now, all I want to do is get this mind-numbing headache and unbelievable stomach pain to stop so I can SLEEP. I’d also like someone to feed and water my girls, so I don’t have to get out of bed unless I really want/need to. What are the chances of the latter happening? Slim to none, and unfortunately Slim is very easily distracted.

I survived Thanksgiving, and did every single thing I set out to do in terms of cooking and baking. YAY! Of course now, I am happy to sit in front of my laptop or the TV for the next week, only moving when absolutely necessary.
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An interesting job presented itself recently. I would get to use my little-used Russian in editing a pretty large manuscript. It sounds great, and yet, I need a few days to sleep on it. Yes, someone else could get the job instead, and that can happen no matter what, but it made me take a good look at my list of spoken and learned languages. I’m actually a lot smarter than I let on, but I’ve always had to be.
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When you’re a writer, people judge you based on the work you present to them. I think this is true more so now than ever before, but at times, it doesn’t seem to matter at all if you’re presenting absolute crap, which is insulting to me.

You can walk into a business meeting looking like Stephen King, so long as the material is brilliant, no one will care. They might whisper about you amongst themselves later on, but they’re truly looking at the manuscript above all else. As a woman, it’s different. You have to be presentable enough that when you’re photographed for the inside and/or back cover, you don’t completely disgrace your entire gender. I cannot tell you how many times someone has told me how pretty a writer is when all I could think was “But is her work any good?” Not in a catty or bitchy way, but in a genuine “Unless we’re talking about Angelina Jolie, I don’t care what she looks like” way. I want what I read to be of a specific level of quality. I want it to capture and intrigue me. I don’t care what the author looks like. However, I have noticed that a great many people do.

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The flip side of this particular coin is that more and more authors now attend San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con, along with similar types of events all over the world. There is a lot more social media interaction with readers and as much face-to-face interaction as you (and your publisher) see fit. Being comfortable in your intelligence and knowledge isn’t always easy when you’re, technically, competing for the attention of those very same readers because Jennifer Lawrence or Eva Green are also in the building promoting a highly anticipated film. Truth be told, I’d rather sit and listen to Eva Green too, but that’s just me. I’m slightly fascinated by her and have been for a good 8 years or so.

I don’t know a lot of writers that are absolute extroverts. I know a lot of very shy, quiet, introverted writers who can be extroverts for short periods of time, in the right company. While not exactly shy, I am definitely on the quieter side most of the time. If you happen to be discussing something interesting or something I am knowledgeable about, I MIGHT chime in, I might not. However, of late, I’ve noticed I’m getting some odd attention in public settings.

For the most part, but really only face-to-face, women talk to me purely about superficial things. Hair, skin, the nail polish I have on, my tattoos (Because I completely forget that they’re there and that they’re visible. I apply sunscreen to them, that’s the extent of my awareness most days,), make-up, perfume, etc. Men, on the other hand, ask different questions and approach you differently. I try very hard to be focused in my day-to-day life, but there are many days where I truly don’t want to have any type of debate while on line at the bank or discuss the price of gas, oil, milk, eggs, etc. I do not have “Has all the answers” on a t-shirt or my forehead, and yet, this happens to me constantly.

I like for my work to speak for itself, but I absolutely make an effort at putting my best face forward. I’d prefer for someone to judge me based on my work and who I am as a person, but I know that’s not how life works. Women are harshly critiqued on their appearance. It’s not something I’ve ever liked and I like it even less now. However, I realize we are all guilty of it to some extent.

By all means, be disappointed in something that doesn’t screw with someone’s self-worth and self-confidence, but don’t attack others for what is, in all honesty, a quirk of nature. If you’ve ever said something to someone that sent them running to a plastic surgeon to “fix the problem”, maybe you should take a closer look at yourself because raining your issues onto others is one of the most unattractive things one can do.

Just not lest ye be judged. Be true to yourself and don’t worry about anything or anyone else.

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

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A Short Week

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A Short Week

As we steadily approach Thanksgiving here in the States, it means a short work week for many, and for others, it means a miserable time of year where you have no choice, BUT to work because you work in a mall or an individual store that will be absolutely PACKED as of Thursday afternoon or early evening. Retail employees should be paid quadruple during this time of year, it makes me cringe knowing the conditions they are forced into and the schedules that take them away from their families.

I know some people think I am “so lucky” to work for myself. In some ways, this is true. I set my own hours and I choose the jobs I want, but it also means I have to work my tail off on every single job, or I am completely unable to pay my bills. Some years are definitely better than others. Here’s hoping the holiday season leaves me booked solid, and with some decent eBay sales to help keep me moving in the right direction.

I’m still not feeling great. Today was pretty awful, so I am glad I took the time to rest and focus on myself for a little while, without pressuring myself and allowing negative thoughts to enter my mind.

Sometimes I think if we keep moving forward, we move towards better things, better people, better situations, inevitably moving towards the finish line of each goal we set.

May every goal you set for yourself, however large or small, not be hell to attain.

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

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Retailers Should Really Be Ashamed Of Themselves

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Retailers Should Really Be Ashamed Of Themselves

October hadn’t even ended and the few stores I walked into were full of Christmas trees, decorations, candy, and “special, early shopper prices”. I hate this time of year.

I don’t do Christmas. You will not find green & red anywhere in my home and you most certainly will not see a tree, lights, tinsel, et al. I won’t even “celebrate” it at someone else’s home. I celebrate Chanukah (Kuddos to Target for the most awesome Chanukah decor. I could easily have bought all of it, it was truly beautiful stuff. The nicest I have seen in years.) & Yule. Chanukah is centered around family, treats, sweets, and the miracle of oil lasting for eight nights, instead of one. If you don’t know the story of the Maccabees, Google it. I can probably look forward to a box of much wanted books, but I do not expect anything else on the gift front.

Yule is the Winter Solstice. It’s also the day I buried my father, so it’s hard on me. The two holidays coincide this year, but because I’m having an especially rough year I am not doing gifts for anyone, including myself. This has been my commandment of the past two years: Don’t spend money on anything extra that is not truly necessary. I’ve done well.

Every retail outlet in America will have you believing you need new EVERYTHING, and that you need it all RIGHT THIS SECOND. Between TV’s, computers, cell phones, tablets, and a plethora of other gadgets, billions of dollars will inevitably be spent no matter what. I know way too many people who spend thousands of dollars they don’t have on gifts for everyone and their Great-Uncle, and they don’t even like 9/4’s of the people they’re giving gifts to, they simply feel obligated. When their credit card statements arrive in January, they are filled with shame, remorse, and the simple fact that they are now seriously in debt, and for what?!

I’m more of a gift card kind of gal. I like choosing my own gifts, unless you’re going to Sephora, in which case, you can’t go wrong on anything (I’m joking, sort of.), but when it comes to giving, I like to do something for a person that they probably wouldn’t do for themselves. I don’t ever put a price tag on my best friends, God-daughter, or my Aunt. With my brother, I do have to limit him into a reasonable category because he always asks me for insane things. I don’t remember what I got him last year, but I do know he got exactly what he wanted/asked for, and that I spent next to nothing because I found both items on eBay for a steal. It DOES pay to shop around for the best price.

I really enjoy the quality and uniqueness of gifts on Etsy. I have bought everything from hand-crafted jewelry, sugar scrubs, and laptop cases, all the way to homemade fudge & plants for my Aunt’s garden, and pretty much everything has been great. Several pieces of jewelry were for me, and I wear them religiously. I bought an amazing leather wallet one year, and I love it to pieces. It’s got a great rock ‘n’ roll edge to it that makes it so unique looking. I’m not the least bit embarrassed to pull it out of my purse. I highly recommend doing a very thorough search of that site if you want items that are unique and affordable. Most people are taking orders now in advance of the holidays to guarantee timely delivery, and I understand that because they’re one person businesses. That’s different.

Retailers are disgustingly greedy, and yes, people need their retail jobs, I respect that, but none of us need to go running to any of those stores on Thanksgiving Day and be taken away from our families/friends. The employees themselves should also be home with their families, not running to work the very same night to “prep the store” for a pre-Black Friday opening. It gets worse every year, and it makes me sick.

This year I’ve decided to buy of all my normal stuff in advance at Walmart. Basically, that means all of my paper products, garbage bags, and 8 bags of cat litter. This will help me avoid anything there, short of the pharmacy, during all the crazy madness.

If you’re giving gifts this year, give from your heart. I’d rather receive something a person has made (craft stores are AWESOME!) than an after-thought they grabbed while trying to trample over 20 other people. The only thing I asked for this year is a scarf. I do have a nice one that (sort of) matches my coat, but I’d like something in grey. I’m allergic to wool, so this should be a fun little search in an attempt to not get sick this Winter. Perhaps I will even find a matching hat. However, the only thing I truly WANT is my health (and prosperity).

Nothing on this planet is more important than one’s health. Without it, you cannot do any of the things you want to do, should do, or need to do. Without it, you forever feel like you’re living on borrowed time. There’s nothing inside any retail store that can restore it, so consider this closely.

I know a lot of people forgo their regular “diets” during the holidays because they want to enjoy everything offered to them. There’s a reason the word “die” is in “diet”. I’m a firm believer in balance. I’m also not subjected to countless gatherings and parties, so “holiday weight” is not an issue for me. January is not my “It’s time to get back to the gym.” resolution, which most people only manage to keep up with for a few weeks, or a month, tops. I do consider which vitamins I should be taking, if there’s anything new that might physically increase my health and resistance to illness, and I try to make small changes that can make meals healthier and tastier, but all in all, I don’t obsess much. The past two years have shown me that the simplest things can be the most delicious things, and that it’s perfectly okay to have the 2nd cupcake.

So, while retailers throw everything and the kitchen sink at you in order to get you into their stores right away, consider yourself, your families, your budgets, and make a stand in advance. If you started early, good for you. If you’re strictly doing Cyber Monday, you’re probably better off. If you’re hitting the stores to chase down bargains, do so carefully and safely, and make sure you keep all your receipts, just in case.

Personally, I’m going to be un-subscribing from every single retailer that sends me an early shopping e-mail starting today. I’m utterly sick of the bullshit, but hey, that’s me. We’re all entitled to how we feel in regards to all of this meshugas. (If you don’t know what that means, Google it. Yes, that’s one of the languages I speak.)

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