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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©

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

We Learned To Run


We Learned To Run

When I cannot hold on to what is real
and the memories trapped inside of my body scream
rising to the surface 
 struggling to stay present 
It hurts 
and I want to run...

We learned to run. 

 Wavering between the intense ache of my broken heart
anger at my inability to tough it out 
and finally succumbing to complete numbness 
I want to apologize to her for all of the times I give up

We 
          are  
                   both 
                                weary

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Simply Be Kind


Artwork by~ Christian Schloe
 
 I’m not feeling good about my body, or good inside of my body, and I’m trying to figure out a way to feel better without jumping to the conclusion that if I lost a few pounds, or did a cleanse, or some other disordered behavior, I would find some peace with myself. I ask myself, "What are you attempting to distract yourself from?" At the moment, I do not have an answer, so all I can do is sit with the question, and wait with patience for the answer to present itself in time. I know with certainty at this point in my recovery, that it may "feel" like it is about my weight, but that is the eating disorder rearing its ugly head, and not my own very wise voice. I want to claw at my skin, and erase what feels ugly, and I’m sad that I still struggle with this at times.
 
Today I will search for compassion, and simply be kind.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

What I Hear Is Now



 
 
Have you ever felt lonely even when you are surrounded with loved ones? I have been struggling with connection. Everyone feels so far away, and yet close enough to reach out and touch. It is me...I understand that cognitively, and realize that I'm the one who creates distance, but I don't know why I do this. I crave closeness, but I also fear the loss that can come with connection. I'm not very trusting when it comes to close relationships, and I try to mind read, which usually gets me into trouble. Tonight's yoga training was all about connecting with another person, and it is funny how I'm very aware of the energy of everyone around me, but also guarded when it comes to sharing. I think because of my trauma history, I'm hyper aware of taking in every minute detail. I'm on guard for danger, and ready to run. This does not always serve me well. I'm often anxious and suspicious, and yet I attempt to hide these feelings.  I feel like a fraud. On the outside, I may appear to be calm, relaxed, and trusting, when in reality, I'm none of those things. I'm very good at masking my true feelings, but I long to be a more authentic person. My heart is in the right place. I'm passionate about sharing my story, whether it be my struggle with anorexia, or my history of sexual abuse, and finding my voice, but this healing is not smooth and linear. I'm like an earthquake, with moments of catastrophe, and utter silence. When I can be still, and truly listen to my heart, what I hear is now.  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Myth Of "Letting Go"

 

I think that often times we think of "letting go" as happening all at once, and because of this concept of releasing years of built up pain in one fowl swoop, we become overwhelmed, and give up on the whole idea. I'm realizing that this is not how "letting go" happens at all. It is a process of contemplation, grieving, celebration, and releasing in fits and starts. I have a feeling that we can loosen our grip, but that "letting go" is infinite and undefined. There are times when I think that I have let go of something, and then suddenly, boom! I'm blindsided by the hurt all over again, and I realize that what I had actually done was to shut down my emotions. I have been working very hard to not only allow, but accept my feelings, whatever they may be. It gets crazy sometimes! I used to avoid confrontation, but lately, when someone hurts me, I can take a step back, and say, "Hey, I don't deserve to be treated badly." If someone wants to let me go, it doesn't mean I'm not worth hanging on to. I'm more than worthy. "Letting go" is a myth. We are an accumulation of every moment and every person that has ever touched us. Embrace and surrender to everything that you are; for that is true freedom.
 
“Surrender creates equanimity and bliss because you release yourself from any attachment to the results.”   
    ~Annette Vaillancourt

 
 




Saturday, March 29, 2014

Traitor

 
Artwork by~ Celia Basto

Traitor

She became like the desert,
As We let hands wander over 
The landscapes of Her body
Allowing
Always allowing 
Belonging to nothing
Sandpaper skin
The filth of fingerprints
Everywhere...
 
                                                                              

                                                                             Angela Minard 2014 ©

Friday, March 21, 2014

Nothing To Give



Artwork by~ Kenneth Jackson; Digital, 2013, Photography "Wild"

Nothing To Give

The day before had been a spring teaser of streaming sunlight
and had it not been for the cool shadows,
and faint, lingering smell of snow,
March would have seemed a distant memory
My cold fingers, hidden beneath gloves, twitched in agitation
I wanted to throw open the door of every stall
but they were not mine to set free
and how many times would I have to apologize
for something that was not mine
Shrinking into my coat, I suddenly felt inadequate and afraid
I wished for your voice...
 All that I had to do was reach out and touch
The first horse ducked his head away from me
so I dropped my arm limply back to my side
feeling the back of my throat constricting.
I continued to smile and make conversation
but I hated myself at that moment for every failure
and the hate moved me forward to the next stall
I was only alive while feeling the pain of rejection
and one by one, I walked...
stroking silken noses, bristly fur
They all wanted treats, or to be let out,
and I had nothing to give
I wished for your voice
but I have nothing to give...

Angela Minard 2014©

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Easily Broken



Artwork by~ Carmine Monzo; Drawing, "Breaking Point". Pastel, charcoal.
 
This morning I came to my blog because I knew that I needed to write, but my mind is jumpy, so I will apologize early on if this post leads nowhere. I'm going to make bullet points, and try to make some sense of it all.
 
  • I criticize myself for the intensity of my feelings. I feel like my heart breaks too easily.
  • I have a shaky sense of self worth, and as much as I'm trying to change this, it is easily shattered.
  • PTSD sucks...I was triggered by something that I cannot talk about here, but managing the symptoms is exhausting.
  • When I don't sleep, hopeless feelings begin to take over.
  • I feel guilty for any happiness that comes my way.
This is all I can write for now.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Talking To Myself



A picture taken during teacher's training. I'm on the front mat in Bound Half Moon pose.(Ardha Chapasana) 
 
 
Last weekend was the third weekend of teacher's training. I loved every second, but I find myself stressing over making mistakes, and on Sunday, I had to have a talk with myself, because I cannot continue to beat myself up over every little mistake I make. I'm still learning the language of yoga, so expecting myself to already know how to get things out of my mouth in a smooth way is asking too much. After that conversation with myself, I felt better, and I will keep on practicing. I turned in my application to be a facilitator for the Eat, Breathe, Thrive program, and was accepted, so I will either have to wait until I'm certified, or find a certified yoga instructor to be my co-facilitator. I'm so excited to get the program started though, that I hate to wait until December. I will think about it this week while I'm on spring break. I cannot even believe it is already spring break. This school year has gone by so fast, and what a crazy, emotional, fabulous, scary year it has been! I'm ready for more!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Metta (Loving Kindness)




Metta (Loving Kindness)

How do I do this?
Navigating through the heat
Rising from my toes
Deep inside the drum beat rhythm
Beyond the pulse of fingertips
Spread like brilliant rays
Bring me the sun I say...
Over and over
But you are already blinding light
Blurred with the ocean
Stinging eyes
Salt water tears
You laugh,
You cry,
You love
Yes,
Love...
Angela Minard 2014©
With gratitude...
Darling Yoga~2014