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.

~A

Advertisements
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.
And
Going without.

Where we were
Defines
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.

~A

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)

Posted in community, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, faith, history, life, peace, poetry, politics, society, urgent

12/26: wishes and dreams

Wishes of snowflakes dance in the air.

The streetlights flicker into existence

The muted sun says goodnight over

The western hills.

Dreams of bigger things whisper in the hearts

Of those who have little.

Nicer baubles dance, teasing those who

Have enough to share but don’t.

Patience is not always an easy virtue.

It tells us to wait. Wait for it.

Wait for what?

Ahh, but you will see. When it is right.

Memories of past, reminders of pain and glory.

Dream the future. Wherever we go.

The past must be invited along.

Remember and learn to do better soon.

Those who came before were the same as you and I.

Different names and births, but same nonetheless.

Hear their tales and heed their advice.

Those wishes of snowflakes will dance through the night.

~A

Posted in activism, animal welfare, anxiety, bugaboos, cats, community, crowdfunding, emergency, faith, family, friends, homelessness, job hunting, life, observations, peace, politics, research, society, storage, urgent

12/26: Personal Projects (and #crowdfunding)

[Also #crowdfunding, as time is running out on storage. $1200 needed before the 1st. PP link in the sidebar. Please share any of my posts.]

I have a few personal projects that will be incorporated into this blog. One will be a static page. The second will likely be just a post. Same for the third one. Then there’s the Big Kahuna. That one is semi-secret, namely because I want to try to get a grant to do the research. But it’s a massive project.

The first post project is about Medicare For All. I’ve had discussions on FB with people about what is being pitched and what I think it should have. Admittedly, I haven’t delved too much into it yet. It’ll take me a bit. I do know, from my own personal observations, that there are things from Medicare as it is right now that need an overhaul. My parents were on it, being they were older from the get-go. I saw issues with the system from my dad’s experiences in caring for my mom as her Alzheimer’s worsened. And for his own health.

I also don’t think what we have for Medicaid is perfect either. Same for private insurance. My ideal is to take the best aspects of all three systems and make THAT Universal Healthcare. But I’ll go into more detail later.

The second post project is more a personal observation of the systems in place for the homeless population here in PDX. Some organizations are doing just fine, others… well, they need a LOT of work. And an institutional spanking because they’re trying to do shit they don’t have the staff/funding/training for. I’ll do my best to dissect the good, bad, and the ugly.

I won’t go into too much detail about the Big Kahuna. But if anyone knows where a solo researcher can get a grant for a social science project, let me know. That one will likely surface over on a barely-started blog of mine that has nothing going yet. Life and all.

Then there’s the static page project. I can do a fair chunk of the searching for links myself, but if anyone knows of non-profits in their state/country, let me know. This project is about FERAL CAT RESOURCES. My intent is to list links and some info on TNR (Trap Neuter Release) programs in all 50 states of the US, hopefully Canadian provinces as well. And if there are any, overseas in other countries.

I think that’s it for now. I’ll try to get back to the poetry posts at some point as well. I just haven’t felt really super creative of late.

~A

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.)

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, anxiety, auction, bugaboos, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, friends, health, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, peace, politics, society, storage, urgent

6/27: Duck and Cover (more #crowdfunding) SHARE ME!

SHARE ME!! PWEASE?

Still looking to raise at least $300 more before noon Thursday 6/28 (tomorrow) Pacific Time. The FB fundraiser is no longer active, as it takes a couple of days for funds to transfer. I hope the funds raised so far will make it to my account in time.

It’s now closing in on 12 hours before auction. Less than 18. I’m starting to get some decent tasks, so I hope I can continue paying it down after it gets pulled. With that, I hope to never deal with it getting this way again.

In other stuff… not gonna get too political, but with Justice Kennedy retiring, women like me, who rely on Medicaid for a number of things to manage my health, this is not a good time to be poor, disabled, and female in the U.S. Add Liberal to that, and it gets a smidge worse. I’m looking at my options and they aren’t many in number. I don’t have the money (obviously) to run to another country right now. I don’t have much tying me here, so if I do scrounge up a way out, I’ll likely take it.

Borders: I want to expand on this a bit, but the question that’s been bugging me: Why do we obsess over borders here? I know we aren’t the only country to do so, but I look at several countries in Europe whose borders are little more than a demarcation line in the pavement and a sign. And it’s been this way since long before the European Union. Other than pissing contests over land (Mine! No, MINE!! No, no, no, MIIIINE!), I don’t see the point in it. Migrant workers from the south of us have long benefited our agriculture and society and they’ve gotten some kind of pay (yes, I think they should be paid better, but that’s a whole other post). With fully open borders and people being able to come and go as needed, relations with other countries would be vastly better. And no, only a fraction of those who come from the southern countries are drug dealers/mules/kingpins. And that issue would become a non-issue if we legalized ALL drugs and treated it as a health issue instead of a criminal one. Look to Portugal for that.

But that is all for other blog posts. I’m just over here trying to save my stuff. Things that help me survive and things close to my heart. Just trying one more time.

Thank you,

~A