Posted byMiss Poison
Posted onNovember 5, 2014
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*Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam Webster, here’s a new word for you!*
Yesterday I quietly celebrated the day I had some kind of mental breakdown and created this blog. I’m kidding about the mental breakdown, but I honestly have NO idea what possessed me.
I know the list on my publishing mandate was getting to me, I’ve talked about this many times over the course of this year. Never give a Scorpio woman a lists of Dos, and really, don’t EVER tell HER what to do. She’ll be incredibly liable to tell you what to do, with a slew of choice words mixed into her phraseology.
I’m a writer, I write what I want, when I want, and I say exactly what I’m thinking. I’ve had people refuse to edit my work because they didn’t feel qualified to touch it. GOOD, you’re NOT. Thanks ever so much for clearing that up!
I remember signing up for this blog, publishing my first post, and then saying “Now what?!” I continued to post, really not expecting anything. Quickly, I started acquiring likes, followers, and in this past year I have made friends that I hope I will have for a very long time, if not a lifetime.
I named my blog, “…..And The Moon Sees All” because it is a very personal, private kind of statement for me. It also helps that it is unique. I only recently discovered how unique the name actually is when it was the first site to appear on a Google search. You can Google my name and you will find everyone else named Lisa Marino. Literally, everyone, but me. However, when you type in the name of this blog, you just get me. I have to say, I like that a lot.
Unique blog name aside, I generally don’t start a lot of sentences with “And”, mainly because I’m a Word Nazi. That’s why the blog looks like it’s the end of a sentence. It is, to some extent. A typo, a misspelled or missed word, and you will see me physically and, on occasion, visibly cringe, as if a snake just went up the back of my shirt. When I see it on someone else’s blog, I want to fix it. It drives me insane. I am definitely obsessive compulsive in this sense, and I always have been. When I find a mistake in something I wrote ten years ago, it drives me up the wall. It could be something as simple as a missing word or a missing comma, but it will drive me to fix it immediately. Hey, I never claimed to be normal, don’t expect it.
A year (and a day) into this blog has me thinking about how it all began for me as a writer, and why. I think about all the spelling tests I aced without fail. I think of the absolute BEST English teacher I ever had, Mrs. Hughes, who not only thought I was a top student, possibly the top student of all the English classes she taught, but also the fact that she believed in my ability to carry the written word further. I remember showing her midrange stages of my writing accomplishments and being able to nail scores of recommendation letters when I graduated because word got out, and everyone was so blown away by just the midrange stage of what I could do. They had yet to see me truly shine, but they all knew I would.
I had professors fail me when I was a journalism major because apparently my creative writing was “too honest.” I cannot imagine saying that to someone, but I can imagine recommending them for a different class to help push them in the right direction. I didn’t choose that particular class, it was a prerequisite. I had one professor make it sound like I was going to destroy his entire writing class, simply because I would not adhere to HIS style of how the written word should be. Hey, it’s your style buddy, not mine. I honestly don’t think anyone else in that class WAS writing, but I’m not dwelling on it because he also told me that I had no talent and would NEVER write. He was oh so wrong.
When I decided that I was no longer going to focus on journalism, it was mainly due to some health setbacks. I knew I would continue to accomplish other things, as I always have, and I knew I would continue to write, but I didn’t have a clear view of the path. I did, however, have faith that whatever I was meant to do, I’d be put on the right path and do the work. I have never asked for the work to be done for me.
Health wise, Fibromyalgia is a demon you never quite conquer. It is parasitic in its nature to take hold and feed off of your life force. It makes me angry, knowing how much it has slowed me down and exactly how much it has stripped me of. I battle it every single day. There will forever be good and bad days. I no longer self-abuse (I said abuse, not self-harm. Self-abuse, for me, is more mental than anything else.) when I cannot do something. I no longer berate myself when I cannot get out of bed. I no longer force myself to do things that will leave me laying in bed for weeks at a time in pain. I’ve had to let go and realize that I may physically be limited a lot of the time, but my voice and the core of who I am have remained the same. If anything, I’ve probably just gained a fresher perspective.
What has changed for me since this blog went live? I’ve changed, in some wonderful ways. Instead of writing without an awful lot of feedback, I get feedback on an almost daily basis, and quickly. When I write something great, people leave me comments or send me e-mails, and as a writer, I feel supported. No one is sitting in judgement of me here. I thank all of you for that, because I’m not judging any of you either.
Yes, I’ve come across a handful of people who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near humans, computers, social media, animals, humans, and did I mention humans? They should have their hands removed and their mouths sutured shut, and they should be locked away from civilization because they’re making anyone with a truly serious mental illness look 1 million percent sane. Spewing hatred is incredibly unattractive, I don’t allow that here, and I don’t allow that in any aspect of my life. Spewing hatred toward women and a religious group differing from your own is fucking disgusting. I’ve had a few comments come my way that were incredibly uncalled for and completely unprovoked. However, I’ve had support from various people in many instances and the uncivilized have been cast out. I have had exactly ONE person take offense to something I said, and my hand to God, I was not anywhere in the vicinity of offensive. I was downright nice and friendly, which for me is HUGE. I answered a question with detailed, informative honesty. I was insulted and berated for it, simply because this person disagreed with me. If you don’t have anything nice to say to a person, don’t say anything at all. A simple “Thank you for reading my blog/post.” is sufficient. Don’t ask a person to elaborate on something you yourself are not knowledgeable about and then act like they’ve committed some kind of crime by answering you. If I want to offend you, believe me, I possess all the necessary tools to do so. I can go from zero to bitch in less than half a second, but I choose not to be a vicious tart here. I choose to keep this space as positive as humanly possible, and supportive. I’m not competing with anyone here for niceness, or “best blog”, or ANYTHING. I compete with myself as a writer, but there will always be better writers than I, of writers who simply have a different perspective, and that is 100% what life is all about.
We all have our personal space on the blogosphere, and if you come into mine, be respectful. If I leave a comment on your blog, you can bet it’s not going to be a hate-filled, mean rant. I will either agree, disagree, laugh with you, cry with you, or relate to you. I might even have some advice, if that’s what you happen to be seeking. I have a lot on my “life plate”, and I don’t suffer fools, assholes, or the ignorant.
To the friends I’ve made here, who make my days so much brighter with comments, e-mails, private messages, phone calls, and texts: THANK YOU. You’re all seeing me exactly as I am and that makes me feel so good inside. There is a great sense of community here and for that, I am supremely grateful.
Taking into account that this particular gesture still leaves me speechless, I have to say, it’s been a good year here. I look forward to many more.
Thank you for all being here and supporting me as an artist. Yes, even writers are artists. 🙂
Rethinking Mental Illness
I came across this and I do agree that we need to talk about it. It needs to stop being treated like something we can only speak of in hushed tones. The increased rate of suicide in people being treated for various forms of depression has drastically increased over the last few years, and yet, when you tell a doctor or a therapist that you think of suicide often and that you have a plan, they don’t take you seriously unless they believe you need to be hospitalized. The truth is, if someone is going to follow through on suicide, they aren’t going to discuss it with anyone. It’s a very personal, private thing.
I lost someone very dear to me to suicide 20 years ago. One of my brother’s best friends committed suicide eight years ago, less than a year after being discharged from the Army Rangers. I have very close friends that have lost siblings and other family members to suicide, so I don’t find it a laughing matter in any capacity. I, myself, am extremely open about these topics and I discuss them at length in the most direct fashion possible. I detest the stigma placed upon people who suffer from depression, and the labels and whispers that follow in their wake. It enrages me.
Don’t be afraid to get help or to talk about what you feel. Be afraid if you don’t talk about it.
Learning To Love Our Bodies
I’ve been meaning to share this blog for quite some time now. It breaks my heart that any child would ask if raisins are fattening. I openly admit to having an image problem, but I can tell you that it did not start until I left gymnastics and it didn’t begin at home. In fact, I never saw anything wrong with myself physically (except for obvious things that all girls find issue with at one time in their life or another) until people started pointing my flaws out left and right. All of a sudden, I was avoiding mirrors and wouldn’t purchase new clothes.
As women, we make this worse. Instead of building each other up, we tear each other down. It’s disgusting and I don’t want to be a part of that. If I think someone is beautiful, be it inner or outer beauty (occasionally it is both, but not all the time,), then I find absolutely nothing wrong with saying it. That doesn’t mean I want to be in a relationship with them, it simply means I’m not blind.
Zero and Double Zero are not sizes, even if that’s your “natural weight”. It should not be anyone’s goal of perfection because perfection is an illusion. Be yourself. Be comfortable in the skin you’re in because you’re going to be in that skin for a very long time. Be kind to yourself and try to achieve self-acceptance, because it’s so much easier than “perfection”.
*This is for all of us who are battling something… Give ’em hell!!*
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.
For everyone who makes it sound like Fibromyalgia will get better or simply go away. Nice try. Making a photocopy of this for future reference.
Don’t Count Me Out Just Yet…