Posted in activism, community, crowdfunding, dragon, emergency, empath life, friends, grad school, history, life, Personal, politics, research, storage, urgent

8/15: Dragon Quandries & #crowdfunding (of course)

(CW: Holocaust)

I’ve wanted to speak on this past weekend’s events, but I’m still stuck on words. I’m pissed that we still have to fight this shit.

Just dealing with this shitstorm quietly (more or less) as an Empath has drained me. I want to write something long on my blog, but I can’t find the strength and energy to do it. My father and most of my uncles served in WWII (those that didn’t were too young). We’ve been through this shit globally and yet there are some who just don’t fucking grasp the concept that they lost those wars… their ancestors or whomever… lost. They lost the Civil War and Nazis lost the Second WW. 

Just a sampling of the shit Nazi-wannabes have done this year alone

In one of my papers for school, I had to pick a maligned group in history and show my research methods and write up a decent summary on what was done to them. Originally, I thought of the Holocaust and the Jews, but realized that was likely a vastly overdone group and one many others likely turned to for similar papers. I still wanted to focus on that time period and what else Nazis did… and found my group: Gays and Lesbians in Europe. I knew the Pink Triangle came out of WWII, but I didn’t know the full extent of the atrocities. Medical experimentation on gay men, including full castration. Women had it only slightly easier, unless they were also Jewish. If they were Jewish Lesbians, they were as good as dead within the week. If they weren’t Jewish, they were still “marked” but kept alive and somewhat free as they were considered “breeding stock” for the Nazis. The pink triangle is the gay and lesbian version of the yellow Star of David patch Jews had to wear.

My professor’s comments on my paper were simple, “Excellent research. I never knew that about what they did during the war.”

In the years since WWII, we’ve had a lot of changes in the US. Some things didn’t change enough. Legally, we have civil rights for nearly everyone, but many want to take some of those back for LGBTQ and PoC.

Some people, however, still haven’t accepted that the Confederacy and the Nazis lost their wars. These are the people we’re fighting today. These are the people who picked up tiki torches and marched on Charlottesville. These are the people who believe anyone not “pure” white and heterosexual should be “put down.” They’re called by different names today, but instead of calling them by all these different names, it all boils down to one name.

Nazis.

They use the salute. They fly the flags of oppression. This is what they are. This is what they should be called.

Germany has learned from its history. Anything to do with Nazism is illegal. No flags, no salute, nothing.

It’s time we set some of the same boundaries. Speak up, as silence will accomplish nothing but letting them win.

~Dragon

Yes, I still need help with storage… any and every bit helps. YouCaring and PayPal.

Posted in activism, bugaboos, cats, crowdfunding, dragon, dreams, friends, history, homeless, life, peace, Personal, politics, storage, urgent

8/3: Hotter than a Pissed-Off Dragon’s Nostril

So, if you know where I’m located (PNW, Portland to be more precise), you know we’re getting hit by a heatwave rivaling what other regions of the US and Northern Hemisphere have been getting. On top of that, we’re getting smoke from two wildfires. One fairly close by and then the BC fires that have been raging for a while now up north. So it’s hazy and smoky outside, which is filtering the sunlight and heat, but it’s still not a normal August for us. It’s a wee bit toasty for us.

I decided to go grocery shopping anyway. For the most part, I behaved myself. I got water, ginger ale (because something fizzy helps at times), cauliflower and a few “bad” things… but mostly I behaved. I didn’t really get anything to cook as this week is so toasty. No interest in cooking and heating up the house any further. I may get something later this week or the weekend.

Here I am talking about groceries and I still need to tackle storage rent. I’m going to need about 630-650 total, and I do have a little bit coming in, but no more donations so far.  I have less than half. I have a LONG way to go. PayPal or the YouCaring campaign are available.

Portia is staying cool as far as I can tell. There is A/C here (which is great for her, but after a while, I end up freezing my ass off) at the house we’re staying in. I don’t have fur like she does. Today is supposed to be the hottest day for the week and then we’ll be back down in the 80’s and 90’s… Portia is sleeping a lot, but then again, she is pushing 12 years old, so she’s an “old lady” in cat years. She has her moments, though. Oh boy does she ever.

If you’ve checked out the Amazon Wishlist, you may notice a new addition to the top of the list. A gaming headset. Except I’m not using it for gaming. See, I need to get back on track with my German lessons and since I’m living with people, I don’t want to deal with the speakers and cheap mic on the laptop. Having a decent headset will help me hear the audio without having to turn it up, and the mic on it will be better for me to practice the pronunciations. I use Duolingo for my German and French, but I set it aside, like everything else, during the eviction.

And hey, my birthday is coming up in two months… 😉

I do want to at least get my application in for my second citizenship before the end of the year. Hopefully I’ll have a decent job by then so I can save up the money for the application fee.

I did have a strange dream last night… and yes, it ties in to what I just wrote. A friend found a piece about how supposedly 45 (he who is pretending to be the POTUS) is going to release lists of types of people who are “enemies of the state” of some sort… invoking an American Kristallnacht. This is not a good sign, but my hope is that Mueller will nail a few overblown asses to the wall before Christmas… (fyi: I do not use 45’s name and he sure as Hell is NOT my president. He doesn’t represent me and the vast majority of people. I include the disenfranchised who just didn’t vote.) Well, my dream was one where a new list was released and that anyone holding or applying for a second citizenship elsewhere was un-American and if they traveled outside the US, they would not be allowed back in. Sound familiar? Charlie Chaplin was flagged as a Communist by the McCarthy hearings and when he traveled overseas and tried to return, his re-entry was denied. He settled in Switzerland, in Vevey, never to return to the US.

I sincerely hope this country doesn’t travel down that dark path. We really need to learn from the past. Not just the history of our country, but that of others.

And now I must be off to meander around the internet causing trouble and lighting fires on Twitter… balanced, of course, with pictures of cute kitties.

~Dragon

Posted in bugaboos, chronic pain, crowdfunding, feminism, health, history, life, Personal, storage, urgent

7/28: Living While Female

(Yes, I’ve said I’m genderqueer/genderfluid, but emphasis on “fluid” as I am totally okay with female pronouns)

Yes, still need more help with storage before Monday and month end. Whatever anyone is able and willing to help with via PP. You don’t need an account with them with the donate button… just a credit/debit card.


I admit I look younger than I am. Most guess my age to be mid 20’s to early 30’s when, in reality, I’m almost 45. But this isn’t about looking a certain age or anything like that.

This is about being female, knowing my body and its quirks such as pain and congenital things (missing vertebra and row of ribs, FTW!! Yes, really) and dealing with doctors and medical professionals in general.

It really started, or I at least became more aware of it, when I was 17 and had slipped on some ice in the parking lot of a ski lodge in the Sierras on a group trip. I had landed on my right hip. Hard. The medical personnel there couldn’t figure it out, but there went the cost of my ski and boot rentals up in proverbial smoke. Ouch. I was ordered to stay in the lodge with the adults and other non-skiers. I hadn’t packed much of a lunch and only had a few bucks on me. I think the adults in our group took pity and got me food later, but I can’t remember. I do remember the pain and the only thing I could afford to keep my mind occupied: a deck of cards.

When we returned home at the end of the weekend, I was also sick (a bad allergic reaction to the down in the ski jacket, pillow, and sleeping bag my mother insisted I use because I MUST have outgrown the allergy. Nope). I stayed home from school most of the week and so on… lots of pain, trips to the family doc at first (don’t get me started on that asshole), etc.

Starting with that family doc, I spent the next year bouncing from doctor to doctor. X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s… PT, mild pain meds. You name it. One problem: there was never an actual diagnosis. Since I had landed on my right hip, every one of these doctors -many of them orthopedic surgeons- did tests, etc… and when nothing showed up and things didn’t help with my hip, they each did the verbal form of a patronizing ‘pat on the head’ and “well, there’s nothing wrong with your hip. It must not really be anything.” and shooed me out the door while billing my dad’s medical insurance for a lot of crap.

I went through roughly 8 doctors in that year. Then a neighbor recommended Dr. Nolan. I will mention his name. He’s retired or soon will be as he is transferring his practice. I hope the new guy is as damn good as he was. Dr. Richard Nolan was one of the best, if not THE best Ortho Surgeon in the SF/ Bay Area at the time.

At first, he looked at previous films and reports and notes and… yeah. A couple of visits, we tried a cortisone shot and a tens unit… nothing worked, as usual. ON the 3rd or 4th visit, he chatted with me and made the pronouncement, “well, there’s nothing wrong with your hip.” My shoulders dropped and my brain was inventing new swear words. Then he cleared his throat:

“So let’s look somewhere else.”

He had his tech do quick x-rays of my mid to low backin the office and after looking at them, he came back into my exam room and showed them to me.

Two. Slipped. Discs. Lumbar Region.

HALLE-FUCKING-LUJAH!!!!

By this time, I was 18, taking classes at a local community college, and a HUGE weight lifted when he said that. They were pinching my sciatic nerve down my right leg and sometimes the pain also went down my left leg.

So, why am I telling this story?

Because I still -at 44- get the same treatment from doctors. Especially male doctors.

I’ve dealt with countless MD’s and others over the years since who have behaved the same as those doctors before Nolan. What was the difference?

Nolan LISTENED. He took a step back from the accepted idea and decided to try looking elsewhere. He heard me and believed me when I said there is PAIN. It is not in my head. It is very real.

Earlier this month, I started getting this excruciating pain from my neck, thoracic and shoulders area down BOTH arms to my fingertips. The only thing I failed to mention to the doctor I saw was something I just hadn’t focused on: yes, there was -and still is at times- numbness and tingling in some of my fingertips.

But here’s the thing: I told him -REPEATEDLY- that the pain was not just my elbows (both elbows hurt… that’s be the biggest constant, but the rest of it still hurts as well) but all the way across from fingertips to fingertips. And it was NERVE pain.

I have, in the past, snapped at doctors who treat me like shit and told them, “You may know general anatomy… fine. I concede that. But you do NOT know my body. You don’t know its quirks and pains and little things that make me physically unique.”

I’ve been dealing with nerve damage for 27 YEARS. I think I know what nerve pain feels like… yanno? I know something is pinched. I went to my PT for my low back and knees on Wednesday and she pulled up the referral this doc did for what I thought would be “upper back and neck/arms” but it wasn’t. It was for “elbow pain.”

I…. but…. wait… holy motherfu… someone will pay.

Today, after getting ZERO sleep last night until dawn, I managed a few tasks, including a round of things for this one client. And I made a phone call to the clinic. I asked that they put a note in my chart to not schedule me with him ever again. She asked why and I told her about his not listening to me, the asinine PT referral, the fact that I know nerve damage, etc… and that he wouldn’t do any kind of scans to see if a disc was out of place… SOMETHING other than asking some questions. FFS. She noted all of my comments in the chart and will be passing my comments along to the people in charge of that specific clinic for OHSU. I love my clinic, I love my GP, I have zero interest in breaking in new doctors here. For someone like me, that’s no small feat.

I don’t know what, if anything, will come of it. If I’m still dealing with the pain (which, honestly, I am. It’s been around a 5-6 on the pain scale. The day that it started? 10 wouldn’t begin to come close to how bad it was), I’m to come in and see someone else. The problem is that even my current GP, as well as the sports med doc who is only at that clinic on Mondays, are loathe to do any scans or x-rays unless there was a clear point of injury.

I get that, I do. I can understand it. But I’m one of those patients who gets hurt walking down the damn street… alone. Hell, I fractured my kneecap in 2009 just by tripping on the sidewalk and landing on that first. MY KNEECAP, PEOPLE. Not an easy bone to break in general.

If I try to get another clinician to figure it out and they give me the same BS, I have the option of getting the Patient Relations office involved. The girl today even said it’s an option. I want answers. Pure and simple. I want them to acknowledge and understand that some of us patients know and listen to our bodies pretty damn well. I just need them to listen to me and help me figure out what’s going on. I’m not asking them to bring world peace… just help me solve an issue with some nerve pain.

So, what does this have to do with being female? A lot. Especially when it comes to male doctors, female patients are dismissed even today as being “hysterical” (and I’m not talking about funny hysterical either) or not knowledgeable.

I would love to make Robin William’s movie Patch Adams mandatory viewing with essay for medical schools. Teach humanity and humility along with anatomy. 

Well, pain meds and muscle relaxant are kicking in and between those and the lack of sleep last night, I need to curl up under the covers and get offline.

See y’all on the flipside…

~A

Posted in creativity, depression, empath life, history, Personal, poetry

7/22: passing through

Brief moments.
Catch a glimpse of a
Memory.
Did that person really exist?
Why did I not ask that question?
Regret sits.
Waiting for me.
His finely tailored suit
With seams crisp.
Regret’s wingtip shoes
Tapping a familiar beat on the
Floor.
I know it, but can’t place the tune.
He waits for me to invite him in.
To wonder ‘what if I…’
So he can swoop in and weigh me down.
I know he is there.
I have fought him off many times before.
I am conscious of the damage he can inflict.
I wonder of things I will never learn of the answers.
I look to the past.
To learn.
To know whatever I am able to know.
I do not invite him in.
Nevertheless, he waits.
My door will never open for him.

~A

Posted in anxiety, chronic pain, community, depression, domestic abuse, dreams, empath life, eviction, faith, feminism, grief, history, LGBTQIA Pride, life, peace, Personal, PTSD, sexual assault

7/4: Open Book

After our internet came back up (finally), I was musing on a conversation I had over the weekend. I am very open about who I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve done, what I’ve been through.

What I’ve survived.

So I wrote a short post.

And then I decided to turn it into word art. Found an image that fit (and could use) and added the words to become the featured image above.

I am a survivor of a lot of life stuff. I share much of that history… my experiences and lessons learned…  with anyone who wishes to listen.

My life is my journey. This blog gives me a voice to share that journey.

… and so it continues.

~Amanda

Posted in anxiety, depression, history, life, Personal, PTSD, sexual assault

5/17: Trigger Warnings

TW: sexual assault/rape mentioned below
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I keep forgetting that the paypal.me link shows my legal surname. This *may* be partly why people don’t follow through. 
Here’s the thing: for those who don’t know, I’m a survivor of sexual assault from three men (I only realized the other two ‘counted’ recently) and the one who raped me repeatedly (my asshole ex-bf) has also done a fair job of cyberstalking me since 1998. He is the main reason I have C-PTSD. Why I insist others -especially men- ask for hugs or any touch right now. It puts me on edge. I know the SOB is still doing name searches on me. Even this year. I’ve done my damnedest to wipe my legal name from the internet as much as possible.
But there it is on my PPme page when you click on it. Now, the only way to find that is if you have the link to begin with. I would love to see if they’d let me use an alias. It used to be a business account, but I downgraded it once I found out I could also keep my debit card on a personal account (seriously, I highly recommend getting one if you do a lot with PP). Back when I got the card, it was only for business accounts. I couldn’t have a checking account for a while, so PP was my only “bank.”
One disadvantage I realize with using aliases online is that as I apply for social media jobs, etc, no one can find examples. Catch-22 situation. Do I market a blog, etc that is linked to my full legal name and risk him tracking me down? One possibility is using one I’ve started to set up for my Archives stuff, but it’s a .com blog on here, so no address or such attached. I do need to start writing on that one… desperately. My portfolio website has my first name and last initial.
Honestly, I’m tired of hiding, but I also don’t want him harassing me online anymore. There isn’t much law enforcement can do unless he physically tries something. He’s 600 miles away. All I want is for him to leave me alone. No more searches, messages, anything. Just walk away.
I doubt that will happen until one of us is dead and gone. Until then, I’m stuck. Sick of hiding but hesitant about stepping out there and having my name out there for him to find.
Maybe I’ll do some asking around.
~Amanda
Posted in cats, community, creativity, crowdfunding, history, life, peace, poetry, society, storage

5/8: poem & #crowdfunding 

(The usual: need to round up 1k and have 10% of that. Need to save my lifetime of belongings in storage before May 18th.)

Poem?

Early morning feline antics

Replace sleepy cat claiming 

Half of the bed. 

The heat comes on for a little while to keep the house tolerable. 

The small clock above my head ticks

Ticks

Ticks.

Batteries and computer chips replace most of the gears of older time-tellers.

We lose the memory of them.

How they work. 

The stories they could tell if 

They did more than 

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

~Amanda 

Posted in activism, bigotry, community, empath life, history, peace, poetry, politics

5/5: Poetry: No More

Sharing this w/o any other commentary.

No more.
Hate and violence.
War and fear.
When do we start valuing
Peace?
Kindness?
Community?

No more.
Greed is the religion
Of those in power.
Sacrifice is foreign to them.
Bigger bombs.
Bigger guns.
Power and fear.

No more.
Bodies lying face down
In rivers polluted with greed.
Mass graves dug of hate
And indifference.
People dying because of their
Skin color.
Sexuality.
Religion.

When?
Stop fighting.
Stop killing.
Stop hating.
Stop judging.
If we do not.
The world we live in will be.
No more.

 

Posted in chronic pain, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dragon, empath life, grad school, history, homeless, life, music, Personal

4/20: Dragon Puzzle: #Life, #Jobs, #Creativity & #crowdfunding

I forced myself to go out and run a couple of errands today. Even before heading out, I felt out of place today. It may be due partly to the whole being jobless and homeless thing. But I think there’s more to it.

On one of my FB statuses about all of this, even my brother, who doesn’t live here, pointed out that the job market here in PDX tends to be polarized. The extremes are dominant. We have a lot of low paying service jobs and a fair number of high paying tech-style industry jobs, but very little in between. Yes, there are “in between” jobs, but the numbers available are declining. Some months back, I was in one of my favorite music stores and one of the clerks and I were chatting. This very subject came up. He said that the people who come into the store or that he sees around town are either retail/service/restaurant or they work in one of the big tech/industry firms such as Intel or Nike. This is what the PDX job market boils down to.

The problem with this for me is that I can no longer physically DO the service jobs. And I don’t have enough paid background to even stand a chance in the high-end job market. The jobs that are in between are predominately admin assistants and such. You really don’t want me answering phones. My stumbling over words and Freudian slips would get me fired in a heartbeat. This is why I look at the slightly more unconventional jobs. why I love doing research or the reason I’m finishing up a degree in Archives/Library. I love data, research, history, sorting… oh yeah, and social media. Yes, I do have decent people skills as well. I’m just a teeny bit worn out with them right now. Chronic pain and years of abuse by customers will do that.


Then there’s the crowdfunding for survival. Right now, that’s more on keeping my stuff safe. I need to regain access to my belongings. I see a lot of people clicking on and reading my posts… and a few friends here and there share the YouCaring links… but I see little movement. Are people getting tired of me asking for help? Likely. If I had a decent job, which I’m trying to get, I wouldn’t have to ask. I’m just afraid of losing everything I own (save for a few things that aren’t in storage, which isn’t much, honestly). So I ask. Trust me, I’m tired of asking… probably even more than others are sick of me asking…


Earlier today, I made a post or two on FB about feeling out of place and how that goes with the lifelong feeling of being invisible. I sometimes feel like an afterthought…

I don’t know where I fit into society. I refuse to conform to the point of losing who I am for a job or for acceptance. I refuse to change who I am to suit what society thinks I should be.  But I get told by some that fitting in is the only way. I don’t believe that. There is a place in this world -a sorely needed place- for the Creatives. Those of us who don’t perfectly fit into the jigsaw puzzle of society. We help bring color and life into a society that encourages conformity. If it weren’t for us, you wouldn’t have those paintings in museums, sculptures to examine, books to read, music to listen to, movies and TV shows to watch. We make the world a little more interesting.

But the disadvantage is that in so many aspects of what we offer the world, all that is ever acknowledged is the work produced, while those of us who create it are ignored, pushed aside. Yes, there are award shows and all, but to recognize us as part of society, not these bizarre outcasts. We still need to pay the bills and rent somehow as well. We bring our creations to you, but we are more than just those creations.

~Dragon/Amanda