Posted in activism, bigotry, bugaboos, chronic pain, community, conformity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, health, life, medical, observations, Personal, politics, society, storage, student life, urgent

3/25: Being Disabled

[Panicking because storage auction is on Thursday and I desperately need the full 1400 to cover it and save it from auction. Please share and spread the word.]

Today, when I arrived at Central City Concern’s EAC (Employment Access Center), my case manager asked for my opinion on something. See, they’ve adapted some access points of the center to accommodate disabled folks like me, but it’s an older building and they haven’t gotten everything. They do have a small single wheelchair elevator to go down to the basement workspace, and the front door has an automated button system, but to access the computer area off the lobby, there are two steps up. And then three steps up to get to another area. I have a walker (while I love my cane, when it comes to back injuries, walkers are better because you aren’t contorting your body to use it).

So he asked me what I would suggest. I told him that small ramps could replace the steps and that they might have to be a little longer than the steps take, but it would be more ADA compliant. He had me write this up on a suggestion form and he turned it in.

Why have I mentioned this? Because hearing the opinions and voices of those who aren’t part of the norm of society is something that doesn’t happen often. Since I first hurt my back at 17, I’ve seen and experienced a disconnect from society. We are either invisible, dismissed, second class citizens… you name it.

And it sucks.

For years, even up until about 6 or 7 years ago, I wouldn’t consider myself disabled. I had my back injury and countless other injuries and health issues, but I rarely classified myself as disabled. In part because of how I was treated at 18 at the first community college I attended. They were horrendous to disabled students. Being kicked out of music classes, dismissed for needing assistance, you name it. Their DSRC was a joke. A tiny office barely big enough to hold two desks. No testing areas, nothing. The frustration was palpable.

I now live in Portland, which has a sizable disable population. I now own the label. With my back getting reinjured (twice) and more and more injuries and such added to the list (along with mental health fuckery), I have come to accept the label as part of who and what I am. But just because I’m in a city with a large disabled population, doesn’t mean everything is wonderfully accessible.

There are many apartment buildings and houses I could never live in. Too many stairs and no accessibility. Granted, if I ever had the money to buy a house, I’d hopefully be able to remodel it for accessibility. I can climb occasional stairs as needed, but I couldn’t live somewhere with lots of them.

My case manager asked me today because I had my walker. Because I have to lift it up to get past those two or three steps. If it isn’t loaded down, which it usually isn’t, then that’s okay. Anything more than what I had today would be too much weight.

One other area, and I may expand on this another time, is how the equipment we use is not treated properly. Service Dogs are the main focus with this issue. SD’s are there to help their handlers function within society’s parameters. My PTSD is easily triggered by a person, usually male, sitting or standing too close to me. Having a trained dog with me would help assure that space around me would be maintained for my mental healthiness. Same for other working dogs. They are working, helping their handlers gain their independence from other people. Freedom to do things others find normal, easy tasks without the need for a person to always be there to help. That’s all anyone asks.

But there are far too many people claiming their untrained pet dogs are SD’s, when they are not. There are a number of reasons these are a bad idea. They can show aggression toward other dogs, even Service Dogs, attacking them or humans. This can potentially ruin an SD and this then restricts the freedom once again of the handler. Again, I may likely expand on this in it’s own post.

Our society has long dismissed those who are disabled (among other groups). We typically aren’t seen as equals who can contribute just as much to society as able-bodied/minded people can. Sure there have been some outliers such as Stephen Hawking, but he was known in his field before he was diagnosed with ALS. But for many of us, we are seen more as a burden on society.

All we want is to be treated as equals and be given the chance to contribute to society like everyone else.


Posted in activism, anxiety, auction, bigotry, bugaboos, bullying, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, family, friends, grief, history, life, observations, poetry, politics, society, storage, urgent

2/15: Dreams

(I’m back. Still need help with storage. But here’s a poem for you… fresh out of the deep dark recesses of my psyche.)

Freedom lost.
We are fired up.
Broken down.
Looking within.
Going without.

Where we were
Where we are.
But we define
Where we will go.

Shattered dreams
Empty shells.
Who we are
Is defined by
Who we have been.

Lost in the mirage
Of once being great.
Stumbling over each other
As we gasp for air.

Welcome all is
Only a dream.
A faint memory.

Fight to move forward.
At war with the machine.

Who are we now
To have valid dreams.


Posted in asexuality, bugaboos, crowdfunding, life, observations, sexuality, storage, tattoo

2/4: Attractiveness

Since the Superbowl yesterday, a LOT of folks have been dishing out commentary about “a certain lead singer of a rock band who performed in the halftime show.” His tattoos, his physique, his choice of clothing, his singing, etc. Many women all over find him attractive. I’m not one of them. Partly because of my sexuality.

As an Aromantic Asexual… I think much of my distaste for this lead singer is because of his attitude and ego. There’s a saying somewhere about how no matter what you look like on the outside, if you’re kind and good to others, your beauty shines from the inside out. Something along those lines.

His music is okay. I like some songs, but if you waved a concert ticket in my face, I’d probably shrug my shoulders. His vanity and ego just seem to overshadow everything else. This is merely my impression. I’m sure he may do some nice things for fans and such, but again, those are overshadowed by vanity and ego.

His looks are what I want to talk about. Mixed in with slight jabs at his clothes, I’ve noticed some women drooling in written form over his shirtless performance. Now, just because I don’t experience romantic or sexual attraction doesn’t mean I don’t find men attractive. Some men.

His tattoos are all over the place and, as one woman at the shelter when I was there noted about people with lots of tats, have them tell a story. If they don’t work with each other to tell the story of you, they seem messy and it doesn’t come across as attractive. I knew he had a fair number of tats, but until I saw pics of him from yesterday, I had no idea how many.

Or how jumbled they seem. His physique was certainly defined and decent, but again, the tattoos and his vanity just don’t pull me in.

For an example of beautiful men inside and out, take Tom Hiddleston. Similar body type, toned but not super muscular He-man type. But look at the person he is. Down to earth, gentle, caring, compassionate. That is WAY sexier to me than the singer’s ego and vanity.

Be more than your looks. Check your ego and vanity at the door. Treat others as you wish to be treated in life. You never know when you may end up in their shoes.


[yes, still asking for help with storage]

Posted in activism, anxiety, auction, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, emergency, faith, family, friends, life, nature, observations, peace, poetry, society, storage, urgent, writing

2/1: Ashes #poetry

[Have two donations now. A bit over 100. Still a ways to go. I have until Monday 6pm to get the past due to storage. Any help is appreciated]


Skyline changes.
Blocking out the sun.
Haze of distant smoke
Fills the gaps.

Destruction breeds rebirth.
The trees savor the fire.
Never mind how.
It just does.

Ashes breed the Phoenix
Of nature undone.
Cyclical world knows how to
Survive by itself.

Leave it be.
It knows what to do.
Don’t rush the process.
The Phoenix will rise again.


Posted in auction, community, creativity, crowdfunding, faith, family, friends, gratitude, life, observations, poetry, storage, urgent, writing

1/30: Communication #poetry

(Yes, still looking for help to finish catching up on storage. Need to get it paid up before the end of the month.)


Words on paper.
Strings of syllables.
What means one to the writer
Seen otherwise by readers.

Notes on a page.
Little black dots on lines.
Opens worlds to each other.
The universal language.

The face tells time.
Hands move in measured increments.
We live within those movements.
Finite freedom.

Spoken in hands.
Bodies talking without words.
Gestures and pantomime.
Graceful awkwardness.

Silence is golden.
Speak with nothing said.
Language surrounds us.
Even when we don’t talk.


Posted in auction, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dreams, emergency, faith, family, friends, gratitude, individuality, life, observations, poetry, society, storage, urgent, writing

1/29: The Questions (#poetry and #crowdfunding)

(Two days to get storage caught up. Two days to scrounge up about $700. Any help is appreciated.)

The Questions

Where along the way
Did I take the fork in the road?
Paths crossing others’ journeys.
Illuminated briefly.

When did I start scaling walls?
Stepping on myself
Just to reach the other side.
Inflicting pain.

Why leave behind so many?
Burning bridges that refused to burn.
I cannot be for everyone
What I need myself.

What do I do now?
The one within tires easily.
She wants success but
Peace more so.

How must I balance myself?
I am not what I once was.
The pieces shattered.
Some beyond repair.

What am I now?
No longer The Child.
Never The Mother.
Too young to be The Crone.

My path is wide.
Too wide. Too much.
But to narrow it, I must
Sacrifice part of who I am.

That will not do.


Posted in anxiety, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, gratitude, homelessness, life, music, observations, peace, storage, suicidal ideation

1/21: Reflections on the Power of Music

(Yeah, still hoping for a bit more help to get the last of the past due caught up on storage before the end of the month. If I don’t get it paid all the way up, I have no second chances anymore.)

I’ve made no secret that I have a deep connection and love of music. I’m classically trained in voice and piano, even though I no longer sing in public due to my health and I haven’t actively played piano in 20 years. All that aside, I have always been involved with music to some degree. When I danced, obviously it was to music. I sang, I danced, I played, I listened, I promoted, I listened… I loved. I still do some of those. Dancing not so much anymore with my back and all.

When listening, I tend to gravitate toward songs that do something. Something to me specifically. They make me think, laugh, move, or cry. Inspire me. And even some that make me sing.

Sometimes it’s the artist, sometimes it’s just one song that pulls me in. I have artists in my music collection where I have greatest hits collections as well as some of the individual albums. Some I’ve seen in concert, but most I have not.

My collection is vast and varied. I listen to damn near anything. My collection mirrors that. I listen to different things based on what I want the music to help me do. If it’s drown out the world while on transit, I listen to rock and grunge. If I want to get worked up at home to clean or be inspired, I play other things.

Some of my favorite songs to get me inspired.

Music has kept me going when life has knocked me off my feet. The above video playlist (which may get added to later) is a handful of songs that are more recent but get me singing. More importantly, with everything I’ve been through, they’ve kept me in a fighting spirit. To not give up. To heal my past. That I’m strong enough to beat the things that hold me back.

Music is a true Universal Language. You may not always be able to understand the words of a song in another language, but the emotion is there. The soul of the song speaks clearly.

Music got me through being homeless (along with Portia as my ESA). It saved me from crossing the point of no return with suicide over the years. Music has saved my ass more times than I could count. I’m still here. Mostly because of music.

More musings to come, I’m sure.


Posted in anxiety, auction, C-PTSD, community, crowdfunding, dreams, emergency, faith, friends, homelessness, housing, life, observations, Personal, poverty line, society, storage, transitions, urgent

1/2/19: Anxiety #crowdfunding

I’m not sure how else to get anyone’s attention. What can I do? Coming out of homelessness sucks when you know you have the tools to start rebuilding your life, but can’t access them for a lack of funds.

Trust me, I’d MUCH rather be blogging about normal topics. More poetry and stuff. But life can hand -no, not hand- HURL challenges at some people like it’s an every day thing. At least this is how it feels to me.

I do my best not to compare myself to others, but I do look around me at others in society. It does feel like some people got the Manual for Adulthood at an early age, and the rest of us are still trying to figure it all out.

I could totally blame the world, but some of it is on me. I made some choices that have scarred me for life. Abusive relationships and all. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make things better, but there is no magic wand. No easy fix. I know that. Probably better than most.

I just ask and hope that enough people or the right people… just people hear my request and can answer with the help I need. I need one more chance. I’m almost there.


Posted in auction, bigotry, community, conformity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, faith, family, friends, health, individuality, life, music, observations, Personal, society, storage, urgent

1/2/19: Perceptions (and #crowdfunding #urgent)

In the past, I’ve mentioned the relationship my dad and I had before he passed away in 2014. One of the things that I found interesting while typing up the previous post with Disheveled is how I was and am seen compared to how I was back when I was heavily involved in my music.

I stopped playing piano in 2007 and singing in public in 1998. Piano because I had this fear instilled in me when I was little by my mother about playing where others could hear me. I was about 4 and figured out the melody to the Star Spangled Banner by myself. And I was damn proud of that. So, I played it every chance I got, which was a lot. My mother, who was trained herself, could have come over and taught me how to control my volume by how hard or soft I hit the keys. But she didn’t. I’d get about 4 or 5 notes in and from wherever she was in the house, she’d yell, “STOP PLAYING THAT SONG!!!”

Fear instilled. I had moments where I was specifically performing later on and I was fine, but over the years, I grew increasingly self-conscious about others hearing me play. In 1997, I stopped. A year later, I stepped away from choirs and what little solo singing I did because of a couple of factors: one was that same fear. The other was my health. I kept getting sick and couldn’t figure out why. Eventually, I did. We were dealing with an extensive roof leak at my parent’s house and black mold formed (although my dad and sister denied it was there. I’m hyper-sensitive to it) in the attic crawlspace. Living there while working on my BA down the street (quite literally, as we lived right behind CSUH/CSUEB) was wreaking havoc on my vocal chords. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with VCD (Vocal Chord Dysfunction). It took years and then visiting the house after dad died to get to that diagnosis.

Before he died, I got into a conversation with him about getting back into at least playing piano and wanting to save up for one. He was (quietly) over the moon. He was never one for showing much emotion. Somewhere in my blog posts, I tell the full story, but I ended up asking him why he was so excited that I wanted to get back to it. His words:

You were so positive and happy when you were involved in music. I want to see you that way again.

-My dad in 2014

And then I look at some of my really old poetry from while I was still singing and playing. I’ve always thought I wasn’t one for wearing a mask in society. That I always showed who I am, not what others wanted to see. But in a way, I did wear one. I re-read old poetry and stuff of mine and see some anger and depression, all during a time when I was seen as this happy, upbeat person.

Another recent thing involves a meme I posted recently on FB about the Greek words for different types of love. I was reminded of a nickname a friend of mine gave me when our church group was studying them in some setting. “Agape Amanda.” For Agape Love. Love of everyone.

And then I look at my poetry. Dude, what did people see that I didn’t? While Disheveled is a bit more recent than the early 90’s, I do have similar stuff where I was angry at the world for treating me differently for walking with a cane (and not in a good way). Depressed for similar reasons. I was dealing with a lot of different things back then. I still am. Some of them are different than the ones then, but the emotions are still the same. Maybe now I’m more true to who I am in what I show. I can’t hide behind the mask forever.


Posted in activism, anxiety, auction, bigotry, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, empath life, faith, family, friends, history, life, observations, peace, poetry, politics, society, storage, urgent, writing

1/1/19: Wars Within #poetry #crowdfunding

[Tossing some old poetry at you while I find my voice for current stuff. Also, CROWDFUNDING HELP!! Any ideas for how to spread the word would be AWESOME. I’m running out of time. As in less than 48 hours until auction.]

Wars Within

A brief yet continuing lifetime.
Adventures begun
Some yet to finish.
Close to home, then far off.

People change.
Some lives borne of turmoil while others seek out harm.
Battles internal
Spill external.

War raging in the world surrounding.
Miles away in others’ neighborhoods.
Peace flounders, gasping for air.
Among hearts blackening.

Thousands of miles I’ve walked
Still my heart is grey.
I’ll walk millions more
Until peace finds my heart and soul.

~A (2001)