Posted in activism, bigotry, bugaboos, chronic pain, community, conformity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, health, life, medical, observations, Personal, politics, society, storage, student life, urgent

3/25: Being Disabled

[Panicking because storage auction is on Thursday and I desperately need the full 1400 to cover it and save it from auction. Please share and spread the word.]

Today, when I arrived at Central City Concern’s EAC (Employment Access Center), my case manager asked for my opinion on something. See, they’ve adapted some access points of the center to accommodate disabled folks like me, but it’s an older building and they haven’t gotten everything. They do have a small single wheelchair elevator to go down to the basement workspace, and the front door has an automated button system, but to access the computer area off the lobby, there are two steps up. And then three steps up to get to another area. I have a walker (while I love my cane, when it comes to back injuries, walkers are better because you aren’t contorting your body to use it).

So he asked me what I would suggest. I told him that small ramps could replace the steps and that they might have to be a little longer than the steps take, but it would be more ADA compliant. He had me write this up on a suggestion form and he turned it in.

Why have I mentioned this? Because hearing the opinions and voices of those who aren’t part of the norm of society is something that doesn’t happen often. Since I first hurt my back at 17, I’ve seen and experienced a disconnect from society. We are either invisible, dismissed, second class citizens… you name it.

And it sucks.

For years, even up until about 6 or 7 years ago, I wouldn’t consider myself disabled. I had my back injury and countless other injuries and health issues, but I rarely classified myself as disabled. In part because of how I was treated at 18 at the first community college I attended. They were horrendous to disabled students. Being kicked out of music classes, dismissed for needing assistance, you name it. Their DSRC was a joke. A tiny office barely big enough to hold two desks. No testing areas, nothing. The frustration was palpable.

I now live in Portland, which has a sizable disable population. I now own the label. With my back getting reinjured (twice) and more and more injuries and such added to the list (along with mental health fuckery), I have come to accept the label as part of who and what I am. But just because I’m in a city with a large disabled population, doesn’t mean everything is wonderfully accessible.

There are many apartment buildings and houses I could never live in. Too many stairs and no accessibility. Granted, if I ever had the money to buy a house, I’d hopefully be able to remodel it for accessibility. I can climb occasional stairs as needed, but I couldn’t live somewhere with lots of them.

My case manager asked me today because I had my walker. Because I have to lift it up to get past those two or three steps. If it isn’t loaded down, which it usually isn’t, then that’s okay. Anything more than what I had today would be too much weight.

One other area, and I may expand on this another time, is how the equipment we use is not treated properly. Service Dogs are the main focus with this issue. SD’s are there to help their handlers function within society’s parameters. My PTSD is easily triggered by a person, usually male, sitting or standing too close to me. Having a trained dog with me would help assure that space around me would be maintained for my mental healthiness. Same for other working dogs. They are working, helping their handlers gain their independence from other people. Freedom to do things others find normal, easy tasks without the need for a person to always be there to help. That’s all anyone asks.

But there are far too many people claiming their untrained pet dogs are SD’s, when they are not. There are a number of reasons these are a bad idea. They can show aggression toward other dogs, even Service Dogs, attacking them or humans. This can potentially ruin an SD and this then restricts the freedom once again of the handler. Again, I may likely expand on this in it’s own post.

Our society has long dismissed those who are disabled (among other groups). We typically aren’t seen as equals who can contribute just as much to society as able-bodied/minded people can. Sure there have been some outliers such as Stephen Hawking, but he was known in his field before he was diagnosed with ALS. But for many of us, we are seen more as a burden on society.

All we want is to be treated as equals and be given the chance to contribute to society like everyone else.

~A

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Posted in bugaboos, crowdfunding, feminism, gender, gender neutral, storage, taboos

3/19: Taboo Talk: #underwear #genderneutral

Even back in high school when I was in therapy, my mother tsked me for discussing certain things just to my therapist. God only knows what she would say in reaction to the shit I spill online.

See, I don’t like the whole “oh you don’t talk about THAT in proper society.” Well, I don’t really care. I believe we should talk about anything and everything we want to talk about. And yes, some off my ancestors were pilgrims off the Mayflower, so one might think I should have SOME decency.

Should? Maybe. Do? NAHHHH!!

While some of my ancestors were pretty damn cool (hellooOOooo… witch? Moonshiner?), it doesn’t mean that the values of other ancestors trickled down to me. Trickle down of most anything doesn’t really work (ahem… politics?).

So, here’s one taboo topic: Women’s Underwear Styles and Preferences.

I imagine most women are perfectly fine with thongs, bikini, boyshorts, hipster and even the almighty brief. I, however, am not one of those women. We have many styles, more than men’s options, to pick from. But I’m one of those random women who has a difficult time wearing them. I wasn’t always, but some years back I developed a skin sensitivity in a rather crucial area where underwear hits. I won’t go so far as to mention the area, but the leg elastic/hem hits it and I’m none too happy.

Mind you, I also slip between identifying female and identifying neutral/androgynous. I’m still perfectly fine with female pronouns, since I can’t exactly hide certain physical aspects of my female-ness. Just don’t call me by male pronouns, I will go off on your ass for that. Not a dude, thankyouverymuch.

Back to underwear. What’s an androgynous chick to do when all the women’s options (yes, even boyshorts) dig or ride up and irritate the skin? Enter my new most favorite underwear company: TomboyX. They aren’t the cheapest out there, but they’re damn comfortable and they have a 6″ rise boxer-brief and a 9″ rise boxer-brief. Personally, I choose the 9″ rise. They’re comfortable, no rolling up, no waistband rolling, nothing. They also have basic simple bras for those of us who hate underwire with a fiery passion… and some clothes. Mostly PJ’s and one of my favorites (although I haven’t gotten one yet), the Unisuit with a 6″ rise and a 4.5″ rise. It’s a nice clean swimsuit option that covers what it needs to cover and is VERY gender neutral. They also have swim separates of varying types. All very clean lines and neutral.

One of my other reasons for loving TomboyX is that they carry a wide range of sizes to cover those of us who aren’t a size 6. They have limited edition fabrics from time to time. I have a pair with penguins on it from Christmas (and why would someone think I wouldn’t want undies with penguins on them?).

For me, they have provided me with an answer to my problems. The boxer-briefs are designed for those of us who don’t have the dangly bits between our legs. Which was a concern to me because the excess fabric and all wasn’t appealing.

But in all seriousness, TomboyX is a fucking godsend for misfits like me. No wedgies, no edges rolling up, and no irritation from elastic/hems for me. Now I just need a few more pairs.

Was this taboo enough? No? Well, I could talk about why you don’t buy vibrators off Amazon. Maybe another time.

~A
Photo by Patrick Malleret on Unsplash

Posted in activism, anxiety, auction, bigotry, bugaboos, bullying, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, family, friends, grief, history, life, observations, poetry, politics, society, storage, urgent

2/15: Dreams

(I’m back. Still need help with storage. But here’s a poem for you… fresh out of the deep dark recesses of my psyche.)

Freedom lost.
We are fired up.
Broken down.
Looking within.
And
Going without.

Where we were
Defines
Where we are.
But we define
Where we will go.

Shattered dreams
Empty shells.
Who we are
Is defined by
Who we have been.

Lost in the mirage
Of once being great.
Stumbling over each other
As we gasp for air.

Welcome all is
Only a dream.
A faint memory.

Fight to move forward.
At war with the machine.

Who are we now
To have valid dreams.

~A

Posted in asexuality, bugaboos, crowdfunding, life, observations, sexuality, storage, tattoo

2/4: Attractiveness

Since the Superbowl yesterday, a LOT of folks have been dishing out commentary about “a certain lead singer of a rock band who performed in the halftime show.” His tattoos, his physique, his choice of clothing, his singing, etc. Many women all over find him attractive. I’m not one of them. Partly because of my sexuality.

As an Aromantic Asexual… I think much of my distaste for this lead singer is because of his attitude and ego. There’s a saying somewhere about how no matter what you look like on the outside, if you’re kind and good to others, your beauty shines from the inside out. Something along those lines.

His music is okay. I like some songs, but if you waved a concert ticket in my face, I’d probably shrug my shoulders. His vanity and ego just seem to overshadow everything else. This is merely my impression. I’m sure he may do some nice things for fans and such, but again, those are overshadowed by vanity and ego.

His looks are what I want to talk about. Mixed in with slight jabs at his clothes, I’ve noticed some women drooling in written form over his shirtless performance. Now, just because I don’t experience romantic or sexual attraction doesn’t mean I don’t find men attractive. Some men.

His tattoos are all over the place and, as one woman at the shelter when I was there noted about people with lots of tats, have them tell a story. If they don’t work with each other to tell the story of you, they seem messy and it doesn’t come across as attractive. I knew he had a fair number of tats, but until I saw pics of him from yesterday, I had no idea how many.

Or how jumbled they seem. His physique was certainly defined and decent, but again, the tattoos and his vanity just don’t pull me in.

For an example of beautiful men inside and out, take Tom Hiddleston. Similar body type, toned but not super muscular He-man type. But look at the person he is. Down to earth, gentle, caring, compassionate. That is WAY sexier to me than the singer’s ego and vanity.

Be more than your looks. Check your ego and vanity at the door. Treat others as you wish to be treated in life. You never know when you may end up in their shoes.

~A

[yes, still asking for help with storage]

Posted in anxiety, auction, bugaboos, C-PTSD, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, faith, friends, health, life, medical, society, storage

1/19: Whatever Comes

[Still need help to get storage finished and caught up. If I don’t get it caught up before the end of the month, it’ll go to auction and I get no more second chances. Help me get it caught up.]

Life is full of ups and downs and challenges and … you get the idea. I’ve been to Hell and back so many fucking times in my 46 years that it’s like a second home. I face the challenge, deal with it, move forward.

Today potentially presented a new challenge for me. I started to feel pain in my left armpit last night and it continued through today and is getting a bit worse. I’ve done nothing to the area so I checked it in the mirror for swelling. There is a bit of swelling, so off I went to Urgent Care.

*Disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing yet.

I left shortly after with a scrip for Amoxicillin. A swollen lymph node is the culprit. Why it’s inflamed, we don’t know. I see the plastic surgeon who messed up my reduction surgery in 2015 this coming Friday. If the swelling and pain has not begun to subside by then, I’ll request a biopsy.

I’ll also go up and get a boob squish session (ahh, mammograms) this week as well. It’s been a bit over 2 years now. They told me to go for 3 years, but this is a special situation.

There are a handful of things a swollen LN can be. The next level up on fighting some random infection, RA (no other signs, though), Cancer, etc.

Yes, I said the C word. What if it happens to be that? Then I’ll fight to the end of my damn days. The end of the world. It’s one more challenge for me to face.

It could also be nothing major. Which would be nice for once. I mean, shit, I’ve had cellulitis, a heart condition, C-PTSD, anxiety, broken bones and sprains that made the doctors wonder if I’d broken anything. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been raped repeatedly.

I’m still here. I’m still fighting. It would be nice to get a break health-wise. But if not, okay. Bring it on. Never tell me something is impossible. Or, better yet, DO tell me that so I can prove you wrong. I take perverse pleasure in proving someone wrong about me.

This is life. As sucky as it can be, this is life. If things in your life aren’t challenging, then you aren’t pushing yourself to truly live. Granted, no one wants cancer. But challenges are a part of life.

~A

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, community, conformity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, empath life, gratitude, life, poetry, storage, writing

1/14: The Void (#poetry)

(Still need some help to finish catching up on storage. As I have to save up for other things as well. Any help/sharing is appreciated.)

Standing in the middle.
Never enough.
Sometimes too much.

Where do I sit?
When the table is full.
And no one sees me.

The outcast who sees more.
More than the box.
More than the road ahead.

I am not the help.
But I am also not the boss.
I am in the middle.

Waiting to be seen.
When those who matter
Look up from their meal.

The emptiness of space
Separates me from them.
I cannot hear their words.

The vacuum silences the critic.
It also silences the muse.
Space envelopes the vacuum.

Scream into the void.
Yet I hear nothing in return.
Not even my own voice.

I see them at the table.
All the same. All puppets.
The strings tangled together.

The puppeteer enveloped by the void.
Unseen but there.
The puppets think they have control.

I hold my own strings.
No one owns me.
No one controls me.

The table remains full.
I wish to sit, but
Not to be controlled.

I remain in the middle.
Holding my own strings.
Outside the box.

Posted in auction, bugaboos, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, empath life, life, poetry, society, storage, urgent, writing

1/2/19: Disheveled (old poetry & #crowdfunding)

[If you like my poetry from any segment of my life, please feel free to donate to help me rekindle my inspiration that’s stuck in storage and will get auctioned off in a little over 24 hours from now. I’ll be at work when auction happens, so I’d rather get it done today.]

I have $235. Called them and got the total damage: $1467. Before noon tomorrow. I’d prefer to get it done before 6 today as I’m working tomorrow. If I don’t get it today and do before auction tomorrow, I can take an early lunch and get up there. Thankfully both work AND storage are close to me, so it’s a short streetcar ride.

The following poem has no date. I just know that it’s likely at least 10 years old, if not closer to 15. I got into a bad habit of not putting dates on my poems. And yet, oddly enough, I feel very similar after living in the shelter for 7 months.


Life Disheveled.
Scattered seeds of my soul
The four corners hoard my seeds.
I have no more to give.
Silo of my soul is
Empty.
Barren.
No more to hand out.

Life disbelieving.
See the world
Surrounding
Encasing
Smothering me.

Out. I want out.
Scream but
No one hears.
No one listens.
They’re too busy
Listening to themselves
Chatter inanity.

Stand in place.
Invisible to all.
Except those who
Use
(and)
Abuse.
Mattering only to them.

No.
No way.
No more.
I am done.

Posted in anxiety, auction, bugaboos, chronic pain, crowdfunding, disability, emergency, insomnia, life, medical, storage, urgent

1/1/19: Quieting the Monster Within & #crowdfunding

[Yes, still crowdfunding…. the urgency and the amount have now increased. Please consider helping by at least sharing, if not also donating if you haven’t. It’ll now be roughly $1450 and I have less than $200.]

I have anxiety. That frustrating little monster inside me keeps me from normal, restful sleep. The sleep clinic doctor thought maybe it’s my mild apnea. I finally got a CPAP machine. Didn’t help when the anxiety still kicked in and still took me 2+ hours to fall asleep and it was exacerbated by this “thing” [the pillow mask] on my face. The most minimal mask they have out and my claustrophobia bumped my anxiety up a few points.

So I turned it back in since I wasn’t using it enough during the initial three months. Took the last of the Ambien and woke up well rested last week. Went to the GP for something else and mentioned it. They gave me a 15 pill refill. I thought, ‘hey, I can finally start getting some nights with sleep!’

Forgot I had taken something else with it that one really good night. Something that told my Anxiety Monster to STFU. While Ambien alone has helped me STAY asleep longer, it isn’t helping me GET TO sleep. The Monster still wreaks havoc.

Add my daytime anxiety of trying to find more work and pay bills and not get sick and SAVE STORAGE! and struggle with the chronic pain so I can get dishes done and dinner made. I take Celexa once a day for the general anxiety levels, but it doesn’t silence the Monster. I know Valium does, but they don’t want me on it. Why, I’ll never know. Even though I think I do.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, auction, bugaboos, conformity, crowdfunding, emergency, empath life, faith, family, friends, homeless, individuality, life, peace, storage, urgent

12/30/18: Becoming the Dragon (31 hours to #crowdfunding deadline)

Crowdfunding: Got two more donations during the night. I’m over $100 now, but still a long way to go to reach $1141. If I can get this paid up before the first, I can deal with the January rent when it happens. I’ll have a little breathing room and can get stuff out and the rest moved to a smaller unit.

Becoming the Dragon: I have evolved, personality wise, to even more of a dragon. Hear me out.

Sure, all the other stuff I mentioned yesterday, like collecting “shiny” things and disliking humans, is part of it, but there’s more. See, in folklore around the world, dragons are fire-breathing people-eating monsters. No, I don’t think of myself as a monster. I’ve dated a few, though.

If anything, I was more like a super-mild version of Puff the Magic Dragon through much of my life. Puff was pretty cool, but super nice and loved everyone and everyone loved him, etc.

Me? I was (and still am to some degree) everyone’s doormat. The yes-girl. Needed someone to shlep you and/or your crap? Call me. Need someone to watch your kids? Call me. Need someone to do XYZ into infinity? Call me. To the point where it got to be manipulative and abusive by some. I spoiled friends, said yes to anything and everything, went to the ends of the earth and back. Then my father passed away in 2014 and things changed for me. My need for help shifted the equation. Most of those who asked me for help were nowhere to be found. Those who are still around in my life are unable to help as much as they’d like.

Enter being homeless. It wasn’t as bad in the first year, couchsurfing. It was when I got into the shelter when I began to change. If my contempt for humans was mild before (mild to moderate), then it tipped the scales (okay, pun kind of intended) into the VERY DRAGON levels. I withdrew more, seeing how some others at the shelter treated fellow residents. But the Angry Dragon side emerged quickly. When bullying of one woman escalated, I snapped at the bullies. Then I’d withdraw to my corner and watch. When they did it again, I lunged and snapped again. This happened a few times.

Now, I’m about as Pacifist as one can get without committing to some peaceful religion. Seriously. I do identify with Buddhism, but I’m not at a place where I can let go of parts of me that don’t ring true with it. My dad was very much a pacifist after he did his tour in WWII. So for this anger to be present doesn’t sit well with me. Eventually I need to separate the anger from the aspect of being strong and standing up for myself and others. To show my passion without anger. That will be the big challenge for me. It is, like everything else in life, a lesson to learn.

~A

Posted in activism, animal welfare, anxiety, bugaboos, cats, community, crowdfunding, emergency, faith, family, friends, homelessness, job hunting, life, observations, peace, politics, research, society, storage, urgent

12/26: Personal Projects (and #crowdfunding)

[Also #crowdfunding, as time is running out on storage. $1200 needed before the 1st. PP link in the sidebar. Please share any of my posts.]

I have a few personal projects that will be incorporated into this blog. One will be a static page. The second will likely be just a post. Same for the third one. Then there’s the Big Kahuna. That one is semi-secret, namely because I want to try to get a grant to do the research. But it’s a massive project.

The first post project is about Medicare For All. I’ve had discussions on FB with people about what is being pitched and what I think it should have. Admittedly, I haven’t delved too much into it yet. It’ll take me a bit. I do know, from my own personal observations, that there are things from Medicare as it is right now that need an overhaul. My parents were on it, being they were older from the get-go. I saw issues with the system from my dad’s experiences in caring for my mom as her Alzheimer’s worsened. And for his own health.

I also don’t think what we have for Medicaid is perfect either. Same for private insurance. My ideal is to take the best aspects of all three systems and make THAT Universal Healthcare. But I’ll go into more detail later.

The second post project is more a personal observation of the systems in place for the homeless population here in PDX. Some organizations are doing just fine, others… well, they need a LOT of work. And an institutional spanking because they’re trying to do shit they don’t have the staff/funding/training for. I’ll do my best to dissect the good, bad, and the ugly.

I won’t go into too much detail about the Big Kahuna. But if anyone knows where a solo researcher can get a grant for a social science project, let me know. That one will likely surface over on a barely-started blog of mine that has nothing going yet. Life and all.

Then there’s the static page project. I can do a fair chunk of the searching for links myself, but if anyone knows of non-profits in their state/country, let me know. This project is about FERAL CAT RESOURCES. My intent is to list links and some info on TNR (Trap Neuter Release) programs in all 50 states of the US, hopefully Canadian provinces as well. And if there are any, overseas in other countries.

I think that’s it for now. I’ll try to get back to the poetry posts at some point as well. I just haven’t felt really super creative of late.

~A