Posted in anxiety, dragon, empath life, job hunting, Personal, research

6/23: Recovering from Humans (Dragon)

I had a long day yesterday. Without going into all the explicit details, let’s just say I should have been on valium the whole day. I had a TR gig, then dragged a couple of boxes to storage (got them from the gig). Being on transit made me twitch. One angry drunk, and then another interesting one later while heading to a job networking event. My social anxiety went through the roof at the networking thing. Managed about 2 hours of a 3 hour event and then headed home.

While most of the day was ‘meh’ I did get some insight about my job path. See, I’ve been looking at Social Media, but I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s pretty saturated here in PDX. I apply and apply for jobs and get nowhere in this field. When I mentioned to those I talked to that I also do demographics research and similar work, eyes lit up. Two different women said that since social media is kind of a bust, leaning toward research may be better. With my almost-finished MLIS in Archives, I know searches and detailed research. I actually enjoy it.

Around here, tech folks and social media people are a dime a dozen. But researchers? A bit more specialized and less common. So maybe I have a chance. I see my VR counselor Tuesday. I had been contemplating a shift in focus but wasn’t sure where to turn next, but I think I may have my answer. It works well with Archives, as I tend to do research on historical things when I’ve processed slides, trying to get more info on the history behind this building or that one. While I may not do write-ups on most of the items, that is something I’ve done for other things. I should dig that file up and repost it on my portfolio site.

Who knows where this path will take me.

~Dragon

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, community, empath life, faith, life, peace, society

6/19: Can’t Shut It Out (aka Dragon Gets Angry and Philosophical)

Hate begets hate.

The cycle just keeps going. Every morning, I wake up to news of anger and hate. People using guns, knives, vehicles, etc to maim and kill. People on the fringes of society who loathe and hate those who are different. People who want revenge for something the people they harm didn’t do.

I’m am Empath. I cannot block out what is going on. The emotions that whirl around in our society today. Anger, hate, anxiety, fear… it keeps going. It keeps hitting another level. Genocide, bigotry, prejudice. It keeps ramping up. Another attack. Another shooting. Another vehicle plowing into a crowd.

No matter the race or religion of the person with the anger, it is terrorism. Terrorism is not something “they” do. It’s something “anyone” can do. Terrorism is striking terror and fear into other people. Usually a group or subculture. I look at the various attacks of the last several months and I see hate and anger being forced onto a group of people… making them afraid.

Some terrorists want you to retaliate. Daesh and other fringe groups. They do NOT represent all Muslims. Not by a long shot. As someone said (whom I can’t remember the name of), “If all Muslims were terrorists, the rest of us would be dead by now.” When you have millions of followers of Islam, just as with -any- other religion, you will have the angry, deluded fringe. It isn’t even just religion. It’s political groups, it’s subcultures of our society.

One example of a non-religious incident: A couple of years ago, a Furry convention up in Seattle was under fire because a few people, possibly not even con-goers, decided to trash hotel property. In a considerable way. I’m not talking dinging the corner of a desk. I’m talking willful destruction of property. The hotel contract was cancelled and they couldn’t find another hotel in Washington State to host them. That convention is now on hold until everything settles down. All because of a few jackasses who fucked things up.

See the similarities? A small percentage of a group gives the rest of said group a bad reputation. A fraction -a very small fraction- of Muslims are connected to Daesh/ISIL.

And yet, others lash out at anyone they think is Muslim. The attack last night in England. This time a white person running a vehicle into a crowd of peaceful Muslims as they left their mosque.

If you can’t understand why some Muslims stray and start becoming violent, look at the person who injured several peaceful Muslims last night.

Then if a Muslim who has turned to violence attacks a crowd of non-Muslims, the cycle of hate and fear and anger and violence continues.

To end this, we must focus on those who do good in the community. I see mosques opening their doors in times of natural disasters and other situations to those who are not of their faith, but who are in need. I see them going out and feeding people who need food. Shelter when it is needed. I see more Muslims behave more Christ-like than a lot of people who consider themselves Christians.

My core faith is Christianity. I lean toward Omnism overall. I do my best to understand all faiths. I have a lot to learn. But I think we all do.

Focus on those who have strong positive ties and help others. Ask them as a child would ask a parent. What is your faith about? What do you believe? Try to listen to what they say. Talk to people, listen to people, learn from people.

The organist at a church I used to attend was being honored one morning for 40 years of service. He took the mic and told a little tale. When he and his wife converted to Christianity, they knew a few other Christians and many, many friends of theirs were not. He said he noticed that over the years, the scale has tipped so that they know very few who are not Christians and many who are. This stuck with me.

This is partly why I maintain friendships with believers of all paths, as well as many atheists. I try to show what Jesus taught: love, acceptance, compassion. I don’t preach to people… despite being ordained. I sit back and observe and show compassion when I am capable. I’ll readily admit that I’ve been under a lot more stress the last few years, so my supply of compassion is a bit low. But I still try.

One thing I think a lot of people don’t fully understand about Islam is that it’s the third of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Allah is Arabic for God. The same God Christians worship.

If we listen and learn from each other, I believe the fear will dissipate.

What we don’t know, we fear.

So, let’s start learning. Start asking. Go to the sources. Talk to an Imam. Talk to… anyone!

This list of TED Talks is a good place to start. Here’s another page chock full of talks. And then the Interfaith Amigos…

We need to work on building community with those who are not just like us. We can win over hate.

~Dragon

Posted in adoption, anxiety, cats, depression, empath life, family, Personal, PTSD, storage

6/4: Crash Day with Portia

Originally today was going to be spent at my storage unit selling off the bed frame to a friend and then organizing and trying to reclaim some space in the back half of the unit. My mattress is resting on edge on my beloved coffee table (that I’ve had since I was about 18 and needs refinishing one day). All of that blocks my views of the rest of the space behind it. On Thursday last week, I managed to get to where I was sitting on my taller chest of drawers (I tend to call them dressers, even though that’s inaccurate, but yanno, it’s easier) and noticed that the space behind the mattress is not being utilized to its full ability (think vertical). So my goal is twofold: find a way to store the garment bags of costumes so they don’t “avalanche” while being stored flat, and then clear a better path to that area and organize it better.

One goal, when I have the funds (which I’m looking at costing more than I originally thought at around $60-$80, depending on the diameter of the chosen pipe) to make a steel pipe garment rack. I’ve had purchased racks from Target and IKEA and they cannot withstand the weight of the costumes. Eventually, I’ll get some plywood and make a platform on casters and put the steel pipe rack on wheels, but that part can wait. I need three 6′ pre-threaded pipes, four 12″ pieces, two elbow joints and two T joints. Yes, I know my way around a hardware store… maybe a little too well.

Honestly, if I could work retail again, I’d love to work at Ace Hardware. The people there understand thinking outside the box and have always helped me suss out how to work around problems with creative things (the guys at Pearl Ace still remember my dragon puppet head from 2009).

So, today was going to be spent at storage, but after Thursday afternoon in there, then two days of moving books and stuff around at the yard sale here, I was tired. When my friend who is buying the bed frame said he wasn’t feeling well today, I decided I’ll just stay home. Tomorrow, I tackle storage. So, about today…


The rest of this is part of a status I wrote earlier about Portia… the parts in Italics are the original post.

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First Position. She normally sprawls on my chest if I’m in bed, but not today. 

Although the bond with Portia isn’t as strong as mine was with JoJo, she is still bonded. Note in this picture that while it isn’t obvious, she’s napping on my left hip/pelvis. The side that has been problematic for a couple weeks now. Earlier she was roughly in the same spot, purring and grooming herself.

I adopted Portia October 30th, 2010, a few weeks after I had to put Jack to sleep due to Acute Renal Failure. His quality of life was extremely poor, so it was best to let him go. I tried making JoJo an only cat, but that didn’t last long. She became “Super Cling Kitty” within a week. I found Portia through Petfinder at Cat Adoption Team.

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Second position. Still in the same place on my left hip and leg, but this time taking my hand as hostage.

I know some people who think “she’s JUST a cat,” but I know better. Having been a petsitter, volunteer at shelters and rescues, and a lifelong cat person, I know behavior and a lot of health stuff. As an Empath, I connect with cats and dogs. Cats can, if you let them, be amazing therapy animals. Both girls were there for me last November as I dealt with the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s death as well as his 90th birthday and on top of that, a massive trigger of my C-PTSD. Portia and JoJo got me through it. Three months later, we lost JoJo, oddly to an illness similar to what my dad died from. Portia has picked up where her big sis left off, being there for me in her own quirky way.

She’s adjusting to being an only cat better than JoJo did. Granted, we’ve also been in this transition and technically homeless since early March. I think she wants a buddy, as she tries to get along with the resident cat, although that girl isn’t too keen on Portia. Hence my reference to baby gates on occasion. I have to keep them up to keep her contained.

It’s been 4 months as of yesterday that we lost JoJo. My father died of heart failure and then JoJo with Congestive Heart Failure. Two of my closest companions gone from similar issues.

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Third Position. Belleh Floof! A fair amount of the time, she actually likes belly scritches. Jack was the same way. 

Portia has picked up on things. She makes me laugh, does things like in these images today to help comfort me and be a bit of therapy. She’s feisty but sweet. Hates being groomed, but loves attention and treats. She gets underfoot a LOT and loves wet food. She’s a total dork of a cat, but she keeps me grounded and sane. For me, if not for the cats in my life and music to help push the emotional pain out, I don’t think I’d survive my life right now.

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This is from a few days ago. She was partially on my lap and licking my nose and chin.

Cats are amazing creatures in so many ways. Far too many people see them as aloof, cold animals, but those of us who have shared our lives with them? We know better. There is power in those paws. The whiskers. Those knowing eyes. The power of absolute love.

~Amanda

Posted in depression, empath life, faith, life, Personal

6/3: Salt Bowl Prayer

[Light the candle/tealight in the salt bowl]

***

To the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit… and all who came before me and the deities they may have worshipped. 

Watch over me in the coming days as I seek wisdom in myself and in those around me. 

When I am weak, lift me up. 

When I am silent, help me find my voice. 

When I stumble, remind me that it is okay to do so and encourage me to keep going. 

When I do not feel brave, remind me of my strength. 

Guide me through these days of darkness and depression. 

Let this flame clear the sadness and pain.

In all of this, I look to those who came before me for guidance. 

***

~Amanda 

Posted in anxiety, bigotry, depression, empath life, homeless, life, peace, Personal, politics, PTSD

6/3: Anger and Burnout

There is this part of me that wants to speak up… to bring up points on others’ threads that the vast majority of “terrorist” attacks here in the US have been perpetuated by white male assholes…. that no, 45 isn’t doing shit to keep us safe… when in reality, he’s encouraging that white male hate, bigotry and violence.
This part of me wants to scream at his supporters and those who are in-between and in denial about his bullshit to just fucking wake up and see that he’s screwing over them as well as the whole damn planet. He is the laughingstock of the political world except to those Repubs who are either blindly following him or knowingly using his idiocy to their advantage. I want to shake them. I want them to wake up and try to understand how this all works.
But I’m tired. I have my own shit to deal with in my life. I struggle to find work. I have lost more in the last five years, than in the previous ten combined. Both parents, my beloved soulmate kitty, my apartment, and a fair bit of my sanity (or so it feels). I’ve developed social anxiety and delved into a depression I can’t shake. 
I have more days than I’d care to admit where I just want to curl up in a ball and shut the whole world out. But I can’t. I have to stay connected. Job hunting, keeping up on storage, doing stuff here where I’m staying. Trying to muster the energy to keep going.
One might think that at my age, I should have my shit together and know where I fit into society, but I don’t. I see and feel stuff around me and feel even more at odds with where I fit and what’s going on in society.
I want to speak up more, but it drains me. I don’t like arguing with people. I’ve had enough of that in my life before now. I crave peace. Not just for myself, but for all. Is it wrong to wish for that? Is it wrong to want the hate and violence to stop? It keeps going in this vicious cycle. One side attacks the other, then retaliation… and it keeps going around in circles. When does it end? Breaking that circle has to happen… and soon. Nothing will be left to save if we keep letting it go around again and again.
I have my moments…. I want to save the world… or even a part of it… and then I realize I’m one person. I can’t do it all. I have to take care of me and my cat first. But sometimes being an Empath can suck. I want to reach out and help others so much. I just want there to be less pain, less anger.
Less violence.
~Amanda
Posted in anxiety, bigotry, cats, chronic pain, creativity, dogs, empath life, Personal

5/28: Empath Burnout…

I have this longer post in my head and hopefully I’ll get it out and up on here before too long. It’s about the wave of violence and hate crimes even just here in PDX in the last couple of weeks. One of the worst made international headlines. Some here are freaking out, wondering why here? Why now?

I want to share my thoughts on those questions, but I need to do a bit of research first. I also need to come out of the burnout as an Empath. The fear, anger, and sadness even just among local friends and their other friends is palpable. 

I’m also dealing with more pain. I may have mentioned it. Last Wednesday, my left hip started to hurt in a way I’d never felt before. I have sciatica, so at first, I dismissed it. I did my best to stay off my feet Thursday through Saturday. Today, I went to a big meet & greet with several cartoonists. I’m FB friends with Jim Horwitz, who does Watson (the dog). Met a few others, had a good afternoon, but I was in pain the whole time. I’m still using my cane for my right knee… and now my left hip? There aren’t enough swear words to convey my opinion. It started hurting as I was going down the steps from the porch. I wasn’t 5 feet from the door before it started up. I had hoped the rest would help, but it didn’t. 

I just WENT to the doctor last week because of my TMJ. 

Needless to say, between my physical pain issues and the burnout as an Empath, I’m kinda done right now. So if I’m not posting much, it’s likely been a bad day. 

Here’s Fatcake, one of Jim’s characters. Watson is in the main pic. 

It was a good couple of hours for me, despite the pain. I wish I knew what was going on with my hip. But back to the doc I go, as soon as I can make an appt.

Some days I may only muster a poem. Others a post and maybe a poem. Pain has a way of making other things come to a halt. The sad thing is that all of my annual allotted “therapy” appts via Medicaid are used up/scheduled. You only get 8. I got 4 for speech therapy and the remaining 4 for PT for my knee. So this will be a challenge. First, we have to figure out what is going on. 

One day at a time… 

~Amanda