Posted in activism, anxiety, auction, bugaboos, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, friends, health, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, peace, politics, society, storage, urgent

6/27: Duck and Cover (more #crowdfunding) SHARE ME!

SHARE ME!! PWEASE?

Still looking to raise at least $300 more before noon Thursday 6/28 (tomorrow) Pacific Time. The FB fundraiser is no longer active, as it takes a couple of days for funds to transfer. I hope the funds raised so far will make it to my account in time.

It’s now closing in on 12 hours before auction. Less than 18. I’m starting to get some decent tasks, so I hope I can continue paying it down after it gets pulled. With that, I hope to never deal with it getting this way again.

In other stuff… not gonna get too political, but with Justice Kennedy retiring, women like me, who rely on Medicaid for a number of things to manage my health, this is not a good time to be poor, disabled, and female in the U.S. Add Liberal to that, and it gets a smidge worse. I’m looking at my options and they aren’t many in number. I don’t have the money (obviously) to run to another country right now. I don’t have much tying me here, so if I do scrounge up a way out, I’ll likely take it.

Borders: I want to expand on this a bit, but the question that’s been bugging me: Why do we obsess over borders here? I know we aren’t the only country to do so, but I look at several countries in Europe whose borders are little more than a demarcation line in the pavement and a sign. And it’s been this way since long before the European Union. Other than pissing contests over land (Mine! No, MINE!! No, no, no, MIIIINE!), I don’t see the point in it. Migrant workers from the south of us have long benefited our agriculture and society and they’ve gotten some kind of pay (yes, I think they should be paid better, but that’s a whole other post). With fully open borders and people being able to come and go as needed, relations with other countries would be vastly better. And no, only a fraction of those who come from the southern countries are drug dealers/mules/kingpins. And that issue would become a non-issue if we legalized ALL drugs and treated it as a health issue instead of a criminal one. Look to Portugal for that.

But that is all for other blog posts. I’m just over here trying to save my stuff. Things that help me survive and things close to my heart. Just trying one more time.

Thank you,

~A

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Posted in activism, anxiety, asexuality, bugaboos, C-PTSD, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dogs, eviction, family, homeless, homelessness, LGBTQIA Pride, life, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

6/24/18: #PTSD, #Bullying, #Asexual #Pride, and #crowdfunding

Being here in the shelter sets my PTSD off in ways it doesn’t in my usual ways. Loud voices, doors slamming. Most of my triggers are related more to men and crowds, so being on transit during commute times is hell for me. But being in a building with all women with behaviors I haven’t seen since high school and raging estrogen flares… I’m reminded of how rare friendships with women are for me. I get along with some here, but many are wired in a way that makes my PTSD bubble to the surface.

I pull away from people in general when this hits. Add pain to the mix and I get snippy and my sarcasm level goes up.

I think I’ve done enough back and forth with doctors at the clinic. I made the semi-crack that I should call the patient advocate office. Then I decided that maybe I will. I don’t know if any good will come of it. I’ve had both my GP and the doctor filling in for her (she’s on a personal leave) reject the idea of getting anything more than x-rays. The pain that’s been most prevalent lately has been soft tissue damage from the fall down the stairs (well, bouncing) 5 1/2 years ago. I had my knees up with my feet against one wall to try to stop my descent as I bounced down the stairs. Soft tissue damage doesn’t show on x-rays.

Back to the shelter here. We had some bullying here several weeks back. I defended the person who was being bullied and was thus made a target as well. So, two days ago, one of the bullies was gossiping to a newer resident about the stuff from weeks ago, as well as subtle snark toward another. I walked past them in the hallway. I brushed it off, hoping it was a one-off moment.

Later that evening, I heard another resident pulling the same gossip crap, bashing the woman from weeks ago, to the same recipient. I hesitated a moment, but then turned back around and reported both incidents to the RA’s here.

Yesterday morning, I heard that same recipient tell the first gossip that they didn’t want to hear anything more. My guess is that she was told to not participate in it. Here, gossip is frowned upon and against the “good neighbor” policy.

Fast forward a few hours. One of the RA’s knocks on my door and says there are some residents who have complained that the litterbox smells. All the way down the hall. I use the Tidycats Breeze system for her. While the pellets are overdue for a change, her box isn’t that bad. I think the cat food smells worse. She’s mostly eating wet food right now due to needing meds. I’ve since heard from one other resident that no, she can’t smell it. Some of the dogs have issues of their own and have a habit of peeing on their dog beds. And their doors were open while mine wasn’t for the vast majority of the day (save for opening it to go to and from the bathroom).

I put two and two together and realized it’s the bullies getting their hackles back up. They don’t like being called out for their bad behavior. I’ll keep calling them on it. Bullying and gossip have no place in a respectable society. Yes, I know, I’m talking about a homeless shelter, but it applies. If you want to be respected, you have to work on respecting others.


One of the other situations here is one person who has this negative energy and has some kind of burning desire to be the center of attention. An Energy Vampire. She has triggered my PTSD in ways I didn’t think of. I grew up with a similar person. Always trying to outdo me in “how bad my day was” and other things. Always negative. This person is even worse. She has managed, within two weeks, to alienate or piss off almost everyone on our floor. That’s skill, man… not a GOOD skill, but a skill. Oof.


PRIDE!!

So, I’ve always been open about my sexuality. I am Aromantic Asexual. That basically means I don’t experience any romantic or sexual attraction.

Once more for those in the back:

Aromantic Asexual: I don’t experience romantic or sexual attraction.

It has nothing to do with the act of sex, the libido, etc. Just attraction.

Now, I’m also a sexual assault survivor, so the act of sex is kind of ‘meh’ to me. Some Aces (asexuals) enjoy sex with their partners, some have libidos, some don’t want any kind of touch… the array of possibilities is endless with us.

Do I find some men attractive? Yup. *cough*Tom Hiddleston*cough* … but it’s more of an aesthetic attraction. Oh, and several of the men Verillas uses for their models… oof. Very good looking men. Oh, and I want most of the stuff they offer for women.

For more information on Asexuality, go here: AVEN Wiki.

I’m not ashamed or afraid of representing who and what I am. If not for my PTSD and anxiety, I’d have gone to Pride here last weekend. Because of my PTSD, I have a difficult time with any kind of touch (the Energy Vampire mentioned above touched my shoulder and I had a hard time staying calm while I explained that I cannot handle touch and that not everyone wants that and she needs to ask permission before ANY touch).


I’ve been looking at dog breeds as potential ideas for a service dog. I’ve gone from Dobermans and Rotties to Tervurens and Groenedael’s. Saw a Terv weeks ago here and just fell in love. We shall see…


It’s been a rough week. And now I’m down to a bit under four days to raise what I need for storage. I have about $300 coming in from two tasks last week, but I still need help getting at least half of $1300 before noon on Thursday the 28th. I really should get more than half, but I know that might be difficult.

Any and all help via PayPal is immensely appreciated.

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, bugaboos, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, empath life, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, individuality, life, observations, storage, urgent

6/13/18: Humans All (and #crowdfunding)

Still looking for help for storage. Auction is 6/28, so I do have a bit more of a cushion than I thought. Precedent has been that auction is mid-month, so I was going by that. So far, work this month has been sparse. Any help you can give… whether it’s donating or even just sharing. Everything helps.


I’ve posted in the past about being homeless and being human and all that. The recent story about the jogger (asshole) in Oakland who took a local homeless man’s belongings and tossed them into Lake Merritt. The jogger has been arrested for taking the phone of a guy who spotted him the next day. Hopefully more charges will be filed against him for what he did to the homeless man’s belongings.

This reminded me of recent discussions on our local NextDoor for my old neighborhood. Some people were vehemently complaining about the homeless population while others were doing what they could to calm them down and help them see reason. In one of of these threads, I outed myself as being a former neighbor who is now living in a shelter due to an eviction.

This is the thing: no matter whether we live in a tent, a shelter, a house, apartment, or a high-rise condo, we are ALL human beings who will end up in the proverbial pine box (some will choose burial, others cremation, even others various other methods that have emerged). Where we live and how much we do or don’t have won’t matter in the long run.

If you have all the trappings of success, they could vanish next week. If your belongings fit in a storage unit or a shopping cart, you could have a windfall next month and things could improve.

Or it could all end in an instant without any change.

None of us truly know where our lives will take us. Only where we’ve been. We can have all the grand plans and ideas written down somewhere, but it’s all a matter of chance, with some choice tossed in. I learned long ago to not plan too far ahead. The rug got pulled out from under me and plans changed frequently.

I changed as well. Every instance in my life that made me change direction in some way changed me. I am nowhere near the person I was 25 years ago. Hell, 10 years ago. I’m not the same as I was last week. I learn as I live. Each day holds at least one lesson. Sometimes one I have to keep learning (don’t get me started on foodstuffs).

But back to the topic in general.

No matter where we stand in society, we are all the same. Yes, there are differences. Education, disabilities, income, housed/unhoused, skin color, eye color, career choices, etc… we are each unique in our humanity. But strip away those differences and our human-ness is a common link.

I think some -far too many- tend to forget this. Like the people in my old neighborhood bashing homeless people. The differences are merely on the surface of who we are. They forget that they could easily end up homeless like me in an instant (well, maybe longer, but given a tragic incident and draining of savings and loss of job… you get the idea).

No one is perfect. No one is above another. Money doesn’t make one superior, despite what that person may think of themselves.

I may expand more on this as I go… for now, this is my observation.

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, bugaboos, community, crowdfunding, depression, faith, family, homeless, homelessness, housing, individuality, life, observations, peace, poverty line, society, storage

5/17: Assume Nothing… It Gets You Nowhere (& #crowdfunding)

Dear Bast, my life right now has become Hollaback Girl.

Let me explain. I’m listening to a mix of popular songs on my iTunes. Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani started playing as I opened this page to write. This part especially.

“I heard that you were talking shit
And you didn’t think that I would hear it
People hear you talking like that, getting everybody fired up
So I’m ready to attack, gonna lead the pack
Gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out
That’s right, put your pom-poms down, getting everybody fired up.”

This part. This is me here at the shelter. We have a bullying problem here and I know some of them are playing me, being nice to me but still talking shit about my friend behind her back. Sometimes including me in the gossip bullshit. Last week, I stepped up. She had left the room and they continued to gang up and acting like the “cheerleaders” or popular kids, picking on the loners. I asked them, politely at first, to chill out, calm down… you name it. Then they got on my ass. Yeah… no. They were reported, warned to stop the behavior. A week later, they’ve returned to talking shit, making up rumors, etc.

I talked to the person at the desk about what they were doing this morning. She basically told me they have to be told while it’s happening (I had something to go to, so I didn’t have the time, but they were talking shit about her again).

The behavior here of women who are technically middle-aged adults is that of childish, cliquish spoiled brats. The Mean Girls.

I have tried to understand this behavior. I was always the outcast kid. The loner. The weirdo. The one who preferred books and music to parties and hanging out with the girls. Hell, I didn’t even have a first date until my senior year and he wasn’t even in high school (odd story, but he was really a perfect gentleman).

I see it also on NextDoor with people from my old neighborhood being angry, childish jerks about the homeless. We don’t have enough resources even for those who want them. But the anger and entitlement puzzles me. When empathy is brought up, they respond with, “well, empathy is all well and good, but they still do …” They give this attitude that it’s the city’s fault when it’s society’s fault.

I’ve been talking to my therapist about some of this. Damn near everything I bring up circles back to two things that oppose each other in some way: Wanting acceptance as an independent, unique person in society AND finding and wanting a stronger community.

Look to what we consider third world countries. Multiple generations living under the same roof; the elder women of the community work together to care for each other and others in the local community.

We don’t do that here. Far from it, in fact. We move away and have our own homes and many raise their kids and enlist strangers to help them. The sense of community is gone. Too many don’t know their own neighbors. Not knowing leads to fear of those who live next door. Who knows what that guy down the street does for a living. There’s a black kid walking down the sidewalk… a Muslim family moving in across the way… and because no one wants to build the community and meet their neighbors, fear stirs up… police are called on the black kid… rumors start stirring that maybe that Muslim family is really a terrorist cell.

And no one steps out of the pack of hungry hyenas to TALK to the black kid… to the Muslim family.

Assumptions are made. With those assumptions, innocent lives are endangered. Even killed.

If we all took the time to listen and learn and build community with -everyone- around us: rich, poor, housed, homeless, men, women, straight, LGBTQIA+, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, black, white, brown… maybe -just maybe- we can stop the fear mongering and hate. Communication is absolute key. Is this simplistic? Maybe. But it’s a basic concept that I think our society has forgotten.

But I’m just over in my little corner in my room in a homeless shelter with my cat. Watching the world set itself on fire.

~A

PS: Yes, I’m still crowdfunding. I’ve been playing catch up on other things and still need help with storage. I want to get it caught up before the end of May.

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, bugaboos, C-PTSD, community, depression, disability, domestic abuse, eviction, health, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, observations, politics, PTSD, society

5/9/18: #Homelessness and #Elitism

This started as an FB post, but I needed to vent and my connection won’t let me post there.

…..

There’s a pompous asshole or three in my old neighborhood on NextDoor bitching about the homeless. And y’all know how I feel about elitist shitholes who get whiny about us homeless folk. Several others are stepping up and chewing them out politely. One even went to say that maybe the ones who whine need to move out of the urban setting to a suburb or countryside area.

Basically, if all you do is whine and stomp your feet about the homeless on the street, then you’re contributing to the PROBLEM and NOT contributing to the SOLUTION. Shut up or put up. Are there mentally ill and drug addicted homeless? Yes. And they are (many times) the most visible and vocal so they end up being seen as the “majority” of homeless. They are one segment of the homeless population. Many are working poor who got pushed out. And others struggling like myself to just get through each day due to one issue or another. There are families. To lump us all together as junkies and “psychos” is a disservice to the population as a whole.

I’ve refrained from posting or commenting over there. I may have to write something regarding the homeless population demographics and post it there and here on my blog.

What people like them forget is that everyone is one or two paychecks, a job loss, a medical catastrophe, or other events, away from being homeless themselves. I want them to just listen. Try to understand who we are that they’re whining about. Because we aren’t all what they think we are. Some, yes, but most are not.

Obviously this is something very personal to me. I am educated and homeless. No drugs or alcohol put me here. No major mental illnesses. Depression and anxiety… PTSD, sure. But I can function to a reasonable degree. Not everyone has that ability. And those are the ones left behind since the days of mass closures of mental hospitals across the country. [More info here on that]

If you refuse to be part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Stop being a pain in the ass and start working on solutions to help end homelessness. And shipping them to other cities and states doesn’t count.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, chronic pain, community, cosplay, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, faith, family, friends, genealogy, homeless, homelessness, insomnia, life, research, society, storage, urgent

4/11/18: Mornings, Genealogy, and #crowdfunding

SHARE ME!!! Still asking for help, of course. I will keep updating when funds do come in.

Mornings are difficult for me. Life here at the residence shelter has been, well, an adjustment, to say the least. For the past year, I stayed with a retired couple of friends. Early? Nope!

Before that, my depression was so fierce, getting up before 9am was difficult. Between it and pain, mornings aren’t easy. But here I am getting up around 7am. I know what some of you may be thinking.

“Good! Then you won’t be so lazy.”

And those of you who will think that have likely never dealt with chronic pain, fatigue, and lifelong insomnia. Which certainly isn’t helped by the late night bed checks and me being a light sleeper.

I may go to bed at a reasonable time, but my brain just won’t shut up for at least an hour (if I’m lucky) after that. Last night, I still hadn’t gotten close to sleep by the time bed checks happened. I finally zonked out around 2am. Only to be woken by Portia around 5am. Then a bit more rest, but not full sleep, and the wake up yell at 7am by staff.

One thing I wish I’d inherited from my dad: he was out cold shortly after his head hit the pillow. How his kid (me) ended up being a lifelong insomniac is bewildering. I got so many other traits from him and his side…

Speaking of family/family history, I’ve put the idea out there about doing a genealogy group here. Teaching whomever is interested in how to search for their bloodlines and see where they end up.

I am also finally going to a group today on public speaking. We’re supposed to do three a week, or other regular activities can take the place of them (X number of work or volunteering hours count toward 1 group hour). This group is, I think, focused on developing public speaking skills to help use your voice in soeaking up for homeless advocacy.

More to come. Do remember to share posts and help me save my storage unit before tomorrow’s auction.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, faith, friends, history, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, politics, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

4/10/18: Observation on Religion

Quick observation that could lose people:

When one notices that Muslims (the majority, not the tiny fraction that are extremists) behave more Christ-like than many who think themselves Christians, one has to wonder what happened (such as the prosperity gospel crap) to pull “Christians” away from the core lessons Jesus taught.

Where is the “love one another?”

Where is the practice of caring for those less fortunate?

I see Imams opening up their Mosques to those in need during natural disasters and such. Giving total strangers shelter, food, and clothing when they have lost so much. I read articles on Muslim medical professionals running a clinic in Texas, helping the poor in their community at no charge.

They don’t ask for you to convert. They just give and show the love of a benevolent God (aka Allah, which is Arabic for God. It is not only used by Muslims, but by any who speak Arabic and have a belief system).

Where are the mega-churches with all their money? Why do we not hear about them opening their doors and helping others, no questions asked, no money asked for, no expectations of conversion? Those who do go out and feed the homeless (either in a park or coming to our shelters and feeding us homeless) and are associated with a church are few and far between.

Jesus taught us love.

What happened?

~A

(Featured image from this site.)

(Yes, still desperately crowdfunding. If anyone knows of an organization that can help on short notice, as auction is on Thursday the 12th, let me know. Or reach out to them and see if they can help. A pdf of the most recent letter is in an earlier post from a day or two ago.)

Posted in activism, anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, community, crowdfunding, emergency, empath life, faith, friends, history, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, peace, politics, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

4/10/18: Change and #crowdfunding

Post 4 of ? I think?

SHARE, PLEASE?
PayPal is the easiest and fastest way.
Auction is at noon on April 12th.
I need a bit under $1400, but would prefer a bit of a cushion at $1500.


POETRY TIME!!

The Cycle of Change

History becomes the future.
The present is the past.
When do we stop repeating the cycle?

When do we evolve?
Learn to be better?
Stop killing our future?

To hate for the sake of
Hating.
Instead of loving for the sake of being?

How do we grow?
When we refuse to learn.
Even from ourselves.

When we stop the cycle,
We learn.
We grow.

We evolve
We do better than our ancestors
Filled with hate and fear.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dogs, emergency, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, observations, politics, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

4/10/18: Stun Gun vs Taser (& #crowdfunding)

Post 3 of ? today.

SHARE THIS!! PLEASE?
PayPal is the easiest and fastest way.
Auction is at noon on April 12th.
I need a bit under $1400, but would prefer a bit of a cushion at $1500.


So, I don’t hide much of anything in my life. While I’m not big on guns themselves, I felt I needed something while out and about on transit due to my PTSD and my close calls with bad reactions to men being assholes.

I bought a stun gun.

Then, of course, I moved into the shelter where I can’t have any weapons in my room. It gets checked in when I come in and checked out when I go out. If I stop at the desk and ask for it.

Then I hear “she wants her taser” which isn’t quite accurate. A stun gun and a taser are very different. Yes, they both emit an electrical charge, but in a different way. Tasers are what you find police carrying. Those can be placed against the person’s body OR shoot the prongs on wires and transmit the charge that way, from a distance.

A stun gun can’t shoot the prongs. It is only a close-body weapon. If some jackass decides to harass me and gets up close, even after me telling him to leave me alone, he has to be close enough for me to reach out with it and press the button.

Mine has a safety measure. I don’t know if they all have this. Mine is also a flashlight and the toggle switch has three settings: off, flashlight, stun. So, to stun someone, I have to push that toggle all the way forward and then press the small button on the opposite side of the handle from the toggle. Only then does it stun someone.

Does it hurt? I would imagine so, but I’m not gonna try it on myself.

I know, saying ‘taser’ is so much easier, but it isn’t accurate.

This is all I can afford before I can get a service dog. I’d prefer the dog, honestly, but for now, the stun gun will have to do. And maybe an extendable baton at some point…. and… yeah, I think those are all that will be legal for me to carry.

 

Posted in activism, anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, cats, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, domestic abuse, emergency, eviction, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, observations, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

4/10/18: Stigma of Homelessness & #crowdfunding

2 of ? blogs for today.

SHARE THIS!! PLEASE?
PayPal is the easiest and fastest way.
Auction is at noon on April 12th.
I need a bit under $1400, but would prefer a bit of a cushion at $1500.


If you were to look at me on the street or train or bus, you would never grasp that I’m one of thousands of homeless people here in the United States. Many are working poor, many have mental illnesses of varying types and degrees, some are certainly addicts.

And there are those like me who hit a very bad run of luck and haven’t been able to bounce back easily.

I was evicted from my apartment a bit over a year ago. Since then, I’ve stayed with friends, but needed to get into a different setting that was more helpful. So here I am in a women’s transitional housing shelter with my cat.

Okay, so I do kind of fall under the mental illness category too, with my PTSD and depression. But those inhibit my ability to function like everyone else, not take it away completely like some other illnesses.

But I’m clean cut, take regular showers and do my laundry, take care of myself and my cat, and otherwise function, so I’m not as obvious as others might be.

Anyone reading this could become homeless like me. It takes losing a job or hours cut back and no savings or 401k to help float you for a while. It takes losing key members of your support system. One misstep in this society and you can very easily become one of us.

It reminds me of a homeless woman I knew back in Chicago. She was awesome. Well educated, wildly intelligent. I think she had been a professor or something. We could stand outside the mini-mart and chat about politics, philosophy, religion, world views and culture for hours.

And yet, she was homeless.

I never asked about what happened, but I suspect it was similar to my own. Things going okay and then one day, BOOM! everything is turned upside down. Maybe escaping an abusive situation. Maybe a messy divorce. Maybe lost a job.

There are thousands of us out there. In this situation. We don’t appear stereotypically homeless. But we are.

And if our economy keeps going the way it is under a certain “president,” there will be more.

But here’s the thing: we aren’t all freaks and addicts and thieves. Many of us are clean, friendly people who just need a little help getting back up on our feet. I don’t panhandle, at least out on the street. I just ask for help online. I’ve gotten to the point over the years where I’m not comfortable talking to people in person. I certainly can’t beg face to face.

Since I don’t look homeless, I’m able to overhear conversations on the train between people who look down on the homeless person who is asking for help, or is on the train and sleeping because they couldn’t get sleep the night before. Maybe they smell because they were one who fell between the cracks of even the homeless society and can’t get help. Maybe he’s a vet the VA has long forgotten about.

Do you take the time to learn their stories? There were two women here in my building who are homeless vets themselves. Has the VA helped much? A little here and there, but not enough.

What about the family living in a tent under that overpass? Where is the help for them? There are few places here that help whole families. The shelters we do have here in Portland are for men or women, sometimes with pets, few places for families with kids. And usually those are for mothers with their kids, not whole families.

And some, like me, have belongings they’re trying to save. It kills me that I may lose my dad’s coffin flag and the “parting gift” of the piano I was able to get with estate money because he so badly wanted to see me get back into my music. My costumes, music, books. Things I’ve made or have been made for me.

Housing prices are out of control. We have to try finding work where we are, as we can’t afford to move. And even if we do find work, it isn’t always enough to afford a place to live.

While far too many are dismissive of us, look down on us, I ask that you remember one thing: We are human, and you aren’t too far removed from where we are in life.

~A