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Friday, August 29, 2014

Without Words




Without Words

You wait 
without words
after opening my heart
expansive moments 
Finally, with purpose 
gazing up into your eyes
I try to tell you

without words

Sometimes when we say goodbye
I apologize
in silence
for the words
no one should have to hear 
I do not say them

I am sorry, I am sorry,
I am sorry

Resting my head against your warmth
the vibration of your voice fills my body
breathing your laughter as tears threaten
I try to tell you

without words

Angela Minard 2014©

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Night Watch



Night Watch

Sleep is an act of courage 
paired with child-like hope...

You should close your eyes now
before your heart breaks wide apart
falling too deeply between the cracks
to ever be found


Angela Minard 2014©

Monday, August 25, 2014

Shooting Arrows



I let all of my thoughts and feelings ruminate in my mind, turning them over and around, examining them in such great detail, that I often lose sight of the big picture. Not only do I do this with my own thoughts and feelings, but I also do it with the words and actions of other people, misinterpreting and twisting things so as to feel as badly as I can possibly feel about myself. 

Maybe if I allow myself to believe that I'm nothing special, I can excuse myself from all of this hard work...

Am I that lazy? 
Yes, sometimes, perhaps...

I know that I'm cared for by the way that it is shown, and that really is what matters. I make things more complicated than they need to be. I do such a good job of breaking my own heart before anyone else gets a chance, barely even realizing that I'm the one shooting arrows.

I say "barely" because I am becoming aware that this is what I do. Maybe I use it as an excuse to disconnect, but now it hurts too much to continue stumbling down a path that is causing me to suffer. 

I'm tired of being my own worst enemy. It is getting old, it is getting boring, and I have more important things to do with my life than to continue beating up on myself.

"When you've seen beyond yourself, 
then you may find peace of mind is waiting there.
And the time will come when you will see that we are all one.
And life flows on within you and without you."

~Swami Kriyananda

Photograph by Jim Sincock~Letting Go 2012








Saturday, August 23, 2014

Prison



Prison

I know about your boundaries
meant to keep me out
How is it that someone can both come too close
and not close enough?
Inside, inside
Clenching my soul 
You are a prison
clawing at my skin
longing to escape from screaming flesh
Hold me
inside, inside
Whisper softly
when all I hear is her voice
I know what she takes
inside, inside
Boundaries are a prison 
meant to keep me out
Whisper softly
But don't come too close 
Don't come 
inside...

Angela Minard 2014©

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Bright Future


Family Pic 2007


I'm emotional tonight in such a beautiful way, and for many reasons. Our number three son (in the white t-shirt) just moved to college, and he is the first of our children to make this transition. He is a mere forty five minutes from our home, and it would definitely tug more forcefully at my heart if he were further in distance, but it still changes the dynamics of our family, and his constant presence will be missed. I have prepared myself for this inevitable moment since the day he was born, because that is how I am. A piece of me always knew when I had children not to hold on too tightly, because they eventually fly on their own. Today I learned that there really is nothing more rewarding than watching your child soar toward their own destiny, knowing that you helped to raise a kind and loving individual who will contribute greatly to this world. I'm proud of my son, and I'm also proud of us as a family. We have survived some tough times, but I do believe that it has given all of us the strength to persevere and extend compassion to others. 

With gratitude, I move toward a bright future, knowing that change is not only inevitable, but glorious and exciting. I embrace every new experience with an open heart, filled with love and light. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Down For The Count




Down For The Count

I'm not sure what I expect 
when my fingers weep
my words raw
my heart expanding and contracting 
like an angry fist
throwing my punches in your direction
without thinking of the consequences
The stunning truth 
(words mean nothing)
always catches me off guard
The bell rings 
and I stagger back to the center ring
on the ropes
blocking each blow
(nothing)
until I can no longer feel the impact
In fact, realizing 
that I am no longer protecting myself 
I don't know how not
to give up
everything...

Angela Minard 2014©

Friday, August 15, 2014

Count To Three



Count To Three

Today I was thinking about
how much I love it when you call me "sweetie" or "babe"
and the tears came
I let them
without stopping them for once
for you...
because I knew that you would want me to try
to allow the feelings

It hurt, 
so I gave myself 3 seconds
1...2...3...

I worry about telling you
how much I love those terms of endearment
because
What if you were to take them away?
And I cried
3...2...1...

I knew that even if you were far way
and I could no longer see you, or touch you,
I could hear those words
reverberating from my soul
to yours
forever... 

 Angela Minard 2014©

"Only trust someone who can see these three things in you: The sorrow behind your smile, the love behind your anger, and the reason behind your silence." ~Unknown

Image~ "The Atonement" by Anca Mitroi

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another Blog Post About Suicide



I've been sitting here for awhile now, staring at the blank white computer screen with the black cursor blinking at me, waiting for me to type my thoughts on this blog where I have been coming for many years. I'm struggling to put my emotions into words and to make sense of what I'm feeling in the aftermath of the death of Robin Williams. The dialogue on social media has been heartbreaking for me, and for the most part I have kept my distance because it opens up wounds that I'm trying to heal. I have been held in the vice like grip of depression. Twice I attempted to take my own life, and both times I was angry that I didn't succeed. At the time, I certainly could not see my own worth, and believed my husband and children would be better off without me. I had slowly been trying to starve myself for years, so once I had become nutritionally stable and weight restored, I had a whole new ball of wax to begin to deal with, and the descent into hell came quickly. I had numbed all of my emotions through my eating disorder, so on top of dealing with a new body, I was also being bombarded by emotions I had never before allowed. I was seeing a therapist, but I couldn't tell her or anyone else  about my continuous thoughts of wanting to end my life. I tried hard to go to work everyday with a smile on my face, although I felt I was drowning in quick sand, and the effort it took to get through each day became more and more excruciating. You cannot simply tell someone to see their own value, and expect that to happen. Life is not that simple or cut and dried. I'm not a role model, like a few people have suggested, merely because I survived. I didn't want to live, and for months after my attempts, I did not want to be here. I was far from grateful that I was alive. To tell you the truth, I have no idea when I made a conscious decision to live my life, and I certainly didn't do it alone. It was such a painstakingly slow process that I didn't even recognize that the thoughts were dwindling away. I do know that it is damaging for people to hear that suicide is selfish and cowardly. It shuts down communication, and makes it even more difficult for someone who is suffering from suicidal thoughts to reach out. It was the very reason that I couldn't reach out, so if any good is to come from the passing of Robin Williams, I hope it sheds more light on the subject of suicide and mental health, so that more sufferers will get the help they need.  I wish I could tell you that the thought of suicide never crosses my mind, but I would be lying. We all pass judgment at times, and we are all selfish at times, but if we can at least try to be compassionate and understanding, and truly look at where our fear and anger is coming from, this world would be a better place to live. Did anyone else need to write a blog post on this subject? Probably not, but did I need to get these thoughts out of my mind? Yes, I did, and I now feel like I can breathe a bit deeper. 

"I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable." ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh  ~from"Gift From The Sea"


*If you or anyone you know is in need of help please call The National Suicide Hotline 
1-800-273-TALK(8255)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Act Of Contrition



Act Of Contrition

Perhaps it was the early morning downpour
a reminder
making my bones ache
the holes of my heart 
soaking in the poison like a porous sponge
crazy screaming
frantic cleaning
only this flesh remains

Angela Minard 2014©

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Everything



Everything

I think about your smile
when you are amused
and how you hold both of my hands
when you are serious
I think about your arms
wrapped around me
when I'm shaking from the inside out
but mostly
I feel everything 
I feel my swollen heart
how it fills, and spills
I devise ways to cement the cracks
and ways to say goodbye
I see every word
I hear every detail
There is nothing that I miss
and yet
I will miss
everything

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography by~Sofia Ajram

Sunday, July 6, 2014

All I Know


Photography by~ Bahman Farzad

All I Know

I talk to you in my head,
in my dreams
and when the words won't come
I write them down
Always to you...
Eventually I delete your replies
You never write much anyway
Maybe I should keep all of your ellipses and questions
I save your voice mails for awhile,
listening to them when I feel far away
but I can hear you without them
Someday you say I won't need you
and my feelings will be different,
but I don't want them to change
I'm accustomed to this longing
It is all I know

Angela Minard 2014©


"If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, 
return to yourself, to who you are, 
here and now,  and when you get there, 
you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower,
in full bloom, even in a muddy pond,
beautiful and strong."

~Masaru Emoto "The Secret Life Of Water"




We Are Here



Photography by~ Aleksandr Manamis

We are here
at 3:00 a.m.
without words to soothe
 Our wounds oozing 
Sticky, Messy, Gaping Holes
The darkness is not cool against our skin
The shadows do not loom
We are here
Eclipsed
to sit inside our knowing
Without escape


Thursday, July 3, 2014

You Want Me To Write



You Want Me To Write

You want me to write about willow trees
their resilience
or maybe how the limbs bend, but do not break
as if I should compare myself to such graceful beauty
but I cannot...

The willow tree that I lovingly planted in our backyard,
a tiny sapling with tender, delicate leaves
sprouting along narrow yellow branches
is dead now
Too many harsh winters, followed by early springs

She grew so tall, shading our swing set throughout many summers.
Children climbed her enormous trunk, 
and I would shout into the wind for them to be careful

"Please do not fall"
"Please do not break her branches"

Even then I knew she was fragile,
much weaker than she appeared

One late winter morning I awoke to an ice covered wonderland
the sun dancing off of her branches
I sat on the sofa, and as I gazed out the window, 
I heard the painful cracking of her limbs
The weight of the ice, 
finally
too much for her to bear

I cried as I watched, knowing deep within me,
that she would not survive
Maybe I loved her too much
or not enough

You want me to write about willow trees...
Was this what you had in mind?


Angela Minard 2014©

Watercolor painting by David Minard

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Therapy Tales




I have been writing on this blog for about six years now, and I rarely go back through old posts, but I was looking for a poem, and came across a post that I had written a few days before my first suicide attempt. I shared it with my therapist this week. I cannot even count the number of times that she has told me that if I didn't allow myself to feel pain, I would also be unable to feel joy. I wasn't sure that I believed her, but I now realize that all of my suffering was caused by my attempts to deny my feelings. My feelings often overwhelm me, and the depth of my emotions can be frightening, but I'm grateful to be alive. I'm grateful that she didn't give up on me, because she was right...even with the pain, there is an abundance of joy, and I'm blessed to still be here to feel every bit of it. 
Here is the post that I wrote~

I step through your door, into the safe familiarity of pictures and books...the window where I've watched the rain and snow, protected from the bright glare of the sun chasing after me. We have talked, and sat in silence while you wait for my words, of which I've run out. I nod when you speak, agreeable and compliant, because my decision is to resign. I've tried to tell you, but you won't give up, when I've all but begged you to, and yet I continue to cast shadows on your floor. 
"I will believe for you, until you can believe on your own," 
you say with such compassion that my throat constricts, and I cannot seem to swallow so much pain. I tell you that I feel an overwhelming need to apologize. I call you on the phone, but you say that you cannot work with me like this. I'm a petulant child, an angry adolescent, and you refuse to play my games. I'm sorry that I do this, that I reach for you, and then become volatile when you attempt to help me. I reach, I push, I run, I hide, and every week I return to the shelter of you, because I'm afraid that if I don't show up, I'll lose all sense of time. 
You are the touch point within the moments, hours, days that get lost, hoping that you will find me before I fade away. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Eight



Artwork by~ Gabriel Moreno

Eight


I was taken back to when I was eight years old. 
I am sitting now 
tall and strong...
you would never know...
I don't want to imagine an eight year old girl. 
I squeeze my eyes tight, 
so tightly that sparks of silver shatter the darkness, 
and my breath becomes so ragged that I can't find an end or a beginning. 
I open my eyes and focus on the spinning fan above me. 
I tell myself I'm safe. 
Over and over 
until I am here once again. 
She is tiny, 
 small and afraid. 
Her eyes are large, 
dark pools of fear. 
I don't want to touch her. 
I step away, 
away, 
away...
When I find my way back into my breath, 
my ribs are tired and sore. 
I'm not sure where I am, 
so I rub my fingers together until I can find my way into the room. 
My head is tingling, 
purple lights throbbing from the center of my forehead, 
out beyond my entire being, 
so alive, 
my limbs quivering with each exhale.  
I'm afraid to touch her, 
but your voice tells me to pick her up, 
so tentively I reach out. 
I'm sorry...
I'm sorry...
I'm sorry...
I repeat. 
Tears begin to fall, 
and I swallow deeply. 
I hold her for a moment, 
and then I let her go...

Angela Minard 2014©


Father's Day


I was pregnant with my 3rd son in this picture. 


It is Father's Day, and my first thoughts go to my amazing husband. I think about telling him that I was pregnant with his child. I was so afraid...I had been on birth control pills, and had taken a few negative pregnancy tests, but I still was so sick. I thought I had a really bad flu. Finally one of the tests from planned parenthood came back positive, and I panicked! I called Dave on the phone to tell him, and I told him that maybe he should sit down, and then I broke the news. I thought he would be upset, but instead he shocked me by being so happy and excited. It was one of the happiest days of my life, hearing the joy in his voice. We were married when I was 4 months along. When I married Dave, I had never lived anywhere but with my mom and step dad. I immediately felt safe and cared for, and  I knew I was home. We had such a great few months in our first tiny apartment. We would take monthly pictures of my growing belly, and incredulously stare into each other's eyes. Everything was magical.  My water broke in the middle of the night; a water balloon bursting, startling both of us out of a deep slumber. Dave proceeded to get out the video camera while amniotic fluid traveled down my thighs. I wasn't sure what to do so I sat on the toilet, while he proceeded to continue with videotaping me. I looked squarely into the video recorder, and said, "Fuck the camera!" Point taken...
on to the hospital! I had friends and family with me, and I actually remember nothing of the birth besides that Dave was so happy that he had a son, that he leaped into the air, and said, "It's a boy!" Four boys later, it never became dull! Our lives have been filled with fun! I love to sit downstairs and listen to my boys laughing and joking together. They still sound like ten year olds, and I never doubt the love they have for each other. I am truly blessed by the amazing men in my life!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Elevator Dreams


Photograph by~ Lucy Reynolds

Elevator Dreams

I miss you
as soon as I step outside your door
Waiting for the elevator to open wide
is lonely...
only I am left
to hear the echo of my voice
lost inside the darkness
I never want to let go
but I do
trying to be the first to pull away
Quietly I apologize
for everything I am not
I am not
yours...

Angela Minard 2014©

"I unhinge my wishes, stringing them back together with desperation and love and the thin barbed wire of longing until they take on the substance of poems."
~Sarah Elwell

Photograph by~Lucy Reynolds

Friday, June 6, 2014

Are You Comfortable In Your Skin?



What does it mean to be comfortable in your skin? As someone who has both battled an eating disorder, and also have many friends who struggle, it is a common thing to say and to also hear. We think that if we could only be a certain weight, we would be "comfortable," but I will tell you that this is untrue. What we are uncomfortable with has nothing to do with the size of our bodies. What we are uncomfortable with is being present. It is impossible to find comfort when you are continuously running from yourself. How often do we sit with ourselves in silence, being still and aware? Today I took a yoga class with a teacher that I love, but don't often get to take classes from, and she said as we were settling into Downward Facing Dog, "Fill in the blank...I am grateful for...," and immediately I thought, "I feel grateful for my strong and resilient body." Oh, how I made my body suffer, trying to find some shred of comfort...my heart became weak, severe osteoporosis, my hair clogged the drain every time I took a shower, and I was beyond tired. Yes, I was thin, but I was far from comfortable.  I wasn't trying to be comfortable, I was trying not to be...
When we are present, we journey beyond our bodies, into the deepest part of ourselves, and into the truest form of who we are. I began to nurture my body by feeding it, and at first it was painful, and definitely uncomfortable. Discomfort doesn't even begin to describe the intensity I was feeling both emotionally and physically. Re-feeding isn't pretty. Does recovery mean you will always feel at home in the skin you inhabit? NO! The flow of healing isn't linear. There are peaks and valleys, and often we learn the most from those places of supposed inertia. Listen to the silences, and pay attention to your soul. Your soul is speaking...
Be still...

"And so there must be in life something like a catastrophic turning point, when the world we know ceases to exist. A moment that transforms us into a different person from one heartbeat to the next."

~ From "The Art Of Hearing Heartbeats" by Jan Philipp Sendker

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sweet Dreams



Everything about me feels gloriously weighted to this world at the moment, and so I want to hold on... My eyelids are heavy, my heart thrumming deep and slow within my chest. I can even imagine my blood flowing through my veins, slow as a cool, lazy river. I need to sleep, but I easily and quickly slip into frightening dreams, and so I fight to stay awake. I hear your voice softly say, "Don't put so much meaning into your dreams. They are not real." The lines between reality and my dreaming world often seem blurred, and the nightmares that haunt me in my sleep linger along the parameters of my mind, waiting for an unguarded opportunity to remind me to be afraid. Each night as I prepare for bed, I say to myself, "You are safe, you are loved, you are protected." The only dreams that are real are waking dreams...the beautiful imaginings of a life only you can create. 

Sweet dreams...

Saturday, May 31, 2014

You Are The Answer



I'm moved and amazed by how we touch others;
how we pass throughout our days unaware of the impact we make, 
and how even the simplest of gestures can change the course of a day. 
When we are in pain, and filled with despair, 
we don't realize how we would be missed. 
Imagine believing that our pain was endless...
how do we ask someone to stay? 
How do we find the will to keep going when all we can see is darkness ahead? 
It is difficult for someone who hasn't felt such infinite hopelessness to understand wanting to end your own life. 
I lived in silence for so long, 
turning away from all that I didn't want to see. 
I would awaken each morning, and before I even had a chance to grasp the light, 
shame would wash over me, and it took everything I had inside to face the day. 
My suicide attempts were planned, and yet also impulsive.
 I would obsessively think of ways to end my life, 
allowing the thoughts of nothingness to comfort me. 
Those thoughts never included who I would be leaving behind, 
or what I had yet to accomplish. 
Yes, it was selfish. 
Pain is not rational...
It is exhausting.
I'm grateful for all of the arms that reached out to pull me back to shore 
when I was drowning. 
I didn't realize how much I wanted to live, 
or what living would even mean; 
I believed that I was deeply flawed, and broken beyond repair.
Healing shame and believing in my value is an ongoing process,
but I am worthy of the effort.
We all are deserving of joy.
We are here for boundless reasons we will never fully understand. 
Our lives, 
no matter how short our time here on earth, 
touches...
reaching beyond our limited comprehension, 
in an everlasting circle that expands outward, 
embracing eternity. 

"If you are falling...dive. Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the questions when you are the answer." 
~Joseph Campbell

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Am Alive



I was searching for some old pictures of the boys to post on facebook for "Throwback Thursday." and stumbled across an old picture of myself wearing a bikini. It is ironic since I am planning on a trip to the pool with a friend today. I inhaled sharply, and quickly shuffled past it, but it wasn't fast enough to avoid the blank look on my face, the sharp collar bones, and outline of my ribcage. A friend had taken my picture at the public pool where I spent the summer with the boys. I had already given birth to all of them, and I was wasting away. I would go for days living on apple slices, and taking dozens of laxatives to get rid of everything. I wanted to be clean...empty...
Today, I will put on my swim suit. It is not a bikini, although I could wear one if I wanted. My shoulders are strong; no longer sharp and bony. I have curves and more than enough flesh to cover my ribs. There is a light in my eyes, and more importantly, I am alive. I am alive...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Now Is Simply Beautiful



I am wide awake, when I should be sleeping, but my mind cannot rest, and my heart is racing madly. I'm out of my routine I suppose, and life is buzzing loudly; insistant that I sit up and take notice. I'm so alive that it feels as if an electric current is running throughout my body, and it is not entirely pleasant. Changes are happening all around me, and with change comes a certain amount of discomfort. These changes are everything I've dreamt of, and it feels so unreal at times to believe that I can even have these things that I've wanted. I'm beginning to teach some yoga classes at a couple of studios in town, and it is amazing to me to love it as much as I hoped I would. I wasn't sure... I mean, I love my yoga practice, but there is a difference between practicing and teaching. A large portion of recovery for me has been sharing my journey with other people who are struggling to find their way, and that has mainly been sharing my story through writing. Yoga was the missing piece of the puzzle for me in terms of recovering from the eating disorder and post traumatic stress. I needed yoga to teach me how to re-connect to my body in a healthy way. Wanting to teach yoga stems from a tremendous desire to give back somehow, so I'm relieved to find that I love teaching, as scary as it is! I have so much still to learn, but I'm ready, and more than willing. 
The school year is over, and I have a few days off before summer school begins, so my routine has been disrupted, which often throws off my sleep. It has been an exciting couple of weeks, with my third son graduating from high school. He will be going away to college in the fall, and my husband and I are talking of downsizing. It is strange to be thinking of moving, but I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. I do have the future in mind, but I'm also rooted firmly in this present moment. Whatever comes will come whether I worry about it or not, so I'm not worried. Now is simply beautiful...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Love Beside Me



Love Beside Me

I think
I must go to bed
 feeling your arms
as I drift
safe
dreaming of
being loved
waking to love

Touch gently
outlining my days
with warm fingertips
soothing shadows
The hushed voices of morning
soft breath
love beside me


Angela Minard 2014©

Monday, May 26, 2014

I Touch My Own Heart

Sometimes practicing yoga breaks my heart, because it is through the breath and movement that I touch my own heart...Sometimes other people break my heart... Sometimes when people love me, it hurts... Sometimes I'm overcome by all of my emotions...
I refuse to stop feeling, 
no matter how tempting it is to disappear... 
I will not disappear...

"I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not complete this last one, but I give myself to it...I circle around God, around the ancient tower. I've been circling for thousands of years and I still don't know: am I a falcon, a storm,or a great song?" ~Rainer Maria Rilke





Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mourning Light



Mourning Light

Awakening with trepidation
 I recognize this tug of war
between the weight of my body refusing to rise
and my mind arguing with insistance
It is sudden
so abrupt 
this fleshy darkness 
that I cannot easily recall
being light
opening to light
The effortless movement of my opened palms
awaiting the sun
No longer connected to my own breath
or the far away pulsing
that was the memory of my illuminated heart

Angela Minard 2014©

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Stop The Questions


"The Girl and the Owl" by Michael Shapcott

Last night, as I was closing my eyes and beginning to settle into savasana, which is the final resting pose in a yoga practice, I heard the faint call of an owl from beyond the studio doors, and a sudden blanket of peace fell over me. I heard very clearly in my mind a voice that firmly said, "Stop the questions." The owl, with his plaintive query, opened my mind to the futility of my constant hunger to know why. Only hours before, I had been sitting in my therapists office, and she said, "You are trying so hard to find reason in things that will never make sense." I question why everything happens, good or bad; my mind circling through endless dizzying spirals, and it gets me nowhere. Questions bring doubt; doubt in myself and my capability to trust others, and I don't want to live my life hiding within narrow shadows anymore. When I stop examining the reasons for myself and others to believe in me, love me, see my worth, I can allow it to simply be. What we already know and hold inside is beyond measure, and yes, there is infinite knowledge to be gained, but the answers will come more easily in the stillness. Sometimes the answers will even come in the whisper of an owl calling at twilight. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Breathing


Breathing

We inhale...

Fill
Expand
Hold
Tighten
Draw in

Beating 
Beating
Pounding
Throbbing
Warmth

Palm to palm
Lines cross
Intersect
Our dark
Our light

Our hearts 
Fill
Expand 
Hold 
Tighten
Draw in 

Beating
Beating
Pounding 
Throbbing
Warmth

Exhale
Open
Release
Surrender

We Breathe
and
Let go...

Angela Minard 2014©