Tag Archive: Personal Growth

Kind of like family

file00058283027I was talking about depression recently and I realized some things. Like this whole thing about forgiving myself is great and all, but I still haven’t forgiven, or even tried to forgive, the depression itself. I think in metaphors and similes a lot, and it came to me that it’s like family. Even when you don’t see it for a long time, or you’re just dreading one of its all-too long visits, it’s still a part of your world. You can disown it, but that doesn’t change the connection. It won’t set you free.

So while I’ve been saying all the right things about learning to let it flow through you and accept yourself, I’ve also kept a war mentality about it. Like an “it’s either me or you” kind of thing. But the thing is, depression is part of me, part of my cells. It’s in my DNA, and to hate it with passion is wasting perfectly amazing passion that I could put somewhere else. Hating depression won’t make it leave me alone, won’t clear a path to eternal joy. And eternal joy is best left to the afterlife anyway, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Me, I’m aiming for peace, as much as I can make, here and now. So I’ve done the work, learned to respect my own boundaries, learned to nurture myself like a friend or mother. Okay, at least some of the time! But I’ve tried to ignore the part of me that is depression, because it’s not a friendly house-guest, and I’d oust it if I could. Cure it like cancer, and save us all. Ah, but I can’t. So I won’t.

So here we are, connected, wary, trying to learn to get by in life without falling too far off the ledge. And I do know that as good as things are right now, my odds of never seeing its face again are pretty damn low. So maybe if I can accept this thing, this dark, ugly, black-hole-peace-swallowing thing, maybe I won’t feel like a total loser when it comes to raid my fridge and take over my home. Maybe I can try to remember that the visit will end. It is what it is, after all. Like any wild thing, or that one relative of yours who just doesn’t have any empathy and doesn’t know when to leave. I can’t tame it, or teach it. All I can do is learn to accept it for what it is, and hope that by doing so the next visit will be easier, and shorter.

Hopefully, it will be a good long while before I get to find out how that goes.

Rescue Me

[part of a five-day art challenge in February]

Is it just me
Or have you ever wondered
About Rapunzel?
About why she didn’t simply
Knot the ends
Of her yellow hair
To some strong steady place
Inside her tower
And lower herself
Gently to the ground?
About why we so often choose
The path of most resistance?

~ Liesl Dineen 2015

What I’m doing when I’m not at the party

How-I-Spend-Friday-NightsWhew. I didn’t know how much I got done last year until I went through the whole moving-the-blog-to-WordPress thing. But what started as the drudgery of having to fix formatting on almost every post since 2012 turned kind of amazing. I had started back into writing so slowly, so unsure of what I was doing. Then I went with that! Not ready to start a novel? Poems, short ones to start, worked for me, and still do. Afraid to enter contests? Ha, I entered, and won! Terrified of reading my stuff to people? Did that! Cut down on doing stuff I don’t want to do? Work in progress.

I still don’t know what I’m doing, but at least this blog has turned into a Thing. I’m good with uncertainty, hell, it’s a way of life! Plus, even a little change in course can vastly change where you end up. I was going over the last year in therapy, and in an omg moment I realized the things I had said I wanted to aim for were in my rear-view now. Which left me saying “Next!” a bit more earnestly than I perhaps was intending. Still, what happens in therapy…

So yeah, I’m still cutting my path with my trusty machete. But I’ve cut down a bunch of the things that were getting in my way. I’ve cut way back on the crowd I’ve hung with since my divorce, great people mostly, but wilder than I really am. There’s only so many parties I can drink my way through, pretending I’m comfortable in a crowd. And creatively, I’ve been screwing myself out of my best times to make things.

Saturday night crazy
Makes Sunday so lazy
Too hazy for writing
And that couch, so inviting!

So, the number of times I’ve said No-thank-you has matured to the point that people usually don’t even ask where I am anymore.

Here’s where I am: I’m at home in yoga pants and a bra-less t-shirt. I’m covered in dogs and dog hair. I’m often reading or writing. I’m thinking deep thoughts. I may be marathon-watching Supernatural. And probably, I’m still drinking beer, because we make the stuff, and it’s delicious – perhaps even more delicious when it’s not a crutch. When I RSVP that I hate to miss the party, I mean that, kind of. But the truth is I chose myself instead. And I’m beginning to thrive under that choice. I’m Getting Things Done. And when I’m wasting time on Facebook, it’s with other writers now, so that’s kind of like working, right?

Of course, sometimes, I just need to dance. Sometimes, I need to go see my husband’s awesome band and just let it all go. Sometimes, I hang out with a few girlfriends and try to learn how to be a normal girl. I suck at that, but the right people, these people, will pretend I’m doing fine – they’re keepers. Sometimes, I get together with a friend and catch up the way we’re supposed to, in person, laughing and listening. Phones down!

So, I hope it’s a great party! (But I’m not really sorry to miss it.) Hugs, though, digitally.

New home, same address (on moving to WordPress)

file000830955921Okay, so here’s where my true geek shows:

I’ve spent a couple days moving this blog from Weebly to WordPress, and I’m having a ball. All the Googling, all the cursing (it’s like swearing at video games, we all do it – right?), all the near calamities, and even 10 honest-to-goodness PLEASANT minutes on the phone with a tech support person from my hosting site – how could I complain?

So, one thing that worked well once I hunted enough was transferring the whole RSS feeds from my previous two blog pages on my old site into one blog site here at WordPress (they are now separated on two pages using categories that I already had, yay!). This is how I did that: http://weeblyrss.appspot.com/

Issues? The learning curve was a touch steep and I’m still learning the UI, but the power is awesome! I first moved to the .com site instead of .org, that took some repeated steps. My graphics didn’t come along of course, but when I used the recommended plugin, nada. So, I’m still painstakingly grabbing images from my old Weebly blog and placing them manually. Also, the fonts came in a mess in many poems, so each of those needs attention as well, and I’ve written a lot more than I thought! And the old RSS feed doesn’t match, so anyone who was using that has lost me. :(

But it was time. So, please, pardon the mess as I move in, decorate, toss the boxes, and fix the broken stuff. And welcome!

And so it goes

1420052918So I realized as I was preparing to bid farewell to 2014 that I wanted to give this year the finger. Then I remembered giving 2013 the finger, and thought, Oh dear, am I really that consistently unhappy? And what is it about this year that calls for obscene gestures?

I don’t know. Seriously. I don’t know anymore what words like happy mean. I’m content sure, but stressed. I’m stressed, pretty much constantly, and then the doctors say stress will kill you, and honestly, that can cause a bit of stress, you know?

In 2014 I’ve gained weight while trying to lose (blame age and beer, probably not in that order). Then I’ve gained more after giving up for awhile. I’ve had medical problems that can’t be helped (get your medical screenings please). My relationships take constant and hard work and always seem in danger of mushroom cloud-like disaster. My tendency to want to just get on a bus alone to Anywhere and change Everything hasn’t gone away in spite of all the work I’ve done.

And oh, I’ve done a ton of work this year – vulnerability, anger management, stress management (ha!), productivity, creativity, courage, friendship. I’ve worked on goal setting, on my marriage, on breathing through pretty horrendous emotional pain that I can’t fix, letting go of shame I don’t deserve to feel. (Honestly, the people who help me with these things are proud of me!) I am loved, in spite of trying sometimes to chase people away. We added a third sweet loving dog to our family, a dog who maybe almost completes us, with his messed-up face and adorable attempts to Just Fit In. But he does fit in. I suppose better than I do…

And yes, I even met a Huge Goal I set in the Spring during the Brené Brown Daring Greatly workshop: to read at least one poem out loud in front of Actual People. And it went well!So what? So it hasn’t really been a bad year, that’s what. But holy crap has it been long. That’s the thing I’m trying to explain to the kids these days. Life isn’t really short. Time is only a constant in science and math, not experience. Life is long, and it gets longer – I swear to you each year feels longer than the last, and knowing that all this stress is and will always be a constant companion doesn’t make it any easier to accept as a life partner.

So I’m giving 2014 the finger because it was long, because it’s (almost) over, and because I’m ready to keep moving in the direction my feet are aimed in, the direction I set them in a couple years ago now, or even longer ago really. I’m ready to keep going, I suppose.I don’t want to look back at my Special Moments on Facebook. I don’t want to resolve to become a Perfect version of myself. I don’t want to quit drinking or swearing, or promise to read more or write more or master guitar or take pottery lessons. I just want to keep moving along on the treadmill into 2015 so I don’t fall off and end the ride. I’m honestly very clumsy lately, and falling off feels a lot more likely than it ever has. Guess I better start holding onto the rails. Happy 2015. And stuff.

Outside the lines

I don’t believe in lines
In the sand
Or lines in time

I don’t believe in clean slates
And Mulligans without memories

But there’s always room
For more layers

And every moment
Every breath, every thought
Covers you like skin

Rebuilding you again
And again
And again

~ Liesl Dineen 2014



I once left reason and myself
Far behind me in a better place
I traveled gently underground
Where there was no light to cast a shadow
And no window into otherness
And the walls around me became my comfort
While I tried to be a beacon, and a window
I missed shadows, and I missed otherness
But I was not a beacon
I was just in the dark alone
Until, And then, Suddenly, years later
The walls cracked
The shadows blossomed
The windows opened
And I walked, far less gently
Back into the light, and into reason
And myself

~Liesl Dineen 2014

November Poem-a-Day: Day 21

For today’s prompt, pick a direction on the compass, make it the title of your poem, and write that poem. North, South, West, and East are easy directions. Then, there’s Southwest, Northeast, and so on. Then, there are the directions that are completely invented.


Anywhere but here

I’ve spent so much time in my life
(And it’s not been a short one at this point)
Wishing I was someplace else
Always ready to blow this joint

I’m never fully “in” you see
I keep one foot outside the door
I’m intimate with my otherness
And there’s places to explore

Still, I know I’m missing something
In my unwillingness to belong
Maybe it’s left over from my childhood
The lamentable tag-along

So I wonder if I’ll stick around this time
Chances are though I’ll just disappear
And you’ll find me along some random path
Anywhere but here

~ Liesl Dineen 2014


This way

Psst! This way.
Hurry before they see you!
I will show you the path in the dark
But you have to tread lightly.
We must not be followed.
So many lives depend
On your silence
And my sense of direction.

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

Follow me

Follooooooow Meeeeeeeee
He said with a lurch
Grabbing my coat as I walked
Into the homicidally splendid parlor.
He gestured toward a tall stiff chair
Where I sat happily waiting
For Morticia to bring the tea.

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

November Poem-a-Day: Day 20

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “I’ll Never (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the new poem. Possible titles include: “I’ll Never Write an Excuse Poem,” “I’ll Never Go to Disney World,” “I’ll Never Tell a Lie,” or “I’ll Never Understand People Who Like Rush.”

I’ll never be

I’ll never be skinny
Like the girls in high heels who stop for gas on their way to exotic places
Leaning forward to pump suggestively into their BMW coupes

I’ll never be placid
Like the mother who opens her arms and melts you like butter
Comfortably exhaling simple kindness and not getting your jokes

I’ll never be hollow
Like the crowd at the mall, a thoughtless shambling cacophony
Noticing others only to avoid any bumps on the way to The Gap

I’ll never be finished
Like the folks sitting idly watching reruns of game shows
Waiting meekly for death to provide new beginnings someplace else

I’ll never be anything
Except what I am, full of furious worrisome love and confusion
Made up of mistakes and good intentions gone bad

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

November Poem-a-Day: Day 17

For today’s prompt, write an afflicted poem. Someone or something that is afflicted is someone or something that is in a troubled, injured, or humbled state. Or distressed to the point of constant suffering and anguish. In other words, the perfect poem for a Monday, right?


I dreamed I was invisible
I cast no shadow on the ground
And made no footprints either

It felt like any other day more or less
But one thing was new and nice

In my dream, I stopped imagining
Like I always have, you know
That you would see me as I am

I started walking where I need to be
Along my path alone

And as I moved ahead in life
I stopped hoping, like I always have
That you’d ever catch up someday

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

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