Soul Fragments 

I have told myself
Time and time again
When I see another’s life
Full of beauty, vibrancy, and success,
That it isn’t for me.
That a rich and full healthy life
Is not for me.
I am other.
I am broken.
I am used up.
I am …
I say no to this voice.
This voice that is not my own.
This voice that was yelled to me
Through rage and fists
And soul shattering heartbreak.
This voice that kept me down.
This voice that held me
This voice that became my voice.

I see it now.
That this was a form of rape.
This control over my mind.
This manipulation that had me believing
I am weak.
This tragedy that held me down,
Broken, fractured, alone, and scared.

I did not believe for one second that I deserved better.
I did not believe for one second that I deserved kindness, a loving embrace, personhood.
I was not a person.

This voice.
Whose voice entrapped me
And supplanted my own?
Where was my voice?
Buried in fear, survival, and traumas years deep.
A childhood no child should ever have to learn to endure.
No treasure but traumas to keep.

And yes. I learned how to survive.
But now I see for most of my life that’s all I’ve ever done.
And I do not know that the warmth
Of the sun resting on my face is something I can enjoy.
I did not know that happiness could lead to joy and love could heal all that was unaligned.

I did not know that love was real.
And men took advantage.
Bullies made sure I obeyed.
And violence became a thing more real to me than love.
And this shattered broken thing
Took the place of my soul.
Because it had splintered long ago.
To survive I became undone.

And lately all the pieces of me
Have been returning home.
And other previously shattered sisters have held lamps to light the way.
And together our muted melodies
Have found a sort of song.
And with tears I weep
I’ve found my heart
And with it I finally know love.
All the parts coming home bring a piece to make me more whole.
And healing is beginning
Love forms me once again anew.

-Angel Marie Russell

Thank you sisters.
Thank you Sara Sophia Eisenman.

The lost and found girl 


I have recently discovered that I am on the Autism Spectrum. I am 35 years old. I am sure that many of you can imagine what a change such a realization would bring to someone. My entire world view has been flipped on its head. I have struggled socially all of my life from preschool on. I have never understood my peers and was mercilessly bullied as a child, teenager, and even as an adult. I take longer to process verbal communication and that has always created problems for me. I have had to drop out of college more than five times at different community colleges. I am not unintelligent, quite the opposite, but I have always had learning difficulties that the staff at my schools were not trained to understand. I do not look like I have autism, because frankly, it is a neurological issue and so obviously it is invisible. I do not appear to struggle socially. I have had many people that know me try to dismiss, belittle, or deny that I am indeed autistic because I am high functioning. That does not mean that I am without limits of perception, understanding or ability to navigate this nuero-typical world.
What people choose not to see, or claim not to, is that in fact this life has been merciless to me. I have struggled with being misunderstood most of my life and in return I have not understood those around me. I have become a recluse who lives through the internet, socializing safely away from my peers in a warm glow of my computer screen. I have very few in person friends. I struggle every single time I go to the grocery store or a party. And though I do not appear to be struggling as I have learned from years of abusive people beating it into me that I must pass as socially adept in order survive, I do not in fact know what the hell is going on within the humans around me.

I was diagnosed at the age of twenty one with PTSD from childhood abuse and neglect from my mother. That I do still have. I am an autistic adult raised by an autistic mother and both of us were indeed traumatized by abusive people and life. Autism and mental health issues often go hand in hand when they are not noticed or diagnosed and this is a common theme in Autism in women. Women with Autism are not, or have not in the past, been diagnosed properly when it comes to Autism. It is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed as a mental health issue only. Mental illness such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, Bipolar disorder, and other personality disorders are often given to the autistic woman as a diagnosis but this is not addressing the fundamental difference that these issues are arising because of a neurological difference. As women with Autism do have a neurological difference, mental illness can indeed be caused by this difference but to only treat the mental illness, is treating a symptom of the actual unnoticed underlying issue. Autism, in these cases, is the root of the psychiatric distress and therefore women are not receiving the help and guidance they so desperately need. Obviously, if a child such as myself did not understand social cues or human behavior in addition to sensory issues, she would not fit in or function well and bullying would ensue in a school surrounded by nuero-typical peers gracefully navigating the sights, sounds, and life that is school. For an autistic child such as myself with sensory issues, the sights, sounds, and alarming pace of all that is school can cause meltdowns, learning impairment, disagreements, being sent to the office daily, ditching school, bullying, and then increased bullying, a lowering sense of self-worth, self harm, ditching school, leaving peers, isolating, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. I know this because this is the life I led in school. I was alone left to deal with an issue I did not know I had, and as a result, blamed, belittled, rejected, isolated, and all around hopeless, at least I felt that way.

By not recognizing that women can indeed be on the spectrum, by never including women in any scientific study around autism, and to claim that autism is a male oriented disorder only, is to deny and further neglect female individuals such as myself after a life time of neglect, confusion, and isolation, the help that would ease the suffering of a lifetime. And don’t get me wrong, I know that being diagnosed as an autistic adult carries its own sort of grief and I am in no way saying that it is easy to be diagnosed at 35 versus being diagnosed as a child. And in many instances being diagnosed as a child may even hold one back, but look at Temple Grandin, a woman on the spectrum that was diagnosed as a child, given school opportunities and support and went on to revolutionize an entire industry exactly because she sees the world through autistic eyes. So, to me, I think we need to celebrate the differences and help others to also shine in all that they are nuero-diverse or neuro-typical.

And I can’t help but wonder how different my life may have looked up until now, or how different the life of my mother who was homeless when she died may have looked if we had just been diagnosed properly at a young age. Would we have shined in our strengths as Temple Grandin has? Would we have had the support and nurturing we needed? I will never have those answers. What I can do is write about my experience and use it to say, we must not let one more autistic girl fall through the cracks of the school system, and of life. We must not let one more autistic woman isolate and reject her own glorious and differently shaped mind. We must not let one more sister become lost down a path that so many know how to survive. The path of autism is not for the faint of heart and I am determined to show others like me how they too can become found, they too can know the peace that comes with welcoming their true heart home. I see you sisters. I am the lost and found girl because for so many years I have been lost, but now I am in love with my brain, with the way I experience the world and I want you to learn how to fall in love with your own self too. I am the lost and found girl and I want to help guide others to be found too. Autism is not a sentence, it is a coming home, and I am so grateful to know that feeling. In these pages that I will soon write you will find every facet of my being and all of my “gifts” that come with having autism, in addition to the pain. Thank you for being here. Thank you for appreciating all that I am and all that each of us are, differences and all.
-Angel Marie Russell

#autism #femaleautism #ASD #femaleASD #femaleaspergers #aspergersinwomen


I’ve got a ceaseless 

Desire to thrive,

To come out of hell

More alive 

Than dead,

Full of hope, more 

Than dread.

I want to build the foundation

Over again.

I want to smooth all the wrinkles

In my timeline

And fill each 

Splendiferous crack with 

Sparkling golden wonder.

I am the flame that once I sought.

I am the spark forged iron wrought.

I am the keeper,

The hoped for,

The one who becomes.

And gladly when gone awry

I melt, break apart, 

I become once again 

-Angel Marie Russell


Life is so much more lovely when we have faith and trust in love, but in a world that taught us the wrong version of love, or that the opposite was true, it came be very very hard to trust love. And not only that, it can be hard to think that love is even real.

I do not mean love from another when I say this. Yes, I know love from another is where we can receive love, but often hurt people give us their pain in the guise of love. And if we have been spoon fed this kind of love our whole lives we might not even recognize what we are being fed. We may eat up harm like it’s vanilla pudding, or whatever treat you enjoy eating.

See, love was not made to be dispensed in this way, love is. That’s it. Love just is. Love is when you can’t feel it. Love is when you can’t see it. Love is present in the eye if the hawk and the sting of the bumble bee. And yes, that can be confusing.

Love is in the same way that you are. It exists as you exist. It breaths as you breathe, it holds you when you are aching and feeling anything other than love and are blinded to it by pain.

I have seen in my life of trial, trauma, and pain, that love is always there waiting on the other said of agony. Love just is, as we are. It is there in the quiet of our minds waiting to be seen and felt just as we crave to be seen and heard in our truth. And this love that I speak of is already waiting inside of your very own heart.

You can learn how to give love to yourself. You can learn how to give yourself what you so desperately want to hear. You ARE worthy. You ARE beautiful. Yes! Exactly as you are and love is there waiting fervently for you to embrace it as it already is holding you.

With love as your compass, it can guide out of pain and back to the truth. That you are as love is. You ARE love. It is inside you, I promise. You need merely learn and understand what healthy love is and once you know that you can give this love to yourself. The well will not run dry.

Say yes.
Say yes to love
and trust in it’s certainty
That even you
Are so worthy of love it leaps
at the chance for you to know it.

You are worthy now.
You have always been worthy.
Love is real.
Love is true.
Love is inside of you.

Say yes with me.


-Angel Marie Russell

The Tigers Way

There is a such a place
Within my heart
Where the mother wound
And on days
That celebrate Mother
My heart cries,
Derision to this day,
A farce,
A lie!

Mother does not mean to me
What it does to many.
Or at least that is what I used to
cry, Mother, oh mother, my mother,

And I want to yell at her for leaving
Before I got the chance to say
How dare you leave again,
How dare you run from me
From yourself
and hide,
How dare you

And then a quiet voice within me speaks,
She was wounded too,
She fought her fear
With strength,
And she carried more, than any of us
Should like to think,
And her boldness,
Her brazenness,
Her victories shine,
From her I too learned
How to never give in, give up,
She taught me the biggest of things,
How to survive.

And like a tiger with teeth
Ready to strike,
We both lived brightly
And took too big bites
Out of life,
We triumphed. We plummeted.
We hid away. We tried.
And she may have hurt others,
But me, I hurt myself,
So, are we truly all that different?
We were taught pain
By the harmers, no, the harmed.
And in turn like a scar,
Harbored the Mother wound deep and away.

Well then, hers along with mine,
I will face this pain.
I will hold all the parts of us that ached
In the same way.
Her Mother left her
Early like mine, and
On this Mother’s day, I say
Lastly, but really,
The most important thing,
I forgive her, I release the pain
She was taught to give away.
And when I look up and see
The stars tonight,
The one that’s winking,
Is probably her
And I’ll smile and say,
Thank you for teaching me,
The tiger’s way.

-Angel Marie Russell

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The Dance Of The Shadow Walker

My emotions are waves
Like the tide.
I am the flow;
the ebb of the tide.
I am the water, frozen, liquid,
never ceasing and ever changing.

Don’t give up.
Don’t give in.
I can win.
This is the process;
life and death
and life again.

The darkness does not scare me.
I am not alone in this darkness.
All my parts are coming home.
I want them to return from the darkness and fear.

I am strong enough
to accept their fear.
I am strong enough to face
where I have been before.
I am strong enough to face
what I have forgotten.
I am strong enough
to put myself together whole.

It’s no use to fight the fall.
I will not shatter.
I am like water.
Love is the tether.
It is love that called all of me home.
It is love that is mending the tear.
It is love the keeps me safe
in this state.
It is okay to feel out of control.
It can be safe to fall.

I will be caught
on the wings of love.
I have the tools.
I light the flame in the darkness.
I am the light.
I am the beacon calling all the parts of me home.

It is okay to feel their fear.
I am strong enough
for them to return.
I am brave enough
to feel what they felt.
I can face the terror.
I can hold the trembling children
that ran from me.
I can embody them
and align them to me with love.
I can teach them all their worth. They can find their way to peace through me.

I am the breath.
I am the solid ground
on which they can stand.
I am the mother.
I am the child.
I am embracing
all the parts of myself.

I am allowing this transition.
I am willing to face my fear to find the peace after the wave crashes.
I am the shore;
tumbled stone and sparkling sand.
I am the rhythm.
I am the full moon;
whole and complete,
receding and reaching
into light and dark.

I am the crow woman,
the Scorpio,
the medicine of my ancestors
is my anchor.
They are with me now.
I am not alone.
I am the answer to their prayers.

I am becoming
unwound and undone
and this is my will.
This is the dance of the shadow walker.
I am not afraid.

-Angel Marie Russell

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