Posted in activism, community, creativity, observations, poetry, politics, silliness, society, writing

It isn’t rocket science, part 1 (#poetry)

Tax the rich.
Help the poor.
Keep the peace
And nothing more.

Feed the hungry
Fix the roads
Punch the Nazis
And live the code.

Read the books.
Save the kids
Just don’t try to
Hold the squid.

Some of this
Is common sense
And some of you
Are on the fence.

Rhyming lines
Can be silly
But life is rarely
Rather frilly.

The balance is off
In this world today
We must work harder
To find a way.

Treat each other as equals
And no more hate.
This has to stop
Before they dictate

Who lives, who dies
Who loves, who cries
We must see our equals
In each other’s eyes.

This isn’t so hard
This being respectful
It’s as easy as breathing
Nothing too fretful.

Try to see all others
As you see your friends
Equal in humanity
Not through a tainted lens.

So really it isn’t
Rocket Science.
Just remember to
Stand in defiance.

Of those who promise
Unreal things
As we are not
A nation of kings.

~A

(I normally don’t do rhyming poetry. But this just kept on going and there are more lines running around in my head.)

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Posted in activism, anxiety, auction, bugaboos, community, crowdfunding, friends, history, life, observations, peace, politics, research, society, storage, urgent

11/23: Catching Up and Observations

I kept swearing I was going to write posts over here… and my poor hotspot was being overworked. So, as of yesterday, I have wi-fi in the apartment. 

I’ve had some good runs of activity this month, but the funds have mostly been spent keeping other, smaller, things alive (such as said cell phone with hotspot)… and groceries since they cut my food stamps back. Between that and a lack of work in October, I’m still in dire need of getting storage caught up from these two months so I can get some stuff out to get my apartment closer to my own sense of normal: mattress, piano, TV, desk, sewing and embroidery machines… not to mention chairs. This sleeping/writing on the floor thing is killing my back.

And on top of that, it’s been scheduled for auction for December. Late December, I assume, as they haven’t said the date in the emails. 

I can’t currently do a GFM or anything as my checking account got closed due to a lack of positive balance for too long (a month). So, PayPal is all I have. Closed checking account: another reason October sucked. 

I currently owe $804. Can we get there? Halp?

Between my fiction project this year for NaNoWriMo, and observations of news I see around me and online, I ask one thing:

Why are we so angry? Why so much anger and hatred?

I noticed myself getting angry while living at the shelter. I was absorbing all these negative and unstable energies around me (living with 60 women will do that), but I’m much calmer now. I’m closer to my normal self again.

But I then look at the news and observe others as I walk/bus around town.

Man kills pregnant wife and two young children. Disposes of their bodies. Shooter kills multiple people at a Synagogue. Young black security guard killed -doing his job- by cops arriving on scene. 

Need I say more? This is just barely scratching the surface. You can say what you like about their motives. I may or may not agree with them. Today, I watched footage of a “peace” officer on a middle school campus beat a young black teen boy for seemingly no reason. Staff of the school looked on, doing nothing. The dude picked this kid up and flipped him over his shoulder, slamming him to the floor. For what? I’d love to know what the motive of this “officer” is for so much violence toward a child. 

People are angry. Not just in specific moments, but the energy I get when I walk around town is one of anger, indecisiveness, frustration. But where does this stem from? Why are we so angry? Why do we not ask questions first and then resolve the issues at hand instead of using violence of one form or another. 

Have our prejudices taken over? Are we so filled with fear of the unknown that we lash out more readily now? What can be done to combat that fear? Unlearn the prejudices? Unpack the hatred? 

Never -ever- tell me one can unlearn bigotry. My mother was a closeted bigot, only revealing it to her family. Like me. She went to her grave the same way, but she tried to get me to follow her views. I chose not to. I’ve seen articles on former members of the Klan and of the WBC who walked away and learned to not hate so readily. It is possible. 

But this hate and anger I see is so much more than bigotry. Look at the cases of road rage. Many have nothing to do with racism or bigotry, but a core hatred of… something. 

I doubt I’ll ever get this answered, but I want to know why people are generally angry and mad at the world… and I want to know how we can plant the seeds of peace.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, bugaboos, chronic pain, community, depression, eviction, faith, friends, health, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, observations, politics, society, transitions

10/24: Adjustments and Changes

As of Friday the 19th, Portia and I are now in our own apartment again. We still have several hurdles to jump: getting storage caught up for October only (more on that in a bit), getting furniture OUT of storage so I’m not sleeping on the floor (I do have a mattress in there), getting my old electric bill sorted before the end of the month, and getting internet in the apartment.

Oh, and getting my checking account up to zero or higher. Ugh.

So, most of the past two years, I’ve at least had SOMETHING coming in from being a Tasker, but this month? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Seriously. I’ve had no jobs. Well, there was a team one set for yesterday, but I have a feeling the other person stole the whole thing from under me and will try to muddy my name on TR. I’ve already sent an email to a contact there about this. I have proof the guy said the task was postponed and then late last night said it was cancelled. If it was cancelled, I’d have an email from TR saying it was. Nothing. Soooo…. yeah.

I need to cover 200 of the old electric bill plus a deposit… and also storage… and ordering internet. I do NOT want to rely on the hotspot on my poor phone to do everything. But it’ll be nearly $50 to get it set up… if not more. The electric, I may be able to get help from CCC as a one-time thing.

Things are happening slowly. I talked to the person at SE Works last week about the training job. She’ll get back to me soon, I hope. Right now, I’m just holding on.

I had zero intention of this being a pity post or a begging post. If people want to help, great. But it’s okay. I’ll figure this shit out somehow.

In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be able to reflect more on my experiences of the past two years. Most of that time has been either staying at friends’ houses or in the shelter. Being at the shelter was likely the strongest learning period. Man, I learned a lot. I stood up for myself and for others being bullied. I saw how low people can go while they hold their heads up high acting as if they’re better than the rest of us. I saw, and was the ‘victim’ of food theft, among other things.

I still have a lot of emotional stuff to unpack from that experience. When I do get through it, I fully intend on being an outspoken advocate for resolving homelessness.

No matter where we sleep, what we eat, the clothes we wear, our gender or sexuality, our skin color, our mental and physical health; we are human beings and deserve to be treated equally in society.

 

~A

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

Posted in activism, artsy stuff, community, creativity, crowdfunding, dreams, emergency, faith, friends, history, observations, poetry, storage, urgent, writing

8/16: Act (poetry)

[Still urgently needing help with crowdfunding and saving everything]

Dream.
Is to
Believe in oneself.

Living.
Is more than a commute and
Bland food.

Belief.
In self and the good in the world
Leads to peace.

Create.
What you see is beauty.
Others might agree.

Explore.
The world has much variety.
Experience it.

Love.
All our differences that make us
Stronger.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, health, homeless, homelessness, housing, insomnia, job hunting, life, observations, PTSD, storage, urgent

8/11: Brain Battle: Real Life vs. Creativity

Another crazy week of running around to appointments and tasks and stuff. Emphasis on appointments.

Still need help with storage and such. One thing I realize is that once I get a place lined up and have the money to move, I want to have access to my stuff in storage because then I won’t have to repurchase things like kitchen supplies and bathroom stuff, and a mattress, etc. I’ll HAVE all of that. No bed frame, but I do want to get a MALM bed with storage from IKEA because if I move into a small studio, I’ll need ALL the storage I can get.

But it would be best if I retain everything I already have and use that as much as possible. I’ll gradually go through what’s left and sell/toss what I don’t use (or are sewing/crafting supplies).


Trying to find a balance between real life and my creativity isn’t easy when your waking moments are filled with appointments, a bag-up of belongings here at the shelter, PTSD triggers, chronic pain & fatigue, and people telling you to make a few dozen phone calls and you’re not good using the phone. Also: applying for jobs, eating moderately healthy (yeah, that didn’t work so well this week), and trying to sleep when your brain insists on running Worst Case Scenarios at random intervals during the night.


I’m in Month Five here. Technically, they want you through the system in four months. But I need stable income to get into something. Income I don’t have. I’m working on it.

Except one thing:

I don’t know if I can handle a full time job anymore. The past two weeks of being busy and running around M-F each week has drained me to the point where I feel like my mood has dipped back down and depression is hanging over me. I’m fucking exhausted. I still haven’t put my stuff from bag-up away. I have no energy to do anything. It sucks. I know it’ll turn around, but how to deal with it until it does? Not sure.


Gonna sign off for now. I’ll be back… I always am.

~A

Posted in anxiety, community, crowdfunding, emergency, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, observations, society, storage, urgent

7/30: Looks Can Be Deceiving… & #crowdfunding

Yup, still asking for help. Anything anyone can do: retweet, share, you name it. [Need about 900 for storage, maybe a bit more, plus 150 for the vet bill.]


Looks….

I had a doctor’s appt this morning to look into the painful bump I’ve had on my finger for nearly three weeks. With Medicaid, I get Ride2Care, which contracts with a local cab company. Due to what I’m about to say, I’ll refrain from naming the company, but their name starts with a B.

To get my return ride wildness out of the way, man, that dude had me gripping the seat. But this post is more about the driver I had to get me to my appt. He took me by way of Naito Parkway, which took us through Old Town at 8:15am, when the homeless are leaving overnight shelters and packing up their tents and such.

This is when the driver started his rant about seemingly able-bodied homeless people. He called them lazy for not working. I wasn’t awake enough to debate too much with him. If he’d stopped with a few statements about it, I wouldn’t have minded so much, but he kept going.

I brought up that they need an address to fill out job applications, and pass a background check and other things. He didn’t really hear me. His only response to that was that “they can ask a friend or family member to help.”

This is an assumption many housed people make: that homeless people have family and people they can turn to readily. But far too many have either burned those bridges or there are other circumstances, such as family is estranged or dead. There may be cases of severe mental illness, which you can’t always tell from a distance. They may look healthy, but there may be other things going on under the surface.

He made a lot of assumptions in a series of blanket statements about homeless people.

And no, I didn’t tell him I’m homeless and the place he picked me up from is a women’s shelter.

I can imagine what he might have said if I did, though.

“You don’t look homeless.”

“But you are all cleaned up.”

“You don’t look like a drug addict.”

The vast majority of homeless out here are not drug addicts. We are regular every day people who, due to circumstances sometimes out of our control, are no longer housed. Some are able to get into shelters. Some prefer to be on the street, for a multitude of reasons.

Then he brought up TPI and the main shelter, which is for men.

“Some people say they will not stay there because it is like a prison.”

The only reason I can imagine someone saying that about a TPI shelter is if they’re addicts or alcoholics and the TPI buildings are, in general, dry shelters, meaning no alcohol or drugs consumed while you stay there. Are there rules to staying here? Yes. You have groups to attend and chores to do, and you have to keep your space clean. Meet with your caseworker.

But it certainly isn’t a prison.

Where I am feels more like an insane asylum. The only differences are that we manage our own meds and we can come and go more or less as we please.

My hope is that as I get closer to being back on my feet, I can help become an advocate for homeless as well the other things in my life.  There are so many misconceptions and assumptions about homeless people, I hope I can help dispel some of them one day.

~A

Posted in anxiety, community, crowdfunding, emergency, food cravings, friends, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, society, storage, urgent

7/29: Sunday Fluffery & #crowdfunding

You know the drill by now: Yes, still desperately need help getting storage caught up. Nearly everything I own is in there, save for a few bins in another unit I need to vacate before end of business Tuesday. Need a vehicle/person and a place to stash them.

I’m still shut out of my data, so no FB until I get my phone back on, which will hopefully be in the next few days. I need it for two reasons: my sanity and my current quasi-employment through TR.

Had a task today where I was breaking down moving boxes en masse at a house near where I had a task earlier last week. The only bad part: all the boxes were outside in the front and back yards. In the heat. The task will net me a whopping $22.50. My furniture assembly tasks are where my rates are higher.


Food: I may attempt the shortbread again… or wait and get some baking power and make sugar cookies. I probably should check the general use cupboard. I tend to avoid that one as Bast Only Knows what’s in there. I doubt there’s baking powder in there. Considering the average shelter resident here considers top ramen cooking…


Shelter Life: This morning, I couldn’t find the black shorts I picked up for doing tasks. My mind immediately went to “If they were stolen, someone will fucking pay” … when I did find them, I realized how quickly I went to theft being the reason I couldn’t find them. This seems sad to me that this is the mindset we go to here. I’m not the only one, mind you. The other cat lady here did the same a couple nights ago.

Things do go missing. Food is a big one. And other things have gone missing as well. Theft is all too common in homeless shelters. This is why I keep my door locked at all times and usually closed. Right now, the fan is on with the door open to get some cooler air circulating. But I’m IN my room, which is fine. I will, on occasion, go to the bathroom (next door) or a quick hobble out to the kitchen to grab something and leave it propped open, usually only if one of the others who lives down at this end of the hall has their door open and can hear for anything suspicious.

I have computers and other things I consider valuable in here. They aren’t much, but they’re something to me.

Well, I’ll post more later…

~A

Posted in crowdfunding, depression, empath life, faith, family, grief, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, storage, urgent, writing

7/27: The Little Things Attached to Grief

Sitting here in my room with freshly popped popcorn (not supposed to have food in our rooms, but several of us -especially the loners- do, so no biggie), reflecting on things.I recently posted about getting back to my creative writing as an outlet for my anger and frustration here at the shelter.

If my father were still here, he never would have let me stop. Granted, he also never would have let me get evicted and be homeless. Losing him in 2014 was a massive blow to me. I’ve written, sure, but I haven’t had that regular nudge like he did in our phone calls.

“Are you still writing?”

“Kinda. I mean, I haven’t worked on anything lately.”

“Amanda, you’re too good at it to give up.”

I found it extremely difficult to write during NaNoWriMo last year. I can see how being homeless has been increasingly difficult to allow myself to write again.

Read that last line again: to allow myself to write again. 

Yeah. I haven’t been writing because real life has been sucking my soul dry. My therapist said (paraphrased) that you can’t run on an empty tank. You need to fill your soul with things you love so you can handle the things you don’t. 

So, as hard as it is to deal with the real world, I give myself permission to write again.

My dad would have insisted.

Another thing attached to my grief is a towel.

A towel, you ask?

Yes, a towel. After he passed away, I asked my sister to leave some bedding and stuff so I can stay at the house for a week to help with things. She left one blanket, a set of old sheets, and a beach towel. In the nearly four years since that trip down there, I haven’t used any other towel for drying off after a shower. I have towels. Plenty of them. Well, most are in storage, but yeah. And here I’ve been using a beach towel with bleached out holes along one side. There isn’t any major sentimental value to it as in childhood memories, but I can’t let it go.

It may not be attached to childhood memories, but it is one of the few things I can link to the house. To my last days in the house. To walking through the house and remembering events and accidents and games and growing up. To sifting through what remained and claiming what I could.

But, why a towel? I don’t know, honestly. I have a few other things of his, such as the pewter pin that commemorated the launch and commission of the sub he was on in WWII (USS Mero), but a towel?

It’s One of Those Random Little Things Attached to Grief.

~A

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, crowdfunding, depression, domestic abuse, emergency, empath life, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, society, storage, urgent

7/24: burned out

Burned out.
Torn up.
Tired of all of it.
Sick of the hate.
The pettiness.
The lies.
Why do humans do this?
Why the hate?
The judgement.
The condemnation.
We are no better than those around us.
Yet…

Many think they are.
No.
We are different from each other, but no better.
The pine box will be the same
No matter who or
What
You
Are.

I just had a run-in with one of the bullies here at the shelter. I wrote the above poem a few days ago, but it’s how I see things right now.

People don’t seem to realize that others do see how they treat people. Some of us watch, observe them. We hear the things they say when they don’t think anyone is listening.

Hear them trash someone who is unable to defend themselves. Then gaslighting me saying I said something and I didn’t. It’s exhausting dealing with people who don’t get that their behavior is bad. I snapped. I slightly regret doing that.

Being an empath who can’t block worth shit in a building full of unstable women is not something I’d wish on anyone.

I’ve hit my breaking point.

~A