Posted in anxiety, artsy stuff, bugaboos, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, eviction, friends, genealogy, grad school, homeless, life, Personal, PTSD, storage

8/9/17: Ermagherd, a Blog Post! & #crowdfunding

Yeah, I know… but some days, I just can’t put words in actual sentences … and enough sentences for a post. A few things: yes, still need help with storage. Remember, I’m basically homeless and nearly all my belongings are in that storage unit… I’m trying to earn the money, but it isn’t happening fast enough.

So, something I’ve been thinking about since I started my journey to get back and finish my degree. This is also relevant with the prospect of going overseas for a second degree/escaping the stupidity in our politics, as well as general making ends meet.

I’m doing this alone. 

Yes, it is my choice. I have no interest in dating. I’m more aromantic-asexual right now. I don’t have a partner, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc… and I’m more interested in men in general anyway, so the wife/girlfriend thing isn’t a thing for me. I just used those to cover my bases. Many of my classmates do. They have husbands and wives and partners, etc… those who don’t have family they can live with. Great! Awesome! That’s … wonderful… but I’m over here struggling because I am very much alone in my journey. Yes, I have siblings, but they’re both 600-ish miles away and I don’t really speak to one of them unless I absolutely have to. So, yes, when life started teetering on the edge of disaster last fall, I had a hard time sorting out my direction. First the C-PTSD, then the eviction and loss of JoJo and my world crashing down around me.

But I’m still here… still trying. I don’t feel I have that support network of someone who will help do household things (granted, I’m in a different position than I was before… living with people, but still have to do things for myself) while I do my weekly readings and assignments. I -HAVE- to get work, not have a spouse who can do the FT job and me cut back hours in a currently non-existent-job to focus on school. To me, having someone else cover those things would be a luxury.

Then there’s the general “how can anyone afford to live here?” problem we’re getting to here in Portland. Rents are going through the roof and waiting lists for low-income places are miles and years long now. And for a single person, 34K is low income. If I get a job close in, I want to keep my commute as short as possible. That’s one thing I’ve learned over the years… long commutes suck the life out of a person like me. I know… I’ve done it. And I had a car at the time. Now I’m on transit, and my anxiety doesn’t make being on the train very easy.

Then we have goals… dreams… packing up and heading to Europe to live for a while. Preferably in Germany attending a school with the intent of a second Master’s degree. Maybe stay there for a few years, paying into the tax system as the college is free there and that’s how it’s able to be free. But I’d need a decent chunk of change just to get over there, get settled into a place and then start school… I’d still need income of some sort. And the program I’m looking at is very intensive during each term. The breaks are nice and long… presumably to help restore some of the sanity of the poor student. But income… I don’t know what I’d be able to do while in an intensive class structure. I’ve joked that I should marry someone just to have income for a roof over our heads… but that would mean living with another person… and I can’t see that happening for a very long time. I simply don’t do well having roommates… of the human kind.

So that support network that many others have is something I don’t. For the most part, I don’t want a partner of any kind in my life. But a small part of me wishes I did have someone to lean on and be a mutual support system.

I struggle with that part of me. I’m stubbornly independent (just not wholly financial) and individualistic. I am my own person who doesn’t need another person to feel complete.

~A

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, dragon, dreams, grad school, health, homeless, life, Personal, PTSD, storage

8/1: Dragon Mode On… oh, and some #crowdfunding

Yes, still need to take care of storage. There’s a link to the new YouCaring campaign in the menu, and in the sidebar, the PP donate button is always active.

I’ve posted in the past about how hard it is for me to deal with crowds and being on public transit. My anxiety about crowds and such has gone up even more since my C-PTSD was massively triggered last November. There are few men I know that I allow to hug me now, and even many of them have to still ask for permission. Or they at least ask even though I’ve told them they’re on the “approved list.”

I’ve gotten to where even sitting next to someone on the train or bus grates on my nerves and pushes the hot buttons for my anxiety. It’s mostly when one or both of us is just a bit wider than the seats. I think most Americans are anyway… they do make those seats pretty damn narrow. It’s the whole ‘touching’ thing. I’m not entirely sure why right now. If I had my own place and worked 100% remotely, I’d likely turn into a shut-in and have my groceries and everything delivered and only go outside for rare excursions.

I have to listen to music, and the volume gets turned up to where I don’t have to listen to people’s voices as much. Some, however, are too damn loud for their own good. When they’re loud AND racist, then even more buttons get pushed. That happened Sunday. I didn’t do anything because I was tired, but damn, I was so tempted to smack that jackass for saying racist shit.

So, people are nudging me into Dragon Mode. I’m not always very nice in Dragon Mode. The politics of fuckery going on in DC, the people talking shit on the train here, my own frustrations of finances and health stuff. Dealing with the whole “getting my degree DONE” mess. So help me, if I can swing it and survive Fall term (if I’m able to go back) and finish my degree, in December, I want to scrape up some funds and find a way to get out of town for a few days. Go on a mini vacation of some sort. Unplug from everything. Maybe not be so easily drawn into Dragon Mode.

For me, Dragon Mode is when I want to snarl at people, curl up into a ball with Portia nearby, and just rest… when I don’t want to deal with people, even though I know I have to. When the littlest shit sets me off into a bad mood. When I’m fed up, burned out, and exhausted beyond all reason. And I still keep going because I have to. I need to interact. I need to go to appointments. Find a job. Go grocery shopping. Need to ask for help at times.

It’s how my life kinda just is right now. I may have pain on any particular day, sometimes a headache, sometimes my back or my knee or… yeah… but if it isn’t completely off the charts, I have things I need to do. And I do them. Some days are harder than others. But I still try.

This year has been challenging for me. Ever since last Fall, really. My downward spiral started hitting last summer when I just could not grasp this one class I was taking. I wasn’t sure what was wrong then. I’m still not. I’m doing better, but Life keeps lobbing massive lemons at me. I’m pretty sure they’re grapefruits now. Urf. That might explain the headaches.

Well, I had a busy day today and my flame is dwindling for the day. Need some rest to get my flame back tomorrow…

~Dragon

Posted in anxiety, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, grad school, life, Personal, PTSD, storage, urgent

7/31: Tunnels, Lights, and still #crowdfunding

A bit ago, I posted a very short post about crowdfunding. I estimated I had $220, and I was close: $210.

I need a total of $351 by 6pm Pacific time. Less than 4 hours. So, roughly $140-ish… paypal over in the sidebar (unless you’re on mobile, then they’re at the bottom). Every bit helps.


On to what I was going to blog about initially…

I’ve struggled with a lot this year. Starting late last fall, I dipped into a deeper depression than I’d ever had, even with suicidal ideation on the table. C-PTSD was now on the table and front and center in my life. Then the eviction and death of JoJo, and then… and then… and then… Virtually everything else in my life was on hold.

Including school. In the midst of the mess my life had become, my advisor and I made the decision to drop all of my classes and try to complete the class I was retaking as an Incomplete. Which, due to other things, ended up not getting done and I got at F. Financial Aid got rescinded and I then owed the school $4500. I finally got my head clear enough today to call someone in the cashier’s office and ask about what I can do. I found the form I was told about, filled it out (fillable PDF’s are a freaking Godsend), and sent it in to the controller. I also may need to scan some of the legal docs surrounding the whole mess. But, if approved, that amount would get waived due to special circumstances and the block on continuing classes would get lifted. I also may need to convince Financial Aid that I really am taking this seriously and will do some serious kicking ass and taking of names this Fall. I have a good idea of what to do now.

The goal is to get my degree DONE. I want to finally be able to hold that piece of paper in my hands and know that I’ve accomplished something no one ever expected a fuck-up like me (who wasn’t expected to finish high school) to do. Finish a graduate degree.

So this is one light in a tunnel. Hopefully this will all work out and by Christmas I’ll have my MLIS.

~A

Posted in asexuality, bugaboos, crowdfunding, depression, gender, life, Personal, PTSD, semicolon, sexual assault, sexuality, society, storage, tattoo

7/22: I’m Not Broken… (open book)

The phrase “Don’t try to fix me. I’m not broken” from Evanscence resonates with me on many levels and for many reasons. From my depression to my C-PTSD, from my phases of suicidal ideation to my sexuality. Even something as mundane as being a Creative and trying to find my place in a working society with gainful employment.

Whenever I get frustrated with my job search, I get told to just take whatever comes along. But I end up sacrificing who and what I am to “fit in” … I’m told I need to be just like everyone else and why can’t I be that way? I need to conform, etc…

No, actually, I don’t. No one should be forced to conform to what our society thinks is the ideal. I tried to blend in during my 20’s. Yeah, that didn’t work so well.

And then there are more serious things. My history of suicidal tendencies, sexual assault, emotional and psychological abuse. Did these things damage me?

Yes.

If they didn’t, I wouldn’t be human (although Dragon does come out and play, I am still very much a human… she just gets cranky sometimes and wants to take over). Did these things break me?

No.

If they had, I wouldn’t be alive today. If the hell my ex has put me through had broken me, I would have killed myself long ago. But I didn’t. I still haven’t. In fact, I find myself getting stronger emotionally. I am no longer afraid of him.

And then there’s my sexuality… and now I’m leaning toward being genderfluid/genderqueer. I know one thing… I’m glad my mother wasn’t of sound mind when I realized I was asexual in 2009. She would have flipped her shit. Dad understood, but still wasn’t fully on board. My gender would likely have been slightly different, yet I don’t know exactly how he would have acted. I was his baby girl. But he also always knew I was a tomboy as a kid. I have always been more at home in hardware stores than dress shops.

One almost constant remark I get from people (usually men, older people, etc) is that I just “need to find the right guy” to change my mind about sex. My sexuality, which has NOTHING to do with the act of sex, is not a sign of being broken. This is how I was born. I’m wired this way. Did “you” choose to be heterosexual? Likely not. I did not choose to be asexual. I experience no sexual attraction (I do admit to admiring some male actors and such and make comments about them that could be construed as sexual.. I mean, I’m sorry, but Tom Hiddleston is damn gorgeous, but that doesn’t mean I want to do anything with him… other than hang out on the couch and watch movies and cuddle… I could handle cuddling with him).

The attitude is that because I’m not sexually active and dating and showing an interest sexually in anyone, that I *must* be “broken.”

I’m not.

It’s in my genetics. This is how I’m wired.

So I want to get a tattoo. Well, I want to get several of them. I still want my Rat, and the semicolon. But unless I find a better spot, I want to put this one down my spine, one word at a time:

Don’t

try

to

fix

me.

I’m

not

broken.

~A

Posted in adoption, anxiety, cats, chronic pain, depression, peace, Personal, PTSD, storage

7/10: Purr

The love of a cat. Purring on my chest. Napping. Happy. The vibration of a purr can heal many things. Anxiety and so mich more. No matter if they weigh 4 pounds or 14, the love of a cat resonates through her purr. My therapy in the midst of pain, stress, times of hesitation and healing the scars of my own history. The purr of my cat against my heart… the world melts away and only peace remains. 

~A

Posted in artsy stuff, chronic pain, convention, cosplay, friends, job hunting, life, Personal, PTSD, sexual assault, society, storage

7/8: My week…

If anything below has already been said earlier this week, my apologies… I’ve had a crazy-weird week.
I survived GearCon with my sanity intact. Mostly thanks to certain people setting me up with my own sleeping space so I could retreat to a quiet place when needed. Which I desperately needed. To those people, I am in your debt and I intend on reimbursing you for the room. I know they aren’t cheap. Even those little ones. After four months of sleeping mostly on cots and rollaway beds, having a couple of nights on a real bed was heavenly.
I made my black waist cincher to wear at con on Saturday. I finished it that day and wore it a fair chunk of the rest of Saturday. It’s fairly thin plain tanned leather that I did a second layer to give it a bit more body, painted black, drew gears in silver and bronze Sharpies… and will be adding more later. It came out pretty damn well considering I only starting working on it the Thursday before.
(pics here)\
The Front

The Back
I enjoy working with leather. It’s a pricey hobby, but I have fun with it.
I had appts Wednesday and Thursday and have been strongly encouraged by my GP and my therapist to start creating a local in-person group for those of us with C-PTSD from domestic/sexual abuse. I won’t discuss it too much here, as it’ll be a peer-run (non-clinical) confidential group.
I also met with my VR trainer and we’re getting going on redoing my resume, etc and switching gears to finding work in research instead of social media. SM is over-saturated here in PDX, hence why I’ve had shitty luck in even getting interviews. Research isn’t AS saturated… likely not saturated at all, honestly. I may have a better chance at solid employment there.
Now, here’s an interesting thing. I’ve pondered about it on FB and have been told that this is actually very possible. A few months back, I fucked up my SI Joint (sacroiliac joint) on my left side. It’s right next to the tailbone and has affected my walking ability among other issues. I was already having issues with my right knee, and then this… but on Sunday, while at the con, I was room-sitting our hospitality suite while others were off doing things. I’m fine with this… I actually enjoy just hanging out and watching the room. I got up to make a sandwich (yes, we had gluten free bread), and on my short walk back to my chair, I had a severe sharp jab of pain right in that spot next to my tailbone. I couldn’t move that hip, could barely put weight on it, etc. One girl was also in there and I had her set my sandwich down on the other chair and then help me over the last few steps. I managed to get pain meds, etc… but before they could take effect, everyone returned in one big blob of happy people… some noticed I was having problems and asked if I needed anything. They got everyone else mobilized to set the sofa-bed back to sofa form and my stuff was carried over there, pillows set up, and 2/3’s of the couch set up for me. That’s pretty much where I stayed most of the rest of the day. I got a ride home and stayed in bed for about 95% of the next two days and nights.
By Wednesday, when I had a doc appt for other things, I had almost no pain on the left side. I’ve since wondered if that pain on Sunday was my SI joint basically resetting itself. That hip still doesn’t like sitting in any one position for too long, but that’s my body for you. I will have sciatica until I die… not much can be done for it. But no more excruciating SI pain. I’ve been told that the SI join can reset itself back into place… it happens… not for everyone, but it can… and I have a feeling that’s what it did for me. I’ll run it by my PT when I see her next.
I’m also having issues with the very computer I’m writing this post on. Oddly enough, it’s ONLY on Facebook and no other site. And on FB, if I’m using the other computer or my phone, it’s fine. I try to type a status or comment and get a few letters in and the cursor pops back to the beginning. I even shut the damn thing down a couple of days ago to let it rest… fired it back up about an hour ago and it’s still doing it. Closed the window, opened a new one… yup… still.
I’m also trying to scrounge up the remaining funds for July storage rent. I have about 130 or so, and the bookcases will be sold shortly, but that’s only another $50… I need 280 plus late fees. I’m working on it, but I’m just not getting anything else coming in. I may have a lead on a little part time (maybe under the table) work for a friend and fellow writer, but I need to email him. As my post from earlier this week stated, our internet was down for a couple of days and that threw me off track with emailing people and all that jazz.

I’ve been fairly quiet this week, but I have had a lot on my mind…

~A

Posted in asexuality, community, gender, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, PTSD, sexuality

7/8: Different Territory

Before venturing down this rabbit hole, I will say this: Figuring out I was Asexual was a whole fucking lot easier than this. I knew, in my core, that sexual attraction was virtually non-existent for me. Also, in part due to my C-PTSD, I’m leaning toward being Aromantic as well… do I occasionally like romantic things? Yeah, sure… but wanting to -participate- in romantic things… no. My romantic leanings are much more fluid than my sexuality. I don’t find women even romantically attractive, but that isn’t the only other option to being hetero-romantic. Seriously, folks. There’s a shit-ton of territory to cover. But I digress… romantic and sexual orientations are not the territory I’m delving into…

Years ago, when I first realized I was asexual, one of the first people I told was a friend who had called me late in the evening, drunker than a skunk in a poppy field, and depressed about his work vehicle (which had all the tools of his then-livelihood in it) totaled while parked… some jackass slammed into it with their vehicle. Because this friend was drunk while we were talking, he kept confusing asexuality with androgyny. Also keep in mind, my boobs were a LOT bigger back then (thank you, Bast, for surgery in 2015). It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized he was referring to Androgyny. He kept focusing on looks and not what asexuality is… which is more internal, not external.

Here I am, closing in on 8 years of knowing my sexuality. And now I’m wondering about my gender representation. Here we go down the rabbit hole.

Ever since childhood, I’ve been classified as a tomboy. I hated dresses about 95% of the time, preferred climbing things, playing the dragon-slaying knight instead of a damsel in distress, destroying my Barbie dolls (realizing their hair does not grow back… whoops), and generally doing things that were not assigned a gender. I had dolls. I played with Legos. I read and wrote about science, science fiction, and fantasy. I dreamed of being an astronaut and begged to go to Space Camp (never did).

Later, in high school, I still rarely wore dresses, opting for skinny leather lace up boots, stirrup pants, concert shirts and either a beret (black) or a cotton fedora (also black). My clothing was neutral for the most part. I hated jeans but that was mostly because they tapered in to the waist and were uncomfortable for my very short-waisted body type.

In my 20’s, I still blurred the lines. Black high heeled boots, black leggings, a white ruffled shirt (or something more plain), and longer hair (think kinda like how Prince dressed, just less flashy). The next day I could be wearing sweat pants and a grungy t-shirt. When I worked in retail, I wore heels and mens’ dress shirts… and their ties. I loved wearing ties. Hell, even today, if I see one at Goodwill that I like, I get it.

Since then, my clothing has become more relaxed… but my choices in clothes have always blurred those lines. I prefer shopping for some things in the mens departments… mostly because they’ll fit my broad shoulders and broad ribcage better (thank you to my Swiss grandpa for that). I still like wearing skirts (I usually make my own when the mood strikes) and I tend to wear dresses for interviews. I rarely wear makeup (cosplay and job interviews, and even then, the bare minimum). I can no longer wear piercings of any kind due to a metal allergy. And my hair is currently cut as a mohawk… which I love. My hair (and the cowlicks on my scalp) has a mind of its own… especially on the sides. So, keeping the sides shaved super-close and the top and back longer keeps my frustration levels down.

So I’m looking at the terms that surround Gender Neutral. When I said at the start that realizing I was asexual was easier, I was NOT joking. I feel I may simply be Androgynous. I am fine with female pronouns… I primarily present as female (even though the boobage is smaller, they aren’t exactly non-existent). But how I dress… this is where it gets confusing. There are so many terms for this middle ground of gender representation. I think, for now, I’m just more androgynous. At least in terms of clothes and hair.

There’s a lot to consider. This, I think, will be a longer journey of figuring shit out. I’ve read some articles, tried to find the best term (androgyny and genderqueer are the closest, but even then… not sure). This is a process. I know that many people will say “only you can decide what you identify as” and I get that… I do… but damn… there are so many terms and I’m not sure what fits best.

A little insight from others might be helpful…

~A

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

7/4: Open Book

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

What I’ve survived.

So I wrote a short post.

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

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

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

… and so it continues.

~Amanda

Posted in bigotry, bugaboos, cats, chronic pain, community, convention, dragon, friends, life, peace, politics, PTSD, society

7/4: our webs are down

I got back from GearCon to find that the house internet has been borked by Century Link doing work nearby. I’m using the limited hotspot on the other phone until fixed, so I won’t be here much.

I discovered new pain Sunday at con, so I’m taking things easy. Sciatica sucks donkey ass. 

Happy 4th to my fellow Americans. 

Please don’t set things (or people) on fire with possibly illegal fireworks. I will be on “cat calming” duty. Have a phone and fire extinguisher nearby.

Be nice to each other. 

Respect local Veterans who likely have PTSD and fireworks are a massive trigger for them.

Don’t shoot guns into the air… those bullets are subject to gravity, just like you.

No fighting. No road rage. No hate.

Don’t drive under the influence of anything other than happiness.

~Dragon 

Posted in anxiety, depression, dragon, family, friends, grad school, job hunting, life, Personal, PTSD

6/26: Angry, tired Dragon

(I’m mostly venting… so if you don’t want to read my venting, it’s okay. I started this on FB, but it was getting long. )

At this point, at least for right now, if there’s something political that harms a large percentage of people in some way… then I’m likely mad about it. I can’t fucking keep up. The Supreme Court is failing us, the “president” is one of the biggest fuckups we have done to ourselves as a nation, congress has too many blind greedy assholes, and hate crimes abound because the perpetrators figure with 45 in office, they can get away with pretty much anything. So yeah.
But I’m done right at this exact moment. I can’t put energy into fighting this cesspool our society is turning into right now. I have too much of my own shit to deal with.
It’s fucking tempting to start a GFM or something for getting the fuck out of Dodge for a few years… raise funds to get my passport, plane ticket and such for Portia and I, and leave. Right now, that’s where my head is. Finishing my degree is on hold until I can come up with the funds to pay off the school. So that’s fucked.
Other than having many good friends here, I don’t have anything tying me to PDX. the US in general, my brother is still cool… there’s extended family… but I never see any of them anymore because I live at least 600 miles away from them and have been too fucking broke to visit. They’re all busy with their own younger branches of their families. Our branch? None of us have married and unless we adopt, no kids. 
So where is all of this coming from, you may wonder. Especially since I posted earlier about the very thing I’m trying to get away from: posting on politics and striving for peace.
Well, I have a few books next to my bed. A couple of overdue library books, a textbook from the class I fucked up on, and Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History. I was going to refer to one piece in there for the papers I didn’t finish for the class I didn’t finish… yeah. So my head is in this weird place all of a sudden.
I want to finish, but I don’t have the 4500+ to pay off the school. I know I got myself into this mess. Spring term fell apart due to the eviction stress filling up my headspace.
I can’t put my finger on why I can’t seem to get myself together. Exhaustion and PTSD screwed me up last Fall term. Then I had a chance to redeem myself on the class from that term that I took an incomplete on… and then the eviction took over Spring term.
I started grad school totally on track, getting good grades, etc… and then over the past year, I’ve been slowly unraveling. Stress, no job, frustration with things in general, have all played a role in my downward spiral with school. I’m super close to finishing, but the money thing from withdrawing in Spring has messed things up. By the time I came up for air after the eviction, the term was nearly over. The whole thing is a jumbled blur.
***
Well, I have a bit of a nutty week ahead. Tomorrow will be a very long day, then a couple of things Wednesday, possibly something Thursday and then GearCon all weekend. I’m on staff… A week from now I’ll likely be so dead-tired I won’t be able to function for a day or two. We’ll see how things go.
I’m working on rounding up as much as possible of the $280 needed for storage. I have a little under half right now… but two more TR gigs this week will help… and still trying to sell off a pair of speakers and the two bookcases. I may need a little help, as my tasks didn’t really start getting going until mid-June. We’ll see how things are after Wednesday.
Let the wild week begin!
~Dragon