Posted in activism, anxiety, asexuality, bugaboos, C-PTSD, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dogs, eviction, family, homeless, homelessness, LGBTQIA Pride, life, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

6/24/18: #PTSD, #Bullying, #Asexual #Pride, and #crowdfunding

Being here in the shelter sets my PTSD off in ways it doesn’t in my usual ways. Loud voices, doors slamming. Most of my triggers are related more to men and crowds, so being on transit during commute times is hell for me. But being in a building with all women with behaviors I haven’t seen since high school and raging estrogen flares… I’m reminded of how rare friendships with women are for me. I get along with some here, but many are wired in a way that makes my PTSD bubble to the surface.

I pull away from people in general when this hits. Add pain to the mix and I get snippy and my sarcasm level goes up.

I think I’ve done enough back and forth with doctors at the clinic. I made the semi-crack that I should call the patient advocate office. Then I decided that maybe I will. I don’t know if any good will come of it. I’ve had both my GP and the doctor filling in for her (she’s on a personal leave) reject the idea of getting anything more than x-rays. The pain that’s been most prevalent lately has been soft tissue damage from the fall down the stairs (well, bouncing) 5 1/2 years ago. I had my knees up with my feet against one wall to try to stop my descent as I bounced down the stairs. Soft tissue damage doesn’t show on x-rays.

Back to the shelter here. We had some bullying here several weeks back. I defended the person who was being bullied and was thus made a target as well. So, two days ago, one of the bullies was gossiping to a newer resident about the stuff from weeks ago, as well as subtle snark toward another. I walked past them in the hallway. I brushed it off, hoping it was a one-off moment.

Later that evening, I heard another resident pulling the same gossip crap, bashing the woman from weeks ago, to the same recipient. I hesitated a moment, but then turned back around and reported both incidents to the RA’s here.

Yesterday morning, I heard that same recipient tell the first gossip that they didn’t want to hear anything more. My guess is that she was told to not participate in it. Here, gossip is frowned upon and against the “good neighbor” policy.

Fast forward a few hours. One of the RA’s knocks on my door and says there are some residents who have complained that the litterbox smells. All the way down the hall. I use the Tidycats Breeze system for her. While the pellets are overdue for a change, her box isn’t that bad. I think the cat food smells worse. She’s mostly eating wet food right now due to needing meds. I’ve since heard from one other resident that no, she can’t smell it. Some of the dogs have issues of their own and have a habit of peeing on their dog beds. And their doors were open while mine wasn’t for the vast majority of the day (save for opening it to go to and from the bathroom).

I put two and two together and realized it’s the bullies getting their hackles back up. They don’t like being called out for their bad behavior. I’ll keep calling them on it. Bullying and gossip have no place in a respectable society. Yes, I know, I’m talking about a homeless shelter, but it applies. If you want to be respected, you have to work on respecting others.


One of the other situations here is one person who has this negative energy and has some kind of burning desire to be the center of attention. An Energy Vampire. She has triggered my PTSD in ways I didn’t think of. I grew up with a similar person. Always trying to outdo me in “how bad my day was” and other things. Always negative. This person is even worse. She has managed, within two weeks, to alienate or piss off almost everyone on our floor. That’s skill, man… not a GOOD skill, but a skill. Oof.


PRIDE!!

So, I’ve always been open about my sexuality. I am Aromantic Asexual. That basically means I don’t experience any romantic or sexual attraction.

Once more for those in the back:

Aromantic Asexual: I don’t experience romantic or sexual attraction.

It has nothing to do with the act of sex, the libido, etc. Just attraction.

Now, I’m also a sexual assault survivor, so the act of sex is kind of ‘meh’ to me. Some Aces (asexuals) enjoy sex with their partners, some have libidos, some don’t want any kind of touch… the array of possibilities is endless with us.

Do I find some men attractive? Yup. *cough*Tom Hiddleston*cough* … but it’s more of an aesthetic attraction. Oh, and several of the men Verillas uses for their models… oof. Very good looking men. Oh, and I want most of the stuff they offer for women.

For more information on Asexuality, go here: AVEN Wiki.

I’m not ashamed or afraid of representing who and what I am. If not for my PTSD and anxiety, I’d have gone to Pride here last weekend. Because of my PTSD, I have a difficult time with any kind of touch (the Energy Vampire mentioned above touched my shoulder and I had a hard time staying calm while I explained that I cannot handle touch and that not everyone wants that and she needs to ask permission before ANY touch).


I’ve been looking at dog breeds as potential ideas for a service dog. I’ve gone from Dobermans and Rotties to Tervurens and Groenedael’s. Saw a Terv weeks ago here and just fell in love. We shall see…


It’s been a rough week. And now I’m down to a bit under four days to raise what I need for storage. I have about $300 coming in from two tasks last week, but I still need help getting at least half of $1300 before noon on Thursday the 28th. I really should get more than half, but I know that might be difficult.

Any and all help via PayPal is immensely appreciated.

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Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, bugaboos, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, empath life, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, individuality, life, observations, storage, urgent

6/13/18: Humans All (and #crowdfunding)

Still looking for help for storage. Auction is 6/28, so I do have a bit more of a cushion than I thought. Precedent has been that auction is mid-month, so I was going by that. So far, work this month has been sparse. Any help you can give… whether it’s donating or even just sharing. Everything helps.


I’ve posted in the past about being homeless and being human and all that. The recent story about the jogger (asshole) in Oakland who took a local homeless man’s belongings and tossed them into Lake Merritt. The jogger has been arrested for taking the phone of a guy who spotted him the next day. Hopefully more charges will be filed against him for what he did to the homeless man’s belongings.

This reminded me of recent discussions on our local NextDoor for my old neighborhood. Some people were vehemently complaining about the homeless population while others were doing what they could to calm them down and help them see reason. In one of of these threads, I outed myself as being a former neighbor who is now living in a shelter due to an eviction.

This is the thing: no matter whether we live in a tent, a shelter, a house, apartment, or a high-rise condo, we are ALL human beings who will end up in the proverbial pine box (some will choose burial, others cremation, even others various other methods that have emerged). Where we live and how much we do or don’t have won’t matter in the long run.

If you have all the trappings of success, they could vanish next week. If your belongings fit in a storage unit or a shopping cart, you could have a windfall next month and things could improve.

Or it could all end in an instant without any change.

None of us truly know where our lives will take us. Only where we’ve been. We can have all the grand plans and ideas written down somewhere, but it’s all a matter of chance, with some choice tossed in. I learned long ago to not plan too far ahead. The rug got pulled out from under me and plans changed frequently.

I changed as well. Every instance in my life that made me change direction in some way changed me. I am nowhere near the person I was 25 years ago. Hell, 10 years ago. I’m not the same as I was last week. I learn as I live. Each day holds at least one lesson. Sometimes one I have to keep learning (don’t get me started on foodstuffs).

But back to the topic in general.

No matter where we stand in society, we are all the same. Yes, there are differences. Education, disabilities, income, housed/unhoused, skin color, eye color, career choices, etc… we are each unique in our humanity. But strip away those differences and our human-ness is a common link.

I think some -far too many- tend to forget this. Like the people in my old neighborhood bashing homeless people. The differences are merely on the surface of who we are. They forget that they could easily end up homeless like me in an instant (well, maybe longer, but given a tragic incident and draining of savings and loss of job… you get the idea).

No one is perfect. No one is above another. Money doesn’t make one superior, despite what that person may think of themselves.

I may expand more on this as I go… for now, this is my observation.

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, bugaboos, community, crowdfunding, depression, faith, family, homeless, homelessness, housing, individuality, life, observations, peace, poverty line, society, storage

5/17: Assume Nothing… It Gets You Nowhere (& #crowdfunding)

Dear Bast, my life right now has become Hollaback Girl.

Let me explain. I’m listening to a mix of popular songs on my iTunes. Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani started playing as I opened this page to write. This part especially.

“I heard that you were talking shit
And you didn’t think that I would hear it
People hear you talking like that, getting everybody fired up
So I’m ready to attack, gonna lead the pack
Gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out
That’s right, put your pom-poms down, getting everybody fired up.”

This part. This is me here at the shelter. We have a bullying problem here and I know some of them are playing me, being nice to me but still talking shit about my friend behind her back. Sometimes including me in the gossip bullshit. Last week, I stepped up. She had left the room and they continued to gang up and acting like the “cheerleaders” or popular kids, picking on the loners. I asked them, politely at first, to chill out, calm down… you name it. Then they got on my ass. Yeah… no. They were reported, warned to stop the behavior. A week later, they’ve returned to talking shit, making up rumors, etc.

I talked to the person at the desk about what they were doing this morning. She basically told me they have to be told while it’s happening (I had something to go to, so I didn’t have the time, but they were talking shit about her again).

The behavior here of women who are technically middle-aged adults is that of childish, cliquish spoiled brats. The Mean Girls.

I have tried to understand this behavior. I was always the outcast kid. The loner. The weirdo. The one who preferred books and music to parties and hanging out with the girls. Hell, I didn’t even have a first date until my senior year and he wasn’t even in high school (odd story, but he was really a perfect gentleman).

I see it also on NextDoor with people from my old neighborhood being angry, childish jerks about the homeless. We don’t have enough resources even for those who want them. But the anger and entitlement puzzles me. When empathy is brought up, they respond with, “well, empathy is all well and good, but they still do …” They give this attitude that it’s the city’s fault when it’s society’s fault.

I’ve been talking to my therapist about some of this. Damn near everything I bring up circles back to two things that oppose each other in some way: Wanting acceptance as an independent, unique person in society AND finding and wanting a stronger community.

Look to what we consider third world countries. Multiple generations living under the same roof; the elder women of the community work together to care for each other and others in the local community.

We don’t do that here. Far from it, in fact. We move away and have our own homes and many raise their kids and enlist strangers to help them. The sense of community is gone. Too many don’t know their own neighbors. Not knowing leads to fear of those who live next door. Who knows what that guy down the street does for a living. There’s a black kid walking down the sidewalk… a Muslim family moving in across the way… and because no one wants to build the community and meet their neighbors, fear stirs up… police are called on the black kid… rumors start stirring that maybe that Muslim family is really a terrorist cell.

And no one steps out of the pack of hungry hyenas to TALK to the black kid… to the Muslim family.

Assumptions are made. With those assumptions, innocent lives are endangered. Even killed.

If we all took the time to listen and learn and build community with -everyone- around us: rich, poor, housed, homeless, men, women, straight, LGBTQIA+, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, black, white, brown… maybe -just maybe- we can stop the fear mongering and hate. Communication is absolute key. Is this simplistic? Maybe. But it’s a basic concept that I think our society has forgotten.

But I’m just over in my little corner in my room in a homeless shelter with my cat. Watching the world set itself on fire.

~A

PS: Yes, I’m still crowdfunding. I’ve been playing catch up on other things and still need help with storage. I want to get it caught up before the end of May.

Posted in dreams, family, grief, insomnia, life, music, observations, writing

Dammit, Brain!

(Ignore the fact I chose a pic of Portia, it’s 3:40am now…)

Dammit, Brain, it’s 3am. And you decide to dream about a random chance to meet Marilyn Manson. You aren’t even a fan. Stop doing random shit Brain and go back to sleep like you should.

So, because I can’t get back to sleep, I decided to look up Marilyn Manson and see why he comes up. Read part of a rather odd interview. And below is what I found.

Now I think I may understand why my brain did what it did. I read an article on MM. He lost his mother and then his father, whom he was really close to. And in the dream, we take a pic and then I mention that I’m just here by happenstance. He said he felt the need to come over, even though I wasn’t seeking him out. I briefly mention losing both parents and then being homeless, but bouncing back. And he gives me a hug.

There’s a common thread in our real lives. Both of us are “adult orphans” … and after his dad died, he knew his dad wouldn’t let him take time to grieve as he was super supportive and a fighter. When my dad died, I was in the middlenof NaNoWriMo and, despite everyone saying it would be okay if I didn’t do it that year (2014), I knew he wouldn’t want me to stop writing. So I didn’t.

Something about that… I didn’t know that about MM until I just looked it up. Subconscious is trying to say something…

~A

Posted in dreams, family, grief, insomnia, life, music, observations, writing

Dammit, Brain!

(Ignore the fact I chose a pic of Portia, it’s 3:40am now…)

Dammit, Brain, it’s 3am. And you decide to dream about a random chance to meet Marilyn Manson. You aren’t even a fan. Stop doing random shit Brain and go back to sleep like you should.

So, because I can’t get back to sleep, I decided to look up Marilyn Manson and see why he comes up. Read part of a rather odd interview. And below is what I found.

Now I think I may understand why my brain did what it did. I read an article on MM. He lost his mother and then his father, whom he was really close to. And in the dream, we take a pic and then I mention that I’m just here by happenstance. He said he felt the need to come over, even though I wasn’t seeking him out. I briefly mention losing both parents and then being homeless, but bouncing back. And he gives me a hug.

There’s a common thread in our real lives. Both of us are “adult orphans” … and after his dad died, he knew his dad wouldn’t let him take time to grieve as he was super supportive and a fighter. When my dad died, I was in the middlenof NaNoWriMo and, despite everyone saying it would be okay if I didn’t do it that year (2014), I knew he wouldn’t want me to stop writing. So I didn’t.

Something about that… I didn’t know that about MM until I just looked it up. Subconscious is trying to say something…

~A

Posted in anxiety, community, crowdfunding, emergency, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, life, storage, urgent

4/12/18: Saved for now

I do need to continue paying off the rest of it, but I’m now a hair under 600 behind. No auction for now. Thank you to the last minute people who helped get me to and just over the threshold for saving my unit with my stuff.

The stress of dealing with this every so often is beyond frustrating. I try to make enough to keep it caught up, but I simply don’t make enough.

The plan, once I’m caught up, is to descend upon my unit with pallets and casters (someone elses idea) and a whole mini-army of people with more energy than I do on a good day. Repack, sort, and organize the ever loving hell out of what’s in there. Toss/recycle some things and downsize the unit to something maybe around a 10×10 instead of the 8×20.

This may require a not-so-minor miracle.

The idea of moving back down to a smaller unit is to get my monthly price down to something more manageable. The sooner I get caught up and can find affordable heavy-duty casters, the better. pallets I can find for free, the only hiccup is getting out there to pick them up and have someplace to store them until we’re ready to tackle storage. Locking casters preferable. At least half of them.

If anyone knows a place for affordable heavy-duty casters, let me know.

For now, I’m crashing from the adrenaline of dealing with staving off auction.

~A

Posted in anxiety, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, eviction, faith, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, life, poverty line, storage, urgent

4/12/12: 4 hours #crowdfunding

Is it possible I could get it pulled from auction? A slight possibility. He knows I refuse to give up and he’ll have the message from the corporate customer service center. Even if he does pull it this morning, I have a very long way to go to raise the funds. If folks would feel better, I can set up another YouCaring campaign. Just know that the processing company (WePay) behind them and GFM take a cut. Even if YouCaring doesn’t.

Please let me know in a comment or on FB/Twitter if people would prefer using that.

I just prefer PP because it is fast, usually very easy, and no fees.

I’ll keep folks updated.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, chronic pain, community, cosplay, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, faith, family, friends, genealogy, homeless, homelessness, insomnia, life, research, society, storage, urgent

4/11/18: Mornings, Genealogy, and #crowdfunding

SHARE ME!!! Still asking for help, of course. I will keep updating when funds do come in.

Mornings are difficult for me. Life here at the residence shelter has been, well, an adjustment, to say the least. For the past year, I stayed with a retired couple of friends. Early? Nope!

Before that, my depression was so fierce, getting up before 9am was difficult. Between it and pain, mornings aren’t easy. But here I am getting up around 7am. I know what some of you may be thinking.

“Good! Then you won’t be so lazy.”

And those of you who will think that have likely never dealt with chronic pain, fatigue, and lifelong insomnia. Which certainly isn’t helped by the late night bed checks and me being a light sleeper.

I may go to bed at a reasonable time, but my brain just won’t shut up for at least an hour (if I’m lucky) after that. Last night, I still hadn’t gotten close to sleep by the time bed checks happened. I finally zonked out around 2am. Only to be woken by Portia around 5am. Then a bit more rest, but not full sleep, and the wake up yell at 7am by staff.

One thing I wish I’d inherited from my dad: he was out cold shortly after his head hit the pillow. How his kid (me) ended up being a lifelong insomniac is bewildering. I got so many other traits from him and his side…

Speaking of family/family history, I’ve put the idea out there about doing a genealogy group here. Teaching whomever is interested in how to search for their bloodlines and see where they end up.

I am also finally going to a group today on public speaking. We’re supposed to do three a week, or other regular activities can take the place of them (X number of work or volunteering hours count toward 1 group hour). This group is, I think, focused on developing public speaking skills to help use your voice in soeaking up for homeless advocacy.

More to come. Do remember to share posts and help me save my storage unit before tomorrow’s auction.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, cats, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, domestic abuse, emergency, eviction, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, observations, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

4/10/18: Stigma of Homelessness & #crowdfunding

2 of ? blogs for today.

SHARE THIS!! PLEASE?
PayPal is the easiest and fastest way.
Auction is at noon on April 12th.
I need a bit under $1400, but would prefer a bit of a cushion at $1500.


If you were to look at me on the street or train or bus, you would never grasp that I’m one of thousands of homeless people here in the United States. Many are working poor, many have mental illnesses of varying types and degrees, some are certainly addicts.

And there are those like me who hit a very bad run of luck and haven’t been able to bounce back easily.

I was evicted from my apartment a bit over a year ago. Since then, I’ve stayed with friends, but needed to get into a different setting that was more helpful. So here I am in a women’s transitional housing shelter with my cat.

Okay, so I do kind of fall under the mental illness category too, with my PTSD and depression. But those inhibit my ability to function like everyone else, not take it away completely like some other illnesses.

But I’m clean cut, take regular showers and do my laundry, take care of myself and my cat, and otherwise function, so I’m not as obvious as others might be.

Anyone reading this could become homeless like me. It takes losing a job or hours cut back and no savings or 401k to help float you for a while. It takes losing key members of your support system. One misstep in this society and you can very easily become one of us.

It reminds me of a homeless woman I knew back in Chicago. She was awesome. Well educated, wildly intelligent. I think she had been a professor or something. We could stand outside the mini-mart and chat about politics, philosophy, religion, world views and culture for hours.

And yet, she was homeless.

I never asked about what happened, but I suspect it was similar to my own. Things going okay and then one day, BOOM! everything is turned upside down. Maybe escaping an abusive situation. Maybe a messy divorce. Maybe lost a job.

There are thousands of us out there. In this situation. We don’t appear stereotypically homeless. But we are.

And if our economy keeps going the way it is under a certain “president,” there will be more.

But here’s the thing: we aren’t all freaks and addicts and thieves. Many of us are clean, friendly people who just need a little help getting back up on our feet. I don’t panhandle, at least out on the street. I just ask for help online. I’ve gotten to the point over the years where I’m not comfortable talking to people in person. I certainly can’t beg face to face.

Since I don’t look homeless, I’m able to overhear conversations on the train between people who look down on the homeless person who is asking for help, or is on the train and sleeping because they couldn’t get sleep the night before. Maybe they smell because they were one who fell between the cracks of even the homeless society and can’t get help. Maybe he’s a vet the VA has long forgotten about.

Do you take the time to learn their stories? There were two women here in my building who are homeless vets themselves. Has the VA helped much? A little here and there, but not enough.

What about the family living in a tent under that overpass? Where is the help for them? There are few places here that help whole families. The shelters we do have here in Portland are for men or women, sometimes with pets, few places for families with kids. And usually those are for mothers with their kids, not whole families.

And some, like me, have belongings they’re trying to save. It kills me that I may lose my dad’s coffin flag and the “parting gift” of the piano I was able to get with estate money because he so badly wanted to see me get back into my music. My costumes, music, books. Things I’ve made or have been made for me.

Housing prices are out of control. We have to try finding work where we are, as we can’t afford to move. And even if we do find work, it isn’t always enough to afford a place to live.

While far too many are dismissive of us, look down on us, I ask that you remember one thing: We are human, and you aren’t too far removed from where we are in life.

~A

Posted in animal advocacy, C-PTSD, cats, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, empath life, faith, family, friends, health, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, poverty line, PTSD, storage, urgent

4/9/18: Observations of humans and their pets [and #crowdfunding]

As I try to write on other things, trying to save my storage unit is still top priority. Running out of time before auction. I’m trying not to panic, but I’m screaming internally.

As a cat slave, I can observe how people are with their dogs. As well as others with cats. I spoil my cats rotten (although right now I only have Portia).

One important thing many people don’t get: our pets can sense our emotions. They’re naturally empathic. Now I’m speaking mostly on cats and dogs. I look at two dog people living on my floor here at the shelter right now. One is stressed and frustrated about finding work, let alone housing. Her two dogs are manic and ill-behaved. They sense her upheaval and anxiety. The other has a dog whose breed is known for being very active, and while he is a goofy, bouncy dog, she has trained him to be calm and attentive. Her demeanor contributes to that. She’s calm and thus her dog is calm. The first lady, she’s stressed and anxious and the dogs can feel that and are also anxious.

Cats are the same way. They can tell when their human is stressed. Portia does this. She’s been on my chest or very close to me the last several days because I’ve been more anxious about storage and everything else in general. She was this way during the initial eviction a year ago and then whenever I was stressed about certain situations since then. She has picked up JoJo’s job of Emotional Support Animal.

Some people dismiss cats in this respect because they’re “aloof” which I disagree with. Maybe you just aren’t the human they’ve bonded with. Maybe you treated them poorly early on. They do remember. They don’t hold grudges, but they remember stuff. I hear too many people say their cat is pissed off at them so the cat peed on the bed as revenge.

First, the cat is peeing in the wrong place for any number of reasons. They have health issues, had a bad experience at or near the litterbox so they won’t go near it, or any number of things. Jack, my boy I had for almost 8 years, got Urinary Tract Infections and had issues with the box. I eventually got him back to using it.

But I digress. Felines can be and many times are a wonderful purring part of our lives as we deal with crap in our lives. Had a bad day? I have plenty of those. Comes with being homeless and having PTSD. No matter what happens “out there” I can come home to my room in the shelter and sit down next to her. I’ll lean over and wrap my arms around her and bury my face in her fur for a little bit. Sometimes, I’m still so wound up, she comes to me. She will sit there and put her paw on my leg or arm, tapping gently. Like a “hey, I’m here.” I can then lean over and hug her. She also curls up on my chest if I’m laying down. All 14 pounds of her.

JoJo and Jack were also this way. Love a cat and you get love in spades in return.

Dogs are the same. Show love and you get love in return.

Just remember that they can always tell if something is off. They know.

~A