Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, bugaboos, chronic pain, community, depression, eviction, faith, friends, health, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, observations, politics, society, transitions

10/24: Adjustments and Changes

As of Friday the 19th, Portia and I are now in our own apartment again. We still have several hurdles to jump: getting storage caught up for October only (more on that in a bit), getting furniture OUT of storage so I’m not sleeping on the floor (I do have a mattress in there), getting my old electric bill sorted before the end of the month, and getting internet in the apartment.

Oh, and getting my checking account up to zero or higher. Ugh.

So, most of the past two years, I’ve at least had SOMETHING coming in from being a Tasker, but this month? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Seriously. I’ve had no jobs. Well, there was a team one set for yesterday, but I have a feeling the other person stole the whole thing from under me and will try to muddy my name on TR. I’ve already sent an email to a contact there about this. I have proof the guy said the task was postponed and then late last night said it was cancelled. If it was cancelled, I’d have an email from TR saying it was. Nothing. Soooo…. yeah.

I need to cover 200 of the old electric bill plus a deposit… and also storage… and ordering internet. I do NOT want to rely on the hotspot on my poor phone to do everything. But it’ll be nearly $50 to get it set up… if not more. The electric, I may be able to get help from CCC as a one-time thing.

Things are happening slowly. I talked to the person at SE Works last week about the training job. She’ll get back to me soon, I hope. Right now, I’m just holding on.

I had zero intention of this being a pity post or a begging post. If people want to help, great. But it’s okay. I’ll figure this shit out somehow.

In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be able to reflect more on my experiences of the past two years. Most of that time has been either staying at friends’ houses or in the shelter. Being at the shelter was likely the strongest learning period. Man, I learned a lot. I stood up for myself and for others being bullied. I saw how low people can go while they hold their heads up high acting as if they’re better than the rest of us. I saw, and was the ‘victim’ of food theft, among other things.

I still have a lot of emotional stuff to unpack from that experience. When I do get through it, I fully intend on being an outspoken advocate for resolving homelessness.

No matter where we sleep, what we eat, the clothes we wear, our gender or sexuality, our skin color, our mental and physical health; we are human beings and deserve to be treated equally in society.

 

~A

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Posted in anxiety, bigotry, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, eviction, friends, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, storage, urgent

9/19: Spoons, PayPal, #crowdfunding, and #homeless frustrations

#spoons, #paypal, #crowdfunding, #emergency

I think the fact I’m mostly using my phone and not the computer to do most stuff online right now is partly contributing to me not blogging as much.

But then I’m also focusing on EVERY OTHER FLIPPING THING CIRCLING MY LIFE RIGHT NOW!! …

Sorry about that. I think I needed to get that out of my system. So… halp? Storage (*sigh* I know… AGAIN…) is once again closing in on auction day and they will NOT take partial payments this time. I need 1400 before the 27th of September. Somehow, some way. The fastest is via PayPal, although I no longer have an active PP debit card, so I’ll need a couple of days to get funds transferred to my bank account.

I’d get a new card, but I’m, yanno, homeless and only have a P.O. Box and THEY WON’T SHIP A CARD TO A P.O. BOX.

I know, as I just got off the phone with them. The guy in the security and fraud office verified my identity, said I can get the card mailed to my box… transferred me over to the card office… where I was told that no, they can’t do that. So, I’m stuck. Not like a card would show up on time anyway. So I have a few days (at best) to raise the funds and have the time to transfer it over. So, Sunday? Then I can do the transfer Monday and hope it’s in my checking account before noon on Thursday the 27th.

In other -not so surprising- news, I hate living in this shelter and need to get out of here before I go on some kind of rampage with a spoon and a pair of tweezers, threatening to do *something* …

Between theft, gossip, backstabbing, more theft, stupid people locking and closing doors that need to stay unlocked, and don’t GET me started on the perfumed Barbie wannabes living here in a FRAGRANCE FREE MOTHERFUCKING SHELTER!!!

Oh, and the outright bigotry toward trans people and stupid shit I hear people say and do. If you can’t get your shit together and use terms that have been around awhile and override the outdated terms you learned 40 years ago, then crawl your ignorant ass back under that rock and stay there. You don’t belong in modern society. Period.


It’s been a shitty week… and it’s only Wednesday. Wait, it is Wednesday, right? Yes? Okay.

I’m not exactly in a great mood, can you tell?

I haven’t killed anyone … yet. The week isn’t over.

But in all moderate seriousness, I don’t want to deal with the mess, so no killing. Not much on violence anyway.

I just want my belongings safe… and no criminal record. So far, I’ve been good on the second one. Trying on the first one.

So, if you can help… awesome. Spread the word.

~A

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, bigotry, bugaboos, community, faith, homeless, life, society

11/7: Humans aren’t always Humane

Humans are strange critters. Granted, the homeless man probably shouldn’t have been begging ON the MAX, but nevertheless, he was. This woman across from me though… she had this air about her that screamed “I’m a churchgoing conservative” … I know the type all too well. He stopped and asked her. Her response?
“What are you asking ME for?”
Here’s what I take issue with: You can (and should) be polite to all people, no matter where they are in life. Many of us are one or two paychecks away from being where this man is… hell, where -I- am. Homeless. Not enough people realize this is very much their reality as well. We are all made of the same starstuff. Her response could have been much better. Even a simple, “Sorry, I don’t have any cash” is enough. I rarely have cash on me, and when I do, it’s usually for something specific. If I do have ‘spare’ cash, I will give it. Because I know what it feels like to ask for help.
I imagine that woman on the train today has never had to ask for help. I pity her more than the homeless man. If she is a churchgoing “Christian,” I don’t think Jesus would be too pleased with her behavior. His teachings were few, but enough to get the general idea.
Love, not hate. 
Not a difficult concept, really. But it doesn’t seem to get through to enough people. I’m not going to get all preachy or anything right now. I just wonder about people like that woman today. If she were in his shoes, even for a while, maybe… just maybe, she would come out the other end of that experience a better Christian. For those who consider themselves people of faith, especially Christians, how would your God react if they saw you treating someone this way?
~A
Posted in activism, bigotry, community, family, history, life, politics, society

9/25: Silence

This part of Simon & Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence struck me as powerful at this point in time. While many younger people may know Disturbed’s version better (which is the one I’m listening to on repeat on iTunes), I know both, hence referring to as S&G’s song.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening

You may already be onto what I’m referring to.

The NFL and others in silent protest.

It started with Kaep a year ago. I’m a die-hard Niner’s Girl, but I’m still pissed off at the owner for releasing one damn good player because of some controversy. Controversy over Kaep doing something GOOD. (He needs his damn job back.)

Here’s the thing that I know a bunch of (fellow white) people aren’t grasping about the whole protest: It isn’t about the flag or the anthem. It isn’t insulting to servicemen and women. They fought for our right to protest.

So, what was Kaep protesting? And what many others in the NFL and other sports are now doing?

The extreme violence and senseless deaths of PoC, namely black men and children.. sometimes women. And all, or nearly all, by police officers. You know, the people who swear to -serve and protect the community- … and yet they kill PoC. What far too many of them are using as their defense is that they feared for their lives or they thought the 8 year old had a real gun. Or any other number of really lame excuses.

My opinion of officers being afraid -so afraid that they shoot a child who clearly has a toy, or an adult PoC running away from them- that they shoot to kill, not maim is that if they’re so damn afraid of getting hurt by a child with a toy gun or someone running from them, then they do NOT belong on any police force.

I want to look at the training practices between US police departments and other countries. This will take some time. But I have a distinct feeling I already know the answer: police in the US do not get enough well-rounded training.

So, back to Kaep and all the other players who took a knee this past weekend. While there have been a few here and there, it wasn’t until 45 (and if you don’t know who 45 is, get out from under your rock) publicly insulted Kaep, his mother, and every person who has supported Kaep’s mission. Don’t you dare insult these men. Men and women vastly better than you (45) fought and some even died for the rights stated in the Constitution. And men much better than you (45 again) are taking a knee in silent protest against the senseless and needless deaths of PoC in this country at the hands of police.

There are some who are angry at Kaep and the others for their silent protests. But these are the same people who get pissed off when protesters stand in the streets… when they hold legal, permitted rallies and hold signs… You want them to not be so loud, but when they do a silent protest, you still get angry. Why?

Could it be that you are racist and refuse to admit it? Quite likely. You want them to not speak up at all. To be subservient and quiet and do as they’re told… right? Admit it.

I know people like you. I was raised by a person like you. I chose to do the opposite. I chose to fight for equality. For true civil rights for everyone. No special treatment, just equal treatment.

If their protests make you uncomfortable, then they’re making their point. And your uncomfortability over being stuck in traffic, or watching football players kneel instead of stand for the anthem, is a tiny price to pay compared to the blood of black children and adults being spilled in the streets for nothing more than racist fear. If you are uncomfortable with these protests, then you need to check yourself in the mirror. A racist will be looking back at you in your reflection.

My father served this country. His brothers, his father and uncles as well. My mother’s brothers-in-law served as well. I have cousins and friends who have served. If my dad were alive today, I think he would be proud of Kaep.

All voices need to be heard. Even the silent ones.

People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening

Kaep and others are talking… will you listen?

~A

Posted in activism, bigotry, cats, community, crowdfunding, depression, dragon, emergency, eviction, faith, friends, grad school, health, history, homeless, housing, job hunting, life, Personal, politics, society, storage, urgent

8/27: Choices (Dragon on War and Life) #crowdfunding

My grandfather and all three of his brothers chose to fight in WWI.

My father and at least one of his brothers (I think both of them did) chose to fight in WWII.

I have cousins and others who chose to enlist. Uncles on my mother’s side (who married in, as there were 4 girls and 1 boy and my uncle was too young to serve) chose to fight in WWII and even in Korea.

Due to my various injuries, I would never have passed the physical, but I seriously tried to get into the AF as an officer. That was my choice. They just didn’t want me.

We can choose to fight fascism and tyranny, or -as some choose- to join said fascism and be those we fight against. I am not a veteran, but I have enough of them in my family and amongst my friends to know what they fought, and even died, for. To corral hate, injustice, bigotry, fascism, genocide, and so much more.

And we choose to fight it. We must learn from the history of this world, of our ancestors, so we can stop repeating the same bullshit.


There are things we also cannot choose to do or choose to happen. I did everything I could to find work and keep my apartment, but one really shitty month when things didn’t go as I thought they should ended up with me losing my apartment of over seven years. I didn’t choose to be homeless. I fought with everything I had, everything I could muster, but it wasn’t enough. So now I’m still homeless, struggling to make ends meet, struggling to keep my belongings safe from auction. Struggling to make the choices of what I need right in this moment to keep me and my cat safe and healthy. She needs cat food and litter. You don’t want to know how long I’ve managed to stretch the box of litter I bought while still in the apartment. Well, considering I finally was out at the beginning of March, you can do the math. She needs fresh litter. And food.

I refuse to give up my cat. That is my choice. I also will fight to keep my belongings safe in storage until I can get a place again. I’ve had people tell me that “if (I) can’t afford to keep a cat, (I) shouldn’t have one” … well, that asshole got blocked really fast. Portia is one of the few parts of my life that makes life worth holding onto.  She keeps me grounded and in reality. She comes first. I just wish my food stamps covered cat food (I can’t go to Pongo Fund, as the food they hand out is too rich and makes her sick. She has a very specific type of food. The protein and fat percentages have to be in a certain mid-range or she mats and gets sick).

I did not choose this ‘in between’ life. In between homes. In between jobs. I don’t like it. I’m working on changing it. Vocational Rehab for work help, fighting to finish school, doing odd jobs via Taskrabbit to make a little money, but it never lasts long and it’s feast or famine in terms of income.

I do what I can, but it isn’t enough. So my choice is to ask for help. So I ask.

~Dragon

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 bigotry, community, cosplay, dragon, faith, feminism, friends, life, politics, research, Science Fiction and Fantasy, society

7/15: Trek and Overcoming Human Cultural Differences

A few years back, I was doing some demographics research for a project my boss was working on. While I don’t have the work I did (everything I did is still protected by an NDA I signed), I remember what I found.

There’s been a long-standing misconception that the SF/F fandom is predominately male. HA! Nope. Women are equal, if not a higher percentage, of SF/F fandom than men. And yes, that statement comes from research I did a few years back. Based on research done over the years…. *ahem* …. decades. Even back in the 50’s and 60’s, female readership of SF/F books and periodicals (such as Asimov, etc) was roughly 49-50%. Today? I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s higher. Fandom is just as much for US women as it is for men.

So, what sparked this post? The following image:

20023784_10154719646601546_3572358340627745923_o

And then the ensuing “discussion” on a friend’s posting of this on FB. Filled with Trek fanboys who think they know better than us “females” …. guess what, Ferengi wannabes, you are not better than us, you are not smarter than us, and you most definitely do NOT grasp the concept that women can have a better fucking grasp of Trek than your Neanderthal-esque selves. Crawl back in your caves, boys. Us ladies got this.

Here’s the thing:

How do they know religion isn’t practiced in the Trek future? Because it isn’t as fucking obvious? Trek showed how humans, as a global society/race, have moved beyond differences and work WITH each other. Even if those differences may still exist. We know from later shows and films that the French still make wine (Picard facing his brother), the cuisine and such of Cajun/Southern life survives (Sisko)… and what else? I mean there are all kinds of things that survive a few centuries… if Cajun culture survives, I’m pretty damn sure Islam (not the terrorist shit, but the peaceful religion practiced by nearly all Muslims, save for that percentage of a percentage that have skewed it for their own purposes) will survive. 

The individual episodes don’t have enough airtime to show every aspect of life in Starfleet. So we don’t really know if religion is still around on Earth in Trek. I know one thing: Sisko and other humans in Starfleet are respectful of Bajoran faith. For all we know, there may be a ship chaplain or multiple ones for different faiths represented. Or, in TNG and later, programs on the holodecks for various religious ceremonies and services.

We simply do not know.

But having someone of a specific faith represented doesn’t mean indoctrination (man, I can hear that bigoted outcry now) or pushing any one faith or anything. It’s merely giving a chance to represent the beliefs of Roddenberry and his vision of unity. Just as Chekov was a representative of Russia (who was a major enemy of the US until the end of the Cold War in the 80’s) and showing that we can one day overcome our differences. Just as a Muslim woman would be representative of what many white supremacists and others hate and fear in the here and now. To show that the differences we have TODAY can be overcome in the future.

Showing that humanity on this planet can overcome our hate, judgment, fear, and violence and thus come together to form one world coalition so we can explore the stars without infighting and competition amongst ourselves. We will still have differences and cultural diversity, things that are shown in the later shows. Humans are not “homogenized” in Trek. The military aspect may show some of that to some degree…

But…

Remember, Starfleet is not all encompassing of humans. It is essentially the Navy in Space. One part of Earth’s culture as envisioned by Roddenberry and his people.

~Dragon the Geek