Posted in cats, depression, Christmas, community, homeless, storage, friends, disability

12/14: Christmas cards?

So, being homeless and depressed, I can’t really decorate or celebrate the way I’d prefer. While begging for money to help cover storage isn’t beneath me at the moment (other expenses and not as many tasks rolling in so far), I would love little thing: Christmas cards. If you don’t want your address and such be known, just “self address” it (use my p.o. box, etc as the return address as well as the receiving address). 

Getting in the spirit is tough when your life is in limbo. Not to mention stressful.

(Not my legal surname below, but the cards will get there.)

So, if you’re so inclined:

Amanda Wolfe

P.O. Box 2113

Portland, OR 97208

Yes, I’m broadcasting that. It’s one of thousands of boxes in Portland. And still a few hundred or so in that zip code alone. I usually have my box number up somewhere online anyway, so no biggie. Not a home or work address. 

And if people were so inclined to send something from my Amazon wishlist or Portia’s list, I’m cool with that. I should say I don’t need socks, but Heat Holders are a freaking Godsend for my poor “always cold” feet. 

I just love the idea of getting cards. 

~A

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Posted in activism, anxiety, community, depression, faith, family, friends, grief, homeless, housing, life, poetry, society, urgent, writing

11/18: Feeling Broken

Something happened today.
Something that ripped me to pieces.
I want to believe there are humans
Who understand what being
HUMAN
Is like.
What being
HOMELESS
Is like.
My day was okay.
Except one brief moment.
That formed a black cloud
Over my head.
My soul is soaked through.
My heart and mind
Need to be wrung out.
The cloud weighed me down.
I wonder now.
Who among us
Has compassion?
A safe place for a woman and her cat?
When the world buckles underneath you,
Who do you turn to when it makes you fall?
When the help you need the most is not the help family can give you?
Where do you go?
When you scream for help, but there is
None to be found.
~A.
November 2017

Posted in chronic pain, community, disability, health, homeless, life, medical

11/15: Back Down

Recent pic of Portia begging for a tortilla chip. No, they are not cat food. (Didn’t give one to her)

I’ve lived with sciatica over half my life now. I know when I can “power through it” and when I need to stop and rest. Today is rest. I was on the NB yellow line MAX train that couldn’t continue because of the stabbing on a SB yellow line MAX a few stop north of where I was. The stabbing happened at the Denver stop, but the assailant jumped on the SB train and was apprehended at the Rosa Parks stop. My stop. I was two stops south. There were police, etc at the RP stop. Instead of waiting for the bus bridge to show up, I hoofed it. I regret that now. I didn’t have a lot on me, but that much walking, on top of what I’d already done earlier, my back said, “NOPE! Not gonna do anything today.”

I had an off-book job with a return client set for today. But my back -more precisely my sciatica- said otherwise. If it’s just hitting one spot, such as my hip, I can adapt and work through it. Today, however, the pain is up around a 7 on the scale and it’s radiating down to my knee. 

No bueno.

So, pain meds and rest. Rescheduled for tomorrow. There isn’t much else that can be done for my back and the sciatica. I would like to join a gym and work on the machines to strengthen my back muscles. I proved that I can get the slipped discs back in place with work on the machines. I did that over 20 years ago. Slipped the same discs at 17. I continued to dance and started lifting weights and by 22, the discs were no longer out of whack. 

Sciatica is still there and always will be, but I know I can bring the pain levels and recurrence of severe days like today down… I did it before, I can do it again. No space to dance, but if I can find a close-in gym that’s really affordable, I need to carve out some of my meager income and go.
For now, I rest. My back has informed me that I need to do this. I listen.

~A

Posted in cats, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, disability, friends, health, homeless, housing, life, medical, Personal, storage

11/12: Pain, Storage, and Life

This has been a weird, wild, crazy, fucked up year. One lesson I’ve learned is to not the universe… because it will come right back and smack you down… hard. I am, reluctantly, asking for a teeny bit of help. I don’t expect miracles.

I make as much as possible from tasks, but as anyone else in the ‘gig economy’ can tell you, it could be booming one week and dry the next. Two weeks ago, I had a handful of tasks. They paid out, I took care of a few bills, but have come up short for storage.

I also want to get ahead of the game for December. I have some empty boxes and a few items to take down to storage, but can’t get in right now due to November not being paid up yet. I may have a task tomorrow, but no confirmation yet. No one task will cover my expenses. Right now I owe 320 or so. I may have half that, but not sure.

Honestly, I’m not sure how much longer I can keep doing furniture assembly with how my back is getting. I have good moments, but the bad moments are getting bigger and more painful. I feel like they missed a lot when I re-injured it in 2012. They only x-rayed my tailbone and the few vertebra above it (which is how I know I re-injured the discs), but there’s pain that doesn’t fit with slipped discs and sciatica. I just want answers.

The pain limits my ability to go on tasks. I’m in the middle of one where I’m just feeding the client’s cat. The walking and bus rides there are back have me down for the count when I get back here to the house.

As for where I’m living… trust me, I’d much prefer to be in my own place, no roommates, no nothing… me and my cat. And eventually a second cat again. But I need steady work first. I met with my VR counselor and she gave me the link for the housing lists. One problem with these: they’re always full and they aren’t always accepting names. This is for low income housing, which is a rare thing here, although more here than other metro regions. In other areas it was either Section 8 or market rate. Here there’s Sec 8, Low Income (subsidized), and market rate. But the lists for Sec 8 are 4-6 years long and low income is nearly as bad.

We will see how things go. Back to stuff…

~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 anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, chronic pain, community, depression, disability, eviction, faith, friends, gender, health, history, individuality, job hunting, life, medical, Personal, PTSD, sexual assault, society

10/16: Wake Up Tomorrow #metoo

TW/CW: Talk of suicide, sexual assault, C-PTSD, etc…

I’ve talked about all of these things in spades over the lifespan of this blog. With the #metoo tag flying around on FB and Twitter the last two days, I felt like expanding on mine.

Now, I have (at some point) ticked off all the times I was sexually assaulted.

  • At 17, by a 22 y.o. acquaintance.
  • At 19, by a blind date. Tried to force me to perform oral on him, pushing my head down. I broke free and threatened to call the police.
  • At 19, by a guy I met at a Twelfth Night event… friends invited him to our Rocky Horror outing later that evening. While he had been in costume, he was mostly a gentleman (save for trying to un-lace my bodice in public)
  • At 21/22. After 6 weeks in an increasingly abusive relationship, I started to pull away from him, which he noticed. He spent the next 2 and a half months raping and assaulting me (using various areas of my body to ‘get his rocks off’) all against my will. I cried, I begged, I said no every damn time, but even making me bleed repeatedly didn’t matter to him. This happened 2-3 times a week… on a good week.

Those are the major, or most distinctive, events. Getting catcalled, being told by some older guy in Chicago (as we passed each other in the crosswalk) that “damn, you got some bigguns!” … no matter what I’m wearing, what my body language is saying (usually “don’t fucking get near me, asshole”), what I’m doing, I’ve had hands brush against my butt, breasts, etc… hands that should stay up near my shoulders wandering down… at a club one night (partly why I fucking HATE clubs) getting dragged out onto the dance floor and made to dance with some stranger, who kept putting his hand on my thigh and slipping it up to my hip under my skirt (which wasn’t that fucking long to begin with). I was 18, I think. It was an “Under 21” club.

Do I need to go on? I think I’ve made my point.

This shit happens every damn day to women of all skin colors, sexualities, cis or trans… you name it. Fuck, I got catcalled just a month or so ago… wearing all baggy grungy clothes heading to the MAX stop (I think I was going to an appt or something). Me with my mohawk and baggy clothes and beat up sneakers and a cane… getting catcalled.


I’ve also, as I think I’ve said in previous posts, had many phases or short contemplations of suicide. High school, a period in my 30’s when my asshole doctor decided to put me on Prozac, which made me want to slit my fucking wrists so badly, it outdid the suicidal ideations of my high school years. That shit fucked me up so badly.

In the past couple of years, I’ve had shorter bursts of contemplating it. Usually when I’ve been in full panic mode over possible eviction as well as earlier this year with the eviction itself. I lost count how many times I sat on my bed or my couch … or in the bathtub … thinking of why the fuck I should keep living? Then I got either of the girls, Portia or JoJo when she was still alive, just coming up to me and purring and either nudging me or tapping my arm or leg with a paw.


Life isn’t easy. I’m dealing with C-PTSD, my asshole ex cyberstalking me like I’m his damn “internet chew toy” … being homeless in a tentative situation that needs to come to an end, but my means to get back into my own place again are virtually non-existent. Trying to finish grad school, find decent work, organize my stuff in storage, handle medical and dental appts, go on tasks to make some income, and remember to take my meds and eat decently. Some of those, especially the later things I listed, are basic, normal-ish things I can handle… working all the big stuff around them is the hardest part. With chronic fatigue and pain, getting up at a decent hour that isn’t close to noon, but earlier in the day, is not always easy to do.


So, you may wonder what the subject heading of this post means… here’s my lesson and philosophy behind it:

Look back up at all the shit I’ve been through. Add verbal and emotional abuse by some family, used and abused by people I thought were friends, etc… I’ve dealt with a lot.

Wake Up Tomorrow

I adopted this years ago during a bad run… I think it was later in high school. Say you had one of THE shittiest days you can remember in recent months. Everything went wrong and in some seemingly catastrophic way, or at least that’s how it feels. You may already be battling a period of depression or severe pain. You contemplate ending things. You’re absolutely SURE tomorrow is going to also suck and you can’t imagine things getting better any time soon.

So you think about it.

But you can’t guarantee tomorrow will suck. Shit, you don’t know what will happen tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that. Maybe it’ll suck, maybe it’ll be awesome, but you won’t know unless you wake up tomorrow. And the days following it. You can’t know for sure that it’ll be horrendously awful. Unless you wake up tomorrow. Go to sleep, get some rest, cry if you need to (man, I’m surprised the tear stains aren’t permanent on my face by now), and wake up tomorrow. Sounds simple, I know. Take each and every day as it comes.

Will that work for everyone dealing with shit? No. I know it works for me. I’ve had friends and a few strangers, in the past 24 hours or so, call me brave. I’ve done therapy off and on since I was 16. I understand so much about my past, but I don’t really know how I’m getting through it… except for one thing:

I wake up every day.

I’ve had close calls, due to medical stuff, not attempts on my part, and they’ve taught me this: Not everyone gets the chance to wake up the next day. No one knows when they’re going to die. The fact that, despite pain and all kinds of other things, I wake up every day and am able to feed my floofy monster kitty, that my heart is still pumping blood, my lungs are still taking in oxygen, my legs work… mostly. I have those days when my legs/back/feet/hips/knees/etc just rebel and go, “nope!! what was that about going somewhere today? yeah… not happening, bitch.”

Life isn’t easy. But I figure that as long as I keep waking up every day, I have a fighting chance to make things better. Never know unless you wake up.

~A

Posted in birthdays, community, creativity, depression, dreams, faith, friends, health, individuality, life, medical, Personal, semicolon

10/2: Birthday Post

So, today was/is my birthday. I have never been ashamed of my age. I celebrate each birthday. The main reason is simply because I’ve had far too many episodes in my life where I almost didn’t make it to the next day.

Today, I turned 45.

I also turned 9.

Nine years ago, I was in the hospital fighting this nasty infection called Cellulitis. It’s essentially a Staph infection (there are many types) that comes in through a primary infected wound (in my case, my left ear piercing decided that, after 20 years, it really didn’t like nickel or some other metal) and settles just under the skin. For me, it settled at the base of my neck on my right side

I was sent to the hospital on September 26th with a white blood cell count that was somewhere hovering around the moon. After tests, pre-dawn blood draws, massive doses of the antibiotic Vancomycin, a mild case of pneumonia, and a bunch of things… I was discharged mid-afternoon on October 2nd… my birthday. My 36th birthday to be exact.

So, to grasp how bad shit was, there are three stages of Cellulitis:

  1. redness and swelling in and around the affected area, pain and stiffness, fever in many cases.
  2. if there are lymph nodes in the area, they absorb some of the infection and swell up. the fever tends to peak and then break (I hit 103.2 or so, then 24 hours later, no fever). My lymph nodes were the size of ping-pong balls when I walked into the ER on the 26th. They shouldn’t get that big. Really.
  3. From the lymph nodes, the infection starts to spread, called ‘going septic.’ I could feel it going up my neck to my brain and across to my heart. If it had hit either, I would not be alive today.

I was in 3rd stage.

There. Is. No. Fourth. Stage.

Unless, as I like to joke, you count a body bag as a stage.

So, I almost fucking died. Not an experience I’d like to ever repeat. Until I’m old and grey. I never want Cellulitis again… ever. It is NOT a fun experience.

As I was deemed well enough to leave the hospital on my actual birthday, I celebrate not only the number of years since I showed up on this planet, but the number of years since I had a second chance.

I keep asking for gift certificates to the LEGO store, but no one ever does it… LEGO and IKEA.

But for that one year… I got the gift of a second chance. I’m doing my best to not waste it.

One lesson I learned from that experience is this:

No matter how cliche it seems, you really never know how long you have. You may not wake up tomorrow. So stop hesitating. Go back to school for that degree you’ve always wanted. Save up for that “bucket list” vacation. Make shit happen. Want to learn to paint? DO IT! Volunteer with an animal rescue? Do it. What else? The way I see it is that as long as it isn’t illegal, so way out of the boundaries of morality, or has a surefire risk of death, go for it. Step out of your comfort zone and “learn to fly!” If you’re fortunate to make it to “old age,” the goal is to be able to sit in your rocking chair and look back at your life and have as few regrets as possible. Instead of “I wish I had done ________” you can say, “I did this and it was an incredible experience.”

~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 bugaboos, community, creativity, dreams, faith, feminism, gender, health, life, Personal, poetry, society, tattoo

9/22: When I am Old…

I’ll be turning 45 in a little over a week, and I read an article earlier today about older beautiful women which prompted me to make the status in the image above on FB.

When I am old
I will dye my hair purple.
But probably only the mohawk. 
I'll be proud to be grey.
When I grow old
I will say 
FUCK!
As loud as I damn well 
Please.
Growing old is 
NOT
For wimps.
I am not a wimp
Therefore,
I WILL grow old. 
I will wear bright colors.
And mismatched socks.
And no matter what
I'll still say SHIT a lot.
I will be the old lady
With the NERF gun pointed
At the kids crossing my yard.
But have cookies and soda for them
When they return to apologize.
They say to grow old gracefully.
I will grow old
However I damn well please.
Likely raising Hell 
My dress flapping in the breeze. 
I will be the one
Others gossip about.
Without a care in the world
Refusing to bow out.
With my purple mohawk 
And greying sides,
Wrinkled tattoos and
Still watching the tides.
I'll eat what I want
And do as I please.
For no one can take
My freedom from me.

~APA 2017

Posted in anxiety, community, depression, homeless, life, Personal, storage

9/21: Thank You

THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! 

Storage is out of the woods. I just got back from a day of errands, which started with stopping at the post office to get my mail, and then to storage to pay the bill and put a new lock on it. I grabbed a few things that were near the front and then headed off to my next stop. I do want to desperately go back with a bunch of friends and really dig in and sort the whole mess. I can’t get back to the back corner (it’s an 8×20 unit and the door is half of one of the long walls…it’s 8′ deep, 20′ wide, jam-packed).

That’s what happens when one is homeless and has “stuff.” Here’s the thing: once I get into my own place again, I can downsize back to a smaller (cheaper) unit. It isn’t like this is all “excess” stuff, this is all my household things… some furniture, my mattress, kitchen supplies, etc… plus my collections of books, music, fabric, costumes, and random other things. My dad’s coffin flag, my piano (electric. my dad wanted so badly to see me return to music, so that was my “legacy purchase” with the estate money).

I won’t need the 8×20 unit forever. This is a temporary thing while I’m “in between” homes of my own. I would love the help in tackling organizing it better… so if you’re local to PDX and want to help and aren’t a total gimp with chronic fatigue like me, let me know. I’ll supply water/soda and granola/protein bars. I have two seats (small office chair and the padded piano bench) but there’s plenty of space to spread out.

And the offer stands… for those who helped, especially those who donated, if you want copies of my three published books, let me know. I can place an order in October.

Again, thank you to everyone who helped. People have asked me how I’m surviving this even deeper pit of hell with being homeless… it’s because of my cat and my friends. Portia, the cat, makes me laugh and lets me bury my face in her plentiful fur when I need to… and my friends help me in every other way. It isn’t easy. But I’m surviving. One day at a time…

~Amanda