Tag Archive: Survival

Treading water

Day 25: Write an across the sea poem

Treading water


If life is an ocean then I need swimming lessons
Because my head keeps going under
And I’m not the biggest fan of salt
But I’m still out here treading water
And breathing deeply in between the waves
Wondering if I’ll know when I’m ready
To just let go and feel my body wash ashore


~ Liesl Dineen 2015

Permanent ink

IMG_2409I just wrote this statement about parental alienation, and it snapped me awake more than I expected it to: “It’s not enough to win, they want to erase us entirely and brush us off the paper with their fingers.”

Being ignored has always been a trigger for me. Little sister blah blah blah. But seriously, it was how I was controlled in my first marriage, whenever what I said was disagreeable. Don’t like what I’m saying? Look away, walk away, never speak of it again. Really want to hurt me? Yawn while doing all of the above. Roll your eyes.

When I walked away, I walked into a world where I existed, unique and amazing. I came into being. I fell in love! And then the eraser came down and started scratching me out.

Parental alienation is the act of wiping a parent of the face of his or her child’s planet. Memories are rewritten in shadows, new rules created. Doubt and fear are tools. “Is she spying on you?” “Will she try to kidnap you?” “Are you safe with him?” “He’s trying to replace me with a new wife/mommy.” Never mind that the now-horrible parent has been there virtually forever for the child. Never mind that the child will never be balanced from the damage this causes. Never mind. Let’s pretend mom is invisible, crazy, not worthy of love and respect. Let’s ignore her and get on with life, just you and me kid. Let’s twist everything she says and does into threatening dark shapes on the wall. This isn’t about something a normal mind can grasp. It’s honestly incomprehensible. And yet it’s my reality.

But here’s the thing. I’m NOT invisible. I still exist, unique and amazing! I’m done hiding and pretending I have ANYTHING to be ashamed of. Of course I’ve screwed things up, of COURSE. But no, not that badly. Not anywhere near that badly. Children of abuse still don’t disconnect entirely from their parents, in fact they often push and fight for connection. Children who are alienated do disconnect, and also from their other relatives on that side. They switch into a mode of hate, not just distance. They wipe out half of their entire being for the satisfaction of someone needier. It’s heartbreaking, and more so for the children than the parents. There really is no winner here. Just pain and therapy bills and uncertainty.

I’m a step-mother now to two wonderful kids. I’ve annoyed them at times reminding them to call their mother. I’ll annoy them more I’m sure. We need to know our parents whenever possible, where we come from, where we fit. I’d never wish this lost feeling on any child or adult. Yes, of course in cases of abuse it’s different, but this is not about abuse. Please try to keep an open mind when someone tells you they haven’t seen their children in ages – there’s so much shame in this, it’s a huge act of courage to even speak the words. I want to change that, I’m working on how, but I don’t know yet.

What I do know is that I’m not written in pencil that can be erased. I’m not invisible, I’m not going anywhere, and I’ll never give up on my children.

To my lost child, and the one found again: I was not just there when you were born, I was your home. You will always be a part of me, and I am a part of you. I will be here until the day I die, ready to accept you, hug you, listen to you no matter what. Unconditional love is yours already, and will never ever run low. All of the hopes and wishes I had from before you were born are always with you. I wish so much happiness for you. I love you forever. In permanent ink.

Invisible girl trying

Day 14: Two prompts – Writer’s Digest asked for honesty/dishonesty, NaPoWriMo asked for dialog. This is one-sided, but dialog, I think.



 Invisible girl trying


Do you have anything to say?

Just a smirk, as usual
To make sure I know you find me amusing
Until you finish with me altogether.

Until you begin to stare pointedly
Out the window into the trees
Where something far more important
Is taking place right before your eyes.

Why won’t you look at me?

Did I raise my voice?
I hadn’t noticed through the tears.

No wait I can calm down
If you’d just please stop, come back
And listen to me, really listen.

I knew you’d slam the door!
I knew you’d walk out like always
Pretending you can’t hear me shouting at your back!
I hate your fucking guts.

And in a few hours when you come back without a word
I’ll join you in the lie of nothingness
Because telling the truth would change everything.


~ Liesl Dineen 2015

Daydream confessions

Day 13: confession poem/ riddle poem

Daydream confessions


I’ve choked the life out of you twice
And three times I have drowned you
I’ve loaded your towel up with lice
And had venomous snakes surround you

I’ve put arsenic in your English tea
And run over you with a milk truck
I’ve stung your eye with one swift bee
And pushed so you were side-struck

I’m regretting all I haven’t done
To end your foul oppression
But you sit safe, your battle won
While I settle for confession

~ Liesl Dineen 2015

Spilt Milk

Day 12: damage poem

Spilt milk


You tell yourselves
Not to cry over spilt milk
But the simple truth is that
The milk is gone now
And you are left with a thirst
For something unattainable
And a mess going sour on the floor

~Liesl Dineen 2015

Lover’s leap

Day 7. Two prompts, love/anti-love from Writer’s Digest, and money from NaPoWriMo.

Lover’s leap


We were poor when we met, and starving for love

And I thought that our need would sustain us

I felt certain, you know, with my hand in your glove

That we’d blossom because of our plainness


The decades rolled past and my throat was still dry

But you swore to me I wasn’t needy

So I drank up the dust, making try after try

And assumed I was just being greedy


Until I discovered when I thought to look back

You’d been gorging while I was asleep

While I dressed all in red you were fat in the black

So I told you to take one last leap


~ Liesl Dineen 2015


Day 5: vegetables… Prompt from Writer’s Digest http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2015-april-pad-challenge-day-5


Death won’t talk much I expect
Or send me flowers either
My sense of calm won’t know it’s wrecked
And I could use the breather

It’s the in-between that makes me cringe
That frozen helpless waking
Machine-based living on the fringe
That sets my skin to quaking

Consider this a living will
So I don’t become invalid
Please send me fast to death’s foul chill
Don’t let me live as salad

~Liesl Dineen 2015

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

Pardon the dust (trigger warning)


I don’t even know how to explain it. Ever just have a whole ton of stuff get difficult all at once?  It’s like you just finish fixing one hole in a wall and another one appears, and you go to fix that, and then another wall just topples over and you just can’t keep up sometimes, and you think maybe it’s okay to just find a quiet corner to curl up and be still for awhile.
Life is so full of heartache, of joy, even boredom. It’s just so much sometimes. Too much. And so I had this weird kind of breakdown very recently, and it’s hard to talk about it because I’m still not sure what set it off, what really happened, or how to process it all. Also, it was humiliating because it happened in front of some dear friends and I have to deal with that too, which sucks. I know it was related to past trauma, but really, did it have to be now? And how do I figure things out and make it right in the middle of everyone else’s crises? I’m barely managing to take the time to go to the gym 3x/week, I simply don’t have time for a proper breakdown. I guess you know it’s bad when a padded cell and some Xanax and painkillers for a month or two sounds almost attractive. And so I think things are going to be a little messy while I deal with these ridiculously rude monsters from the past.

I recently realized that I have allowed my entire being to grow around and into some very real pain and junk from way back, and there’s all kinds of hell to pay for that eventually, both physically and mentally (if those are two different things). It seems I don’t even know how to exist without this part of me, can’t visualize what that looks like. See, let this be a lesson to you. I didn’t deal properly with things, and now it’s all part of my skin, my lungs, my heart. Part of everything I am. I can’t just pluck it out, toss it away and keep breathing. I didn’t know this all this time – I thought I’d dealt enough with it and “moved on” but I also knew I hadn’t on some level. But oh I hate dwelling on the past. I really hate it.

So let me just get this part over with, since I keep not mentioning it like it’s a deep dark dirty secret. Which, well, it is. Or it was. When I was young, on my 19th birthday actually, I was drugged, and I was raped by two “men” who were not much older than myself at the time, but so much more worldly I guess. The whole time, and they kept me there all night, my head and mouth were begging over and over to go home while my body betrayed me in every way possible. But no wait, that was the drugs. Oh but I didn’t know those drugs existed back then. I left the next morning thinking it was all just me. I was sure I had lost all moral sense. I said some horrible things to myself, and really never have stopped.

It took a week before I “confessed” what “I did” and was told by my boyfriend (now ex-husband), who knew these things, that this type of drug was called a Mickey (Roofie now). By then I’d already begun to hate myself. Ah. So it was drugs then… And evil people. But even with the book knowledge, I blamed myself, and I’ve blamed my body ever since, because on a fundamental level it utterly betrayed me. And oh have I taken revenge on myself. I’ve been blaming the victim for decades, while yelling up and down to others not to do that. And now I don’t know how to go forward, but I’m going anyway. Because some part of me is letting these little nasty pieces of things escape in spite of my best cement. And also because I want to heal. I deserve that.

Yes I made some bad choices, stupid choices. I walked through the wrong doors, but I didn’t deserve what happened to me. I didn’t deserve the life-sentence I seem to have given myself either. Basically I was used as a weapon against myself and it’s never stopped, and those guys probably never once looked back on their lives and thought about the trail of shit they left behind. All this time people are all “oh learn to forgive those who’ve hurt you”, and I hate that, but now I realize that the hell with those guys, I haven’t ever forgiven myself, not one little bit. And all the failings and missteps that have come after, that’s on my shoulders too. I failed to take care of myself – preferring to spend all my time and effort on others, who mostly now think I did a fairly terrible job anyway. And I missed out on the nurturing I needed. I deserved better. I deserve better. But I have no idea where to start, so I’m just fumbling.

So if you see me, and I just sort of… leak out of my eyes, or stare into space and miss what you’re saying, please be gentle. And if I cancel stuff, if I don’t show up here and there, please know that I’m working (re)construction at a fairly brisk pace, and the walls are crumbling no matter what I do, and I’m not sure I know how to fix anything at all so sometimes I just have to sit with it. And if I crack inappropriate jokes, well for goodness sake, that’s just me being me, so please laugh. Oh, and if I don’t laugh at your roofie jokes, it’s because I really truly don’t think they’re funny. At all. Anyway I’m pretty sure we’re all under construction. And I won’t point out your dust to you if you don’t mention mine.

Day Twenty-two



From Napowrimo.net:
Today, I challenge you to write a poem for children. This could be in the style of a nursery rhyme, or take a cue from Edward Lear or Shel Silverstein. It could rhyme — or not. It could be short — or not.


They tripped me and I’m on the floor
Kids are laughing, but I’m just sore
My face is burning, I feel awful
What’s happening must be unlawful

Who is there to help me out?
Why do you just stand about?
These bullies shouldn’t be allowed
To dominate a friendly crowd

If it was you there on the ground
I would not just mill around
I would yell and growl and frown
And pick you up when you are down

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

%d bloggers like this: