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True Friends Don’t Have to Tell Each Other Everything

Published January 11, 2017 by Maryanne

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The other day a beloved friend asked me a question I didn’t feel comfortable answering. But instead of saying so, I gave the best answer I could while on the spot. After much thought, I shared in an email how I felt, that it was a very personal question.

My friend was hurt and felt that she should be able to speak freely. While I was sympathetic towards her feelings, I needed to be protective of my own as well. I felt it was time in our friendship to set up guidelines about what is and isn’t appropriate to speak about. And I was entitled to that.

Certain things are personal and sacred, and should only be discussed with lifetime partners. If friends really love and support each other, they should also love and support each other’s comfort zones. In other words — know your audience.

Some friends may be very comfortable talking about money, estates, assets, gossip, politics, and/or their sexual exploits. Others may prefer talking about health, hobbies, music, animals/pets, philosophy, spirituality, work, and art. Put me in the category of the latter. While others may feel differently, the topics I favor are so much more fun, intellectual, and enlightening!

It may seem like I’m a “tell all” kinda gal because I’m a writer and am always expressing myself in front of my readership. As another friend once said, that I “put it all out there.” But she is wrong. I don’t. The more I tell, the more I keep secret. Lives are so grand and complicated that you can probably write 10,000 honest words about yourself per day without really revealing a damn thing. The brain goes a mile a minute. No one really knows what goes on inside another’s mind. Like a recent t-shirt I saw that said something like, “I may look like I’m listening to you, but in my head I’m listening to The Monkees.” Same thing goes with thoughts. I may be discussing the latest health craze, but in my head I’m thinking of my beautiful cat who died almost a year ago. So, get over it; you never truly know another person.

In my research for this particular piece, I found so many articles supporting true friends telling each other everything. And not one article about friends being entitled to some privacy. So I think it’s time to start a new trend. A trend that says friendships shouldn’t be considered any “less” if someone wants to keep a secret or not talk about certain things. A trend that says true friends should be comfortable to set boundaries without getting offended. A trend that says honesty is the ability to know each other well enough to “not go there.” Or at least make the effort to try.

How about it, eh?

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback versions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513

Too Busy

Published January 4, 2017 by Maryanne

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Last night I was reading my old diaries from 1993. I was only 29-years-old and really loving my life. At that time I was living in a beautiful world people can’t even imagine today. Even as a very good-looking young woman, I had my dateless, lonely nights. The difference was, if you had the blues back then you could count on a phone call from at least five friends in one night! So being sad was not an option.

Today, other than my husband who I could always count on, I can’t imagine conversing with any of my friends without first making an appointment to speak with them. People are always so “busy.” Picking up the phone is no longer an option. So, I just cry instead.

The first of the year usually means new beginnings. As someone who is self-employed, this is usually the time when my business takes off. People always come to me for ghost writing, book editing, and public speaking engagements because they know they can count on me. There’s an old saying, “If you need something done, ask the busiest person you know because he/she will get it done for you.”

That said, I have to question everyone else’s version of “busy.” Because even when my version of “busy” gets so crazy, I’m glued to my desk for hours without getting up for a drink or to go to the bathroom, I ALWAYS sincerely answer an email from a friend who is in need.

This week started out as one of those busy weeks. Then one person cancelled an appointment — at the last minute. So not cool. And another just totally stood me up — no email, no phone call, no explanation.

I was heartbroken for being slighted. This is not the way I do business. This is not how I’d treat somebody. For all the technology we have in this day and age, this should not be. In this modern world, no one can be too busy to type three simple words in an email: “Can we reschedule?” And, I might add, at an appropriate time, not at the last minute unless someone very close to you died. Even so, I think back to when my father-in-law, who sometimes lived with us, passed away three months ago … I still was able to conduct business in a professional manner. And I still listened to problems from friends who needed a friend. Is it so much to ask the same in return?

It is not narcissistic to expect to be treated with respect. My time is just as important as anyone else’s. But here I am, crying my eyes out in the middle of the day, waiting patiently for my husband to get home so I can cry on his shoulder.

It is far from being “unprofessional” when you are disappointed by how so-called professionals treat you. There really needs to be a book on manners in this day and age. What happened to the Miss Manners column that ran in newspapers on a daily basis? Oh, I know, no one reads newspapers anymore.

No one does a lot of things anymore that they should. It’s a sad world we live in. A world without manners. A world without consideration. A world where people do whatever they please as long as it suits them.

And nothing can be done about it either. Just wait for the good karma you’ve been owed … so then things will turn around … and you’ll get everything you’ve ever deserved … because you already have a lot of it … Like a husband who truly adores and loves you. Because you were never “too busy” to find someone you adore and love.

So, hooray for demystifying the “too busy” myth! For those who are “too busy” will never seep the rewards that come from making time.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning writer and a public speaker. Contact her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

 

 

 

Some Enchanted Evening

Published November 1, 2016 by Maryanne

halloween-bass-5Dennis Lords ESP Custom Halloween Japanese Hell double neck Guitar

It’s been one helluva trying year, having to put my beautiful 19-year-old cat, Derick, down earlier this year; then my father-in-law passing just a few weeks ago. But my husband and I pulled through to enjoy the best night of the year — Halloween! And take some great shots to remember this one! ENJOY!

nicholas-and-halloweenOur new Love Cat, Nicholas Gray

sam_1553Love ❤ 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513

Congratulations to Ashley & Mitchell

Published September 25, 2016 by Maryanne

sam_1304I was honored to officiate the wedding of Ashley and Mitchell Patino

Yesterday I was so touched to join two beautiful souls together — Ashley and Mitchell.

Officiating weddings is not something I do, but Ashley had asked me to, so I got my certificate. Ashley and I have been friends about two years and she is like a sister to me.

And this is the story of how I came to be the officiant at their most beautiful day.

The precious thing about life is that you’ll never know what a new day can bring. Pure magic can happen in a split second. Two years ago I was doing one of my first book signings ever. Ashley and Mitchell were there, in the audience. I did not yet know them. And it was one of their first dates.

While I was reading, from my own memoir, with my own love story, I noticed Ashley looking wide-eyed and attentive. We spoke after the reading and found out we had a lot in common, even though I was 26-years-older than her! We both loved the music of HIM, poetry, reading, and animals. We remained friends and saw each other from time to time.

It was earlier this summer that I received a call from Ashley, asking if I’d officiate her wedding. I was honored.

Between the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, and the actual wedding day, I can honestly say I have never seen so much love! Ashley and Mitchell both have the greatest family and the greatest friends. My husband and I had the time of our life! From start to finish, it was incredible. Hearing music by HIM, David Bowie, and The Cure. The gothic theme, with pumpkins along the aisle, Edgar Allen Poe and ravens set up at the reception area. The DJ and two percussionists that had the party going full hilt. And the food, especially the chocolate mousse dessert. It was the first time I had sugar in months!

It was certainly a day and night I’ll never forget. Wow. Just wow! ❤

All the happiness to Ashley and Mitchell as their FOREVER has just begun!

I’m sharing just two more photos below, but feel free to check out my Facebook page to see the rest: https://www.facebook.com/maryanne.christianomistretta.1/media_set?set=a.1778705042351466.1073741903.100006359623422&type=3&pnref=story

sam_1357Maryanne (left) with Ashley — I love this girl!! sam_1326The cake! 

In God We Have Got to Trust

Published July 16, 2016 by Maryanne

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Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

God is real. God is all things. God is one.

If this is the truth, you will find God everywhere when you seek Him; like in your home, or better yet your heart.

I officially became a Christian in the early 1990s. And it’s no secret that I also respect other faiths, especially Buddhism. (Other Christians seem to have an issue with that, but it’s their problem if they choose to be judgmental).

Other Christians may also have a problem with the fact that I go to more than one church and I do not go very often. Yeah, I’m “one of those” (that’s how a pastor, who I’ll refer to as “Pastor D,” phrased it).

You see, I had a “favorite” church for sometime. What I love about this church (where I’m a member, but still do not consider it a “home church”) is that they have services on Christmas Day unlike many other churches. Also, they have the best Good Friday service. These are the times when I truly love to praise Christ in an open-setting.

But my “favorite” church is missing a little something. I can’t quite pinpoint it, so I continue to seek. A few months ago I tried a new one. This is the one where Pastor D speaks. The first time I liked it. They had a great live band. It was low-key, as in people and the pastor wore jeans, and I really did enjoy the sermons.

Pastor D said that if I came to the church three times I’d get a t-shirt; which I never did receive after my third time. Then I missed a few weeks, because as I said, I’m not a frequent church goer; especially after the last service which happened to dwell on giving 10 percent of your salary to the church. Big turn-off.

Even without church I have a very close relationship with God. I pray a few times a day. In fact, it’s the first thing I do in the morning. My husband is equally as spiritual. We pray and meditate together, regularly. My husband goes to my churches with me on occasion; as I go to his on occasion. He still goes to the same church he did growing up.

In addition to going to my “favorite” church and the Pastor D church, I sometimes visit others, as well as the Dharma Buddhist Center. But all of this is no one’s business except God’s. 

So, for a few months after trying Pastor D’s church, every week I was hounded by him via FaceBook e-mails. “Are you and your husband coming this week?”

The answer was often a polite, “No, not this week.”

In addition to the emails, Pastor D also put me in two prayer groups on FaceBook and would message me on a regular basis. At least three of these messages were what Pastor D referred to as “butt calls” where he sat on his phone and my number dialed accidentally.

Pastor D was overwhelming. It seemed like I was being forced to go to church because every week I had to come up with an explanation as to why I wasn’t going. If I said, “I’m just not feeling it,” I’m sure that wouldn’t sit right with him and I’d have to explain further.

Truth be told, if I go to church, or any spiritual/religious organization, it’s because I want to go, not because I’m guilt-ed into it.

A few nights ago I was watching an episode of “Dating Naked” and the two main contestants had to let dates go because they were too possessive. This reminded me of when I was single. I never liked boyfriends who made me feel trapped or smothered; those who would pout and call me names if they didn’t get their way.

The way Pastor D was behaving in his emails brought back those ugly memories of relentless boyfriends and I felt so pressured, I couldn’t hold back my feelings anymore. I told him how I felt.

Like a spoiled child, he defended himself by writing, “Shut up! I’d rather be overbearing than have someone feel like they are unloved because no one is reaching out to them.”

If he actually took the time to READ my FaceBook page, he’d know how busy and how loved I feel. I have the greatest husband in the world. My friends are incredible. And I’m so blessed by God to have a career that I love so much I never want to retire!

Making someone feel suffocated isn’t “caring” — it’s obsessive. It’s manipulative. And it’s scary. It doesn’t bring someone closer to you (or God), it pushes people away. It’s like the telemarketer that never takes your name off the list. When someone or something is always in your face, you feel like puking your guts out. It does not feel good at all.

You have to let people be! God knows their heart and why they may not want to go to church. The best things in life take time to grow. You can’t expect someone to fall in love with a certain church overnight!

I felt so judged by this pastor and was very disappointed. I felt that him writing “Shut up” to me was so cruel and unprofessional.

I tried to rationalize and told him he wasn’t being very nice to me.

And again, like a cry baby, he overreacts and sends me a photograph of a dolphin’s tail waving “good-bye” to me. Very un-pastor-like!

Then faster than a greased rat’s ass, he unfriended me and took me off all his prayer groups on Facebook.

I was shocked. That was definitely was a first! I never in a million years would expect to be fighting with a pastor on a beautiful afternoon.

God gives us free will to choose and pastors should too. If pastors can’t trust in God and have to unfairly control people to go to church, they do not have good leadership qualities.

I’m hurt, but not broken. Behavior like this is exactly what turns people away from churches and Christianity in general. It’s so sad that Pastor D missed the point of what God is — free will.

Nevertheless, I stand strong in my faith and will continue to pray for God’s guidance. I trust He will let me know, whether He wants me in a church, or to pray from home as I’ve been. It’s His call, not mine. But it’s God that I trust. Not man. And I will continue my Christian practices, with my Bible  … in my home and in my heart. ❤

As for the pastor, I hope he’s asking for God’s forgiveness not only for the pain he caused me, but because had he done this to someone who wasn’t as strong in their faith as I am, he would have turned that person far away from God. This is the exact reason why people hate Christians. And sometimes you can’t blame them.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” — a POSITIVE rock ‘n’ roll memoir available on Amazon in paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

Confidence and Self-Love Isn’t Narcissism

Published July 9, 2016 by Maryanne

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“Narcissist” seems to be the catch-insult of the 21st Century people use when they can’t disagree like an grown adult and instead resort to name-calling.

Since I’ve caught a few people — college educated ones at that — misusing the word as an attack, I’d like to examine the word further.

Number one, let’s be clear, once and for all … a “narcissist” isn’t someone who rightfully defends his/herself. Nor is it someone who has high self-esteem and confidence.

The true definition of a narcissist is someone who has an excessive — or erotic interest in one’s self or one’s appearance.

Loving your appearance isn’t exactly a bad thing. It was said that Marilyn Monroe was caught looking at herself lovingly in the mirror. I’d love to be so beautiful that I could look at myself in the mirror and says, “Damn, I’m a fox!” Who wouldn’t?!

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Yeah, I got it going on! 

But even if you’re not the prettiest, looking in the mirror and thinking you’re simply A-OK, is definitely something to aspire to. Feeling good on the inside transcends to feeling good on the outside. The world needs more of that.

Some of the most confident people I know are most generous in complimenting others and giving to others. Whereas a narcissist — an inflated sense of self-worth — has more to do with insecurities than confidence.

Of course people who have no love for themselves are going to be haters towards those who do. Hence misuse of the catch-word “narcissist.” So if someone calls you a narcissist, they are most likely subconsciously reflecting on his/herself and his/her exaggerated sense of importance in making someone feel “little” about his/herself in order to feel “big.”

Devaluing another person as a weapon is narcissism in the worst degree. I always say to belittle is to BE LITTLE. 

 

 

So you see, narcissism isn’t about confidence, but rather insecurity. Narcissists are the ones who add “friends” on Face Book just to show off what they have, rather than taking the time to get to know someone. They hide behind a shield of false friendships or anything else that is false. I’ve known one who hid behind a false sense of empathy, expecting a “medal” for being “so upset” over the news of the world. However, when I shared my concern about a sick relative, she showed no compassion.

Narcissism is someone who constantly talks about his/herself and doesn’t give others a chance to talk.

Narcissism is the person at the party who won’t say “hello” unless someone says “hello” first.

Narcissism is being obsessed with money and bragging about it.

Narcissism is always trying to one-up someone.

Narcissism is the person who expects people to chase after him/her and never initiates phone calls.

Narcissism is someone who fishes for compliments (with excessive photos of his/herself on Facebook) and never gives anyone else a compliment.

Narcissism is a taker. Someone who won’t attend an event if it isn’t about him/her. Someone who will expect others to do things for him/her and not give back in return.

Narcissism is someone who is too jealous to compliment someone on his/her success because it isn’t about him/her.

And, most narcissistic of all is attacking someone by using the word “narcissist.” Because like my grandmother once said, “It takes one to call one.”

 

 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats.” The very selfish lead character was inspired by witnessing many takers on Facebook. “Love Cats” is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513