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

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Posted in dreams, faith, family, grad school, grief, individuality, life, Personal, storage, writing

2017: Dear Dad

Three years. I miss you. I always will. It hasn’t been an easy three years. I’ve struggled with grad school, finding work, and am now homeless. I know what you would say if we could talk on the phone. “Hang in there.” “You’ll sort it out.” That’s how you were.

The day I’m actually writing this (11/7) is the anniversary of the day I last talked to you on the phone. I called you in the morning before heading off to OryCon. I insisted on figuring out a way to get down to CA to see you for Christmas. One more visit. You said to not worry if I couldn’t… that we’d have phone calls and it was okay with you. You asked how my finances were doing and I said I’d be okay, but January might be tight. You said you’d see what you could do to help.

But you never were able to. And I wasn’t going to get one more Christmas with you.

That next evening, while I was at OryCon having dinner with friends, you passed away. We were notified the next morning. I had just finished my morning shift at the store (unlike you, I’ll never be a morning person) and checked my messages.

My world -the one where you were my lifeline, my cheerleader, my rock- turned upside down. I was just finishing up my first semester of grad school. Finally making progress in my life. I had my cheerleader a phone call away. And then you were gone.

I want, more than anything right now, to be able to pick up the phone and hear your voice. Knowing what you would say isn’t enough. Hearing them from you would mean the world to me.

You always joked that it was up to me and Bud to get the rest of the family into heaven. I always responded with, “Dad, it doesn’t work that way.”

“Oh, I’m sure you two will figure it out.”

Honestly, knowing you as I do, I don’t think you had any problems getting through those gates. Bud joined you a few months later. I’m sure the two of you are sitting on a bench somewhere, watching over me and everyone else.

Still want to hear your voice, though.

Tomorrow, I’ll see about picking up some sheet music. You were so excited about me getting back to my music. And maybe hit Ace Hardware. Not the same one you took me to as a kid, but my favorite one here in Portland. Maybe I’ll find solace in going places and getting things you would want for me. I can’t go play my piano. It’s in storage and needs an outlet. I told you I’d get an electric one.

I miss you. Always will. But I’m going to do my best to live my life as you would want me to live it. No holding back. Never settle and never give up on my dreams.

~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, bugaboos, disability, faith, life, nanowrimo, Personal, society, writing

11/4: Writing and Respect

I hit 2500 words last night and then had another task today, which took up a chunk of my afternoon. So I’ll write this evening and then tomorrow.

On my way home on the bus, I noticed things. The more I’m on public transit, the more I see both good and bad behaviors. One dude wearing a camo jacket and had camo on his backpack (and a trucker hat… with a trucking company name on it) sat across from me and was entirely too guilty of “manspreading.” And I really wish he hadn’t. There was a hole in the crotch of his filthy jeans… not big enough to know what color his undies were, but noticeable. Which is bad enough.

Then two examples of people wanting to get on the bus not waiting for people to get off the bus. The first time was when I arrived at my destination and these two kids just got on and even after I said ‘Excuse me,” loud enough, still stood there like they had zero clue. It wasn’t until the adult in the group (mom or aunt, I presume) who was still outside on the sidewalk spoke up and told them to get off the bus and let me get off. Because of being disabled and having my wheeled crate with me, the front door is best.

Then, on the way home, two ‘kids’ in their early 20’s or so didn’t bother waiting for an elderly woman to get off the bus. The only difference was that no one, not even the driver, told them to wait. Most drivers will hold up their hand and tell boarding riders to wait because someone was exiting. This driver was younger and female and had a new setup with a plexi-glass barrier up (that can unlatch and swing open for her to get up) for her protection. Maybe she’s fairly new, or she is concerned about getting any riders upset, but she said nothing. These two just pushed past the older woman.

This brings me to a bugaboo I have: lack of respect. I’ve seen, and dealt with a lot more of this on public transit recently. I use a cane and I still am expected to ask for a seat in the priority seating area for elderly and disabled riders. None of us should have to ask. The signs are actually pretty damn obvious. A couple days ago, a fellow disabled rider had to tell a woman who purposely turned away to ignore that someone else with a cane (me) needed the seat she was in. The older woman said I needed the seat. She reluctantly moved. We chatted and she said she recently watched as someone requested that an able-bodied person move so the disabled person could sit in the area designated for us, and the guy sitting there refused to move. Another guy, who was disabled, told the reluctant guy that he was required to move for people like us. He still refused. I can’t remember what she said ultimately happened, but man…

We. Should. NOT. Have. To. Ask.

It’s called respect. Try it sometime.

Sadly, I’ve seen a decline in it in recent months, even in the last few years. I do my best to respect others. But it’s a two-way street, ladies and gents and everyone else. If you want my respect, you gotta earn it. You are NOT entitled to it. Shit, you aren’t entitled to anything other than being able to breathe… and equal rights. I don’t give a shit who you are, where you’re from, what you do for a living, etc. If you treat others like shit, expect that in return. You are owed nothing. Want respect? Be worthy of respect.

I believe that every person who makes it to adulthood has earned a basic amount of respect… say 5 points. You can lose some of those points by being an absolute asshole to people… or you do massively evil things. But I believe we all start adulthood with those 5 points. You want more? Earn them. Do good deeds, be kind to those who maybe aren’t as lucky as you are. Respect those around you, even simply by being polite and kind to them. Let them off the damn bus before you board. It isn’t difficult to do. It just takes a few extra seconds and a little patience.

Practice kindness and respect. You’ll earn them tenfold in return.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, creativity, depression, disability, dreams, empath life, eviction, faith, friends, grad school, grief, health, homeless, housing, insomnia, job hunting, life, medical, Personal, writing

10/21: Living Outside My Own Life

More “frustration contemplation” … bear with me.

I’ve chattered on about the various things I do: writing fiction, etc, costuming, grad school, and a bunch of other things. I’ve also talked -at length- about depression, grief, homelessness, being unemployed, being disabled, etc…

Right now, I feel like I’m not living my life. I’m trying to move forward, busted my ass and made promises to get back to school and finish this term, but I’m flailing again… each week flies by me and I look up to find myself even further behind and royally fucked. My own doing. Job hunting is the same. I feel removed from the life I’m supposed to be living.

My health hasn’t helped this, but neither has being homeless and jobless, and … yeah. I know I need to do X, Y, and Z… but I don’t … I… fuck it. This is difficult to put into words on a ‘page.’

I see ME doing all these things in my head. I KNOW I can do them, but I feel like… like there’s a door between the me I am at this moment and the me who can do all those things. That door is locked and deadbolted and can’t be gotten through. And I don’t know where the keys are. I know they exist, but not what they look like or where they may be. I feel as if I’m standing at the window next to the door, looking in. Seeing this other me accomplishing things. But she can’t hear me banging on the window and door to let me in.

Every time I try to jump back in, break down that door, the brain fog returns. The disconnectedness. The feeling like my life is RIGHT FUCKING THERE!!! and it’s just out of reach. I can hear it, smell it, see it… but I can’t step into it and DO it.

Is my being “in between” [i.e. homeless] part of it? Likely. Is being jobless for over two years part of it? Very likely. Nothing like spinning your wheels in a job hunt and getting nowhere. The rare interview I do get, I don’t get hired. Despite the fact that my VR coach has said I interview very well.

I feel as if I can’t fully be ME where I am. Not my kitchen, not my bed, not my bathroom, not my home.

A lot of it started when I lost my dad in 2014. Before I was evicted. My dad was my anchor in life. If I felt lost, I could call him and he’d say what was needed to get me back to center. It’s been nearly 3 years now. A couple of weeks away. I slowly began to slip after he died. I was able to keep shit together to some degree for a while, but over a year later, my own disintegration became more obvious. The fog settled in. It lifts every so often for a brief moment or two, then returns to envelope me, keeping me from my life.

It’s looking -to me at least, from my own digging around- that Chronic Fatigue/Adrenal Fatigue is a distinct possibility. Long term stress makes it worse. Look at my life of the past 12 months… it’s been pretty fucking stressful. But getting out of this mess. How?

CFS/AFS has no cure. Doctors treat the symptoms at best. I’m on Vitamin D (enough to choke a large farm animal), and Celexa, among other meds for things like my asthma and allergies, my tachycardia, and “as needed” pain meds.

Is my current living situation part of the issue? The late start to mornings here… the people I’m staying with are retirees, so they stay up late and get up late. I stay up to about 11 and try to get up at a reasonable hour in the morning (Furry Alarm Clock gives me no choice), but I’m groggy and stumble around. Fall back asleep and wake up a few hours later… late morning. There are other “environmental factors” as well, but I won’t go into those. And no, setting an alarm doesn’t help. Tried that. Keep trying it every so often.

But that brain fog… lack of oomph… standing outside of my life… I don’t know how to fix that.

~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 bugaboos, chronic pain, depression, disability, faith, health, individuality, life, Personal, politics

10/4: Stubborn Independence

I have -always- been this stubborn, pain in the ass, fiercely independent person. Even when I was painfully shy growing up, I preferred to be on my own and do things myself. I was raised that way.

My financial independence hasn’t come so easily, even at this point in my life…. fuck, ESPECIALLY at this point in my life.

But this past weekend, in Seattle, I realized one thing: I can’t be so damn stubborn all the time. I need to let go of a bit of my independence and let people help. Taking a cab to and from the Amtrak Station, getting my rolling duffel up to the 3rd floor w/o an elevator at the hostel I was in. Getting from Union Station here in PDX back to where I’m staying.

And last of all, help going between the train and the station.

I’ve never kept it a secret that I have disabilities. I’ve just never let them rule my life. I still don’t want them to rule my life. But I have to accept that I cannot always do everything.

I injured my low back at 17. While the discs themselves healed over the next few years, the sciatic pain has remained. Then, about 4 or 5 years ago, I re-injured the same damn discs. I’ve also broken my patella, one toe, knocked a few other things (such as my SI[Sacral-Iliac] joint) out of whack, more pinched nerves in places other than my spine, deal with Cluster Headaches, TMJ pain, and a few other things. And those are just the physical things. Also depression, anxiety, heart issues [tachycardia], etc…

And yet I want to push myself and see being 45 as my “half way point” in life… wanting to hit 90 still kicking ass. I’ve tried so hard to deny that I’m truly disabled… “oh, I JUST did this to my back/knee/ankle/shoulder… I’ll be fine”

I think my friends have heard that a few too many times from me. I downplay my disabilities. But I’m also currently curled up on my bed from spending the whole day here due to the headache, back pain, feet having issues, and just generally being really fucking exhausted.

I say yes to helping friends move things. I try to tackle the bins and boxes in storage on my own… because if I can’t do this alone, why should I have all this stuff? If I can’t manage it…?

Currently, I’m also emotionally drained from the overwhelming emotions coming from the massacre in Vegas. I have a little research to do, but there is a post forming about what can be done by echoing a certain other country I love dearly. And they are NOT a Bastion of Liberalism, yet they have very strict laws on the books about firearms and ammo. But more on that later. I’m also reading what friends and FoF’s post in the calmer discussions on FB.


As for those vile Cluster Headaches. Last week, I had two phone calls… same day. First was to schedule the oxygen tank for home therapy so I can manage it myself. Second was from the billing department from the same company. She didn’t realize the other person had already scheduled it, but we did a “wait and see” on whether my insurance would cover it. The scheduled delivery is “sometime” tomorrow, 10/5. I’ve heard nothing else from them on whether it’s been approved or has to be rescheduled, etc… so this should be interesting. I may call in the morning, if I’m coherent enough, and check with them.


Back to the whole Independence thing… I may blog more about it later. I know one thing though… When I’m out and about, riding on the buses or the MAX here in PDX, I see others with walkers or scooters. While I’m aware their situations may be different, I see similarities as well. I don’t want to go down that path. My cane, yes. Crutches when needed for immediate injuries, but when I say I wouldn’t mind a new set of wheels, I’m not referring to a walker or scooter.

I think that’s it for now…

~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 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