Posted in activism, anxiety, auction, community, conformity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, empath life, faith, friends, homeless, homelessness, individuality, life, observations, politics, poverty line, society, storage, urgent

9/22: Political Divide Ponderings (and #crowdfunding)

[Before I get to politics, I need to raise the funds for storage before Monday because of transfer time for GFM and PayPal. Any sharing or donation is greatly appreciated. See the stickied note for more info. Basically: auction is on 9/27 and I don’t have my PP debit card, so everything has to be transferred over to my checking account. I have two days before the transfers will be too late.]

I have always been in the “Bleeding Heart Liberal” category. I knew at 15 that I was going to register Democrat. My parents were both registered Republicans. But from a time when Republicans were more liberal (Dad was an Eisenhower Republican) and Dems were more conservative. My mother was originally a Democrat, from back in the day before parties switched views. She switched to Republican, around when she married my dad. I think because her views were so conservative, he nudged her to change affiliation to match her views. Dad, however, was pro-choice and all the other stuff. He voted Republican, but man, he was liberal through and through.

By the time I was 18, I knew Democrat was where I belonged. Some of my views have a twinge of Libertarian in them, but I’m staunchly a Dem. When I got my voter ID card at 18, I showed it to my dad, who joked, “Where did we go wrong with you?” I knew he was messing with me in a good way. Remember, he was quite liberal and I am such my father’s daughter. He knew, in his own quiet way, that I was in the right spot.


Flash forward to this past week. A couple days ago, I got into a debate with a conservative woman from this shelter. Here’s where my pondering begins.

How can someone who is homeless/poor/etc and reasonably intelligent stand by politicians who are so vehemently against them? I’m talking about the Liar in Chief. I usually just use ’45’ to refer to him, and will do so the rest of this post.

How does a woman who served in the military and depends on the VA in all its brokenness support a man who cuts spending for the very system she uses?

How can someone who is living in a shelter that depends on federal grant money to help people say that the government shouldn’t be the ones who help the poor and disabled, but that churches should be?

The debate happened while we were waiting for the MAX train back from her first trip to IKEA is several years. When we got on the train, I was so pissed, I just started ignoring her. She turned to a man on the other side of her and started in about “ignorant liberals”

*twitch*

*twitch*

The one thing I got clearly from her was this: she got her advanced education later in life (a Bachelor’s in Science [B.S.] in something) and had dropped a class because the professor made something clear about some sort of view that was decidedly more liberal than conservative. She then went into how she was glad she didn’t pursue her degree when she was younger because she might have been convinced and brainwashed back then to agree with this more liberal view.

As with everything involving the women in this shelter (other than the backstabbing and lies some pull), it all has mostly blown over and she’s all smiles again with me. Meh. I’ll move on and chat again with her. Just not today.


This is why I ponder these things:

I am innately curious about the human condition and psyche. Always have been. Ever since I was out of diapers, I either had a camera in my hand or was observing people in how they acted, reacted, and interacted. I wanted to understand human behavior from the time I was really little.

I’ve long joked that I’m really an alien from another planet who was dropped off here to observe human behavior. Sometimes, it doesn’t really feel like that much of a joke. I’ve always felt different. Like I wasn’t the same. Not human. My physiology is the same, save for a few oddities, but I am essentially a human being. I just don’t feel like I am one.

I want to understand why people behave how they do, believe things they do, act how they do. I’ve always been the one who asked questions and looked for answers. As a kid, I was always pulling random things from the yard and putting them under our little 3x microscope. I wasn’t big on dissection once we got to that in school, but I wanted to learn about other things.

Why are we seemingly always at war with each other?

Why do we so easily fear and then hate each other because of differences?

I know that second one is partly why I feel so different. I choose not to fear the differences. I’m curious about why the differences are there, and want to examine those differences. I love and embrace my curiosity. I want to absorb and learn and experience those differences. And I’ve never understood why others don’t want the same.

To choose being informed over conformity.

~A

Advertisements
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 anxiety, artsy stuff, C-PTSD, community, convention, cosplay, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dragon, dreams, emergency, friends, homeless, homelessness, individuality, life, PTSD, Science Fiction and Fantasy, storage, urgent

4/6/18: Geeky Beggar #geek #starwars #geeklife #crowdfunding #urgent #cosplay #cosplayer #Jedi

I’ve never hidden my true geekiness. From music to books to movies to well, a lot of things. So now I’m putting the call out to my fellow geeks. I need help. I’m a freaky geeky weirdo of all trades. I’ve done what is now called #cosplay since I was a kid, really getting into it in my 20’s. Star Wars, Star Trek, some period stuff, creating my own characters, and eventually dabbling in #steampunk.

I still have all my costumes. But they’re stuck in storage along with enough brown fabric to outfit a small force of Jedi.

A bit of my geekiness over the years:

A storage unit that is going up for auction on 4/12, next Thursday.

I owe just under $1400 as of a letter I received via email earlier today.

I’m technically unemployed, although I do tasks through Taskrabbit, but most months have borne little income. I’m homeless and all my worldly possessions are in that storage unit.

To lose everything in that storage unit would be akin to losing my identity. Losing myself.

Any help, sharing and donating being the two things that can be done.

~Amanda

Posted in activism, anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, faith, friends, grief, history, individuality, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, politics, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

3/18/18: #crowdfunding and #walkup vs #walkout (this could get ugly)

(The featured image will make sense when you read further down)

***CROWDFUNDING!***

I’m going to write a bunch of posts, at least a few a day, with #crowdfunding at the top and prominent, so I can get a smidge more attention.

As it stands, I owe somewhere between $1000 and $1200 (that changes due to late fees and such, so I know it’s somewhere in that range… last I checked) and #AUCTION is April 12th. For screencaps of recent messages from them, scroll all the way down to the end of this post.


On to the other topic of this post: Walk Up versus Walk Out. I’ve seen some reasonably well-meaning people on my friends list encourage Walk Up. I’m more on the side of Walk Out. For those who haven’t been paying attention here’s the breakdown of what they both mean:

Walk Out: School kids and teens getting up at a set time and walking out of classes in protest of a severe lack of gun control in this country (and yes, gun control means control of who owns/buys them and what they should have to do before getting their hands on firearms. But this isn’t the debate at hand, pay attention). This is a mostly silent protest. Much like with Kaepernick and others silently protesting the treatment of POC by police and the government in general (systemic racism at its ugliest. No, it was not about the flag, never was). This protest is about showing peaceful resistance to the powers that be that this shit ain’t cool and they need to step up and fix the problems or step down and let someone who can and will make a difference take that office.

Walk Up: Well meaning to some degree. This is about the more popular or vocal kids approaching and even trying to befriend the loners who may be potential shooters. It’s about “walking up” to them and engaging them. I get it, I do. But I’ll state my reasons for it being flawed in a moment.


As you may be able to tell (granted, I already alluded to this above), I’m all for Walk Out. I’m a pacifist (with ptsd… yeah, that’s fun… NOT!!!). I believe in standing up for what we believe in. To make a stand for change when the establishment isn’t listening to the people. Those of my generation (X, if you were wondering) have stood by far too long. We’ve let the establishment walk all over us and those around us. But we have been afraid to engage and lead. We didn’t really have things like school shootings when I was that age. One of the worst things that happened was a custody battle gone wrong between two parents and the father killed his two children, one who was a classmate, and then himself so that his wife couldn’t get custody. Three lives snuffed out because of jealousy and selfishness. But it wasn’t on campus.

We lived in a bubble. Yeah, we still had loners *raises hand* and the popular kids. But we didn’t have the carnage and anger that we’ve seen the last several years. In 20 years, since Columbine, we’ve seen far too many shootings (add some stabbings in there, but those end up with less deaths) in schools and places of business.

I wholeheartedly support Walk Out. And some of the teens from Parkland are stepping up and making sure their voices are not silenced. Making sure change WILL happen, come hell or high water.

So, now I’m gonna play a little Devil’s Advocate.

I kinda wish more fellow students had Walked Up to me and others back in high school. I felt invisible and unknown. I didn’t want to BE part of the popular crowd. I liked just being ME, but I wanted them to see me. To say hello in the halls. They didn’t have to befriend me or anything, but just an occasional hello or “hey, Amanda” would have gone a long way. Especially those who were also in my church high school group.

The difference between that and Walk Up is that the campaign for Walk Up is going about it for ALL THE WRONG REASONS!! It should never be about “well, if you don’t befriend them, they may shoot up the place.” That’s all about fear. It should never been about fear. It should be about community, not fear.

If this action is based upon a fear that the loner kid may be the next shooter, then the action comes from fake concern, not honesty. And please, no platitudes. Just saying hello.

One caveat: If the loner kid creeps you out and you get a really bad vibe… yeah, maybe not the best idea to Walk Up. But there are loner kids out there just like I was who just don’t do well bursting into the crowd and making friends that easily. Trust me, at school dances, if I could have melted INTO the walls, I would have. I was a geek of all trades… still am.

In my senior year, I went on a ski trip the weekend before Spirit Week. My mother had this notion that I’d outgrown my allergy to down feathers (nope) and sent me off with a down ski jacket, down sleeping bag, and down pillow.

I. WAS. IN. HELL.

I was sick most of Spirit Week. On top of that, that trip was where I slipped on the ice and messed up my back. I was 17. I had costumes planned for all the theme days of Spirit Week. I would have NAILED any contests.

But I was sick.

I was finally well enough on Spirit Day, Friday. A half-day, mind you. I went to Econ and ended up sitting next to one of the cheerleaders. Don’t ask me which one. I don’t remember. She turned around and saw me. Mind you, I was still sniffling and I was in pain from the fall a week before.

“Amanda, where have you been?”

“Huh? Oh, home sick.”

“Oh, that’s too bad. We were really looking forward to your costumes for Spirit Week.”

My visible response wasn’t much, but in my mind, I was freaking out. One of the popular kids knew who I was? Knew my name? Noticed I had been out all week??????? OMG!

It was surreal for me. After all those years walking around campus and knowing people’s shoes better than their faces, at least one of the popular kids knew who I was.

It didn’t change a lot for me, but I did start feeling a bit more confident. I looked at faces.

A lot more shit happened the rest of that school year, but I still made it through. Now, I was never the kid who would have picked up a weapon. I hated myself more than I hated my classmates. I had shitty self-esteem and self-worth. I was more prone to suicidal ideation. But, as you can tell, I’m still here.

If Walking Up to someone is out of genuine friendliness and not based on fear, do it. You may just make that loner’s day. But trust your gut. If they seem a bit off… maybe not.

Walking Out. Do it! And then follow through afterward with letters and phone calls to Congress Critters (hey, it’s gender neutral, shush!). Take action with words. Trust me… words are so much more powerful in the long run. Maybe I’ll talk about that in another post.

~A

Posted in anxiety, creativity, disability, grief, individuality, nanowrimo, writing

11/15: Whooooaaa, We’re Halfway There… #nanowrimo

It’s the evening of the 15th. November, and thus NaNoWriMo, is half over.

I’m not.

Now, I’m not super worried. Granted I have a lot of other things on my plate as well, but this is also not out of the ordinary for me. I’m sitting at just under 11,500 words. Out of 50,000. Back in 2006, I was in the same position. I woke up on the 16th with only 11,500 words. I’ll write more tonight so I’ll be past that, but still, this is the precedent. This, as crazy as it seems, is normal. I’ve only ever finished before the 30th twice in the 12 years I’ve finished. Twice. 2005 and … a few years ago. I can’t remember which one. Probably 2012 or 2013. I gave myself a reward to aim for if I finished before the 30th: treating myself to a movie. I finished on the 29th.

2005 was my first year. I was living in Chicago, unemployed and bored. I finally remembered NaNoWriMo before it was over (in October, before it started), signed up and off I went writing a comic fantasy that has yet to be completed or edited to any reasonable degree. I finished on the 27th or 28th that year. I’m usually at less than 25K by this point in the month. It’s when the 16th rolls around that things start clicking and I get lots of words down.

Things started to pick up last night. Especially with the YA story. The cats tale is being shy. Mausi is stalled and going much slower. But this is how it is when you’re rebelling and are working on three stories instead of one longer one. Jumping back and forth between tales is challenging (especially when one is strictly 1st person, the second is 3rd person limited, and the third one is 3rd omniscient), but where one may pull out ahead (the YA tale) and the others trail, at some point, the YA tale may pause and one of the other two will jump in and keep me going.

Of my roughest years, 2006 and then 2009 and 2014 rank high. In 2006, I charged along and woke up the final day to needing 11,500 to get to 50K. Yes, the year I had a mere 11,500 in the first half of the month. I did it. I hit 50K that evening. In 2009, after swearing up, down, backwards, forwards and blindfolded that I’d never had a repeat of 2006, I woke up on the final day to needing 16,000 words. Oof!

But I did it.

In 2014, my dad passed away early in the month, so my mind was on a million things at once. I knew he wouldn’t want me to stop, so I didn’t. I remember reaching 25K on Thanksgiving, with a week remaining. I struggled to tell the story. It didn’t help that right around 25K, the tale I was telling stopped cold. I took a step back, walked around the house I grew up in (that’s the week I was down there), and remembered an idea I’d had about that series: having one book tell the intertwined back stories of the founders of the Sanctuary. I’d already started with one. So I wrote down names of the other elders and started telling each of their histories. Eventually, I’m going to intertwine them and tell the founding of the Sanctuary chronologically. That will be a massive undertaking.

I have days where I get 300 words and others where I get 2000+.

Now the pressure is on. I know I can do this. There is no “I give up” button.

Watch this space for updates.

~A

PS: I did way too much walking yesterday and have been down for the count today. My back was none too happy with me this morning. Sciatica radiating down from my hip to my knee.

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