Humans weren’t meant to be lone wolves

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If you’re a former gifted kid, neurodivergent, or an overachiever with impostor syndrome, I am one of you and I am talking to you today. I’m also, for reference, talking to myself. I struggle with this on a regular basis.

In my experience from many years of making mediocre life choices, it’s not always easy to admit when we can’t do something by ourselves. Not being able to handle everything on our plates at a given time — totally solo — can feel like failure. There’s a gut-wrenching sensation that comes with the thought, “I can’t do this myself.” Maybe…

On feathers and healing

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The Crane Wife is a Japanese folk tale. The version I know is that a man finds an injured crane at his doorstep and nurses it back to health. After it flies away, a woman shows up and the two fall in love and marry. In order to make ends meet, she offers to weave wondrous garments out of silk for them to sell, but she tells her husband he must never watch her weaving. He pushes her to weave more and more and his greed increases while he ignores her declining health. One day, he peeks into her work…

Writing in Trying Times

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Tell me if this sounds familiar: I need to engage in a hobby or creative endeavor in order to feel healthy, but I’m having a hard time finding the energy or focus to do that right now.

I’m hearing this from a lot of creatives and I’m absolutely saying it myself. I’m barely writing these past few months because I find the whole thing — previously easy — to be like pulling teeth. There’s just so much outside stimuli to distract us going on right now, that it’s no wonder we’re struggling.

As for me, one sure sign that I’m…

How I learned empathy the hard way

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I used to be kind of a shitty person.

Back in college and in my early twenties, I failed to deal with a lot of internalized misogyny, ableism, classism, and some inadvertent racism that came from a very white, very upper-middle-class suburban upbringing just riddled with privilege.

I didn’t see anything wrong with my low-key callousness. I was, in many ways, a good person; I was a good friend, a supportive romantic partner, I was charitable, and I was a fair judge of character, and a good listener.

But people are layered, as we all know, and I still held these toxic attitudes under all that goodness and light.

It’s okay to not be okay

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Maybe I’m not okay right now, Susan. Maybe the world is too much. Maybe my productivity is suffering (and it has nothing to do with remote work, but everything to do with the state of the world right now). Maybe staying at home is bad for my mental health. Maybe I’m scared of the callousness of so many Americans.

Maybe it’s all going to be okay, but not right now. Not yet. Not today.

We’ll return to something resembling normal someday, I know, but we don’t know when that will be. We haven’t solved COVID. 100,000 Americans are dead, nothing…

In defense of Guy Fieri

Photo by Marcel Heil on Unsplash

In a world gone mad, I find most of us are craving familiarity and comfort. For me, part of that is an ongoing marathon of Guy Fieri shows, often accompanied by a hearty cheeseburger. Considering the empire he’s built with the Food Network and the frequency with which they air Triple D or Triple G (or Guy’s Big Bite, or Guy’s Ranch Kitchen, or Tournament of Champions), he can easily be considered one of the stars in the channel’s crown.

And yet, he receives so much vitriol for being a flame-covered, platinum spiked loudmouth (which no one can deny he…

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

I rescue parrots. It’s not my job, but it’s my passion. Working with an mid-Atlantic organization called Phoenix Landing, I act as a foster or adoptive pet caretaker for birds who need a second (or third or fourth or fifth) home.

It’s hard work. The animals come to you with pieces of themselves missing or broken; it’s up to you to make them whole again with love and patience. Not every story gets a happy fairy tale ending; sometimes homing placements don’t work out and the bird is surrendered and we try all over again.

As for me? I have…

How a slow-paced game can soothe a fast-paced life

Go and live your best island life.

If quarantine has done any good for us at all, it would be that it’s provided some folks with an opportunity to engage in revitalizing hobbies: bread baking, gardening, house repair, arts and crafts, cooking, just to name a few. I find it beautiful that in times of crisis, one powerful human instinct is to engage in healing activities that create something new and beautiful.

And just at the right time, along came a video game from Nintendo that lets us practice these things on a little island oasis of our own. Animal…

The wisdom of doing nothing

Photo by Federico Respini on Unsplash

Hi, it’s me, your neighborhood annoying productivity cheerleader. I’ve learned something in the last few weeks — it’s okay not to push yourself to achieve something every single day. Is “write every day” good advice? Of course! Is it realistic? Well, that depends. Should you punish yourself for not being able to do it? Absolutely NOT.

I suffer from anxiety and perfectionism, all rolled up together with a bow of horrific, crippling guilt on top. So when I get up at 6:45 in the morning, my whole day is GO GO GO until I pass out, exhausted, somewhere around 1…

How to fight a one-two punch right now

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

On a good day, I struggle with depression. Maybe a little less; perhaps it’s more annoying those days and less utterly disruptive. But it’s there, all the same. Now, add in a global pandemic and orders restricting my ability to go out and socialize with my lifeline friends and places, and we’ve got quite a problem on our hands. I’m not doing well some days, if I’m going to be completely honest.

I’m not alone in this. Citizens of the world — even healthy, neurotypical people — are reporting an increase in depression and anxiety symptoms. But what’s to be…

Deidre Delpino Dykes

Maryland Birdmancer, queer, speculative fiction author/editor, TTRPG player/GM, actually just three birds in a trench coat.

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