You’re Not…

You’re not forcing me out, you’re not forcing me away, you’re not winning, you can’t keep me at bay. 

You’re not succeeding, you’re a pathetic failure.

You whine, you complain, you bitch, but what does that truly accomplish?

Attention-seeking, you’ll always get the pity vote.

What will happen when you’re figured out, and finally choke?

You pretend, you hide, you are two-faced and false.

I see why you associate with those that you do, they’re equally as pathetic as you.

Secretly, I know you are envious. Always looking to “fit in”. Not understanding that it doesn’t matter, because this life is an endless race.

When a person declares themselves “drama free”, they’re usually the one standing behind the pot, letting it boil…’til it bleeds.

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

Coming Out of The Ancestral “Closet”

Coming Out of The Ancestral “Closet”

I find it more than a little appalling that in 2014, I am still being asked “What are you?” Not “What religion are you?” or your average, inappropriate social questions, which, by my standards, are still rude. No, it’s always been “What ARE you?”, with such profound emphasis, as if I am my own species. It’s become ridiculous, and as we’ve established, I am not a patient woman.

Growing up in New York City; a small, fair skinned, dark blue eyed, dark haired child, I was utterly adorable. I have pictures to prove it. My peaches & cream complected blonde, hazel eyed mother was very clear in my genes, but so was my olive skinned, raven haired, dark brown eyed father. I was clearly a genetic mix of my parents and maternal Grandparents. For years, my eyes had that perfect Asian up-tilt, a gift of my Tribal Siberian and Mongolian ancestry, something that I now enhance with eyeliner. I was about six years old when they changed in color from dark blue to hazel. It normally doesn’t take such a long period of time for a child’s eye color to change.

Where am I going with this? Well, I will tell you. I’ve known for about 8 years now that I am indeed part Latina. I have absolutely no reason to hide it or not discuss it if it comes up in conversation, especially now that Spain and Portugal are allowing Jews to return for citizenship. I have to say I was very sorely tempted to pack my bags and leave.

Growing up, everyone assumed I was either 100% Puerto Rican or 100% Italian. I am neither. In fact, I’m not 100% anything. I am so blended, I should have my own flag. My Latina roots come from Spain (Zaragoza) and Argentina (Buenos Aires).

Several months ago, while filling out some forms I checked the Caucasian box, as I’ve done my entire life, and followed up with Hispanic on the second portion of the form. It is truly the first time I’d done it, but I simply felt like not putting it down was to lie, and it bothered me, so I checked the box proudly. The woman handling the paperwork looked at me immediately and said “You’re Sephardic?!”, with such utter disbelief as she looked at the color of my skin and eyes, that I glanced up briefly from filling out the forms and said “I am Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Russian Siberian, and Jewish Asian.” In truth, that’s not even the half of it, but it was short and to the point. I didn’t owe her an explanation of my lineage, but I’d be damned if I was going to be treated any differently.

Really, why the hell does anyone give a shit?! Why did she? I later found out that as an immigrant to this country, she did not want anyone knowing she was Sephardic. I was slightly astounded, but anyone who is at an age where their Grandparents or parents may have died during the Holocaust is probably still hiding what they are. Having been born here, I suppose I do not feel the need to hide. I’ve never felt the need to do so, not ancestrally or religiously.

People tend to forget that Latinas come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are blonde and blue eyed, some are more like me, and others are dark haired, dark eyed, and always look naturally tan. I cannot tan to save my life, and since I detest sun damage and the sun on a whole, I religiously wear sun protection. Some of us speak Ladino, Yiddish, Spanish, Portuguese, or older versions of various languages. Some of my cousins, also Sephardic, speak French (My brother does, I do not.). I grew up in a bilingual home, my closest family friends did too, and they all spoke Spanish. I spent years studying other languages, and am now teaching my brother Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Spanish. I understand languages I don’t speak, but I base that on the fact that some of them are incredibly similar. I have been trying to learn Swedish for a couple of years now. Not for any other reason than I think it’s beautiful when spoken.

I’m a great observer of others, but I try very hard not to judge people based on race or religion. Everyone is an individual. If you treat me like shit, I am not going to judge your ethnic background for that, just you. If you treat me well, I’m not going to automatically assume that everyone like you will show the same kindness and respect.

I have friends from all walks of life, and I accept and respect them for their individuality. I don’t care where a person is from, so long as we treat each other with respect and courtesy. Most of the people in my life who are closest to me are not American born or American citizens (though I can now say for a fact that more are). Two of my best friends are Israeli and German. My boyfriend holds dual citizenship. He is Welsh born, returns to Wales several times a year to visit older relatives, but is not an American citizen. His parents and siblings are not American citizens either, but they’re some of the loveliest people, and to me, that’s all that matters.

I have a friend who, for damn near our entire friendship, would openly declare herself Hispanic “From SPAIN!”, she’d tell people loudly. She’s also part Cherokee, which shows. Honestly, it doesn’t matter, but now that our friendship has declined so badly, I have noticed more and more that she is embracing the fact that her ancestry is actually Mexican. It’s always been pretty evident to me, but would I ever have said a word to her about it? No. That’s disrespectful. That’s like catching me on a dumb day and then pointing out that I have some Polish ancestry. It’s rude and it’s not something you say or do.

I think what bothered me the most about her saying it so often is that people would ask her if she was Hawaiian, saying that she looked “exotic”, and I’d then think of Stefanie (FAWKESTEARS on this blog), who is Native Hawaiian. There’s a definite difference, not just in looks, but in so much more. She is not simply born and raised there, you can see her Hawaiian and Japanese ancestry in her hair, eyes, skin, and beauty. It shines like a beacon. Her Italian mother, we often joke, barely got a gene in. Between her and her siblings, she is the one who most looks like her father’s side of the family. For the previously aforementioned friend, ancestry and honoring it is clearly a big issue, so I never, ever tried to make her feel uncomfortable, nor did I ever press her on it. I feel it is something to honor and show respect, not hide from or deny, but that’s me and my otherworldly view since I’m still being asked “What ARE you?”

The next time someone says that to me, I might very well declare myself a vampire, purchase a really cool pair of colored contacts from Italy, and not say a word to anyone ever again, until the sun sets. Stupid questions deserve stupid answers, do they not?

So, this is me. Part Latina. Owning it, not ashamed, remembering to use my Spanish instead of forgetting that I can speak it, completely unconcerned if my honoring it bothers someone else. It’s my genes, my ancestry, and if you’ve taken issue with it, fuck off!

“Coming Out Of The Ancestral ‘Closet’” is copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

“Why Haven’t You Been Blogging As Much?”…

The other day a friend asked me “Why haven’t you been blogging as much? You’re not writing.” Keen observation. Actually, I am writing. I am a writer, we don’t just stop writing. I’ve got over 200 pages that shows I am writing, really. However, I have not felt like posting a whole lot on my blog this month in terms of written material. Why, you might ask? Because, having been raised with manners, I do know when to keep my mouth shut.

What’s bothering me? The hypocrisy of so much, and so many. The lies, the false friends, and a plethora of other bullshit that just rubs me the wrong way, to the point where what I have to say isn’t very nice.

The pain in which I endure on a daily basis has gutted me. I can only fight one battle at a time and my health is taking priority right now, so if my lack of writing has offended someone, sue me.

If I were to say anything, it would be that I have had it up to my eyeballs with the nonsense, with people misinterpreting clear, concise definitions of what I say, and turning it into something ugly when it is not. I am tired of back-handed comments and compliments. I am truly angry with the lack of comprehension amongst people who are supposed to be my friends, yet seem to be on some sort of “save the world” mission. No one needs false friends. No one intelligent, any way. Please stop insulting my intelligence with your false affection and concern. I’d prefer it if you just ignored me completely as opposed to all the bullshit. I don’t need my ass kissed, I don’t need smoke blown up my ass, and I don’t need anything or anyone who is not completely genuine.

Moreover, it really is ok to disagree with me on any given topic. Agreeing is not mandatory, and there is no need to try and relate to me by making it sound like we’re similar. It’s really, truly all right if we are not. I don’t expect anyone to be me, or be like me. The world would be very odd if everyone had the exact same thoughts, feelings, and actions. In fact, at times, it would be quite dangerous.

Also, unless I have solicited advice, I don’t need passive-aggressive comments about anything. I find them so incredibly rude, especially when I see them on my friend’s pages. They might be nice people, but I will tell you to go to hell. Plain and simple.

thestrongest

In general, I’m sick of the negativity, so I’ve taken some time to cleanse myself of it. I don’t know exactly how much more time I will need, but I hope that no one will see my blog and assume I am not present. I am most certainly present here on an almost daily basis in one form or another, but when it comes to my own written word, I’m just not feeling it right now. I do have a list of subjects I will be presenting in the future, but right now, I need some time to focus on my health. I hope those that do actually care about me will be able to understand and respect that. There are a few that I know care, but I cannot speak for everyone and in truth, I don’t expect people to care about someone they don’t know well enough to be investing much into beyond reading and commenting.

Wishing you all Spring Showers for May Flowers!

I Fucking Dare …

I Fucking Dare You!!

“Attack the people I love, and eventually I will come after you. Attack me, and I will laugh in your face. Continue to fuck with the people I love and I will give you an option: Public humiliation or absolute destruction via the weapon of my choosing. Be careful what you say and do when you think I’m some passive, sweet, gullible, little chicken shit. I’m NOTHING you think I am. I have claws, fangs, and venom you will not recover from. Try me motherfucker. I FUCKING DARE YOU!! -Rachel Locke

Odd Marriage Trends & Idiocy Via Social Media

voice

Author’s Note: I wrote this out of extreme concern for a person’s safety. That’s the place it comes from, so please don’t try and twist it into something it is not. I digress a bit at times, but I feel like I’ve made some very valid points.

Odd Marriage Trends & Idiocy Via Social Media

I’ve noticed an extremely disturbing marriage trend that just plain feels unkosher to me. I can’t describe it any other way than that. Creepy is another word I have to use, because deep within my soul, it just doesn’t feel right. When something doesn’t feel right to me, and it concerns another human being, or more than one human being, especially someone I know, and it involves their safety, I simply MUST speak out and use my voice. I’m generally a pretty quiet person (shocking, I know!), but when something feels so wrong that my brain screams at me to open my mouth, I have to do something, even if “something” is posing the question to my readers.

If a friend told you she’d gotten married to someone after only meeting this person a few times, having spent very little time with him, and that he lived in another country, what would you think? By “another country” I do not mean that he’s in the military or has a job that takes him away for lengthy periods of time, but 100% does.not.live.with.his.wife. Is that bizarre to you, ‘cause it just plain feels unkosher to me.

I’ve often joked in the past with my close friends about not needing my boyfriend/husband/partner with me 24/7, but in actuality, if I didn’t see him for a year or years, I certainly wouldn’t feel like I was in a relationship or marriage AT ALL. If he simply traveled for work at times and we had kids, which required me to stay home for some reason, like their schooling, then I do think it would get on my nerves eventually. A few trips for work a month is no big deal, but years?! Am I crazy thinking there is something not right here?

If a friend told you “I got married and I won’t see my husband for two years…” would you automatically think “Military” or would you be thinking “Mail Order Bride”? I have to be honest, when a man marries someone he barely knows, someone who lives in a country known for its extreme poverty, and he lives in a country on the opposite side of the world, it doesn’t scream “marriage” to me, it screams “Something isn’t right here.” There aren’t just red flags, there are thousands of blinking red lights.

Unfortunately, way too many women automatically believe that you are jealous of them if you pose a question of this nature, as opposed to seeing things from your perspective and realizing that you care enough about them to ask them about this “arrangement” because, in a world where women disappear into the sex trade and there’s rampant human trafficking occurring, you’d be a truly terrible friend if you didn’t speak up and say something BEFORE you find out that this person just went missing “on her way to visit her husband”. There’s not a whole lot you can do once that happens, but in the time leading up to it, yes, you can speak out and make them aware.

I am extremely disturbed by this arrangement a “friend” of mine has and I’m deeply concerned. Not just because she’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but because she desperately seeks love and acceptance from others and the way she goes about it, to me, is extremely unhealthy. She believes everyone in this world, at their core, is good. Maybe it’s the detective in me, maybe it’s just intelligence and intuition screaming at me, but I don’t see everyone in this world as predominantly good. I’ve seen way too much evil to believe that every single person walking this planet is supremely good and that each person has nothing, but good intentions. I’m way too smart for that fairytale nonsense. She should be old enough to have some common sense, but she lacks in this department, as many people do. She’s all over the fairytale. She truly believes she’s found her “Prince Charming”. It’s scary, because she is suffering through a lot of health issues and this man is not physically present for her whatsoever. To me, that’s not a marriage.

Normally I would keep my mouth shut & mind my own business, but this time everything was screaming at me to check this guy out. I researched this man she constantly refers to as her “hubby” (God as my witness, a man is only your “hubby” when he lives with you and sees you every single day. If you don’t wake up next to a person every day, it’s not an ideal marriage. Especially during the first year of marriage. God help me if I EVER refer to a man as my “hubby”. Try calling me “wifey”, you’ll be picking up your teeth for the next month. I do NOT do cutesy nicknames or pathetic references to married life and the person I share that life with. If you’ve been married longer than a year and you call your husband “your hubby”, that is your prerogative. We all use different references and names. However, every time I hear it, I throw up a little, ‘cause it’s nauseating. My friends all say “my husband”, or they use their partner’s actual name, they do not use obnoxious references or ridiculous nicknames. Maybe that’s why it is so much more sickening to me, I don’t know.), because I, by no means, think any of this is genuine.

It might be genuine on her end of things, she’s a person with a good heart who has been seeking the right person for quite some time, but again, not the sharpest tool in the shed. I’ve never met a man that loves a woman and is willing to live somewhere else for years once they are married, not unless it’s a financial thing and they have a plan to re-locate within a certain time frame, and the time frames are usually short enough that it doesn’t ever raise a red flag. Generally, this occurs in the military or when people work in different countries for a period of time based on their profession. None of this has been mentioned outside of “I’m going to visit him next year and he’s going to visit me the year after that.”, so I think that, as a friend, I should be concerned. I have to go with my intuition here and it has never, not once, lied to me.

Many years ago a friend of mine met a guy on-line. After a few years, they got married. He lived in England, and she lived in the U.S. He had visa problems because he constantly had to go back home due to illnesses within his family. She missed him terribly and when they were unable to get his visa cleared, she finally had enough, got her own, and moved to England permanently to establish citizenship. They’d hoped to be able to do that here, but with his family in one country and not well, and only some of her family here, it was the logical thing to do. We’d been friends for years and remained in touch after her marriage and subsequent move, but eventually we just lost touch. The difference between that relationship and the one I write about today is that they didn’t jump in to anything, they took time to get to know one another. I didn’t have a single red flag when she’d call me about him. In fact, I tried to help her in terms of information at times because she was slightly unsure if she should move or not. Initially during her first three months there, she absolutely HATED it and wanted to come home, but she stayed because she loved her husband, he loved her, and she didn’t want to be apart from him. That’s commitment, and I’m sure most of the married people reading this will agree with me.

One of my best friends has been married since she was about 19. Several years ago her husband’s company asked him to help open a new office for them…in Australia. It was only supposed to be six month, a year TOPS. Her work takes her all over the world, but this time she didn’t want to make the trip. She sent him ahead of her, but after a few months, I told her to just go for a few weeks and see if she liked it. She came back after the initial trip, and when she returned, she ended up staying right up until the last minute of still being able to fly pregnant, which is when they both returned, and months later their daughter was born with dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada. Again, that’s a committed relationship. Even while he worked, she still traveled for her own job, but mostly, she wanted to be a supportive wife, which is why she went in the first place. She said she was ok with him being in Australia by himself, but in reality, she didn’t like it. She thought that by staying home, she was being supportive. I am glad I encouraged her to make the trip. They are stronger for it.

I’ve slightly gotten into the red flag thing, but let me expand: If I told any of my best friends that this was an arrangement I had just entered into, or that I was romancing the idea of doing such a thing, each of them would tell me outright that something wasn’t right. They would also advise me to wait until we are both living in the same country before agreeing to marriage. After all, what the hell do you know about this person when you’ve only spent short periods of time with them? Not for nothing, they wouldn’t actually need to tell me any of this because I’m not impulsive and I don’t rush into anything. I believe in the sanctity of marriage, and if I’m going to stand up before God, my family, and my friends and take vows, then I’m truly committed to that person, and he damn well had better be committed to me because I’m not afraid to break out the shotgun, and neither is anyone else I know.

Red flags are a big thing for me in relationships. This one that’s bothering me has gigantic Red John sized red flags all over it. I was willing to let it go since she’s happy, until I sent her a response to a message that I found more than a little obnoxious via e-mail, where I basically asked her NOT to discuss anything private with me on my Facebook wall, or via Facebook at all. She responded, via Facebook (Like I said, not the sharpest tool in the shed.), with several different excuses as to why she cannot access her e-mail account from her computer, her iPhone (I’m sorry, but if I cannot access a Google Mail account via my incredibly overpriced “Smartphone”, then I do what any person with a functioning brain does: I get a NEW e-mail address with another company, Yahoo for example, where I CAN access my e-mail, and I let everyone know that I have had to make a change in e-mail addresses for the time being. Simple enough, right? We’ve all done it at one time or another. I myself was gifted with a new Android phone sometime last Spring/early Summer. I activated it on my birthday after Verizon terminated my previous cell after I’d already paid them. The bank got my money back, and despite truly loving my Verizon service and my 4 year old phone, as well as the phone number, I sunk to a new low with this new phone and activated it with Virgin Mobile, a company I’ve never done business with before. In order to use this particular brand, you’re required to attach it to a Google Mail account, so when I was initially gifted with said phone, I created a Google Mail account, despite the fact that I rarely use it. No big deal, it took less than five minutes. It’s not rocket science. I can access my mail from anywhere in the world, Google account or not. Maybe this is an iPhone issue, I don’t know, but I still think what I said is completely valid.), etc., and then told me the big whopper that was something I simply cannot abide by: She informed me that her husband dictates her e-mail to her via FaceTime conversations, so the only way she can talk to me “privately” is via Facebook. Are you fucking kidding me?! Get out the Revenge Red Sharpie everyone, because this one seriously creeps me the fuck out. In what world do they live in?!

Do you let your husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/partner read your private e-mail discussions between you & friends that they don’t know and have never met? I ask this in a completely “I’m not cheating” way, because I don’t, nor will I ever. I can understand if you’re just checking their phone to make sure your partner isn’t sending inappropriate text messages to someone else (if you’re the kind of person that does that. I do not.), but outside of that, I think it’s a bit much. I don’t let anyone read my e-mail. I might read something to a person when I am trying to handle a situation that bothers me, or when I want advice about something, but I keep the private sections to myself as any truly good friend should. As much as I give in the relationships in which I am in, and as much as I love, my friendships do not pertain to my boyfriend/husband/partner, so I do not feel he needs to know what I say to my friends or what they say in return. Unless something is said in front of him or directly to him, I believe in some semblance of a private social life. I expect him to have a private social life in many regards as well, and I don’t find that odd, I find it healthy.

I believe in each of us having our own friends, and in having friends as a couple. That does not mean I am cheating or keeping secrets, it simply means there are boundaries in relationships and I don’t cross them. Reading my e-mail to me like you’re some kind of overbearing father figure is not something I would EVER accept or allow, unless I was dead, in which case, have a fucking ball. He’d have to spend the next 40 years of his life deciphering the codes in which my friends and I speak any way, so not only would he be clueless beyond words, he’d get really bored, really fast.

This man, that I do not know and have never met or spoken to, had the audacity to send me a rude message on Facebook (interestingly enough she clearly doesn’t have any privacy considering the message was from her, with his name attached to it. How are our discussions “private” if he has her password to speak on her behalf?) because I was honest with his wife about something so minor, that no person on this planet with an I.Q. above their shoe size would take offense to. She is someone I’ve known for a very long time, and here he is telling me she’s been told not to get in contact with me ever again, and not only can’t he speak English, he can’t spell or write properly either. Considering he’s supposedly from a country where English is the predominant language spoken, do you find that remotely odd? I certainly do. Again, RED FUCKING FLAGS!

Thanks to the idiocy that is social media, people no longer feel the need to send out engagement announcements, wedding announcements, birth announcements, or invitations to anything. They truly think it is safe and completely normal to post their entire lives on social media, but then they wonder why their identities get stolen. and how people they don’t know suddenly know every single thing about them. They wonder why they get stalked. Lets be honest: It’s not because you’re a fascinating creature that people want to be “friends” with, it’s because you’ve lost the ability to keep your private life PRIVATE. Privacy is not a setting, it’s basic common sense. Every single aspect of their lives, from where they eat, shop, live, etc., and a plethora of photos that should be kept private, are there for anyone in the world to come across. Go to my Facebook page, apart from photos of my deceased cats and my new baby, you will not find any personal photos there whatsoever. My best friends (those that have known me for less than 20 years) didn’t even know what I looked like until they landed at the airport when I picked them up the first time they came to see me, and they were all fine with that. If you want to know what I look like, you’ll have to wait for the back cover of my novel, and that’s providing I go the picture route at all. When I say I’m a private person, I actually mean it. It’s not because I am hiding anything, it’s because I have learned to protect my safety and to keep personal things to myself. Do I want an absolute stranger approaching me in public simply because they’ve wandered onto my blog? The answer is an emphatic NO.

Several years ago I found one of my cousins on Facebook. I was utterly appalled to see that he had hundreds of family photos posted where anyone could come across them. I could have been a stranger, as opposed to a family member, and it would have been all too easy to do God only knows what because not only were his wife and children prominent in a great many of the photos, but so were photos of his home, his siblings, their children, spouses, and my Aunt & Uncle. Not for nothing, these people abandoned my brother & I completely after my parents died. They are my first cousins, the only first cousins I have. All four of them are married or in a committed relationship, and not a single one knows how to return a fucking phone call or be a decent human being. I did not get so much as a phone call or a condolence card upon losing both of my parents, but when their father passed away, I made sure we were all there before he died, as well as at the funeral, and at the house right afterwards. I spent months calling several of them after he passed away to try to make sure we established relationships, and they treated me like I didn’t exist. You can only ignore me for so long before I lose all interest in you from start to finish. I am embarrassed to share bloodlines and Grandparents with them, but I adore their children to pieces and would give them bodily organs if ever they needed it. That’s the difference between them and me, but I digress.

I generalize a lot of what I write on this blog, and I do it for a reason. Only a handful of you know me as a living, breathing person, have my phone number, or have friended me on different social media sites where I maintain a presence as a writer, and those that do have higher levels of information about me as a person are people I trust not to disrespect that, nor would I ever disrespect them and the friendship they have extended to me. If I’ve exchanged e-mails with you, and you can contact me like a normal person, then that means something. It means you are welcome in my life. Not just my on-line life, but my real, every day life. That is something I honor very few people with because I learned very early on in my professional career that far too many people wanted to be a part of my life for the wrong reasons. In turn, I let very few people into my life, heart, or home. I am a writer and I publicly post some incredibly personal, honest things here, but I also have boundaries to protect my privacy, as should we all.

This entire ordeal with my “friend” feels wrong to me for a lot of reasons, but the main reasons are: I have no respect for anyone that is trying to control another person, and somehow manages to do so from a completely different country. They don’t even live under the same roof! Moreover, I know that when something feels this wrong to me, the outcome is not going to be pretty.

When I have an intense sense of something, I am almost always right. I take no pleasure in being right about things of this nature, but I truly feel she is in danger and I have no idea how to approach her with it. She’s being civil with me, moving towards childishly friendly, but this guy is in her ear and she’s preaching The Bible at me, among other things. Before she met this guy, she was practicing Wicca. That’s a drastic switch in such a short period of time, so I take offense to her responding to the things I write about Wicca because I never abandoned it. Maybe that seems ridiculous or childish, but if you know me, you will understand what I’m saying and that it’s not coming from a judgmental place, merely a place of extreme awareness, as well as extreme concern.

I’m concerned for her safety in going to visit this guy. I do not trust him as far as I can throw him, and I’m pretty sure I could take him. I have no respect for a man that has the audacity to come into my domain and tell me what to say, how to say it, and whom to say it to. No one tells me what to do, I am not anyone’s property. I am not something that needs to be controlled.

For the record, my boyfriend was APPALLED that a man that does not know me would do such a thing. He, himself, would defend me if someone was physically harming me, he’s never let anyone disrespect me, but he knows full well that in pretty much every situation, I can handle myself. He does not have to speak for me. He’s smart enough to stay out of things that do not pertain to him. I do the same. It’s about respect, it’s not about a lack of emotion towards the other person.

He has been a part of my life for far longer than he has been a boyfriend, and much like me, manners are important to him. Facebook nonsense irritates him just as much as it irritates me, and he is not a part of it because he feels it would be detrimental to his professional career. When he sees me dealing with these things, he asks me why I don’t just tell all of these people to go to hell. He doesn’t understand why I navigate it gently. In fact, he thinks this piece is “too soft”. His advice was to be a lot more “in your face”. Alas, there’s a reason I’m the writer and he is not.

Being in a relationship of any kind, especially marriage, requires a foundation of friendship and respect. It doesn’t mean you hand over every single aspect of your life to the other person, or that you allow them to control you in any way. That’s just plain sick behavior to me, not to mention antiquated thinking.

Exactly how many people are omitting “Obey” from their wedding vows? If you want something or someone to obey you, get a fucking dog. Train it. Throw him/her a bone every now and then, and it’ll “Obey” you. If you expect your 21st century wife to “Obey” you, you definitely won’t be marrying a modern woman. Maybe that attitude will swing in other cultures, but if that way of thinking is working anywhere in this country, get yourself to therapy IMMEDIATELY. Don’t walk. RUN. Subservience and passiveness in women is a huge issue for me. I know for some it is simply in their nature, but I lack the ability to be a “People Pleaser”, and I also completely and utterly lack the ability to be a poor friend.

Far too many women are marrying people they do not know and end up in human trafficking, sex trades, become drug addicts overnight, or they end up dead. Many lose every single dime they spent their lives working for, all in the name of “love”. How can I not be concerned?! Meeting someone on the Internet does not guarantee that he is being honest with you about anything, especially if you’ve only ever been around him, or with him, for short periods of time. For all the Match.com and eHarmony “success stories”, note that you’re not being told all of the horror stories that run rampant through dating sites of all kinds. I’m a very open person, and a lot of the stories I hear are enough to keep me far, FAR away from any forum where I could potentially be meeting someone that has done nothing to earn my trust. It gives you an illusion of safety, nothing more. In reality, it’s about as safe as most bars, except that more and more bars have cameras around as a precautionary measure.

I strongly encourage women to run background checks on guys they’re dating, if for nothing else than pure peace of mind. At the very least, Google him first to make sure he’s not wanted for a crime, and make sure he’s never been to jail for anything questionable. If you live in California, do both a Google search and an IMDB search. Trust me on this one.

Call me old-fashioned, but no matter how I meet a guy, I want to be looking him in the eye when he tells me certain things. I want to be able to see his body language. Once you’ve spent enough time with a person, you know whether or not you feel comfortable enough to pursue a relationship. This does not happen right away, not if you’re smart. I would rather spend time talking to a person and getting to know him as an individual before jumping his bones. Call me crazy, but I like knowing a guy’s middle name, where he was born, what his parents and siblings names are, and what his tells are. Hell, I’m even happy to hear about his Grandparents if they’re still alive. I don’t want a resume, but I do want to know he’s not a piece of shit. If you’re friends with someone, you will find things out so much easier as opposed to jumping into a relationship with them. And at the core of the best relationships are two people who genuinely like spending time together, even if they’re simply reading different things in the same room, you’ll see them glance up at one another and smile. The silence is comfortable, and each person feels safe with the other.

I am a little concerned in posting this because I know I wasn’t Ms. Sweetness & Light here, but anyone that knows me shouldn’t expect me to dump 50 pounds of confectioner’s sugar on something that could potentially be a very serious matter. In turn, this will be available to be read for a short period of time and after that it will be made Private to protect the guilty, as well as the innocent. In the meantime, please tell me what you think.

How would you handle this sort of situation with a friend? And yes, I am perfectly willing to let the friendship end if it means she gets a brain and is kept safe. I would rather she see him for what he really is, than end up a statistic. I have said nothing to her about my concerns because she is not open to hearing anything beyond her own self-involved “bliss”. She thinks he is the greatest thing in the world. Love is blind, sometimes too much so, but love should never be suicidally stupid.

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So Much For That…

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I’ve had enough. I’m truly tired of so much right now, and tired in general (I knew I woke up too early this morning.). I don’t know how I even function with all the pain coursing through my body, which is progressively getting worse, so anyone receiving complete and total radio silence, you’re getting it because I’m not going to explain what blue looks like to the blind.

Lately…

Lately I have found myself on the receiving end of a lot of preaching. One of the first things anyone should know about me is that I am 100% unpreachable. I’m completely unreceptive to it, especially when the approach is so obnoxiously aggressive, and almost negative in some respects. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Bible Thumper. I respect difference of religion so long as one’s beliefs are not being shoved down my throat and recited to me as Gospel, but I will not respect, accept, or allow someone to be disrespectful to me or anyone that reads this blog.

I make my own decisions, my own choices. I live by a specific code, and nobody tells me what to do, think, say, feel, or how to be. There’s no one controlling me. I believe in freedom of speech (Though I can honestly say that some people need to have the right revoked, simply for taking it WAY TOO FAR! And I mean that in the sense that their idea of “freedom of speech” is sick, not helpful or thought-provoking.), in the right to bear arms, in the right to practice whatever religion you choose, so long as you aren’t harming anyone, in the right to love whoever you choose, and I’m a firm believer that when you are trying to seek help for yourself in ANY way, you should be treated with dignity, respect, kindness, compassion, and empathy. If a person cannot at least be polite & professional, then they need to find another line of work if their job means dealing with people or the public on a daily basis.

One of the most important things I learned as a writer, and in business, and this was literally day one, is that not everyone you encounter is going to like you, and that you have to accept that. I don’t like more than half of the people I encounter in this world, but I still believe in having manners and being respectful. I still believe in holding doors for people, in assisting one with directions if they are lost, and in general, not being an asshole. I’m completely intolerant when it comes to the many varieties of assholes in this world, and there are so many, it’s unreal.

Whenever I mention an aspect of religion on this blog, it is by no means coming from a “Live as I live” point of view. I am not telling anyone what to think or believe. It’s coming from a “This is my story, and I’m going to tell it the way I want to tell it.” perspective. We all have different beliefs, and that’s exactly how it should be. Differences make the word go ’round. We all have a unique point of view, and so many of us have amazing gifts and stories to share with the world. I have an immense amount of respect for that, and for the individuals I speak with on a regular basis.

If you visit my blog, please respect others that also visit. Some people think they have the right to comment on other people’s comments, but I don’t feel that way. If a comment is left for me, then I am going to answer it. If a comment is left for someone else, that’s a whole different ball game, but again, I encourage respect. I have deleted some things I felt were inappropriate and/or disrespectful for a number of reasons.

At the end of the day, this may be a public blog that anyone can stumble upon and read, but I will always get the final say in the material in which I allow my readers to be subjected to. If anyone is ever bothered by something, come to me directly and I will do whatever needs doing to correct it. If you find that you dislike me or my approach, there’s an Unfollow button. Use it if you choose, I know I do.

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Caturday Came A Day Early…

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Yesterday was my “day off” after a pretty tumultuous week. My pain levels are driving me up the wall, and a few people in my life are choosing now, of all times, to be idiotic, pathetic, childish morons. Do you all wait for me to have PMS and be raring to go after you with a hockey stick or are you really just that stupid?! For the record, I could be talking about a plethora of people, so please, don’t flatter yourself into thinking I’m talking about you unless you actually know you’re a moron and have been behaving in a childish, pathetic manner.

It has been my experience that morons are completely oblivious to the shit that comes out of their mouth, as well as how they act and behave. If you’ve said or done something stupid and I have kept my mouth shut thus far, trust me when I say that I’m being merciful.

Yesterday morning I discovered a black & white kitten in my back yard. I was on my way upstairs and out of the corner of my eye was a kitten in typical cat like predatorial position, seemingly staring at something near the storage shed. I opened the door and called out to her, but she refused to leave her post. After about an hour or so, she slowly started to move around the yard, still watching something that I couldn’t see or hear, and I decided to put some food out for her and see if she’d bite.

She had no collar or visible tags and she kept looking right at me, so I know she’s not afraid of me (and yes, I know she’s actually a she because male cats have a totally different look to them facially and physically.). I’ve seen her in passing for a few months roaming around 4-5 houses close to mine, darting across the street in the early evening hours, but I have no idea if she’s microchipped and belongs to someone, if she’s been abandoned, or if she’s a stray. It’s possible she belongs to someone and is an outdoor cat, but to not have a collar or tags is usually a good indicator that the owner doesn’t really give a shit about their animal, and it pisses me off big time when people do that.

I suspect she’s been sleeping in my yard at night for quite some time because I’ve been hearing some major purring underneath my window pretty much every night. If you’re not a cat owner or cat lover, you have no idea what it’s like to have a purring little being lull you to sleep. I miss that SO MUCH after losing my macaroon in January. I felt like I was cheating a bit calling out to this kitten, I actually looked around as if she might hear me, but it comes down to me simply not being able to allow a kitten to hang out in my yard without feeding it and making sure it’s safe and belongs to someone. I’ll see if we develop trust between us because right now, I don’t want to spook her. She was here for several hours and then walked around the yard and left. She’s beautiful, but young. Maybe a year old, if that. Still a baby. I would take her in, in a New York Minute, and I don’t usually say that about an animal older than 10 weeks. Kittens are my personal preference and are such a joy to raise. I am well aware that older cats need homes too, and plenty of people in my area are adopting them, so I am not about to change my preference unless a situation presents itself. I do not compromise who I am to make other people feel better about themselves.

As of right now, I am supposed to attend a kitten/cat adoption event the day of my birthday in a few weeks. Initially I was really looking forward to this, I was so excited at the possibility of coming home with “little people”. It’s in the Main Line (outside of Philly), so it’s still close enough that if I don’t find a kitten or two to take home I can always attend their November event, but I’m honestly just going to wing it. If I wake up that morning and I’m feeling good, then I’ll go. If I wake up and I don’t feel it, then I will wait until next Spring and give myself that much more time to heal because in all honesty, I have a feeling that’s what I really need.

This has been a year that has shown me who I am. It has brought out a deeper strength I did not know I possessed, a fighting spirit that is so much fiercer than she used to be, and a person who sees things and people in a much clearer fashion. I will no longer hold on to things, relationships/friendships, or anything that doesn’t give me a sense of peace and happiness. I will not change to make others feel better, but I will change if I see something within me that needs fixing, for me. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being yourself. I now fully realize that some people don’t know how to take that, and that some people simply want to run and hide from it because they’re really running and hiding from themselves. That’s not my issue. If you ask me to be a part of your life in any way, shape, or form, then I am going to be myself. If you ask me for advice, help, honesty, or to listen, then I will do exactly that. If I extend the hand of friendship, fully consider it before smacking it away as if you’re two years old.

I’m going to spend my weekend writing, reading, resting, and healing. I will squeeze some cleaning, laundry, and cooking into the fray, and I will try to catch the Pirates game tomorrow as well. Beyond that, I really just want to be left alone with my own thoughts. What next week holds is a whole other story, but I already know it’ll be challenging. I will make it through, and so will you.

Vicious, Vicious Mood

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Do bad days ever just turn into bad months, culminating in a series of moments where you realize that you’re experiencing a bad year, or possibly bad years, plural? That’s how I’m feeling right now and yet, people refuse to mind their own business, step back, and fuck off. I should be wearing a Do Not Disturb sign as a t-shirt because I am all sorts of pissed off and there’s just no getting around it. I wish I could say it was *just* PMS (sorry guys), but honestly, I think I’ve simply reached my limit for the next 10 years worth of idiocy, ignorance, stupidity, and douche-baggery.

I actually had someone start an obnoxious passive-aggressive “fight” with me via Facebook this week. If a person doesn’t speak to me at all for well over a year and a half and then proceeds to comment on my status with a “Hehe” (My God-daughter will be three in six months, and her vocabulary is far superior to that of an almost 40 year old woman. How sad is that?!), I am going to want to harm them. This is just plain fact, though most of the time I am very good at ignoring one’s idiocy, depending on how high you are on my friendship/love scale.

Pretending to be a “friend” wanting to “brighten my day” is bullshit. If a person wants to brighten my day, there are so many private ways to do that, you do not need to do it on Facebook so that others can think you’re a good person. Moreover, either I am your friend at all times or you can fuck off. There is no middle ground. I am not here for anyone’s amusement. I take my friendships and relationships seriously because honestly, why bother if you’re not going to be genuine?! Be real. Don’t pretend with me and then passively aggressively ask me if you’ve done something wrong. Yes, you’ve done something wrong. You’ve behaved like an idiotic jack-ass and even better, everyone on Facebook gets to see how childish you are and how curt I am in turn. When I tell a person that Facebook is not the time, nor the place for this, and that if they have something to say to me personally, to do so, that does NOT mean you ask me a question via Facebook messaging. It means you put on your big girl panties and send me an e-mail like an adult (this only pertains to friends overseas. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, pick up the fucking phone. I asked several people if I was wrong and they agreed with me, so I know I’m not being childish, petty, or dramatic.). And please, do us all a favor and don’t claim that I’m a treasured friend “regardless of the miles between us or how busy our daily lives are” (I’m paraphrasing here.) when I haven’t been a treasured friend in quite some time. In fact, do yourself a very big favor and un-friend me ’cause it’s very clear to me that we are not friends, as most people on Facebook aren’t any way, despite knowing each other for 18 years.

A formerly dear friend (who I will eventually blog about because after discarding me for a guy she barely knew three years ago, I need to get the situation off my chest before I show up at her front door and do her serious harm. That’s not a threat, it’s not often I feel such anger and hatred toward someone I once loved like a sister.) once told me that it’s ok to outgrow people and move on from friendships when they no longer work for you. She also said she believes in having closure and saying something to the other person, as opposed to just leaving them hanging (apparently not, but it wouldn’t be the first time a huge lie came out of her big trap!). I did not know if I agreed back then, but now I’m feeling like maybe she was right. Of course, maybe my tolerance level just isn’t up to snuff this week/month/year. Who knows? Who cares? Vicious mood shall remain vicious. I have a weekend full of sports to take out my hostility on.

I’ll be back with your usually scheduled insanity when my post-concussion nausea and dizziness subside. Does anyone have any ginger? This is NOT the time for me to run out of ginger tea. Note to self: Buy stock in Lipton.

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time…

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

He was the quintessential “bad boy”, complete with a Harley Davidson collection (the actual motorcycles, not memorabilia.), tattoos, multiple drug addictions, and a one million foot yacht chock full of issues. Maybe the maternal, nurturing aspect of me wanted to fix or heal him. I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’m thankful every single day that it is no longer a part of my life.

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

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

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

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

The criticism I endured throughout the course of this relationship was actually harsher than what I dealt with from my family, and even though I had a comeback for everything he said, the words still haunt me… I went from being vibrant, smart, confident, & 100% in control to depressed, unhappy, paranoid, angry, & jealous. I was reduced to questioning why I was somehow not good enough for him. It was irrational and insane. Logically there was always an inner voice telling me “He’s not good enough for you. What are you doing?! This man is poison. Tell him to go to hell and walk away.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He & I continue to have mutual friends. I’ve stopped speaking to all, but three of them because I’m tired of hearing the lies. “He asked about you.”, “He hopes you’re all right. He just wants you to be happy.”, “He cares about you.” PLEASE! He never cared in the first place, it was a fucking game to him. No matter how many times I would ask these friends not to relay anything he said about me, it would come up in conversation, until I finally changed my phone number and said “No more.”

Not one to eat bullshit politely with a knife and fork, I have gone out of my way to avoid him since all of this went down. In truth, I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I didn’t do anything wrong, except believe in a person I shouldn’t have given the time of day to, but hey, we all make mistakes. Avoiding him is my way of remaining a healthy, non-toxic human-being. I know that eventually, at some point, we will run into one another, and I pray that I am not carrying a loaded weapon that day or wearing particularly high heels because even though people tell me I’m not a damaging, harmful person to be around, and that I’d never willingly hurt someone, I cannot promise that the desire to harm him won’t be there. Some of the rage goes away with time, but any time the relationship is mentioned or I come across something from that time period, I am flooded with everything I thought I’d already moved past. For me, that lets me know the damage runs deep. It does not, nor will it ever, mean that I care about him. I don’t. I wouldn’t spit on this man if he was on fire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor’s Note: This is about two relationships that I combined into one story. It’s about a 70/30 split between the two. I was engaged to both of them. I can say in clear truth that the second person was a far better person than the first, and he did not verbally or emotionally abuse me. He simply wasn’t the right person for me because we wanted different things. He thought I wanted a lifestyle, which was not the case. I do not believe in giving up love, respect, loyalty, and fidelity for “things”. He wanted the “little woman” at home raising the kids in the amazing house, and yes, he would have been a great provider and a good father, but he didn’t realize that meant he’d have to be loyal, committed, and most importantly, faithful. I won’t settle for a half-life, no one should.