Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, crowdfunding, depression, disability, domestic abuse, emergency, eviction, faith, grief, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, poverty line, PTSD, sexual assault, society, storage, transitions, urgent

5/23/18: Facing the Past (and #crowdfunding)

Yes, crowdfunding. What funds I have made this month have gone to catching up on other smaller things and groceries after my food stamps ran out. Because it sucks being on food stamps when you have Celiacs. Everything is more expensive. Also being in a shelter where you have limits on how much you can have in the fridge/freezer/cabinet makes food costs go up as you can’t really do family packs of chicken thighs and such. So, help getting storage settled before the end of May is ideal. Auction would be next month, in June… and that’ll come up really quickly if I’m not careful.

So… facing the past. I met with my therapist yesterday and chatted with one of the mentors here at the shelter today. Both women have pointed out something that is related, but a bit different.

My therapist has figured out that my life pretty much went upside down and sideways when my dad passed away in 2014.

The mentor today said that every time we’ve talked, I bring up one thing: the repeated sexual assault back in 1994.

Two major events in my adult life. Two events I swore up and down I’ve dealt with via therapy and such.

While I’ve dealt with the shit on the surface, I’m realizing now that the rest of the proverbial iceberg is slowly emerging and I don’t know how to deal with it. The frustrating part is that I can type or write out stories dealing with it, or poetry, or even essays. *cough*blog posts*cough*

But speaking? I struggle with the words.

The mentor today is going to find the titles of some books and see if she can find some groups for me to go to that can help. She also mentioned that the situation of being homeless in and of itself is traumatic. But I’ve been in some form of survival mode since 1994, never letting myself really live. Really work my ass off at succeeding.

At what? I’m not sure.

Sadly, I have limited sessions for therapy. After this coming week, we may be spacing them out more. Which is fine, but it still kind of sucks.

I have a very long road ahead of me. Be patient with me. I have a lot to unpack. A lot of work to do.

~A

Advertisements
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 anxiety, creativity, depression, friends, job hunting, life, silliness

5/9/18: Eeyore? Nay, I’m r-r-Rabbit! Dammit!

This morning, the lady who runs the job group here at the shelter gave me some “feedback” about my self esteem.

“Amanda, you need to work on your persona that you want to present to potential employers. Every time you come to group, you’re like Eeyore looking for his tail.”

Eeyore?

Granted, I’m quiet and very much an introvert. But Eeyore???

After that, I sat down up here on my floor and mentioned this to a couple of the other residents on this floor. I mentioned this comment from her and they both looked rather puzzled. So I gave my own opinion:

“I don’t know where she gets Eeyore. I’m more like Rabbit.”

They were both silent for a second and then started laughing. One said, “Oh you are so much more Rabbit. I can see that.”

I love Tigger as well, and I used to lean more toward Tigger activity-wise back in my 20’s, but now? Definitely more Rabbit. I’m not sure why I chose Rabbit this morning, but they agreed that it fits, so there must be something to it.

After typing the above paragraph, I decided to see if anyone has done the analysis of the characters. Yup. Here’s a good business one. And yes, Rabbit fits about 90%.

~A

Featured Image by JD Hancock

Posted in anxiety, cats, chronic pain, crowdfunding, homeless, homelessness, housing, job hunting, life, Personal, storage, urgent

5/8: Stealth Dragon (and #crowdfunding)

So, I’ve been running around to appts and all kinds of things. In the past week or so, my task hires have been picking up, so there is income. Not enough to cover storage. WHen we saved it from auction last month, we got just over half of the 1400-ish. So there was 600 by end of April and now another 302 on that… climbing back up. Any help is appreciated.

Also, for some reason, my hotspot from my other phone is no longer letting me do stuff, so between it and the shelter wifi, my connectivity is sucking hard. If someone I know has an xfinity account with hotspot service, I’d love them forever if I could have access to the hotspot service.

I’ve applied for a few jobs and waitlists for housing, but it’s all a very slow process.

I’m sitting in a Starbucks in NW PDX as I arrived early for a small task. I’ve officially given my first blood sacrifice to IKEA. Specifically to the PAX wardrobe. A few layers of skin got sliced and pulled back just below my nail bed. Not fun.

In other medical stuff, Portia is switching FROM Gabapentin, which the vet gave her for the adjustment to the shelter life around dogs. And she’ll be starting on Prozac. I need to get her calmer to be around the dogs without charging them and hitting the baby gate in the doorway.

And I’m switching pain meds TO Gabapentin and away from narcotic pain meds. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ll try to keep things updated more in the coming days. Internet connection allowing, of course. I’ve had a few ideas swirling around in my head for posts.

~A

Posted in anxiety, community, depression, empath life, life, music, observations

4/27/18: Music Within

In my therapy session this week, music became the focal point. I’ve written on this in the past, but she asked a question I can’t seem to answer: what is at the core of my love of music? What makes it such a strong relationship/connection?

I’ve been thinking on it and I still can’t answer. It’s always been prominent in my life.

  • Being 4 and figuring out the melody of the Star Spangled Banner by myself, from looking at the black dots on the page of music and from memory of hearing it that 4th of July.
  • Learning to play the piano properly at 6.
  • Listening to folk revival from 4 and 5.
  • Having suicidal ideations nearly every day as a teen and music being the only thing to pull me back from the edge.
  • Singing it, dancing to it, playing it. Listening to it.

It has kept me centered and grounded and any other term you can think of. My whole life.

The rhythms of world music, lyrics of various English-sung songs resonating with me emotionally and otherwise.

Music is the true universal language. No matter what language is being sung, you can understand the emotion of the song. You can hear the stories being told, the love being professed, the sadness being mourned. All of it.

For me, I feel it in my heart, my bones, my body. I think in part it’s because music pulled me back from suicide, I owe my life to it. It is part of me, part of who I am, what I am.

While I’m no longer playing or singing publicly, I still want to get back to playing. Hence having the piano, even though it’s in storage. I can’t have it here at the shelter. I want to be involved with it in some way. I listen to nearly all kinds of music out there and love all but two genres.

I don’t know the answers to her questions. I may never know.

I just know that music is part of my life.

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, chronic pain, cluster headaches, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, friends, health, homeless, homelessness, life, medical, music, Personal, poverty line, storage, urgent

4/21/18: Clusterfuckery & Shelter Life

Random cluster(fuck) headache ranting/grumbling… ignore if you don’t want to read my grouchiness.

CLUSTERFUCKERY:

I’ve had a low-grade cluster headache going about a week now. For those unfamiliar with them, no drugs can really touch them, the medical field has no clue what exactly causes them, and they’re a bitch to get rid of. Where caffeine helps tension and migraine headaches, it does nothing for clusters.

What may be the reason doctors can’t pinpoint the cause is that it may be different for each patient. I know I get them after (usually) every other monthly cycle. But I’m on Depo-Provera (birth control, if you didn’t know) to keep my hormones balanced. So the main times they show up now is when I’m about due for my next shot, which will be in a couple weeks. The only thing that knocks them down to OTC med care level is oxygen therapy. Medicaid won’t cover a small tank for me, so I have to call the clinic and give them a heads up that I need the therapy. They put me in an exam room, wheel in a tank, hook me up, turn off the lights and return 15-20 minutes later. This brings the pain level down to about a 2 on the scale of 1-10, so then I can take an Aleve and that gets the rest of it. I’ve been between a 5 and a 7 on the scale for days now and just dealing with it. Mostly ignoring it.

I can’t anymore.

But I may wait until Monday as the clinic has short hours on Saturdays and is closed Sundays. I’d kill for a proper eye patch right now. It hits my right side and my right eye is rather unhappy. But a good eye patch isn’t easy to find. So, I just avoid bright light as much as possible for now.

SHELTER LIFE:

This is mostly me whining about shit. I have always been hyersensitive to strong scents. Can’t handle the smell of bleach (makes me sick), as well as most perfumes/colognes/body washes or sprays.

So… this morning…

Someone is singing in the shower… badly. Also using Ivory soap or something with a similar strong scent. Blargh. It’s a lot like with perfumes, strong scents from anything man-made freaking fuck with my allergies.

I also can’t use Tide as we discovered an allergy to it when I was in high school. Mom used Tide almost religiously. At one point, she washed a new pair of my nylons for choir and when I put them on, my legs broke out in a rash/contact dermatitis. From that point on, until I moved out, she had to buy unscented, no-dyes detergent. I’ve stuck to that myself as well. And of course, what do they hand out to the ladies here for detergent? Tide Pods. I use my own stuff.
Okay, it’s been 30 minutes since I closed my door and I can still smell her soap. I need a door thingy that is mostly for keeping drafts out, but i need one for my door for scents. I also wanna fix the seal stuff around the rest of my door. I can see light from the hall coming through when I have the lights out.

One thing with being in a homeless shelter: watch your shit. On our less-populated floor we’ve had money, clothes, a tablet, and other things get stolen. Only one of those things was returned and the thief booted and banned.

I keep my door locked all the time. But someone used some of my lactose free milk from the fridge (there are two resident fridges and we have to label our stuff. Also one house fridge in the laundry room).

My food stamps are done for the month and have nothing to get more milk, bottled water (the tap water tastes and smells musty/moldy. the pipes need replacing), veggies, etc. Also no cash.

I’m down to about $1 on my PP card/account (I have a debit card from PayPal) and I’m pretty sure my checking account is back in the red from an auto payment for a debt collector. I have one task set up for the 30th. That’s my only income right now. I may get more, but no way of knowing. I can’t plan them. It all depends on clients hiring me via the TR site/app.

I am going to one job fair on Tuesday and an informational interview on Monday. New VR job coach, new ideas.

It’s been a rough week. Transportation miscommunication and snafus along with a severe pain flare up from my back and the cluster headache… and general lack of sleep and the hell it causes. Doc has ordered a referral and sleep study. Had one years ago while on different insurance. They wouldn’t cover anA-PAP machine. I might be able to get one now, but need to do a new study.

I may put a few non-perishable things I mentioned above on my Amazon wishlist. I need to link Portia’s wishlist on here as well. Yes, my cat has her own wishlist. Shush.

More to come later…

And yes, still want to cover the rest of what I need to catch up on storage. Just under $600 left before the end of the month.

~A

Posted in anxiety, cats, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, faith, health, homeless, homelessness, insomnia, life, medical, Personal, storage, urgent

4/19/18: Running Ragged

Since last weeks’ close call with the auction, I’ve been running errands, going to appointments, and dealing with one very nasty pain flare from my back. After 3 days of barely being able to move, let alone get anything done, I’m finally emerging from the other side of this pain. I feel like it’s more than just my sciatica, but there’s no way to tell at this point if it’s from damage from the fall five-ish years ago. That’s my guess, but since they weren’t as aggressive as I would have liked in diagnosis (they only x-rayed my tailbone), there is no way to tell what type of soft tissue damage happened. Same with the fall in December. It took me two months before I could get any scans, and it was only x-rays again. I get it, I’m on Medicaid. They’re being cheap. But still.

With the help of several folks, I was able to keep auction at bay on storage. For now. To get it caught up to end of April, I need another 597 or so. I had hoped to get that in tasks, but earlier this week, someone hacked their site and the apps and all of Taskrabbit went down. It came back up part way yesterday, but it isn’t complete. So far, no clients. Hoping that changes soon.

I’m adjusting -slowly- to life here at the shelter. I think Portia is adjusting better as she’s gate-hopping when I have the door propped open (a baby gate, I’m loaning my second one to one of the other ladies). I’m still very sleep deprived. One other thing is that as someone with Celiac’s and other food issues, I can’t just buy the cheap stuff. So my food stamps dwindle fast. And Portia may need to switch to all canned food… not sure yet on her. My GP has sent in a referral for a new sleep study, so maybe I can get an A-PAP machine…

I know I’ve been silent since last week. The stress of the last minute save knocked me down hard. Then the pain, so it’s been a rough week. But I’m still here and coming up for air.

~A

Posted in anxiety, community, crowdfunding, emergency, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, life, storage, urgent

4/12/18: Saved for now

I do need to continue paying off the rest of it, but I’m now a hair under 600 behind. No auction for now. Thank you to the last minute people who helped get me to and just over the threshold for saving my unit with my stuff.

The stress of dealing with this every so often is beyond frustrating. I try to make enough to keep it caught up, but I simply don’t make enough.

The plan, once I’m caught up, is to descend upon my unit with pallets and casters (someone elses idea) and a whole mini-army of people with more energy than I do on a good day. Repack, sort, and organize the ever loving hell out of what’s in there. Toss/recycle some things and downsize the unit to something maybe around a 10×10 instead of the 8×20.

This may require a not-so-minor miracle.

The idea of moving back down to a smaller unit is to get my monthly price down to something more manageable. The sooner I get caught up and can find affordable heavy-duty casters, the better. pallets I can find for free, the only hiccup is getting out there to pick them up and have someplace to store them until we’re ready to tackle storage. Locking casters preferable. At least half of them.

If anyone knows a place for affordable heavy-duty casters, let me know.

For now, I’m crashing from the adrenaline of dealing with staving off auction.

~A