Writer Down

Hello everyone! I want to thank all the new readers who have come on board in the past month or so. I appreciate each of you and hope you will leave comments and participate in this aspect of my life as a writer.

I rarely apologize for not posting regularly, but this time my body is just plain DONE in the sense that I’m way beyond stressed out. I’m dropping things I normally have no problem handling, I’m rarely hungry (I feel like my taste buds have died.), I’m bottling way too much inside, and nothing seems to help.

For the past few weeks I have been on medication for a health issue I desperately tried to avoid getting. I mean it; I did EVERYTHING right in order to avoid being diagnosed with it. Having a nurse tell me “There’s nothing more you could have done. It’s here, and now we have to try to fight it and/or keep it in check.” I would have had a better reaction if she’d broken a foot or a hand with a moving car. 😦 Some things don’t bother me, but other things I just have this emotionally painful reaction to, and this part of my health is one of them.

Bone-deep exhaustion set in right about the time I started taking the medication. As in, I can sleep for eleven hours (or longer), wake up, write a little, catch up on some things, and by noon I need to sleep for 3-4 hours because I cannot keep my eyes open or my head up. I am SO embarrassed to be SO ill that I can’t function. There are a lot of times I’m not asleep, I’m just lying here unable to move, unable to speak, and I’m fully aware of the fear coursing through my body that I might be completely paralyzed in some way. Alas, the paralysis wears off after a while and I’m able to move, but I’m still struck with being wide awake and unable to do anything. It is painful and scary, to say the least.

When someone suggested that my exhaustion might be related to the flu, I definitely wondered if it was a legit possibility. However, my symptoms don’t match up at all. They do, however, match up with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. I made an appointment to see my doctor, after I was informed that it’s definitely NOT a side effect of this new medication. Because this diagnosis (ME) is predominantly NOT one you see in the United States (virtually every article I found about it was out of the United Kingdom), I am going to bring some documentation along with me. Hopefully she can diagnose this herself or refer me to someone who can, preferably before I keel over from the insane exhaustion I feel. Even now, I just want to crawl under the covers and SLEEP for the next month…or five.

Not being able to make important phone calls, do laundry, clean, and handle normal daily tasks is upsetting when you’re sick like this. It leaves me with zero purpose, because if I am going to be faced with a lifetime of this, I’m not accepting that. This CANNOT be my sole purpose in life. I can’t agree to suffering for the rest of my life. That isn’t the kind of life I signed up for.

Please know that I DO have posts I am working on. Unfortunately, at the moment, I’m too sick to finish them.  I’m around, barely. I’m doing my best.

Has anyone else been diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis? If so, who diagnosed you and how long did it take for you to respond to treatment, if available?

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


Fighting Your Internal Dialogue

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing well. I’m not going to lie; today was a rough one. 😦

I made an appointment sometime last month to meet with a spine specialist (read: anesthesiologist). My new doctor had asked me to meet with the in-house substance abuse doctor as well, so she could prescribe the one controlled substance I take, until I find a new doctor who would then take the prescribing duties on full-time. She said “You only have to meet her once.” I don’t know what my face looked like when she dropped that bombshell on me, but she tried to reassure me that this is merely procedure. I was okay with that. However, after today I can tell you that once was ENOUGH. I physically had to keep myself in my seat, choose my words carefully, and fight my own body so I wouldn’t lean over her desk and punch her in the face. Yeah, it was one of THOSE days. I am going to be seeing red for a while.

My day started out stressful. I didn’t get a lot of sleep, and I’d fasted for blood work, so I was functioning on next to nothing. No amount of water makes up for the fact that you feel weak and dizzy by the time you get to the lab, because at that point it had been well over twelve hours and if I don’t eat, I will inevitably get a migraine.

I arrived at my first appointment of the day; the spine specialist. I’d read his reviews in advance and was very mixed going into this appointment, but decided to keep an open mind and hear him out. I am happy to report that he was one of the nicest doctors I’ve ever met. How often do I say that? Almost never.

He took notes, did a physical examination of my spine, was very careful with my neck because the range of motion is poor, and he agreed that I definitely have weakness on the left side of my body. Before he made any decisions he turned to me and said “Do you WANT an MRI?” He told me “I will never order a test or force a treatment on you that you don’t agree with.” I thought my jaw might hit the floor from the kind, respectful treatment, but I remained in check. We agreed on the MRI, and he even ordered an open MRI so I won’t have to deal with any potential claustrophobia, which I experienced during my last few MRIs. Generally, I am not claustrophobic at all, but I felt he should know about it, just in case. He then said “Go when you’re ready, they’ll send me the results, and we’ll follow-up then.” Non-aggressive, highly respectful, and extremely laid back. I walked out and said “The doctor was LOVELY.” I don’t usually say things like that, but in this case, it was true.

We did talk about injections, which I am against, and he said “There might be some medications we could try again at different doses.” and he even said he might refer me out, depending on the results of the updated MRI. He doesn’t think an epidural in my neck would help with the pain that travels down my spine, into my left arm and leg. He believes they are two separate issues, but is wondering if I have a narrowing of my spine, which is highly possible. I remember my mother having it, but I shouldn’t have it this young. He looked at my x-ray results and explained that where the technician said, in the reports, that I had a muscle spasm or a shadow in my spine in two different areas, it was likely just my body’s natural response to being in so much pain for so long. He said it was probably residual tension, as opposed to an actual spasm. I inquired about a steroid pack, because so many people have suggested this to me, and he said he doesn’t think they would help because I’ve suffered for so long, or he would have prescribed it immediately.

I left his office feeling positive, mostly because the appointment went well and I was treated like a human-being, which is always a shock. Because I had a little less than two hours to kill in between appointments, I went downstairs to the lab. That took longer than my consult with the doctor, but I was already there and it wasn’t that big a deal. Four vials of blood and I was out of there. Most of the tests are similar to what I had done last May, except this time, my doctor will be calling me with the results because she actually gives a damn about her patients. I am concerned about one of the tests, but here’s hoping it’s normal. I will say the lab tech did a great job, because I don’t have a bruise the size of my hand on my left forearm. I still bruised right away, but it’s small enough that I’m not concerned. I’ll use some Arnica on it until it heals. The last one took a long time to heal and it was hideous.

When the “substance abuse” doctor was ready to see me, I immediately knew where things were headed. Doctors really ought to be more careful with their approach to patients they’ve never met and do not know. One day, behavior like hers will result in someone taking action. That may seem sad, but it’s the truth. I am not going to sugar-coat this woman’s behavior.

I was drug-tested for the first time in my life, and told to leave the test in a public restroom. Yeah, because that seems smart! I was outraged by this. As anyone who has ever had a urinalysis knows, those things are not sealed. Anyone could have gone into that bathroom after me and done G-d knows what with the test. This is a test that they bill approximately $1100-$1700 to the insurance company for, which is INSANE because you can buy them over-the-counter at Walgreens. Because I had fasted for the lab work, and had already gone to the bathroom ahead of seeing her, there wasn’t much for her to work with, providing they don’t call me tomorrow to tell me my test is missing or needs to be redone. Downstairs, in the lab, they had to call a woman who’d been there earlier in the morning to say she needed to come back and have hers redone. The entire office heard this phone call, there was nothing private about this person’s medical information, and that’s a blatant violation. Whatever did or didn’t happen with her test is an epic screw-up from where I’m sitting. If they fucked up mine, I REFUSE to go back there for a drug test. They can bite me. I’m surprised she didn’t also ask for a cheek swab, a hair sample, and DNA. DO NOT read this and say “Lisa, she’s just doing her job.” There is a correct way to do this job, and that does not involve making law-abiding citizens feel like they’re doing something wrong by following a doctor’s instructions where a prescription is concerned.

When I returned to her office, she had no idea why I was there, asked if we’d met before, couldn’t find my file, and then proceeded with a list of questions my own mother (G-d Rest and Bless Her Soul) would not have asked me in a million years.

I was asked approximately six times if I use marijuana or cocaine. I’m sitting there trying not to roll my eyes as I give her the same answer each time; NO. Is this person forgetful or fucking testing me? I don’t care, because the answer is no, and the drug test will prove it.

To my face I was, once again, told I was an addict. I’m not, and because I have known addicts and been around addiction, I do know the difference. I can spot it in other people. I have responsibly taken medication that I assure you, is the ONLY reason I did not knock this bitch out. That and learning how to rein my temper in slowly.

It’s one thing to be doing your job with the questions, that’s fine, but it’s a whole other ballgame when you ask me to relive the worst trauma of my life because you don’t understand why I have a specific diagnosis (to which I nearly said “Talk to the fucking treating physician! Don’t repeat that question again.”), repeatedly ask the same fucking questions as if the answer is suddenly going to change, and demand to know where my doctor’s notes are. I cannot see what you’re looking at behind the desk/computer, so my answer was very nearly “Beats the shit out of me!” Instead I said “I can’t access them, either. Your guess is as good as mine. Would you like his phone number?” When I give someone professional, cold answers, it is a WARNING. Apparently, this woman did not see the red fucking flag waved in front of her face, and kept pushing.

“Do you drink coffee?” she suddenly asks me. I live a mostly caffeine-free life because of my migraines, but for the past few weeks I have been drinking coffee at all hours. Maybe a cup a day, sometimes two, but I’m not sucking down gallons of the stuff. She should take the psychoanalysis to the local Starbucks, because rest assured, caffeine is not an “addiction” for me. It’s something I’m drinking because I like the taste. I don’t have it behind me in an IV.

“Do you smoke?” No. “Do you drink alcohol?” No. “Is there a reason you don’t drink alcohol?” Mind you, the spine specialist asked me these questions earlier in the day, except when I replied no, each time, he said “That’s great.” and only when I said I don’t drink did he ask if there was a specific reason for that, and quickly asked if I was pregnant. Light, calm tone, no rudeness or insinuations. Not from her, though. She’s a first class bitch, in all caps.

She aggressively pushed every last button I had, until I thought about the one person on this planet who keeps me calm and grounded, and I told myself “This office is small and you could strangle her and/or rip her fucking throat out in less than thirty seconds, but it’s not worth it. Let it go.” When you’re fighting with your internal dialogue, it’s not always a good thing. My creative process on murder astounds me. I’m only half-kidding, but no one needs to worry.

I had already answered her questions regarding my diagnosis of Complex-PTSD and where it potentially stems from, so when she asked where my parents lived, that was IT. I knew she was intentionally trying to break me, because she desperately wanted to know if I am an addict. She has reached the point where she cannot tell the difference between a patient and an addict, two very different beasts. I should have informed her that there is an immense difference between patients and addicts, and that I don’t appreciate her aggressive behavior, but I knew she would go back to my doctor and say I was a combative addict, or whatever she chooses to say in order to appease herself.

When she told me it wouldn’t take 2-3 years for me to be taken off this medication, I nearly laughed in her face. My doctor told me it WOULD take 2-3 years to safely take me off of this medication in order to put me on something else, something safer. He was concerned about seizures and other side effects that I have only been made aware of in the past four or five years, and he felt that I wasn’t ready to begin tapering because of all that I am going through, both health-wise and emotionally. He’s right, and I stand by what he said to me. Here she is though, suddenly telling me I can be detoxed off of this quickly (NOT true. Yanking me off this medication could kill me, and it does kill people when it’s not done properly.) and that forty or fifty years from now, this medication MIGHT  cause dementia. I wanted to say “I probably won’t live that long and quite frankly, I am NOT going to worry about what ‘could cause dementia or ‘might cause dementia’. Are you SURE you went to medical school?” I know people who take medication to improve their quality of life and that’s all this medication does for me, albeit not that well any more. From a medical perspective, it IS a high dose, but I’ve always been responsible with how I take it.

In June, my doctor asked me to start taking smaller doses, whenever possible, and I have done that. I am two months behind on my prescription and I still have enough medication for a few weeks. Instead of seeing this as a responsible thing, which is exactly what it is, this bitch took issue with that because she cannot understand what he said to me, because she can’t find his notes, and why I am being responsible and discerning with it. This didn’t sit right with her majesty.

She finally told me she will talk to my doctors and “figure something out”. She had about a hundred case files on her desk and as she desperately searched for mine, there wasn’t one. I suspect it’s because I am NOT a red flag to my doctor, who was a sweetheart to me and said she has no problem prescribing it, so long as this other doctor approves me. I don’t know if she will.

When I got home, I had to contact one of my doctors who she said she wanted to speak to. She does not have authorization to do so, because I didn’t sign a consent form, but I wanted this doctor to know, just in case. I didn’t want her to be side-swiped by this woman. She is the physical embodiment of a drive-by shooting, with all the subtly.

When she complained about the doctor who left, and not having his notes and diagnoses, I told her “This is where he works now. I’m sure you can find him.” She suddenly decided I need a “case manager” to get me in to see someone. Here’s a fact; I am NOT special. There is a LONG waiting list to be seen by so many specialists, and no one is going to move me up the list “just because”. I called before Thanksgiving to get an appointment with a migraine specialist and just last week, they told me I could be seen…at the end of May. I’m lucky they didn’t say “in 2019” after they said May. So, despite it being something I’d normally bitch about, I simply took the appointment and the receptionist promised she’d call me if there were any cancellations so I could get in sooner, after apologizing for twenty minutes because no one ever returned my call. The doctor has a five star rating which is the highest you can give a doctor, so I hope she’ll be able to help me.

Chronic pain patients put up with a LOT of crap. For me, this was unnecessary drama that raised my blood pressure to the point of a migraine. The sad thing is, I would have received more kindness, compassion, and far better treatment if I had walked in with track marks and an active addiction that was visible. Instead, I walked in with flawless makeup (It’s force of habit, I’m not trying to impress any one.), dressed like a normal person, and once again, I was judged for that. It’s NOT acceptable and it’s NOT okay.

When I told a family member that I wanted to talk to my primary care doctor about how this woman treated me, I received a lecture about how it’s “her job to ask questions like that, it’s all a form”. Yes, it’s her job to determine who is an addict and who is not, but no matter what I did, this woman was determined to find fault with me. I was waiting for Homeland Security to be on hand as I left for a fucking cavity search! I’ve never had anyone tell me, after a medical appointment, to “Just leave, go out.” I wouldn’t talk to a dog like that!

I don’t want to live in a society where patients are treated like dirt for taking necessary prescription medication, which means they’re smart enough to know something is wrong and seek treatment for whatever ails them, and addicts are being accommodated for choosing to use street drugs. The message this sends to patients is a horrible one, indeed. If I didn’t suffer terribly every single day of my life, I would throw all the prescriptions I have in the trash. We ALL would. Pharmaceutical companies would be out of business, or would have to look for other ways to make money. What would happen to pharmacies if, suddenly, we were all healthy? It’s an amazing idea, for a dystopian novel. In the real world, illness exists. No one asks for it.

When a doctor is annoyed because you don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs of any kind, that is your sign that something is wrong with them. It’s not you. Every other doctor I’ve met has noted those things as positive. Not her, because she is determined that everyone she meets is an addict of some kind. As she judgmentally sips her tea.

To make sure it wasn’t my imagination, I went and read her reviews. She has a one and a half star rating, which is basically unheard of, but I am glad I saw it because it validated me. The review that is posted, before my own, states that “She should have her medical license revoked because she is a real piece of shit.”, and that was merely the end of the lengthy review that was a mere glimpse at my own interaction with her. This person states they were repeatedly asked the same questions I was, and that they were also threatened by her. To add insult to injury, this is an award-winning doctor! I have NO idea how that’s even possible, but if she fucks with my medication and my health, she is just another doctor whose unprofessional, aggressive behavior is something I will happily report to the state licensing board. She seems incredibly overworked and I’d like to provide her with a permanent vacation.

There are great doctors out there, and I will always honor one with a great review and my full respect, but there are also bottom feeders that make you sick to your stomach. I encourage you to read reviews whenever possible, and I encourage you to write reviews, for the good and the bad. More often than not, it’s the doctor, NOT you.

Patients with chronic illnesses are still PATIENTS. We don’t deserve to be treated like garbage simply because a doctor assumes we’re all secretly addicts. I am shaking my head tonight, knowing in my heart that I didn’t do anything wrong.

Stay safe, smart, and warm, my lovely readers. And if you’ve ever experienced anything like this, I want you to know I stand behind you, and with you. 

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


Works In Progress

The start of each new year is often the same; full of diets, gym memberships, promises to work more, or work less; promises in general are a big thing, and most of these “resolutions” are temporary. They last a week or a month, sometimes two, but very rarely become a new way of living for anyone. This is precisely why I don’t make them. Life is hard enough without adding additional pressure, and if anyone puts too much pressure on herself, it’s me.

I believe each year adds a certain amount of growth to us as human beings. If you’re on the more enlightened side, there might be significant growth each year. Overall, we do change at different rates.

My commitment this year is completion. Complete projects, put them out into the universe, and let the chips fall where they may. I also want to grow and expand a different side of my life because I grow restless without creativity and fresh ideas. I hate feeling stagnant.

I have a lot of writing in progress, and that makes me happy as a writer. To have ideas and be able to put them into words is a gift not everyone is given, so I don’t take it for granted. I have a lot of insanely creative ideas for the other side of my life, and I’m really excited about the potential there.

More than anything, I want this year to be successful. There are different levels, and with each level comes a new set of responsibilities. I take this all seriously, so I want to remain committed to my two priorities; writing and furthering my creative talents. One comes naturally to me, and the other needs some fine-tuning, but remains doable. It would be nice to have more support as I move forward on these things, but I’ve found that I will do what I feel is right with or without someone agreeing with my motivation. I don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why I am doing something, and if they need one in order to be supportive, I probably don’t need them in my life.

I have always found that as I grow, there will be people along the way who choose to grow with me, and stick by my side. There will also be many who will be left in the dust, and I’ve learned to be okay with that. I think it comes back to the quote about a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When people choose you, there’s generally a reason for their decision. The flighty and flaky need not apply, because I’m no one’s “season”. Sometimes you think you’ve found a friend who is going to be there for you come hell or high water, but you soon discover that they aren’t half as committed as they claimed to be. It’s sad, really. I’ve lost a handful of friends who could not keep up with my growth or who chose not to, for whatever reason, because I was never given one. I don’t think about it much, because I’m too busy to do anything but keep moving forward.

Of late, I’ve watched many of my relationships become stronger while others have slowed down or become silent. It’s okay. I have to learn not to take it all to heart, and to go with the flow. I cannot expect other people to be like me, that’s not realistic. Of course, I am a firm believer that everyone deserves to have at least one solid friend in their life. Unless they’re up on war crimes.

I am feeling more than a little claustrophobic at the moment from all the snow, but I have to say it’s been a productive day for me on the writing front. I have to give myself some credit there. Originally I made myself commit to one thousand words a day. Today I decided to re-commit and increase that to fifteen hundred words. Why not? After all, that’s how you take a “work in progress” and turn it into to a completed project. When the words and ideas flow, allow yourself to create. I have found myself writing many new scenes and being so proud of myself for allowing everything to come together organically. No one else is going to be your best cheerleader, so you have to learn to enjoy the small victories, as well as the larger ones. Or maybe that’s just my life, who knows for sure.

I have a long period of time ahead of me to focus on writing, reading, and research. I feel blessed to be able to do it all, because there are always occasional days where life is simply too dark and the last thing I want to do is what I need to be doing. I give myself those breaks where I’m focusing on my health and taking each day as it comes. I won’t lie; it’s not anywhere near as easy as it sounds.

Today has had its highs and lows, like most days, really. For now, I really want to focus on the highs by banishing negative people and thoughts from my presence. If you aren’t coming to me with love, respect, or tranquility, I am going to have to ask you to piss off.

I am making new rules regarding my life after enduring unnecessary hatred, hostility, jealousy, and other negative components for way too long. In life, sometimes we have to rise above everything and shut down that which does not help us grow. Hateful, jealous, angry people have no place in my world. Some people are about to be surprised by my decision to put them in their place and let them know I am stronger than their abuse. When someone is hurting you, they rarely, if ever, see themselves as an abuser. They will deny everything they’ve said to you, even though you know full well you’re not deaf or stupid. It’s enough to make you question your sanity, and that’s exactly what they want. They want you to think you’re crazy. They want you to be hurt while they deny their part in having said something hurtful, offensive, or cruel. That, my friends, is the other person in denial, NOT you. Acknowledge it for what it is and start cutting ties.

I have a pair of scissors to find. Have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂

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


Peaks, Valleys, and Being Named

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.



It’s Been A While…

Hello everyone! It’s been a little over a month since I last wrote something for this platform. I don’t feel the need to apologize, though. Trust me, sometimes it’s better for me to be quiet than it is for me to say what I really believe, at the time, is the right thing to say.

I’ve needed the time “away” (I was very much still here) to focus on my health, diligently apply myself to my NaNoWriMo commitment, and detox from people, and things, that anger and upset me. I’m not really there yet with the detoxification, but I’m working on it.

The holiday season is an exceptionally hard time for me. And yet, an entire month swept past me in what seemed to be a blink of an eye. At this stage, I am simply trying to avoid perky people, and anyone who put their Christmas decorations up on November 1st. I am pretty sure within the next few days, my neighbors will begin to blind me with their lights. To each their own.

When I am not immersed in reading, writing, or extensive research, I am try to “wind down” my brain a bit, okay, a LOT. It is naturally hyperactive, so nothing is really helping. I find it disturbing that my brain is “always on”, for lack of a better term. With a brain that is always at work, you take the good with the bad. Would I rather be dim-witted or sharp with my wit? I think we all know the answer to that. I’m not giving up my snark. 😉

I hope my U.S. based readers had a lovely Thanksgiving and that my readers who span the globe are healthy, happy, pain-free, and able to enjoy the things many people take for granted.

A large part of me would have loved to be writing the past two months about major news headlines that affect all of us in one way or another, but I chose to leave that to other people while I focused on the final draft of my novel. NaNoWriMo, simply because it’s a challenge, encouraged me to write a new introduction to the story, allowed me to fill in areas that needed depth and growth, helped me with character development, and has helped me decide that every month, I am going to keep challenging myself to produce something enjoyable. Because it’s a genre I wouldn’t normally touch with a fifty foot pole, I have to give myself credit for allowing myself to be vulnerable to the writing and storytelling process. I wanted to write something that is organic, but in doing so, I had to reach deep into who I am and find the part of me that still believes in the things I’m writing. I’ve had great encouragement from my friend, Christy, and her support has meant the world to me.

There’s an important saying, “Pay attention to who steps up when others step away.” These past two months have allowed me to assess my friendships and relationships on an increasingly deep level. The important thing I’ve set my mind on is that I cannot be the one who does all the work in any relationship. If I always have to call, text, and reach out, then the other person clearly doesn’t value me a whole lot. I don’t need people like that in my life. Communication is give and take. If you text me, I will answer it as soon as I see it. If you e-mail me, I will answer you ASAP. If you call me and you’re on my “priority list”, I will answer the phone. I programmed my phone so it won’t ring if you’re not on the list. Mostly because I hate the sound of a phone ringing no matter who it may be, and because a five a.m. phone call is jarring. It’s no big deal if I’m awake, but it’s a huge deal if I went to bed early or I’m suffering from a migraine, etc. Overall, I am extremely sensitive to noise. In the past two years I have only gone short periods of time without a migraine, and of late, the physical pain of suffering from Fibromyalgia has been crushing. I hope and pray these things can be handled properly, and soon, by someone who will have my best interests at heart. This year, apart from one good experience, has made me angrier than ever before at the medical community. Greed, politics, and disrespect runs rampant. I’ve never used this expression before, but I feel completely victimized by “the system”, and only a fool would pretend that it’s okay. It isn’t.

These next few weeks are going to be filled with writing letters, filling out paperwork, doing research, fighting for justice, and trying to go into 2018 with positive thoughts.

As I sit here unable to sleep, with my heart racing (For the record, it shouldn’t be doing that, but I am SO stressed and dealing with so much pain and heartache; I simply can’t control how my body attempts to cope.), I am trying to figure out how to pack a seemingly endless task into the next two days. I’m going to say a prayer and hope for the best. Someone told me the other day to “give it to God and go to bed”. That might be the correct advice, after all. I guess I’ll find out.

Wishing you all the best,


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


Seven Days In Black & White: Day One

Yesterday morning, my friend Christy challenged me to post one black and white photo each day, for the next seven days. She’s using me as her guinea pig.

No people can be in these photos, and I’m not allowed to post a caption or an explanation. I’m only allowed to post the photo. This is the first one which went on Facebook and Instagram yesterday. Enjoy the weird randomness of me. 🙂


Empty As A Shell

I have both nothing to say, and a lot to say, so I’ve chosen to remain silent for the past few weeks. You can never get into trouble by keeping your mouth shut.

I sit here tonight, coughing my brains out, questioning how I somehow got sick in twenty-four hours when I’ve obsessively taken precautions against illness. I’m loaded up on Benadryl, in case it’s “just my allergies”, which I love hearing every time I see a doctor and ask if I have an ear or sinus infection (except for earlier this year when I, indeed, had both). I’m trying to soothe the sore throat that I swear, I did not have a few hours ago. I swear by Ricola herb cough drops.

If you’ve been reading my work for a year or two, you know I hate getting sick. I especially hate knowing it will happen right before my special day; the one day I don’t have to share with anyone else, unless I want to. Every damn year, like clockwork. It doesn’t exactly excite me. 😦

After last year’s debacle, I don’t want to do a whole lot this year, and frankly, no one is willing to tag along. Yes, I still want to feel special, I still want to enjoy something, but I don’t want anyone making a ridiculous or offensive comment about what I enjoy, or saying something hurtful because they think they’re owed something. That attitude and behavior doesn’t fly well with me.

Someone messaged me earlier to ask if I want anything special for my birthday. I was polite, mainly because this person accused me of something I find heinous over the summer, and then I talked with my brother about it. He gives the best advice. A lot of people would be dead if it weren’t for my brother talking me down at the height of my anger. I love how he said “Don’t hold it against her for the rest of her life (Apparently he has forgotten how legendary the “female grudge” can be in my family.). Just take note that she rolls like that and remember.”

As much as I try to accept everyone as they are, I struggle with people who say shitty things and think it’s no big deal. I hate having to rein in my temper when I genuinely want to haul off on someone. It’s a boundary thing, really. Also, a person clearly doesn’t know me very well if they are asking me, on the night before my birthday, if there’s something special I’d like. Yeah, my sanity, but bourbon will do (I’m being a smart ass. My actual response was far more polite than I would like to be.).

I want things that help me create. It could be a set of artist’s markers and some very cool coloring books, or it could be a new eye shadow palette and some brushes. It could be paint and things to be painted, etc. Writing isn’t my only creative outlet. I appreciate when people honor that, as opposed to criticizing it. If someone is talented and I know they need things to occupy their mind during sleepless nights or bad days, then I am absolutely going to do something to encourage their creativity.

For a while now, I’ve been painting shells for the garden. Not because I have to, but because for 20-30 minutes here and there, it gives me something creative to focus on. It takes me away from my writing and gives me a different type of canvas to work with.

Shells with texture absorb a lot of paint to truly be “painted”, but it’s worth it when you see your crazy designs in the end. Every single design has been mostly intentional. I have about eight to finish, and even though they’ll likely come inside for winter, they are glazed to withstand the elements. After all, most of these shells once housed ocean creatures, and they survived the rough waters. Rain and snow are nothing compared to the deep, blue sea.

So as I sit here on the eve of my birthday, I encourage you to create. But most importantly, I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. It’s worth it.

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