Posted in activism, community, crowdfunding, dragon, emergency, empath life, friends, grad school, history, life, Personal, politics, research, storage, urgent

8/15: Dragon Quandries & #crowdfunding (of course)

(CW: Holocaust)

I’ve wanted to speak on this past weekend’s events, but I’m still stuck on words. I’m pissed that we still have to fight this shit.

Just dealing with this shitstorm quietly (more or less) as an Empath has drained me. I want to write something long on my blog, but I can’t find the strength and energy to do it. My father and most of my uncles served in WWII (those that didn’t were too young). We’ve been through this shit globally and yet there are some who just don’t fucking grasp the concept that they lost those wars… their ancestors or whomever… lost. They lost the Civil War and Nazis lost the Second WW. 

Just a sampling of the shit Nazi-wannabes have done this year alone

In one of my papers for school, I had to pick a maligned group in history and show my research methods and write up a decent summary on what was done to them. Originally, I thought of the Holocaust and the Jews, but realized that was likely a vastly overdone group and one many others likely turned to for similar papers. I still wanted to focus on that time period and what else Nazis did… and found my group: Gays and Lesbians in Europe. I knew the Pink Triangle came out of WWII, but I didn’t know the full extent of the atrocities. Medical experimentation on gay men, including full castration. Women had it only slightly easier, unless they were also Jewish. If they were Jewish Lesbians, they were as good as dead within the week. If they weren’t Jewish, they were still “marked” but kept alive and somewhat free as they were considered “breeding stock” for the Nazis. The pink triangle is the gay and lesbian version of the yellow Star of David patch Jews had to wear.

My professor’s comments on my paper were simple, “Excellent research. I never knew that about what they did during the war.”

In the years since WWII, we’ve had a lot of changes in the US. Some things didn’t change enough. Legally, we have civil rights for nearly everyone, but many want to take some of those back for LGBTQ and PoC.

Some people, however, still haven’t accepted that the Confederacy and the Nazis lost their wars. These are the people we’re fighting today. These are the people who picked up tiki torches and marched on Charlottesville. These are the people who believe anyone not “pure” white and heterosexual should be “put down.” They’re called by different names today, but instead of calling them by all these different names, it all boils down to one name.

Nazis.

They use the salute. They fly the flags of oppression. This is what they are. This is what they should be called.

Germany has learned from its history. Anything to do with Nazism is illegal. No flags, no salute, nothing.

It’s time we set some of the same boundaries. Speak up, as silence will accomplish nothing but letting them win.

~Dragon

Yes, I still need help with storage… any and every bit helps. YouCaring and PayPal.

Posted in activism, bigotry, community, crowdfunding, empath life, faith, life, peace, poetry, politics, sexuality, storage, writing

8/14: Tears

Words fly.
Flames threaten from
One side of the barricade.
The other keeping the flames of
Hate
At bay.
God sheds a tear
Still so much hate
Division.
Violence.
Fear.
Anger.
Messengers of peace
Ignored or
Killed, even.
No one is
Superior or Inferior.
Skin.
Gender.
Sexuality.
Disability.
Equals
But not treated
As equals.
Another tear shed.
The rain is proof of that.

~A

Posted in activism, bugaboos, cats, crowdfunding, dragon, dreams, friends, history, homeless, life, peace, Personal, politics, storage, urgent

8/3: Hotter than a Pissed-Off Dragon’s Nostril

So, if you know where I’m located (PNW, Portland to be more precise), you know we’re getting hit by a heatwave rivaling what other regions of the US and Northern Hemisphere have been getting. On top of that, we’re getting smoke from two wildfires. One fairly close by and then the BC fires that have been raging for a while now up north. So it’s hazy and smoky outside, which is filtering the sunlight and heat, but it’s still not a normal August for us. It’s a wee bit toasty for us.

I decided to go grocery shopping anyway. For the most part, I behaved myself. I got water, ginger ale (because something fizzy helps at times), cauliflower and a few “bad” things… but mostly I behaved. I didn’t really get anything to cook as this week is so toasty. No interest in cooking and heating up the house any further. I may get something later this week or the weekend.

Here I am talking about groceries and I still need to tackle storage rent. I’m going to need about 630-650 total, and I do have a little bit coming in, but no more donations so far.  I have less than half. I have a LONG way to go. PayPal or the YouCaring campaign are available.

Portia is staying cool as far as I can tell. There is A/C here (which is great for her, but after a while, I end up freezing my ass off) at the house we’re staying in. I don’t have fur like she does. Today is supposed to be the hottest day for the week and then we’ll be back down in the 80’s and 90’s… Portia is sleeping a lot, but then again, she is pushing 12 years old, so she’s an “old lady” in cat years. She has her moments, though. Oh boy does she ever.

If you’ve checked out the Amazon Wishlist, you may notice a new addition to the top of the list. A gaming headset. Except I’m not using it for gaming. See, I need to get back on track with my German lessons and since I’m living with people, I don’t want to deal with the speakers and cheap mic on the laptop. Having a decent headset will help me hear the audio without having to turn it up, and the mic on it will be better for me to practice the pronunciations. I use Duolingo for my German and French, but I set it aside, like everything else, during the eviction.

And hey, my birthday is coming up in two months… 😉

I do want to at least get my application in for my second citizenship before the end of the year. Hopefully I’ll have a decent job by then so I can save up the money for the application fee.

I did have a strange dream last night… and yes, it ties in to what I just wrote. A friend found a piece about how supposedly 45 (he who is pretending to be the POTUS) is going to release lists of types of people who are “enemies of the state” of some sort… invoking an American Kristallnacht. This is not a good sign, but my hope is that Mueller will nail a few overblown asses to the wall before Christmas… (fyi: I do not use 45’s name and he sure as Hell is NOT my president. He doesn’t represent me and the vast majority of people. I include the disenfranchised who just didn’t vote.) Well, my dream was one where a new list was released and that anyone holding or applying for a second citizenship elsewhere was un-American and if they traveled outside the US, they would not be allowed back in. Sound familiar? Charlie Chaplin was flagged as a Communist by the McCarthy hearings and when he traveled overseas and tried to return, his re-entry was denied. He settled in Switzerland, in Vevey, never to return to the US.

I sincerely hope this country doesn’t travel down that dark path. We really need to learn from the past. Not just the history of our country, but that of others.

And now I must be off to meander around the internet causing trouble and lighting fires on Twitter… balanced, of course, with pictures of cute kitties.

~Dragon

Posted in activism, bugaboos, chronic pain, community, health, life, Personal, society

7/26: public transit blues 

Public transit has space set aside for disabled and elderly. But I routinely end up next to able-bodied people who use those seats because they’re “convenient.” There are signs all over the area explaining the priority for these seats, but they go unread. Ignored.

Since I use a cane, I use these seats. Unlike those in a chair or with a walker, I could use other seats, but I walk a bit slower and am unsteady on my feet while the train/bus is in motion. So I would likely miss my stop if I sat anywhere else. The train doors don’t stay open that long.

I wish able-bodied people would respect the need for people like me who need those seats. They don’t need them.

Posted in activism, asexuality, bigotry, bugaboos, faith, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, politics, sexuality, society

6/26: Building Bridges… #politics

Since the election in November here in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK, our society seems to have fallen into a free-for-all of hate and violence. I’ve posted on the vicious cycle in the past. Quite recently, in fact. Since that post, I’ve seen news of more vehicles being used to plow into crowds of Muslims during Ramadan. And then there’s 45 (I don’t use his name) breaking a long-standing tradition of the White House celebrating Eid. He also didn’t say a word on Pride Month, so at least his hate is consistent.

One thing I’ve noticed, at least here in the US, is that a large number of people killed or harmed in hate crimes are not “white Christian people” (for the record, if you haven’t figured it out, I’m a white somewhat-Christian female), but people of color as well as non-Christian religions and LGBTQIA. Vehicles plowing into crowds of Muslims outside their own mosques, LGBT being attacked and arrested for wanting to show their pride, black men and women being gunned down by citizens and police alike, etc… the list just keeps going.

This cycle is perpetuated by fear of the unknown. That fear becomes hate. Are there attacks by non-whites? Yes. But the ratio of white attackers to non-white attackers, at least in the US, leans toward more whites than non-whites. Here in Portland, hate crimes and discrimination are on the rise. And we’re a pretty damn liberal city. Our surrounding cities and counties are not so liberal, though, and we have a lovely mass transit system here. One I use all the time. If my queerness were more obvious, I might get some random jackass giving me shit. My mohawk isn’t quite enough. Remember, this is a very liberal city. And I’m not quite queer-looking enough to get harassed.

We fear what we don’t know or understand. This is fairly common human nature. The nature of our society. The thing is that we have access to more information at our fingertips than our not-so-distant relatives. If you don’t know something, look it up. Ask questions, talk to people. If you fear Muslims, go to the site for TED Talks (also, if you have Netflix, they have a fair number of them there as well) and look up the religious ones. If you want to understand POC or LGBTQIA, …. ASK! No harm in putting a question out there.

The only stupid question is the one that never gets asked.*

Ask. Listen. Learn. Seriously, learning isn’t just in a classroom. Each day, we have a chance to learn from our surroundings. Take advantage of that.

The more we know, the less we fear. Okay, except for spiders… that’s my weakness… I know plenty about them, but still don’t like them. But when it comes to humans, just learn. When we communicate and learn from each other, the barriers we build in our minds and our society will break down and we can work together.

That’s all for now… sorry I’ve been quiet.

~Amanda

(* – Although if you ask me, as an Asexual person, about amoebas or how we mate, that is one question you should keep to yourself. It gets old.)

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, community, empath life, faith, life, peace, society

6/19: Can’t Shut It Out (aka Dragon Gets Angry and Philosophical)

Hate begets hate.

The cycle just keeps going. Every morning, I wake up to news of anger and hate. People using guns, knives, vehicles, etc to maim and kill. People on the fringes of society who loathe and hate those who are different. People who want revenge for something the people they harm didn’t do.

I’m am Empath. I cannot block out what is going on. The emotions that whirl around in our society today. Anger, hate, anxiety, fear… it keeps going. It keeps hitting another level. Genocide, bigotry, prejudice. It keeps ramping up. Another attack. Another shooting. Another vehicle plowing into a crowd.

No matter the race or religion of the person with the anger, it is terrorism. Terrorism is not something “they” do. It’s something “anyone” can do. Terrorism is striking terror and fear into other people. Usually a group or subculture. I look at the various attacks of the last several months and I see hate and anger being forced onto a group of people… making them afraid.

Some terrorists want you to retaliate. Daesh and other fringe groups. They do NOT represent all Muslims. Not by a long shot. As someone said (whom I can’t remember the name of), “If all Muslims were terrorists, the rest of us would be dead by now.” When you have millions of followers of Islam, just as with -any- other religion, you will have the angry, deluded fringe. It isn’t even just religion. It’s political groups, it’s subcultures of our society.

One example of a non-religious incident: A couple of years ago, a Furry convention up in Seattle was under fire because a few people, possibly not even con-goers, decided to trash hotel property. In a considerable way. I’m not talking dinging the corner of a desk. I’m talking willful destruction of property. The hotel contract was cancelled and they couldn’t find another hotel in Washington State to host them. That convention is now on hold until everything settles down. All because of a few jackasses who fucked things up.

See the similarities? A small percentage of a group gives the rest of said group a bad reputation. A fraction -a very small fraction- of Muslims are connected to Daesh/ISIL.

And yet, others lash out at anyone they think is Muslim. The attack last night in England. This time a white person running a vehicle into a crowd of peaceful Muslims as they left their mosque.

If you can’t understand why some Muslims stray and start becoming violent, look at the person who injured several peaceful Muslims last night.

Then if a Muslim who has turned to violence attacks a crowd of non-Muslims, the cycle of hate and fear and anger and violence continues.

To end this, we must focus on those who do good in the community. I see mosques opening their doors in times of natural disasters and other situations to those who are not of their faith, but who are in need. I see them going out and feeding people who need food. Shelter when it is needed. I see more Muslims behave more Christ-like than a lot of people who consider themselves Christians.

My core faith is Christianity. I lean toward Omnism overall. I do my best to understand all faiths. I have a lot to learn. But I think we all do.

Focus on those who have strong positive ties and help others. Ask them as a child would ask a parent. What is your faith about? What do you believe? Try to listen to what they say. Talk to people, listen to people, learn from people.

The organist at a church I used to attend was being honored one morning for 40 years of service. He took the mic and told a little tale. When he and his wife converted to Christianity, they knew a few other Christians and many, many friends of theirs were not. He said he noticed that over the years, the scale has tipped so that they know very few who are not Christians and many who are. This stuck with me.

This is partly why I maintain friendships with believers of all paths, as well as many atheists. I try to show what Jesus taught: love, acceptance, compassion. I don’t preach to people… despite being ordained. I sit back and observe and show compassion when I am capable. I’ll readily admit that I’ve been under a lot more stress the last few years, so my supply of compassion is a bit low. But I still try.

One thing I think a lot of people don’t fully understand about Islam is that it’s the third of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Allah is Arabic for God. The same God Christians worship.

If we listen and learn from each other, I believe the fear will dissipate.

What we don’t know, we fear.

So, let’s start learning. Start asking. Go to the sources. Talk to an Imam. Talk to… anyone!

This list of TED Talks is a good place to start. Here’s another page chock full of talks. And then the Interfaith Amigos…

We need to work on building community with those who are not just like us. We can win over hate.

~Dragon

Posted in activism, domestic abuse, Personal, PTSD, sexual assault

6/7: No really does mean NO

To add a bit to yesterday’s first post about being an Ace Tomboy. One other reason I tend to steer clear of dating these days is the seeming uptick in violence toward women who turn down a date or sex.

This morning, I found yet another example of this. A woman shot -by an ex-con no less- NINE TIMES before he emptied his clip. With another gun or a reload, he then committed suicide.

All because she said no.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” –Margaret Atwood

While the woman and her friend are recovering and the bastard is dead, this is not some one-off thing. Girls getting hurt or killed because they didn’t want to go to prom with that particular boy. Being stalked, harassed, doxxed online… you name it. Male fragility is at at an all time high. Little respect is given to women as more and more guys are taught that they should get what they want, when they want it, and ‘no’ means ‘yes’ and …. well, you get the idea.

I survived one domestic abuse relationship. I have no interest in another.

I keep myself out of the dating pool. I have plenty of reasons to do so.

Well, off to get my mohawk cleaned up!

~Amanda

Posted in activism, asexuality, bigotry, bugaboos, community, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, sexual assault, sexuality, society

6/6: Not Broken #asexuality #pride

Being asexual tends to either get rude/lewd comments or dismissive remarks.

I’ve heard the “amoeba” crack so many times, it’s permanently etched in the back of my brain. Yet every person who says it thinks they’re being all cute and funny.

You’re not. Please… just stop.

I get the “maybe you need to try dating women. You might be a lesbian after all.”

I am more aesthetically attracted to men than women… by a LONG shot. Can I appreciate the female form? Yeah, but I’m not attracted to them.

“You just haven’t found the right guy yet”
“Maybe it’s a libido/hormone thing.”

I could go on…

For the record, asexuality is NOT a physical/hormonal/libido thing. It’s how our brains are wired, not the hormones. Some of us have active libidos. Some don’t. Some are occasionally active. Doesn’t mean we act on those urges with others. (There are great food analogies elsewhere)

What IS a physical thing is what’s called “sex aversion.” And anyone, of any sexuality, can go through phases of being sex-averse. I am also sex-averse due to the repeated sexual assault from years ago. Some are virgins (they tend to think of the act of sex to be icky, for lack of a better word), some are survivors like me, as well as other reasons.

I’m on this topic as June is Pride Month. Some in the LGBTQIA community don’t see Aces as being part of the community. I’ve heard the “well, this is about sex and they don’t have any, so they don’t count.”

WRONG!! All sexualities are about the different types of sexual ATTRACTION. Not the act of sex. And yes, we count. A lack of sexual attraction is still a misunderstood sexuality. But major researchers of sexuality have recognized asexuality for decades. Yes, we’re different. We get some discrimination as well. Not as much obvious treatment, but it is there. Some others I know have been subjected to “corrective rape” which is such a back-asswards thing to do… we don’t need to be fixed.

No repairs are necessary.

We aren’t broken.

~Amanda

Posted in activism, anxiety, artsy stuff, bigotry, chronic pain, depression, life, Personal, storage

5/31: Day off again

I did a little too much yesterday, so I spent the day at the house helping my hosts with prepping for a book garage sale. Tomorrow, pain levels willing, I’ll hopefully head down to storage and push myself to even higher limits. I have things I want to remove, shift around, etc… weekdays are better for that because there are less people so I can spread out and use the hallway to pull things and move more stuff around.

Thanks to a certain person whom I don’t know, June storage rent is paid up. One less thing to worry about. A friend is buying my bed frame… and I’m going to find a way to haul the two little bookcases back to also put up for sale this weekend. My intent tomorrow is to get a little deeper into the mess in the middle of the storage unit. The perimeter is organized, but as things got more frantic, it was more of a “throw it in there and don’t break anything!” It’s a jumbled mess of stuff that if you pull on one thing, Bast only knows what will come tumbling down in an avalanche of stuff.

One goal of selling things is to buy the supplies to make a steel pipe garment rack for my costumes and such that come down when things get shifted. Eventually I want to rig it so it’s on heavy duty casters, but those can wait. I just want to get those garment bags hanging up.

Another goal is to pay the buyout price for a textbook. I like keeping my Archives textbooks and this one will take about another 65 for buyout from rental.

Then, after that, set funds aside for feline supplies and July rent for storage. I’m also returning to TaskRabbit as a Tasker and will hopefully start back up and get decent gigs… it isn’t the best source of income, but for the storage unit, it’s fine.

And yes, I’m still job hunting.

Life has been tugging me in so many directions, I’ve felt like I’m on the edge of something… a breakdown maybe… but I’ve gotten through the worse of it… I just still feel stuck. Getting steady work and back into a place of my own will help immensely.

So, there’s my boring life in a nutshell… at least for today.

I also just made a banner for my FB. Feel free to use, just don’t trim off the copyright at the bottom. It fits the FB specs for banners.

nohatepdxfbbanner

I can make a general one as well, but with so much shit going on here… hate crimes more public, bolder, more violent… I needed something. And with Pride Month upon us, the colors felt right.

Well, I think the coffee has worn off for the day and it’s well past my bed time. Although the pain meds were taken too late, so I don’t expect to sleep tonight anyway…

~Amanda

Posted in activism, anxiety, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, empath life, faith, life, patreon, Personal, PTSD

5/12: It’s Alive!!

Another short musing.

For years now, I have heard “poetry is dead…” 

I’m no Poet Laureate or anything, but the fact that I have friends who regularly get their horror/suspense poetry accepted to genre mags, and that -this week alone- the pages/posts that consistently get the most hits are the poetry posts… 

Those who say poetry is dead can go suck it! Between poetry and my fiction, writing in general has been very therapeutic for me. It helped me process my mother’s Alzheimer’s and eventual death. Dealing with my PTSD (and the assholes who did enough damage for me to develop it). With my dad passing away suddenly. With my own brushes with death, my suicidal ideations…etc… writing has helped me process a LOT of shit. As well as general observational pieces. 
Poetry is powerful. And in the right “hands,” it can rock worlds. Just look to Maya Angelou. She made words soar.

Poetry is alive and can be used for great things in times of upheaval.

~Amanda (still in pain, but not as bad as 2 hours ago)