Tag Archive: Gaslighting

July 11

Eggshells and Angel Wings

Aside from the births of miracles,
Aside from those moments of pure joy
That you believe will last, somehow, forever in your heart,
Aside from the times when you know you are loved,
There is epiphany.
The clearest moment of my life was this.
I sat describing to Gina my therapist and savior
A moment of anger, pure in its fury and to my point,
And I began to explain the whys,
And I talked about the rights I had,
The right to this anger I had felt bile-burning my throat.
But she stopped me then, gently.
I expected her to tell me I was wrong, I suppose.
I’d always been wrong for being angry.
But instead she asked me a question
So powerful and poignant that I was changed
What, she asked, calm and centered, lips upturned just a touch,
What if…
What if you were just angry, without any reason at all?
Would that be okay?
And it felt like being slapped by sunbeams.
It felt like being swallowed by God,
Like a pair of angel wings erupted from my back
And I could fly to places I’d never even dreamed about
(and I dreamed about a lot).
And she waited while this happened,
So calm sitting there while everything I’d ever been
Was scrubbed under this waterfall of bliss.
She knew it was a moment for silent watching.
She knew she’d given me a key.
And when I finally landed back there in that room,
On the couch with the pillow I kept so often on my lap,
Sitting across from her tilted head and upturned mouth,
I may have hollered and whooped.
And I know I said something coherent,
Something like “Well, that would be okay, wouldn’t it.”
Something like “Oh my God. I never thought about it this way.”
And then “I’m allowed to be angry, I’m allowed to feel, just because I am!”
And the truth of these things lifted me back into the air
Just a little, at first,
Just enough to float back into my old house and my old life
As if I wasn’t something entirely new quite yet.

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

July 5

Born again

Fingers curl in long embrace
Consuming all in range
Leaving only ash and ember
Taking lifeblood in exchange

I was a moth enraptured
Abiding by your flame
Until it swallowed all I’d been
Until I lost my name

But like a phoenix, something new
Arose from old moth’s place
A conflagration all my own
That wouldn’t give you chase

I spread my wings and took some steps
Then leapt with all my soul
So thank you dear for burning me
You’ve helped to make me whole

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

Day Five

This one is tricky.

From NaPWriMo.net:

Today I challenge you to write a “golden shovel.” This form was invented by Terrance Hayes in his poem, The Golden Shovel. The last word of each line of Hayes’ poem is a word from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem We Real Cool. You can read Brooks’ poem by reading the last word of each line of Hayes’ poem!
Now, the golden shovel is a tricky form, but you can help keep it manageable by picking a short poem to shovel-ize. 

Tricky indeed! I spent a lot of time reading some amazing poems today, so that was a great bonus. I chose You fit into me by Margaret Atwood. It reminded me of someone from my past, and I kept with that theme in my golden shovel too. Read the last word in each line to discover Atwood’s poem.

When I think of you

And when I think of you
I think of our poor fit
The two we cut into
And the loss of only me.
I can linger if you like
In some kind of a
Stunned right hook.
I can stay staring deep into
The abyss of us, traveling an
Ocean, looking for my lost eye.

Lost I. Please give me a
Moment, for I’m more than a fish
Caught on your rusty hook.
I’m more than an
Ocean, and far more open
And I think I’ve found my eye.

~ Liesl Dineen, 2014

Ya gotta believe…


Approaching the danger zone

I joke around about losing my sanity sometimes. But like most jokes, there’s a grain of truth in there that makes it funny.  It’s kind of like how sometimes I tell my kids I’m gonna have a stroke if they don’t settle down. I mean, I actually *had* a stroke, and I still come out with that one, second nature. But it’s been almost five years since the stroke, and the kids don’t panic about that anymore, I think.

Now if you ask me right out, I don’t think strokes are funny. I don’t think mental illness is funny. I joke because it keeps me from crying. I joke because it’s a beacon in the fog, and I could use the light.

From time to time, other people have tried to own my sanity, to define it for me. No, not the “experts” – they actually keep telling me I’m as sane as anyone else (which, you know, isn’t that reassuring). But I haven’t always been able to believe in myself. Rational me says “It’s okay, you lost your temper/swore at someone you love/told the dog you wanted to stab him with a fork. You are a good person, you’ve never hurt anyone on purpose, in fact you’re haunted by the memories of those people you’ve hurt even decades later, and that fork thing was pretty funny under the circumstances.” Rational me is… rational.

Irrational me has trouble making sense of stuff, and typically tries to blame me for everything. When someone says you’re crazy, everyone wonders. Even you. And the fact remains that I have hurt the people I love. However you define it, this stuff isn’t easy. I do suffer from depression sometimes. And I have trouble with expressing anger. I do it wrong often. It’s a fairly new thing to me. The mere idea that conflict is, or can be *normal* is really only about seven years old inside my head. Thank you therapy.  And only six years ago I learned that anger is just a feeling, and it’s okay to feel it, even if you can’t list a perfectly acceptable reason. I learned that yelling doesn’t mean you’re unstable. It means you’re mad. I learned that working things through is really healthy, and running or storming away is not. And I learned that apologizing means you’re strong (unless you apologize for breathing, a habit it took me a couple years to break).

Depression, bipolar, borderline, ADD – these things aren’t personal failings, they’re just something we’re born with or injuries we’ve sustained. Getting help when you think you might need it is a sign of incredible strength and bravery. You don’t have to suffer alone, and you don’t have to beat yourself up. You can get help, answers, and support. Everyone deserves those things. Even you, even me.

I’ve had a lot of crazy thrown at me in my lifetime. And I need to accept that I always will. But for now, until I hear from experts and friends alike that I need to worry, I’m going to try to trust myself. I know my own crazy pretty well. I’m working on the things that need work, and I really am sorry to everyone I’ve ever hurt. And of course I’m sure I’ll hurt someone again. Screwing up is normal too. Anyway, if you hear me joking, please joke along, and if I need it, help me up, and I’ll do the same for you.


A phantom’s life is often dull
Though haunting can provide
A recognition fresh with thrill
When venturing outside

Alas, alone, untidy ache
Fill me, screamed the shell
I swallowed one more taste of air
And rejoined lover’s hell

Great love requires great sacrifice
Good phantoms ante soul
Then follow through corporeally
My shadow filled the hole

Phantoms stay unseen, we learn
You’re fodder for the Need
Yet recognition craves renown
That bitter taste of greed

In plasmatic rush, a sight now seen
The earth itself I shook
No room inside for both of us
I stole myself, a crook!

Body, soul, and strength unmatched
He lashes in derision
But I see faces in a crowd
Their eyes upon my vision

Reality crashes hard and soft
Its waves surround the coast
I long to bask and soak it in
And so give up the ghost


I watched

Slippery slippery slippery sanity
Where is your mind at today?
You once recognized your reflections
I watched them slip-sliding away
I watched from the corner
As you reeled yourself in
And I watched as you gladly
let possession begin
Slippery sanity, dripped down the drain
There was no way to stay clean
Your buttons belonged to his remote
Your bullets in his magazine
I watched from my exile
As he changed your whole mind
And I watched as you simply
Chose to leave it behind
Sipping and sipping and sipping insanity
A junkie with endlessly supply
You looked like a girl fresh from Stockholm
Just what color was your world’s sky?
I watched from the corner
I was biding my time
And I watched as you realized
you’d committed no crime
Then you woke in a sweat, dripping in sanity
Fighting your conscience in fear
You finally noticed me watching
And smiled up at me in the mirror
~ 2009

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