Shopping for a Mother of the Bride dress is a fraught exercise

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Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Buying a new frock is not an activity I relish. I wish it were. I want to be one of those women who catches a glimpse of a something shiny on a rack on the far side of the store, tries it on, loves it and whips out her credit card, all within the space of five minutes. Me? I prowl the floor like a hungry snow leopard, and after much deliberation, grab an armful of frocks that seem promising, try them on, hate them and repeat the process until I end up hating myself.

At 57, I blame my…

My relationship with my daughter will always be complicated

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Image by Public Co from Pixabay

Being a mother was something I always wanted, despite (or because of?) my own childhood. Let’s just say my own mother was less than nurturing and had a violent, nasty streak that meant my psyche was hammered out on an anvil of fear, forged in survival. I knew I could do better, and I did. I wasn’t perfect, mind you, but damn near good enough.

My daughter is striking. Olive skin, blue eyes, tall. Taller than I. Her lineage is indigenous Australian, but it’s a heritage that’s hard to pinpoint just by looking at her. She could be Greek, Italian…

An open letter to the Premier, Steven Marshall

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Photo credit: Rundle Street, Adelaide via NBC News

South Australia has been in lockdown since 18 November, 2020 apparently because someone, somewhere lied to the contract tracers. I won’t go into how casualisation of the workforce or unwieldy visa conditions may or may not have contributed to the person lying, but suffice it to say that hearing the Premier, Steven Marshall roast the person on national TV was probably not the wisest of moves. Our six day lockdown ended on the third day. Thank God. I wanted to pen a letter to the Premier of South Australia, outlining why the lockdown was unnecessary because hotel quarantine is unnecessary…

In which people tell me I’m wrong when I write about myself

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Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

A while back, I posted the following essay to a Facebook group of women writers that I’m in. In a nutshell, this essay is about me — while I was living in Hanoi — dating a much younger Vietnamese man for 10 months, who turned out to be a covert narcissist. He almost killed me.

You would think that the comments about my essay would centre around the cycle of narcissistic abuse, or trauma bonds or intermittent reinforcement. Or how a smart, educated woman like myself could be…

Poetry Sunday: how my crush ended its life

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Image by FotoZeit from Pixabay

Dying. Dead. Buried. Everything about him that I respected, admired, enjoyed. Gone. Killed by a single gesture that extinguished all others that preceded it. The way he made me feel was changed irreparably, irrevocably by that one action. A flinch. A shrug. A recoil. A two second movement away. Two seconds that said more than the previous two months. Two seconds that said, you are not someone I want to be close to. Two seconds that said, I am only with you because I have to be. You serve a purpose. Two seconds that said, it was all a pretense…

Why do crushes continue? And what can they become?

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

This is a three-parter. Here’s the first part for context:

Four weeks.
Give or take a day or two.
That’s how long it took.
For my crush to run its course.
But my crush didn’t just stop.

It didn’t run face first into a firmly closed door, bloody and smash its nose. I didn’t get a firm “thanks, but no thanks”. I didn’t confess my feelings only to have them stomped on and squished like an unwelcome bug in a pristine house.

There was none of that.

There was talk of a straying girlfriend who was studying abroad, and…

Poetry Sunday: how do crushes start?

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Oh, God. Really? Another crush? Why? Can’t I be done with this shit already? I’m in my fifties and I’ve been single for more than 10 years. Of course, I haven’t exactly been a nun in that time, but since turning 50, I’ve given up on finding a partner. Done with it, because there is more chance of finding life on Mars, or Jean-Claude Van Damme winning an Oscar than me finding that someone special. Yeah, right. Tell that to my attachment system. And hope. Just when I think there is no way I will be attracted to anyone ever…

Returning Australians are now the target for political point-scoring by the Morrison government

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay. This cat looks like my cat — the one I’m trying to bring home to Australia.

With the prime minster and National Cabinet introducing a user pays system for mandatory hotel quarantine for returning Australians from mid July, taxpayers may be relieved that they are off the hook for this particular bill. Diane Lee believes that the government’s argument of it being “fair” is flawed — the circumstances of expats are more nuanced and complex than they would have Australians believe.

On July 10, Prime Minister Scott Morrison released a statement from National Cabinet saying that that all travellers returning to Australia from overseas should now pay up to $3,000 for their mandatory hotel quarantine. Everyone…

Poetry Sunday

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Image by Eric Perlin from Pixabay

Do you ever think of me In the stillness of the night? Is the place I could have lain lonely, cold and quiet? When you remember me, I’d like to know Is it with pleasure or pain? Do you long to see me one more time, And to hold me once again? Have I left my mark upon your life? Have I changed the way you feel? Is there a scar upon your heart, Or a wound that will not heal? Did I teach you any lessons? And did you learn them well? Has the cruelty you showed to me…

And why it’s almost impossible to do anything about it because the system is working against you

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Image by Jens Peter Olesen from Pixabay

I started a PhD in 2008. A year later I quit, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about women, work, and career advancement. It’s about what I see happening again and again in workplaces. Where women overwork in the hope they will have career success. Where women are often chewed up and spat out by the places for which they work. Where women of a certain age can’t get work. Where women have to hide their age on paper to even get a look-in for work. …

Diane Lee

Australian writer recently returned from 4 years living in Vietnam. Editor of Vox Virtus and Abroadingly. Blogs at and

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