Author : Casey O'Leary

The Intimacy of Playwrighting

I pace around the community theater, chatting with friends supporting my one-act play in a local festival. Anxiety is stifled with a tight smile and lame humor. Absentmindedly, I rub my hands together, one looping over the other, each squeeze reinforcing my desire to keep my cool and stay calm. A friend reaches out with one gentle hand and stills mine without saying a word. I freeze momentarily. What am I doing? Why the hand-wringing? What is it

Where’s the Finish Line?

I’ve always behaved as if weight loss is a race. Everything changes with the shot of the starter pistol, and I’m off to lose the weight and cross the finish line an entirely new, incredibly happy person, with the “before” and “after” photos to prove it. One year ago, I visited my doctor’s office – she’d just moved to a new space, and along with upgraded waiting room chairs, there was a new scale. Digital, not

Chaotic Swamp

I’ve caused two car accidents in my life thus far, both during the same chaotic year.  I was working and going to graduate school and raising kids and both accidents involved my phone.  One was a minor fender bender, but the second was rougher – I rear-ended a car driven by a teenage girl, only a few years older than my daughter. The front end of my car lifted the entire back end of her

Car Meets Clarity

The car was a deep blue, my favorite color, and as I drove it out of the dealership on that warm, rainy April afternoon, I could hardly believe it was mine.  It was 2006, and I had just bought a new car for the first time; one with smooth leather seats and a CD player and wide doors so I could easily put my two children in their car seats.  I hesitantly moved through traffic and steered on


I am in the process of selling my home and buying a home. This is not the first time I’ve sold a home, nor the first time I’ve bought a home, but I’ve never done them at the same time. It is, to put it mildly, stressful. Thanks to my recovery, I have been able to find brief moments of serenity amid the chaos. I’m taking a moment to think before reacting to the situations

Good Feelings Gone

There’s a scene in the film “Finding Nemo” that features two of the main characters, Marlin and Dory, following a single, faint light through the very dark deep sea. As Marlin swims, he talks to himself about how good he feels, basking in the glow of that tiny light, until it shines more fully on the hideous face of an anglerfish, who has lured the two smaller fish in for the kill. Marlin’s response gets

I’m Sorry

It’s sad, so sad It’s a sad, sad situation And it’s gettin’ more and more absurd It’s sad, so sad Why can’t we talk it over Oh it seems to me That sorry seems to be the hardest word “Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word,” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin   This song has been rolling through my mind over the past couple of days. It’s an old favorite that’s taken on a

Happiness Is…

“Are you happy?” I hate that question. It’s confusing. I don’t know what “happy” looks like, and so I’m never quite sure if I am or if I’m not. Does “happy” mean that I love everything about my life? That I live with no regrets? That I have more good days than bad days? That I feel worthy? Even though I clearly don’t know the answer to the question, I seem to invite it into

Mother In Progress

It’s nearly Mother’s Day. There are commercials with people talking about their wonderful, loving mothers; there are greeting cards for lauding caring, dedicated mothers, and signs proclaiming brunches and lunches and dinners for celebrating amazing, incredible mothers. I don’t particularly like Mother’s Day. Don’t get me wrong: I like celebrating my mother. I like reminding her (and myself) that I love and appreciate her. But I don’t feel like Mother’s Day celebrates the kind of

Testing, Testing

Last Sunday, I returned home from a wonderful family weekend, celebrating the baptism of my niece. I was dropped off at home, and after putting my things in the house and changing my clothes, I headed out to my car to go pick up my dog. As I reached the driver’s side door, I noticed a HUGE dent in the side of my car. A sizeable, unexpected, infuriating dent. “Oh my God,” I said, staring