Friendship -vs- “Friendship”: Sincerity or Malice?

Friendship -vs- “Friendship”: Sincerity or Malice?

If there’s anything I truly hate in this world, it’s people not knowing how to be decent friends. It takes two, truly. Both people have to be committed to the same cause, which is the core of the friendship and what it is built upon. Unfortunately, you will often find that the other person generally doesn’t know your intentions and you may not figure out theirs until it’s too late.

Throughout the course of my life I have had both friends and “friends”, and it’s fair to say that we all have. The latter are the bottom feeders in this world who only come to you with falseness in their hearts. They pretend to be genuine, but they’re either intimidated by you, scared of your strength, jealous of you, or never have good intentions towards anyone. Sometimes it’s a mass combination of all of the above, and so much more. They are the types of people that are 1000 shades of fucked up and, no matter how sweet, kind, entertaining, genuine, or funny they appear to be, they are hiding behind a facade and not only lying to you, but lying to themselves. They will seem selfless, but they’re selfish, self-possessed, and have cruelty and hatred residing within their souls, and they choose to take it out on people that do not deserve it, as opposed to directing it at those that do.

I can only use myself as an example here. I give a LOT to the relationships in my life. I don’t know any other way to be. Need advice? I’m your girl. Need help hiding a body? What body? No one will ever find it. I have helped friends whenever they have needed help, regardless of what that help entailed. I feel that is the right thing to do. I do not like seeing my friends struggle and suffer if I am in a position to do something about it. I will talk to you for hours about anything and nothing, and I will truly listen to you. I’m not on the other end of the phone rolling my eyes or making faces, I am fully engaged. I am loyal and I am devoted. In short, I know my worth and value in all things, but especially as a friend. It is one of the things in life I am most certain of.

A lot of missteps in friendship are based on poor communication. If you choose not to say something to someone when, and if, it bothers you, that is YOUR fault, not THEIRS. Take ownership of your short-comings. I have my own faults here too. Sometimes it will take me a few days, weeks, or months to call somebody out on something I feel was inappropriate, wrong, and/or offensive. I don’t allow disrespect. However, even if it takes me some time, I will still do it. I do not avoid confrontation, and I always feel better once I’ve clarified with someone what is, or isn’t, going on and how to come back to a good place. It doesn’t happen with every single friendship, sometimes a friendship has run its course, reached an end and that, too, is ok, but the effort still needs to be made.

If ever you want to end a friendship, as in all relationships, it is crucial to tell the other person. For one, it shows good manners and two, it brings closure to the relationship. It doesn’t matter if you were friends for three months, six months, a year, or if you’ve been friends for 30 years, have some fucking decency in your dealings with others, lest you gain a reputation for the way you handle your personal relationships. Especially with other women. I can assure you that women talk. If you’ve been a bitch to a woman and later become friends with someone she knows really well, she won’t hesitate to tell that friend exactly what your deal is. I’ve had more than one or two of my close friends warn me about other women, and they were always right. Thankfully, I wasn’t fully invested into the new people, so it wasn’t a big deal or the end of the world.

I always encourage people to communicate with me. If you don’t like something I’ve said, come to me and Spit.It.Out. Just be honest. You’re not sure what I meant by something? FUCKING ASK. Things like that frustrate me. I don’t like wasting my time with anyone, nor do I like it when people attach my name to bullshit stories that are fictional beyond words, and delusional by half.

If you have an issue with me, say it to my face. Be direct. Don’t run and hide like a toddler, and don’t tell lies. I may not be perfect, I’m certainly not winning any awards for warmth, fuzziness, or coddling, but at least I know what respect, loyalty, and real friendship is all about. Once I lose respect for you, you do not exist. If you close the door, I will put Wolverine’s adamantium claws on my end of the door so that if you ever try re-opening it, you get to hang on your own sword, and your own mistakes. That’s how it works. If you want to be someone’s friend, have honor and dignity. Unless you’re incredibly self-absorbed and shallow. I assure you, NO ONE wants a false friend.

Choosing to be a part of someone’s life as their friend is something so many take for granted. Extending the hand of friendship, to me, is a big deal. If you bite that hand, be prepared for what comes next. People often underestimate my nice factor, which I can tell you from experience, is limited. Treat people the way you want to be treated. If you want love and acceptance, be loving and accepting. If you want or need a certain thing in a friendship, as in any relationship, it is perfectly ok to ask for it. If you’re going through a rough time and you feel like you need a little extra emotional support, say so. Don’t expect everyone to be a mind reader, because the simple fact of the matter is, there’s no such thing as mind readers.

If friends or family treat you like shit and you always allow them to return to your life, you are allowing the behavior and accepting it. In fact, you’re encouraging the cycle to continue. Over time, you lose sight of what it’s like to be treated the right way. In the grand scheme, your acceptance of such negativity allows the chains to wrap around you. This extends to all relationships in ones’ life. Allowing bad behavior, accepting it, and never saying anything in response is encouraging it. If I, as your friend, have encouraged you to put your foot down and you ignore me, I lack sympathy when it continues to happen to you. Not because I’m a cruel person, but because you have been repeatedly given sound advice. I do not mince words and I do not suffer fools gladly. I mean what I say, unless I’m pissed, in which case I will probably say nothing until I cool off. If I am wrong and I know I am wrong, I will always apologize.

This was not written for any particular reason, so do not presume it is directed at you, the reader, in any way, shape, or form, except maybe in an advisory capacity. I’ve had this on my mind for a while and felt it cathartic to put it into action.

We have three different types of friends throughout the course of our lives, and in some instances, for many, many lives, until we learn our lessons and get it right. The different types of friends are “those for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. If you’re going to be the type of friend to me that I am to you, then you’re ride or die, and you are in my life for a reason and a lifetime. I will always be loyal and devoted to you. However, if you’re only sticking around long enough to use me, please, fuck off now, and take your insane monkeys with you.

If one person is a flake, don’t take it personally. If one person is over-sensitive and cannot handle the truth, then that person needs to work on themselves and letting them fly is the best thing to do when they refuse to listen. Not every friendship is forever, but maybe that’s because the ones that are, are so much more valuable, and are built on a solid foundation, as opposed to being built on one person’s immediate interests.

In closing, I am incredibly GRATEFUL for the lovely, talented, graceful, elegant, mature, beautiful on the inside and outside, kind, generous, hilarious, devoted, loyal friends in my life. I can count them on two hands, but quality is far superior to quantity. Some have been a part of my life for a short period of time, but are no less special to me. Many have been with me for 18-25 years and, despite our imperfections and character flaws, despite agreeing to disagree, we love each other, we care about each other so very much, and we’d do anything for each other. A friend recently told me that I have been there for her through EVERYTHING, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and she thanks God for me. Another told me how people are always using her, but that I am the bright spot in her life. In friendship, things should be positive. If they aren’t, detox yourself from the poison. You’ll find a lot of clarity there.

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

Question Of The Day

A “friend” of mine made a comment on Facebook today that just plain irritates the shit out of me. Let me start by saying that I’ve written about this person before, as a concerned friend, but have since moved on to simply not having any respect for her whatsoever.

I’m not sure if it was the entire comment, the fact that she used the word “ironical”, or that the comment simply shows a severe lack of intelligence, a desperate need for attention, and severe issues, but whatever it is, I actually responded because it pissed me off so bad.

I do not look down upon people who live together, but are not “legally married”, as she so quaintly put it. A piece of paper isn’t what every single person on this planet needs, and some people are quite content in their relationships to not need a license, rings, and all that comes with a word, because at the end of the day, marriage means different things to different people. Many couples are together and saving to be able to pay for their wedding, or to purchase their first home, so the actual marriage part gets placed on the back-burner as they work and save. Being together and being committed is enough for so many, and it does not invalidate their love to not be “legally married”.

Marriage, from where I am sitting, is hard work. This particular person chose to marry someone who lives in another country. She sees him just a few weeks per year, if that. He has no plans to move to her country until he retires, yet she’s talking about having a baby. If you’re married and you do not live together, that is a choice you have made, for whatever reason. I, personally, don’t see a need to be married to someone I only see 2-3 weeks a year. That’s less than a booty call to me, truly. It’s not a relationship at all. Not unless that person is in the military.

To hear her talk about having a baby when he’s in one country and she’s in another is mind-blowing. I’m not sure if it’s simply a religious belief or pure ignorance, but if I want to be a single mother, I don’t need to be “legally married” with a husband in another country in order to do it and be respected. The warped, judgmental perspective astounds me.

Do you think people need to be legally married to live together or is it 100% ok to “live and let live”? I, personally, respect either decision on behalf of couples everywhere, but my God, if you’ve chosen to marry someone you’re not living with, don’t blame the rest of the world for your CHOICE. That’s not “ironical”, that’s idiocy. Yes, I’m feeling particularly harsh this week.

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.

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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!

How This Jewish American Wiccan “Celebrates Christmas”…

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How This Jewish American Wiccan “Celebrates Christmas”

In the very near future, I will be spending a huge chunk of my time in Israel. It will be nice not having to explain holidays to anyone or explaining why Christmas is just another day to me. For now, in the suburbs of a predominantly Irish and Italian neighborhood with a good 20 churches in pretty much every direction I turn (I wish I was exaggerating), I am still explaining myself. I have no idea why people still think their religion is the only one that exists on this planet. I’ll never understand it!

I am completely respectful of other people’s religious beliefs and their holidays, so long as I am not subjected to them in a means to try and convert me, but my spiritual beliefs and holidays are often met with some extremely disturbing questions, as opposed to the few I have received recently that were honest, curious, and filled with excitement for knowledge. They were by no means offensive. When a person is open and honest, and interested, it makes it so much easier for me to be me, as opposed to feeling like I have to repress my thoughts.

A few weeks ago someone wished me a “Merry Christmas” and received my usual response, which is that I do not celebrate Christmas. This is someone whose establishment I frequent once or twice a month, and not only did she look like I’d just kicked her, but she came over to make sure she hadn’t offended me. I had to explain that I celebrate Chanukah and Yule, and that I am not Catholic or Christian. She was incredibly confused, but she came over to make sure she hadn’t offended me with a wish for a good holiday. Me, I simply like to be clear with people. I am not trying to offend anyone, but if you’re going to wish me well, wish me properly. Don’t make assumptions and please, don’t tell me I “don’t look Jewish”. I don’t even know how to answer that one without telling you off, and because I come from a rich ancestral well of knowledge and an incredibly deep DNA pool, I can assure you that we come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. We are all distinctly unique, some more than others.

Growing up, Christmas was not a word used much in our home. Not for any other reason than the simple fact that we’re Jewish. We had many Christian and Catholic friends, some who understood and some who did not, that we ourselves did not celebrate the same holiday, nor did we share the same spiritual or religious beliefs that they did. It is extremely disturbing to me that in 2013, any Jew still has to explain themselves.

People like to quote the Bible at me, and they are generally New Testament folk. They’re the kinds of people that don’t realize exactly how “new” the New Testament really is. I, myself, do not adhere to anything outside of the Old Testament. Even that kind of loses me at times. Prayer is an amazing thing, but I like to stick to my own path when it pertains to anything of a spiritual nature. I am not trying to change or convert anyone.

Today is simply December 25th to me. It’s not a holiday, but it IS my Great-Uncle’s birthday. He passed away 15 years ago, but I still remember him very clearly. I remember the last things he ever said to me, and I remember how silent this time of year became after he passed away. For several years prior to his passing, myself and two other family members would try to spend the day with him. Even though he had long since stopped acknowledging his own birthday, he still loved going out to a nice restaurant and enjoying good food, good company, and he told stories like nobodies business. They’re the kinds of stories you want to hear from someone over the age of 80, because you know that no matter how much time passes, you will never hear such stories again.

After he passed away, the tradition maintained in my home on Christmas Day was movies and good food. Either we went to the movies and came home to a really great meal, or we stayed home with a pile of movies and made a meal together. Almost always, it was homemade Italian food from scratch, or Chinese food from the best place in the area.

To know me is to know that I make killer Italian food. It’s something I love doing, but I am just as comfortable making Asian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, and pretty much anything else that I have mastered in all my years of cooking. Nothing is impossible, but I am an epic lasagna failure. It’s the only thing I make that falls apart, so I’ve stopped doing it. It is never inedible, it just never does what it’s supposed to do. Despite a family recipe for veggie lasagna that has been passed down for four generations, I completely and utterly suck at it. It’ll probably be another ten years before I attempt it again. It takes time and patience, and we all know I have no patience.

Over time I have found that people really seem to be offended whenever I clarify that I do not celebrate Christmas. They look at me like I kick puppies, torture kittens, steal winning lottery tickets, and am just, on a whole, not a good person. I look at them with the knowledge that, for over 5000 years, my people have not celebrated Christmas. It’s not on our calender and it’s not in our religious texts. It’s perfectly ok to not share the same religious beliefs. If we did, we’d be living in some kind of bizarre utopia. That’s not a world I can imagine functioning in. Differences make the world go ‘round. We can either choose to come together and learn from one another or we can continue fighting in the name of religion. The choice, however, is generally not ours to make because those that govern our respective countries are a huge part of why organized religion is failing. I could go on, but I won’t, or I assure you, I will offend you.

One year a family friend (one of my brother’s best friends at the time), on leave from the Army, wanted me to convince my brother to come to midnight mass with him. I, personally, do not spend time in churches. It has never been my thing. My brother politely declined, but as his friend became more insistent he finally said “Look, there’s a Jew hanging from a cross in no less than 7 places in there. With that track record, I don’t care to be the sacrifice sometime between midnight and 2 a.m.” We ALL laughed, and no one was offended.

This very same friend asked us about Christmas trees, genuinely wanting to know “If we put up Christmas trees, what do Jewish people do?” Never one to miss an opportunity, I turned around and said “We put up a Chanukah Bush, John.” He nodded and said “Oh, ok.” I said absolutely nothing for a few minutes, everyone was in on it because they’d heard me do this little bit before. Finally, after suppressing serious laughter to the point where I almost hurt myself, I admitted to him that I was just fucking around with him, that there was no such thing as a Chanukah Bush (though I admit, I know some people that put one up because they love Christmas trees, but don’t celebrate Christmas). Again, laughter ensued. You have to really know me to know that I will joke like that with the people that know me best, and that, while inappropriate to some, I am careful what I say in mixed company because I don’t go out of my way to be hurtful to others. I do like to be very clear though, that’s just my way. Humor and clarity.

Approximately 11 ½ years ago, Wicca was introduced to me. It is the perfect blend of a nature based religion steeped in Kabbalistic teachings. Kabbalah is Jewish Mysticism. If you don’t know what that is, use a search engine. That will explain it more clearly for you.

For me, Wicca was like coming home. It was pretty much everything I had been raised around, especially a love for animals and nature, and the elements. Part of the Wiccan Rede is “An it harm none, do as ye will”. There is no governing body, you govern yourself, and the Wiccan Rede tells you “So long as you are not harming anyone, do as you will. Live your life.” It is laid back and calm, and it brings an extra level of peace to my life. Even my Rabbi is comfortable with my spiritual beliefs. He’s one of the most open people I have ever met, so I feel supremely comfortable being myself and speaking my mind around him. Until I met him, I had NEVER been in the presence of a man of God and not felt judged. However, my Rabbi is unique. He too, is from a foundation of “You’re not harming anyone by being you. Live your life.” In this, I always feel incredibly blessed.

Almost all of my friends are religiously different than I am, and that is beyond ok. I am not sitting in judgement of them or their beliefs. I want them to be their authentic selves, and I can only hope they want the same for me. I have friends that are Jewish and friends that are Wiccan, so I don’t feel spiritually deprived in any sense of the word. We should all celebrate what we believe in and do so with those we love. We should wish the people in our lives well EVERY DAY, not just during the month of December.

So Lisa, exactly how does a Jewish American Wiccan “celebrate Christmas”? Simply put, I don’t. I ignore the insanity of my neighbors, all of whom DO celebrate Christmas, and I go about my day. I will bake Cranberry Orange scones for breakfast, I will do laundry and maybe enjoy a movie. I will play with my fuzzy little Princess. Later on, I will be making a nice meal for the family I am spending my day with. I might even get some writing finished, if I’m feeling up to it. Basically, anything goes. It’s just another quiet day for me. After years and years spent taking care of others, quiet days are something I really treasure.

Wishing you & yours a beautiful holiday season.

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The Blogiversary

The Blogiversary

*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.

http://fairytaleepidemic.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/22-and-the-moon-sees-all/

Thank you for all being here and supporting me as an artist. Yes, even writers are artists. 🙂

Dad…

Dad…

It’s been six years today since you passed away. I still remember the phone calls that morning. I remember every day after it so vividly, even the months of not being able to get out of bed or function after burying you. I never want to re-live it again, yet it plays out each year in ways I never imagined.

Growing up I wanted to be as little like you as humanly possible, and you know why. I chose to separate myself and be my own person, because I couldn’t fathom having your blood running through my veins.

Our relationship was a difficult one, but in the end, I made sure you got the best medical care possible, I planned your funeral, and gave the eulogy. I did everything you asked of me. I spoke at the memorial service. You had battled cancer bravely for 15 years, and I chose to honor you instead of pointing out your many flaws. I can always discuss those in therapy. I wasn’t about to embarrass you in front of friends, family, or your co-workers. Lets not talk about your extended family, because you should be utterly ashamed of them. I know I am.

Today, I can hear your voice whenever my brother says certain things, and I can see your expressions when he does certain things. You live on in your son, with his twisted sense of humor, good heart, and firm belief that every single year is going to be a winning one for the New York Giants and the New York Yankees (Not this year M, sorry.). I’m sure you’re rolling over in your grave knowing that Mariano Rivera retired this Fall.

Unfortunately for my brother, he also picked up a lot of your bad habits and a great many of your issues. I have tried my best to help him, but now he’s on his own. I won’t allow myself to re-live my childhood and adolescence with another person with abusive tendencies who doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the things he says or does, who refuses to take responsibility for his actions. I won’t let him become the worst of you, and I won’t allow him to hurt the people that you hurt for so long. If he ever treats a wife and children the way you did, I will put a stop to it. I won’t allow the cycle to continue.

Fortunately, at the core of who he is, he’ll give someone the shirt off his back and save a life. I have seen him do it countless times, and I am in awe of that calm, patient, gentle soul that is caring and accepting, that shows genuine concern for others, that listens to people and shows such immense kindness, it’s incredibly endearing. But when he turns on a dime, I hear and see you, and I probably always will.

Yes, you had your good points. You were smart & sharp, educated, and possessed a warped sense of humor, and a deep and abiding love for cats. You had amazing work ethic. You passed those things on to your children. Bravo.

In fairness, I know you were a product of your own childhood and the traumas you endured. I get it, I really do, but it’s no excuse. I realize you never wanted children, and to that I say “Then you never should have gotten married, and if you did, it should have been to someone who also did not want children.”

For years after your death, I decided to let it all slide. What difference would it make now, carrying around all the anger and hostility I felt and still, to this day, feel? I don’t want to live in the past and carry any of this forward, but the truth is, it does remain. Lingering around forever, like bad perfume.

I have always been very open and honest about what I’ve experienced in my life. I’d be more ashamed if I didn’t discuss the things that have shaped me into who I am. Nothing was perfect, but my mother came pretty damn close. She had to carry the weight of two parents, after all. You may have been physically present, you may have been home each night after a long day of work, but you did not raise your kids. That fell to my mother and Grandmother, and later the responsibility also fell to me. It continues to fall to me to this day.

I can forgive you for what you put us through, and some day that forgiveness will come to fruition. Not today, maybe not in a year or ten years, but eventually I will forgive it, or at the very least, make peace with it. I will NEVER forgive you for what you put my mother through. She deserved a husband who was everything she was, and God, did you fall short in every possible way, to the point where it actually pained me to bury her next to you, for in death I felt she deserved some peace and space that you did not also inhabit. I know eventually it’s just bones, but it still matters to me. She will always matter, for she is a part of me that is deeper than blood and bones.

This was not what I intended to write today, but somehow pain has risen to the surface and I do not possess the ability to “let it fly”. To fake it would be falseness of self, and I cannot abide by that. For today, I may not be able to “let it fly”, but I can certainly “let it be”, because to ask any more or any less of myself would be to court more madness and that is something I do not want, nor do I deserve. For today, it is what it is.

‘Six years can change everything. It can change how you see the world, how you see yourself, how you see your relationships, and how you see the future. I have hardened. I have softened. I have strengthened. I have focused on myself, and I have grown. I have fought battles, and won. I have fought battles that weren’t worth fighting, and walked away unscathed. I have tended wounds, and worked on scars. I have loved and been loved. I have seen beauty, and I have seen the dark underbelly. I have accomplished things people told me I would never attain on my own. I have risen out of the ashes, as the infinite phoenix of my own destiny. Most importantly, I have stood on my own two feet. No matter where life takes me, I know who I am. I know my worth and value.

In Memory of my father, who knows why these things are all so very important. …May You Never Be Broken Again.’