Anti-Bullying Book Club!

Published April 7, 2019 by Maryanne

IMG_20190406_172624_591 (1)Say “yes” to acai bowls and “no” to bullying! (Photo by Sara Liptack)

I was so honored to be a part of an anti-bulling club this weekend!

Sara Liptack of the Little Free Library, Westfield, New Jersey, invited me to her home to discuss my book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” with young readers in the Westfield neighborhood.

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is about my experiences growing up in the 1970s and dealing with bullying throughout grade school and high school. The girls had a few weeks to read the book, but they all said they finished it in one or two sittings.

It was refreshing to be in the company of such inspirational young ladies who are all anti-bullying advocates and have dreams for a bright future.

What I’ve learned, unfortunately, is that when it comes to peer pressure and bullying, not much has changed in the last 40 years; especially now with the internet.

The good news is, the four girls I’ve spoken with were confident to be themselves and truly have it together when it comes to standing apart from the crowd, going after their dreams, and not worrying what others think of them.

One commented, “I can’t wait to go to college. I’m going to learn so much!”

I asked the girls what part of the book they liked best. Most agreed they liked the whole book, in general, and that it was a quick read. One young lady said her favorite part was when I started fighting back.

In a comfortable, private setting, everyone, including the adults Sara and myself, shared their experiences with bullying and how they handled it. It was an awesome event and a great learning experience.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Know Your Worth

Published March 24, 2019 by Maryanne

DSCF3485Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

#sundayblessings So blessed to have created a life I most love — wife, author/writer, speaker, creator, self-employed, cat mommy  🙏

In my last blog I wrote about how the world views artists, creators, writers, poets, musicians. If you’re not super famous, people falsely assume you’re not doing too well, which is incorrect.

Over the past 20+ years as I was making a good living as a writer, I’ve seen it all with friends in my creative circles. People will try to low-ball you to get a service. Some may want to barter (something I will do with good friends, but not with a client). But the worst of all is when another who is also in a creative field will try to downplay your success in order to make himself or herself look “better.”

That’s really sad.

First, since we’re all in the same game of life, we should elevate each other. That is why we are put here on Earth. When the love vibration is the biggest vibration you can offer, it’s absolutely amazing what comes out of it.

I’ve been so blessed these past 20+ years to rub elbows with other creatives in my journey. The ones I remember most, and keep in my inner circle are those who have been incredibly supportive. Those who don’t feel that complimenting me on my talents makes them question their own.

You see, knowing your worth is not an ego thing. It’s a thing of confidence. When you are at a point in your career, knowing that you get the job done–and done right, you are able to charge as much as you want for a blog, for a painting, for a class…whatever.

You stick to your price.

And that said, stick to your confidence too. Don’t let anyone low-ball your talent, or your confidence. Know your worth.

If you work for yourself in a creative field, or any field, I’m sure you may have heard the following snarky, or perhaps ignorant comments from people who don’t get it:

“Self employed…that’s hard.”

“I feel better having a real job.”

“What you do is a labor of love.”

Working for yourself, yes, it can be hard. Even if you’re a famous rock star there are lulls in your career. Sometimes I tell myself I’ve had more comebacks than Cher.

But guess what? I am DOING IT. And I have been doing it. Writing professionally since 1995. And speaking professionally since 2014. It is a REAL JOB and I make a good living.

More important, I am happy.

By now, I’m well past the point of caring what others think of me or trying to impress people. I’ve been waking up every morning with a smile on myself, since 1995, saying to myself, “I’m a writer.”

If I dropped dead over 20 years ago, my life was already complete. It just gets better and better over the years. Every few months something great happens that I would have never imagined.

What others think of me doesn’t count, because I know my worth.

I believe in myself and I feel truly blessed.

And unstoppable.

Don’t let anyone stop you either!

Fellow creatives, share your stories below!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta 

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“On the Guest List” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“On the Guest List” is available directly from my publisher, Next Century! To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

“Love Cats” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“Love Cats” is now available on Amazon! For paperback, go here:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513 and for Kindle, go here:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/

 “The Gypsy Smiled” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“The Gypsy Smiled” is now available Amazon! For paperback go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1545447470

And for Kindle, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

 

I’m an Author, Why Would I Want to Be a Sales Whore?

Published March 21, 2019 by Maryanne

IMG_1854 (1)

Me, signing a free copy of my latest book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You”

…for a little girl who was bullied.  #givingback

I was definitely a late bloomer, but from as far back as my 30s, I was making a living doing something I love — WRITING!

First, as a journalist, then an author. Am I a best selling author? No, not yet. But am I working enough to make a great living, to have a newer car, to go to concerts, Broadway shows, buy cool clothes, obsess over shoes, and give back to the community? YES. YES. YES!

Friends, I am living the dream! I’m a writer!

I’ve been writing professionally since 1995. Now that I’m an author, I get advances and royalty checks. I also help others write their books. And get a sweet dollar for doing so.

Yet so many people are in denial about me. For example, those who are constantly hounding me to join them in their Isogenix endeavors, their Young Living endeavors…from make-up to insurance policies…All those “get rich quick” things that people are forever pushing in my face. 

Now, let me ask you something? Would you ask Freddie Mercury to sell Isogenix? 

No, you wouldn’t. Because he’s a creative person. I AM A CREATIVE PERSON TOO! And if you’ve read this far, I’m sure YOU ARE A CREATIVE PERSON! So, why on earth would I want to give up my God-given talent to push product? That would be like having a 9 to 5 job. TORTURE! I would not be creatively satisfied. I would not be emotionally satisfied. I just might take a gun to my head and blow my brains out if I had to sell Young Living oils. Even if I did make $15,000 per month like some do. That’s not me!

Making money is easy. Making money as a creative person is a little bit harder, but we do it. Not everyone can be a Mark Twain, but if you get up in the morning and are able to say something like, “I’m an author!” or “I’m a musician” or “I’m an artist” — you, my friend, are so blessed.

Let the sales people be sales people. Good for them. God bless them. But God chose YOU to be one of the out-of-the-boxers. Keep following your dreams. I assure you, the money will follow!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta 

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“On the Guest List” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“On the Guest List” is available directly from my publisher, Next Century! To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

“Love Cats” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“Love Cats” is now available on Amazon! For paperback, go here:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513 and for Kindle, go here:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/

 “The Gypsy Smiled” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“The Gypsy Smiled” is now available Amazon! For paperback go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1545447470

And for Kindle, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

Gaslighting: Sneaky Emotional Abuse

Published March 17, 2019 by Maryanne

high-blood-pressureDon’t Let Them High-Blood Pressure You! 

Hello Happy Person!

Everything in your life is so right!

Maybe you just met the love of your life. Or you got a promotion at work. Or, I know, you just adopted the cutest little kitten. LUCKY YOU!

Then BANG! Some psycho comes along to try and steal your joy. Most likely it will be a jealous relative, or maybe a former so-called friend or ex coming back to haunt you after you made it very clear you don’t want that person in your life.

This happened to me a few days ago. Oh, I was in such a great place! As a writer, I was high on the fact that I’m half-way through helping an all-time favorite client write his book. And the fact that I have a new client. My writing and blogging with the new client may lead to more speaking engagements. I also joined a new spiritually aware group that had me especially stoked. AND, I just started healing after the loss of my cat. Boy, was I on Cloud 9!

Then out of the blue, I noticed an email in the box of my business page. It was from a former so-called friend who was reaching out. He said he wanted to “apologize.”

Five years ago, this so-called friend and I had a huge argument via emails. It got ugly. I couldn’t figure out what I did that triggered his anger to the point of no return. And check this out …He stooped so low to insult my deceased grandmother. (It was painful to type that…but I need to let people know if they are a victim of bat shit crazy, they are not alone).

So, five years later…

I’m a positive, look on the bright side kind of person, so I returned his email, with caution. I simply wrote something positive, accentuating this person’s good points, but equally illustrating my frustrations with his judgement five years ago (in a compassionate manner, not at all insulting). It was reasonable, I thought.

In his email, five years ago, one of his gripes was that I was bitching at him while he was jobless. I figured he was jealous because my first book was selling pretty well and he got on my case saying that I was over-promoting and “forcing” people to read my books. (I guess in his twisted mind I was holding a gun to heads screaming, “BUY MY BOOK!”) Heh. Not!

So, in this new email, I apologized for what happened back then and wrote, “I’m sure you’re rocking it now!” As well as other encouraging stuff, like I was sorry I let him down because I always admired him.

The punch line?

A returned email with venom! The same exact emotional vomit from five years ago, he was now stirring up again. He quoted word-for-word and also misquoted word-for word the entire fight from five years ago! He tried to make me feel small. Called me negative things and AGAIN brought up my deceased grandmother. (Thanks for reminding me my grandmother is dead, dude! You’re such a charmer!)

Man, it was all pure poison. Actually, the term is “gas lighting.” That’s when someone tries to manipulate you into believing that you are at fault and there is something wrong with you. Nasty people nail the whole gas lighting thing. Cool people don’t do shit like that. Cool people talk their problems out. They don’t attack and make the other party feel like shit — or try to.

I knew in my heart I wasn’t at fault because: A. I didn’t insult him, my email came from a place of love and forgiveness (though he certainly didn’t deserve it). B. When someone is constantly putting you down, it’s on THEM, not you. Sane, nice people don’t deliberately set out to hurt others. Sane, nice people are too busy doing great things for others, being creative, elevating their careers, or just having fun.

When someone is mean and defensive and doesn’t have anything good to say, they are “zero.” Nothing. (I wrote in the past, that it’s okay to fight. You can fight with your friends. You can fight with your significant other. You can fight with clients. But it’s HOW you fight. If you’re just arguing to make a point, and not hurting or insulting each other, chances are, it’s a wonderful relationship and you will make up!)

Anyway, I simply wrote back to the dude, “This is not a good friendship. Please don’t contact me again. Have a super duper fantastic day.”

I ended it with class and dignity.

Did I stew over his negativity? No! In fact, I welcomed it. Yes, that’s right, I WELCOMED IT! I’m of the belief that anything that happens is for good reason. A way to grow. And grow I did! It was a great test from the universe to help me know that I was in control of my brain!

Five years ago when the shit hit the fan, I was sad for weeks. But this go ’round, his gas lighting, and making me feel like I was “wrong” and attacking me like it was all my fault had ZERO effect on me. ZERO!

It only took 10 minutes to get over it! YES!!! JUST 10 MINUTES!

What did I do?

First, I took a deep breath.

A lovely new friend called me.  I told her what happened. She was sweet, listened, gave a few words of encouragement and emailed me a pretty song she wrote.

Her kindness led me to counting my blessings. I thought of all the beautiful friendships I have. In fact, the day after, I had a great lunch with two guys I was friends with since the 1980s! It was all positive, and inspirational.

I took 10 minutes to think about all the successful, happy, cool people I know and do things with on a regular basis.

Then I thought about my beautiful, supportive husband and how blessed I am to have him! (And how he thinks that ex “friend” is a nut case!)

And finally, I found a happy song that was stuck in my head. It’s an old song by Peggy Lee called, “It’s a Good Day” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If82O1e0bow

I put the song on and did a cute dance!

Yes, it’s a good day!

Is someone is trying to gaslight you?

DO NOT LET THEM STEAL YOUR JOY! Re-train your brain. It’s not easy, but once you get the knack of it, it will get easier in time. You owe it to yourself, and the good people in your life not to let the shit heads get you down. Life is short. Cherish the lovely ones around you, and let the crazy ones go.

Share your stories below!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of the memoir “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” which is about her experiences growing up being bullied. She is available for public speaking engagements. Contact her for availability and rates at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Links to the book are here: 

HGBM Store:  https://highergroundbooksandmedia.com/product/i-dont-want-to-be-like-you

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1536446696&sr=8-2&keywords=maryanne+christiano+mistretta

Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H6H4CY1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536446756&sr=8-1&keywords=maryanne+christiano+mistretta+kindle 

Her next book, “Be (Extra) Ordinary: Ten Ways to Be Your Own Hero” will be out October 2019. Pre-order your copy today! https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

 

Pronoia: Everything Happens For You

Published March 14, 2019 by Maryanne

Katy Perry Shoes with Spools

When the universe works in your favor, by way of a cute pair of Katy Perry shoes! 

There’s a term called “pronoia.” It’s the opposite of paranoia. The gist is, instead of being paranoid that the world is against you, believe that the world is for you. Anything that happens in your life, even what seems to be seemingly “bad” is in your favor. It’s a big step up from the belief of everything happening for a reason.

Life has proven it time and time again.

How many people have been dumped only to meet the love of their life shortly afterwards? I know I have!

How many people have lost a job or a client, then the very next one that comes along not only pays much more, but is something you really love, like perhaps a dream job? Me too!

Were you ever on line for an event, and someone pushed in front of you, then YOU were the winner of a door prize? Yes, it happened to me too!

Now, while those are all great things that can happen for you, sometimes it can happen with little things too. Like a pair of shoes. See those shoes pictured above? They are in my collection. About a year and a half ago I started collecting Katy Perry shoes and boots. I just love her line because not only are her shoes different, they are comfy!

I recently decided to treat myself to another pair. Something practical this time. Winter in NJ is coming to an end, but I could use a new pair of ankle booties. At least until it gets warm enough to go without socks and transition to open-toe heels and ballerina flats.

Today was the day my cute new ankle booties were to arrive.

They never came.

I checked the order status and it said “canceled.”

WHAT?!

Instead of getting pissed, I took a deep breath and calmly called their Customer Service. And I asked, “Why?”

Turns out, the booties I wanted were OUT OF STOCK.

Out of stock. And then, instead of being mad and disappointed, I asked myself, Where is the pronoia here? How is the universe working in my favor? 

I simply went back on the website to look for another pair of black booties. And guess what? I found a pair that was even cuter than the first! I mean, these boots really spoke to me! How did I not see them the first time around?! I ordered them immediately.

If that’s not the universe working in my favor, I don’t know what is! And, hey, I just checked my order, and it’s in progress. I think that means they are packing them as we speak!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of the memoir “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” which is about her experiences growing up being bullied. She is available for public speaking engagements. Contact her for availability and rates at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Links to the book are here: 

HGBM Store:  https://highergroundbooksandmedia.com/product/i-dont-want-to-be-like-you

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1536446696&sr=8-2&keywords=maryanne+christiano+mistretta

Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H6H4CY1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536446756&sr=8-1&keywords=maryanne+christiano+mistretta+kindle 

Her next book, “Be (Extra) Ordinary: Ten Ways to Be Your Own Hero” will be out October 2019. Pre-order your copy today! https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

 

The Most Beautiful Cat in the World

Published March 4, 2019 by Maryanne

DSCF2770Our Bennie cat, a feral we took in last summer. We had to put him down two weeks ago. He had a brain tumor. 

Our pets love us through life and communicate to us through death. About a week after we put Bennie down, I started reading “Strays” by Britt Collins. It’s a book about how a homeless man named Michael found a lost cat, named her Tabor and took care of her.
Just yesterday I was singing the old Charlie Rich song, “The Most Beautiful Girl” and changed the words to “The Most Beautiful Cat” (about Bennie.)
So, last night I was reading “Strays” and, without giving a spoiler, I’ll just say, Michael heard “The Most Beautiful Girl” (and of course was relating it to his cat, Tabor.
Coincidence? No, they love us through life and death. It was Bennie’s way of contacting me. He’ll never leave my heart. ❤
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513
Contact Maryanne to have “Love Cats” in your book club! (MaryAnneChristiano@Gmail.com) 

Popp, Bennie, and Burns: Sunday Will Never Be the Same

Published March 1, 2019 by Maryanne

sdc13108Sunday at the beach (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Do you love Sundays?

I used to love Sundays.

Sundays were always special for me and my husband. When we first started dating, we’d spend many Sundays down the shore. On our drive down, we listened to our favorite radio show, The Glen Jones Radio Program, Featuring X-Ray Burns. (http://www.wfmu.org/Playlists/GJ/archives.html)

Jones has eclectic tastes in music. You could hear both Frank Sinatra and The Psychedelic Furs in the same set. Then there was the talk segment where Jones and Burns would muse about New Jersey subculture like our local drinking joints and pork roll (or Taylor Ham)? In fact, one time at one of their lives shows, Jones chased me trying to feed me a pork roll (or Taylor Ham) sandwich. (And I’m a vegetarian). That’s the kind of fun this freeform radio show offered. No wonder it was part of our Sunday routine.

Once we got down the shore, on a Sunday, we’d often pay a surprise visit to our dear friends Daniel and Patty Popp. Very special friends; they were our witnesses when we eloped. At the Popp’s home, they couldn’t do enough for you. With Daniel being both a cook and a musician, there was always plenty of food and music in their home—a great place to be on a Sunday.

In more recent years, my husband and I started spending more of our Sundays at home, relaxing in the backyard. Last summer, a beautiful feral cat started showing up in our backyard. We named him Bennie. He was so friendly, we fell in love with him. According to the vet, Bennie had FIV, a feline auto-immune disorder, which meant if he got sick, it would be tougher for him to get over it. But we took him in anyway and gave him a happy home. He was only 3-years-old. He was a ginger cat, sunny and bright; our Sunday cat.

They say death comes in threes. Beginning on February 1, our Sunday memories were taken from us, one by one.

Daniel Popp was in his kitchen and just finished cooking food for the homeless, something he did each month. His wife Patty found him lying on the kitchen floor unconscious. He was taken to the hospital and passed. Daniel was a genuine, good-hearted person, who was so talented and so much fun. We were shocked. Absolutely shocked. Not a dry eye at his funeral. And miss him terribly. RIP Daniel Popp.

Sunday will never be the same.

The day after Daniel’s funeral, our kitty Bennie’s health declined rapidly. We had been treating him for an eye infection—or so we thought. He was eating, but not processing the food. He was losing weight quickly and also started having tremors. An emergency trip to the animal hospital and two vet visits later, we learned he had a brain tumor and didn’t stand a chance. Even though Bennie was a little fighter, we still had to put him down—the day after Valentine’s Day, ironically because Bennie was a saint, the best cat I ever had. After we put him down, my legs buckled, and I collapsed into my husband’s arms. We loved him so much. RIP Bennie.

Sunday will never be the same.

The following Sunday, my husband and I were done. Spent. No ambition or desire to do a damn thing. But I had to get groceries. I hopped in the car and as I always do on Sunday, turned on the radio. Glen Jones was playing very sad music. During the first break, X-Ray Burns wasn’t with him to banter. Jones made an announcement that X-Ray Burns was struggling with lung cancer.

Tears started pouring down my eyes.

Jones played some more sad songs, then he came back on to say that X-Ray’s wife called him. X-Ray Burns had passed—and it wasn’t a joke.

My husband and I were already zombies to begin with, and now shared more tears together. Rest in Peace X-Ray Burns.

Sunday will never be the same.

Three lives taken from us, way too soon. Daniel Popp and X-Ray Burns were in their 50s. And Bennie was only 3.

But I’ve learned something from all of them. Daniel taught me to reach out to others. Bennie taught me to keep fighting no matter what life’s circumstances. And X-Ray taught me to stay fun and crazy because life is way too short. And with a blink of an eye, it will never be the same.

That’s it.

SAM_3017.JPGDaniel Popp, Rest in Peace (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

52905284_2210313879190578_8382678320906502144_nBennie Cat, Rest in Peace

Glen JonesX-Ray Burns, Rest in Peace

(Left to right, X-Ray Burns, Glen Jones, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Sunday will never be the same.