It’s disconcerting to be sitting here several years into this platform, and feel less sure of its direction than I did when I started out.
‘Poison In Lethal Doses’ was my decision to walk away from something that no longer suited me personally or served a greater purpose, and allowed me to return to my roots. It is, without question, one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s important to feel rooted in one’s self, without ego. A lot has changed from the first post to now, but I feel as though I’ve grown in leaps and bounds as a writer.
Last month, I was named “An Inspirational Writer of 2017”. I have no idea what I did to earn this acknowledgement of my efforts, as my readers don’t get to see 90% of the work I do. I have never promoted any of my works in progress because I’m not going to promote anything until it is published. It’s a strict rule of mine. but I couldn’t help but be completely overwhelmed, and emotional, to be declared an “inspirational writer”. That declaration makes me want to ask questions.
I have always felt that the smartest writers are sometimes silent; taking on causes they can truly get behind in their work, and I find peace in being silent when it’s important for me to do so. No one will ever accuse me of not using my voice for good, or say I haven’t advocated for change. It’s always obvious to me when someone is trying too hard, and over-compensating in ways I, personally, find unattractive. I have to stick to my guns and I have to stick to what’s important to me. I cannot bounce around like a heavily caffeinated Bobble head, with an over-inflated ego, desperately seeking out the approval of others. That’s not me.
Over the summer, one of the greatest compliments given to me was “You TRULY know yourself.” I loved the observation and comment SO MUCH because it is the absolute true. I know a lot of people feel lost, confused, hopeless, etc., and I’m human, so I’ve certainly felt those emotions, but for someone to say I “TRULY know myself” made me feel good. It helped set the tone for the final half of the year where I’ve likely felt a wide array of different things each day, and I openly admit, little of it was positive.
My mind is always at work, and sometimes it’s a curse, but mostly, it’s a blessing. What is the creative mind like? Anxious, because the creative mind is pulled in many different directions each day, wanting to complete the tasks it comes up with. The creative mind, one that is natural and not forced, is committed to creativity and expression. The creative mind, depending on its specific genre, wants to create something each day, even if no one else sees it. Printed paper is my canvas of choice, but so is a notebook and pen.
I inherited my creativity from generations of people who were unable to follow their dreams. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately; how much talent I come from. My parents were both talented photographers who were unable to do more than pursue it as a hobby. Whenever I snap a photo now, I am reminded to follow through on it, even if the photo isn’t perfect. My mother played two instruments, passing her love of music down to her children. My father didn’t sing, but he had a knack for hearing something once and being able to duplicate the melody. A few years ago, I noticed my brother does it, too.
I am a trained singer because a teacher called my mother one day and said “Did you know your daughter can sing?” Obviously she’d heard me sing before, but she’d never heard me be loud about it. There was a time when I tried to blend in, so as not to stand out. Gymnastics, singing, and writing changed all of that for me, slowly, but surely. They were outlets that said “Go out there and shine.”
Earlier this year, I found myself annoyed when I dumbed myself down in order to deal with my health. But at the beginning of this month, I saw a new doctor and not only did I not dumb myself down, but I was treated with kindness and compassion. I was listened to. I now have referrals to follow-up on, which I’ve physically been unable to do, thus far. I keep saying “I’ll call tomorrow.” I haven’t been feeling well. I’ve been in tremendous amounts of pain, feeling weak, often unable to get out of bed for more than a few hours at a time, but after doing a little research I felt comfortable enough to tell myself that it’s okay. I knew this would be an emotionally harsh month for me, but I made it to that appointment, and I will make phone calls for a spine specialist, a new neurologist, and another physician at the hospital where my new doctor is affiliated. I’m not happy that the Fibromyalgia pain was not addressed, but it was one appointment. The next time I go in to meet with one of her colleagues, I think I will see if I can get in to see her, too. I’d feel better if we discussed it and came up with an action plan. Because while my neck and back hurt like hell, and my migraines are definitely a serious issue, I worry that the Fibromyalgia may have caused permanent nerve damage. I desperately want to find some measure of relief for this.
2018 will have its challenges, I am sure. If I can deal with my health, finish the novel I worked on the majority of this year where I set personal records for myself during NaNoWriMo, and go back to writing dark urban fantasy, I think it will help me a lot.
I’ve never set out to inspire others by being myself, but if I have inadvertently inspired you through something I’ve written or said, then it’s the icing on the cake. I thank you for the comments you’ve left me throughout this year, and the e-mails you’ve sent my way. I thank you for acknowledging me, and I tip my hat to those who’ve remained on this journey with me.
There’s so much more to come. Of this, I have no doubts.
copyright © 2017 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Nine years ago today, I lost my mother. I can’t always say it out loud, I can’t always talk about it, but I honestly have no clue how I’ve survived this long without her. Not because I need someone else in order to survive, that isn’t it, but because life is full of people that mean something to you, or at least, that’s what life should be.
Stupidly, I sometimes expect certain people to be a little more like my mother, and they aren’t. On a scale of my Mom to them, they’re epic failures. They don’t mean to be, they simply cannot be her. No one can. Irreplaceable people are precisely that; irreplaceable.
I have spent the past year and a half holding on tight to everything near and dear, and I’ve been a failure. I have needed help, and I’ve allowed my health to fail in the process. But ultimately, I have actually needed kindness, compassion, understanding, a person who listens, and someone who can put me first sometimes. No one ever does. Not for long.
When you go from being someone’s daughter to just being a person, there is a great shift. Suddenly, nothing is right in the universe, but there’s no way to fix it. And so, you move from one thing to the next at your own pace, trying to succeed and make a person proud, a person who is no longer here. Inevitably, there’s nothing you can do, because life is full of everything.
People, places, things, photos, shared moments, building memories. That’s life. It’s laughter, misery, friendship, companionship, love, and so much more. I went from being a daughter to just being. I’ve spent nine years trying to figure out who the hell that is. I still have no answers.
Hours before her death, the last words my mother spoke were “I love you, too.” I’d been sick for weeks at that point from Fibromyalgia pain. I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t move, and I had missed Mother’s Day the weekend before due to pain and a migraine. I felt like the biggest piece of crap on the planet. So getting the call that my mother had gone into cardiac arrest was like lightning striking through my entire body. I remember exactly what I was thinking and exactly what I said. I also remember thinking “This cannot be happening. This can’t be my life!”
After losing my mother, I got a brief respite for a few years before more damage could be done to my psyche. But as I sit here today, I realize some damage may be irreversible.
When you’re sick and you’re hurting, Google is your worst enemy. So tomorrow, I see my doctors’ Nurse Practitioner to see if she can be of any help in figuring out why I am suffering to the extent I am. Unfortunately, I suspect the only thing I will come away with is additional referrals to more doctors and maybe a prescription, or two. While there, I’ll get my lab work done. That should be an interesting experience. I hope someone reminds me to pack a snack. Especially since it’s going to be over 90 degrees tomorrow and I’m basically the Wicked Witch who will melt, with infinitely better skin. 😉 It’s 91 today and I can barely breathe.
Today has been a shaky day for me. I’m unable to function, unable to think, and it took repeated phone calls to find out what I was forgetting (and G-d help me, I WISH I had just let it go because when I did find out what I’d forgotten, knowing something wasn’t right with my memory, I wanted to crawl into a hole a die. I have less than 20 hours to solve the problem and quite frankly, I’d give up completely if I didn’t feel that not giving up was the right thing to do.). That I could not remember something from last week definitely makes me question what the hell is going on inside my brain. I want answers, not more questions. I’m terrified knowing I, once again, have to ask for help and that I might very well get shot in the process. It has occurred to me that, quite frankly, few people care to have your back when you’re down, but damn, they want you to have their back when they’re in the same place as you. They want you to fix their problems and make everything better, but are very happy to cast you aside once all is well in their own world. It doesn’t make you feel very good, and they’re, unfortunately, too stupid to understand that something isn’t right and they should reach out.
If we’re close and I say “I’m fine.” or you ask how I’m doing and I don’t answer, I urge you to look deeper. It’s extremely rare for me to say “I’m fine.” or “I’m okay.” when I’m not. If you dismiss it and take it at face value, then you’re showing me that you really don’t give a damn, because you’ve just accepted a blatant lie. I can’t remember the last time I was “fine” or “okay”. I wish people weren’t so self-absorbed and took a minute to really connect sometimes. No matter how good or bad my life may be, I still check in with people. If someone tells me they’re fine and I sense otherwise, I call them on it. That’s the mark of a true friend/family member.
I rarely go to the doctor. I’m not fine. I’m not okay. And quite frankly, I’m afraid for my life and sanity.
Life may be “full of everything”, but right now, life is empty, scary, lonely, and heartbreaking.
Here’s hoping my prayers are answered and that someone, somewhere, is looking out for me.
copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
*Potential trigger warning*
I survived, and I’m always sorry when I do. Always.
Last week, a member of my family overdosed on prescription medication. It wasn’t painkillers or anything like that. In fact, I have yet to look the drug up, but I do know what it isn’t. It’s not lethal if you’re taking it responsibly, but it can be deadly if you’re being an asshole or you take four instead of one. That’s true for a lot of drugs we deem “safe”, which is precisely why the pharmacy tells you that if you can’t remember if you missed a dose, skip the dose, don’t double-up.
We don’t know yet if it was intentional or accidental, but she doesn’t remember what happened. I wish I could say the same. It took me roughly twelve hours to talk two different family members down over what happened. I’ve felt deeply depressed, unhappy, mentally, emotionally, and physically drained ever since. I’m in such a dark place and as I sit here, I realize no one has noticed.
I remember when I tried overdosing. I’d had enough and I wanted out. This was long before my Fibromyalgia diagnosis, and honestly, it was unnecessary back then, I just couldn’t tolerate what i was going through with zero support (much like I feel now). I can say with absolute certainty that no one noticed what I did and no one knew I did it. Even now, no one spends enough time with me to notice if I’m sick or not acting like myself because they don’t know me well enough to know what’s normal for me. I can’t laugh or be goofy or do anything without it being criticized or psychoanalyzed. I could do so many truly dangerous things and I am certain no one would notice. When would they have the fucking time?!
I’m not content living a half-life. I’ve spent the past few weeks in so much pain, I didn’t realize until yesterday just how badly I want it all to stop. The daily struggle. The forcing myself to get out of bed when I really shouldn’t be moving at all. The emotional struggle. The blackouts are so bad that I don’t remember most of today after eating breakfast and I’m concerned, because I think I hit my head at some point. My skull is on FIRE and aches so bad, I’m freaking out. I’m tired of forcing myself out of the house to do far too much because the one person who knows me best and knows exactly how to help me is hundreds of miles away and I haven’t seen him in a year and a half. The financial struggle is never-ending, and realizing that I’ve been unhappy before, but this is a whole other level of miserable is the icing on the cake of misery. This is something that cannot be broken with a positive attitude and smiley faces. This can’t be fixed with kind words and someone being polite. This is serious and every time I turn to someone for help, I’m given their equivalent of a gigantic middle finger. If someone does help me, they hold it over my head like a weapon. It makes it worse because helping someone should mean that you care, not that you show them hatred.
I do have a doctor’s appointment coming up, but it’s mostly for a diagnosis. A new one, because the old one is almost five years old and things change, including me. This is a fresh start and I don’t know if this doctor and I will click or not, but he’s only getting one chance to show me who he is and what he can do to help me.
Five years ago, I was in a different financial position, and while I was struggling emotionally, I kept it in check as much as humanly possible. I was making things work. My life came tumbling down less than six months later. Horror after horror, and I am suffering for it every single day. My doctor never billed me for my last appointment. He knew I had no insurance that would cover the visit at the time (Hell, the only thing my insurance was paying for back then was monthly medication and the occasional ER visit. My primary care doctor, at the time, was months away from dumping me as a patient when I needed help the most.) and that things with me were not okay. I never saw a bill from him. If he’d sent one, I would have paid it, but sitting here today, struggling, I see it as a major act of kindness in a world where there’s so little of it. In sixteen years, he’s probably bought a car or put his daughter through private school for a full year based on what I did pay him, so I don’t feel guilty about it. When I found out in late 2015 that he never put Fibromyalgia into my chart when he diagnosed me, thus making me look like an idiot and making me question exactly what the hell is wrong with me, I damn sure felt even less guilty. I was shaking with rage, and I still am. That one absent-minded mistake cost me DEARLY. And here I am, back at square one.
I feel like an insane basket-case, just waiting to explode. I’m looking at the pile of problems in front of me, which I cannot solve. I’ve got nowhere to turn for help, and I am scared out of my mind. I can let certain things go, but the realization of this particular problem and how important (and potentially damaging it could be) is making things worse. I suspect knowing that since yesterday is what caused me to blackout today. The stress is too much for my body. Stress can be so damaging, we don’t always know exactly how much stress we’re dealing with, until it’s too late.
Unlike many people, I’ve always understood the level of emotional pain it takes to make a person say “I’ve had enough.” I also understand the level of mental and physical pain it takes to say “No more. I can’t do this.” Most people never act on it, especially when they’re talking about it for several years to family and friends, but the people who, like me, keep it inside, are the ones more likely to act on their thoughts. There’s no fascination involved, we’re just done.
Today, I am 100% DONE. I have no idea how I’ve survived this far and I’m tired of worrying. Of not sleeping. Or praying and feeling like I’m all alone. There’s only so much hurt, disrespect, abuse, and abandonment one person can handle.
Will tomorrow be better? I don’t know. I never know. I can pray, and I am going to reach out for help to see if someone will have my back this week, but ultimately, once I’ve exhausted all options, I don’t know where I’ll be.
I’m praying for better days, but I feel lost and completely abandoned. The level of emotional pain for that is off the charts.
This is the aftermath of loss, grief, abandonment, abuse, and other things you may never heal from. No matter how strong you are, no matter how hard you try, there are some things you can’t do anything about. For me, that hurts almost as much as seeing how meaningless I am to others.
Most people would say “It’s the Monday blues.”, but those people don’t understand I feel like this almost daily. That’s not okay.
copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Every year, usually around mid-April, is the countdown reminder from every company I’ve ever done business with, or might do business with in the future, that Mother’s Day is fast approaching. Last year, it angered me to the point where I unsubscribed from about 20-30 different mailing lists. I just couldn’t take it any more. The e-mails were daily. Daily. Sometimes, there were three or four a day. How much more business do these people need to drum up?! Was it a slow year?!
This year, Mother’s Day falls out on the day when I normally do my big grocery shopping, which requires hitting three different stores, usually, to acquire everything on my detailed list (which I usually organize by store, so I don’t forget anything major). If I keep my head down and I just focus on that list, I should be able to avoid as much of the hoopla as possible, but the pain in my heart will never go away.
There have been years where I couldn’t even get out of bed at the mere thought of facing other people on Mother’s Day. And the worst part is; Few people acknowledge this or discuss it. I refuse to be one of those people.
It’s unbelievably rude when people dismiss your feelings, especially in regard to something like this. When someone tells you to “get over it”, it might actually be wise to consider the source and/or re-think your relationship with that person. Being dismissive of someone’s pain, be it physical, mental, or emotional, is never acceptable.
Being a Motherless Daughter is painful. There is this enormous piece of me missing, and I assure you; no one gives a damn. No one else’s life stopped after my mother’s death, no one else mourns her daily, and that makes it so much worse in my eyes.
I remember how I felt at her funeral. I probably know her eulogy by heart because I only had a few days to write it, but every word was from the heart. I did her proud. I try to keep making her proud every day of my life.
The things I could talk about with my Mom are now things no one else on this planet would understand. Instead of having a person laugh with me and enjoy my insight and sense of humor, I am criticized for having a sense of humor that others do not understand or appreciate. Technically, that’s their problem, not mine. There are so many times I want to tell her about something going on, and I can’t. I know she is looking down on everything happening in my life and is now the “All-Seeing Eye”, but I really hope she sees how I am being treated and the character of others. I hope she sees and does not forget.
My mother always taught me to forgive, but never to forget. “Forgive for yourself,” she’d say, “So you don’t have to carry the hurt and allow it to harm you, but don’t EVER forget.” Forgiveness has become downright impossible in the wake of her passing and other terrible things that have occurred since that fateful day. There are always things you can never un-hear, un-see, un-learn, etc. There’s far too much you cannot forget. My mother was a nice, kind, caring person. I’m not all that nice and my kindness and ability to care is limited.
My Mom used to tell people she couldn’t remember what she wore two days ago, but that “My daughter remembers EVERYTHING.” My short-term memory is shit, but my long-term memory is eerily accurate. So you can question me, but don’t, for a single second, try telling me I’m wrong. I’m many things, but wrong isn’t one of them (I have a key-chain that says that verbatim.). Not when it comes to most things. And I openly admit when I am wrong, which many people won’t ever do.
Last year, right around the start of this month, is when my blackouts began (at least I’m pretty sure that’s when they started. In fairness, it took a few months before I was aware that I had lapses in time each day.). Is it somehow tied in to my mother’s passing and all the other death that has effected my life in the month of May? It’s possible. I have an appointment at the beginning of next month and I will certainly ask the doctor if he thinks it’s a possibility. If it’s not something triggering me, then it is something neurological, and that’s even scarier to me. I doubt an MRI will show damage, but psychologically, I suspect it’s a form of trauma manifesting itself.
I wish there was a measure of sensitivity surrounding this subject, but there really isn’t. I can attend the local Motherless Daughter event, or I can stay put and mourn on my own. I don’t think I can actually focus on other people’s stories at the moment, so it’s probably best I just isolate myself, except for the fact that I am ALWAYS isolated and alone. The effort I put forth not to be is always slapped down, always insulted, and is never good enough. The more negativity I hear, the more triggered I become. Someone might think they’re paying me a compliment, but I know an insult when I hear one. I’m NOT stupid, and I will walk away or disengage when a person is acting like an asshole or just plain being disrespectful.
One of the reasons people like and respect me is because I’m always the same person. Whether it’s on the phone, in a letter or e-mail, interacting on-line, or when you meet me or spend time with me; I don’t change. What you see and read is precisely what you get. I’ve had friends tell me precisely how much they enjoy that and respect it because they never have to worry how I am going to be because I’m always myself. When my friends spend time with me, they don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t love me. I am most at ease and most myself when I am with them. I wish they didn’t all live so far away, but I do have a very close friend visiting next month from California and I am SO excited to spend time with her! We met through my writing, as well as hers, and have been friends for five years. It seems like a much longer time period because of the bond between us, and I’m really looking forward to whatever adventures we get to share. Right now, having something to look forward to is all I’ve got. I don’t really know what I will do after she goes home. 😦 I do know I will miss her, though.
I might not write anything on Sunday this year, and if I don’t, I hope everyone will understand why. I might reblog something I’ve written in the past if I have the time to search, but if I am silent, I hope no one will take it personally.
I am still recovering from last week’s Urgent Care visit for my migraines. My IV “wound” is nearly healed, but I learned my lesson in regard to how to handle this horrible pain from here on in. I hope the neurologist I see is a good one and that he will have answers for me. I’ve been doing extensive research to make sure I go in armed with information to try and come up with a plan that we can both agree on.
And so, the countdown begins. On the plus side, I’m glad to be writing in a successful, productive way. For those of you who’ve been super supportive of this project (Lillian & Steven), please know how much it means to me.
Have a lovely Friday, everyone!
copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Week two of this 10 level Fibro flare. Each day I have said “Tomorrow.” Yesterday I said “Self-care and work.”, because walking was out of the question in terms of pain, and even when the edge was taken off, I was concerned about further damage.
Waking up at 1:00 a.m. two days in a row with a migraine and excruciating hip pain is NOT doing much for my mood. I did about 10% of the proofreading job yesterday, and called it an early day. I am grateful it’s under 62,000 words, or I’d be furious with myself based on how hard I am working. I have a deadline to meet and I need to get this done. The sooner, the better. Brain cells died off yesterday. 😦
I’m struggling right now with the pain, with what my brother is going through. Another life-threatening infection, another stay in the hospital. More surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning. I am devastated and heartbroken, worried that my brother won’t make it through the year, and I am withdrawing from negative people who don’t want good things for me. If you treat me like a real person, I will be there for you through thick & thin, but when you treat me like an animal and/or a personal maid, it won’t take long before I get sick and tired of it.
The best was the phone call I received yesterday morning from a friend, asking if I could “pop down to New York real quick for the next week because her babysitter backed out and she has to work New York Fashion Week”. She hasn’t spoken to me in months (six, to be exact), but calls out of the blue for a favor. It’s not even a small favor, it’s the favor of entertaining a five year old for a week in New York City, as if I’m five minutes away. I very nearly responded by saying “She should be in school.” (which I firmly believe) and hanging up. What’s the point of enrolling your child in a nearly $40,000 a year private school if she is going to be missing a month traveling with you from New York to London, and then on to Milan and Paris? She could have stayed home and remained on schedule. I sat here, shaking my head no, and finally said “This time, I can’t do it.” I did NOT elaborate as to why or explain my feelings. It was as if I’d said NOTHING though, because then she asked if I’d be attending her 20th wedding anniversary party next year. One) I have not received an invitation; this is the first I’m hearing about it. Two) I wasn’t invited to the wedding, despite the fact that we’ve been friends since we were kids. Three) Maybe not. If I’m only good enough to be present for certain things and I’m not important enough for you to return my calls or text messages in a timely fashion (I don’t care who you are, no one is THAT busy, unless they’re off saving lives or have been deployed overseas.), please don’t expect me to jump when you DO deign to call. What little of a life I have, despite the fact that it makes me fucking miserable, is mine and I’m not a servant to be called in at the last-minute.
I am dead tired and would really like to sit and cry. However, I have to be strong for my brother and do what I can to help him get through another hurdle. Despite all the horrible shit I am going through, no one is cutting me open in an operating room (They’re simply doing it verbally.) and giving me bad news on that level. I pray he comes through this healthier, and I pray no family ever has to go through what he & I have been through over the past year.
I will be back as soon as I am able. For now, it’s back to the grindstone. G-d Help Me!
copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.