Posted in activism, auction, community, crowdfunding, faith, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, society, storage, transitions

9/27: FUNDED!!

I’m still kinda groggy, but storage has been funded and now all I need to do is go over there to pay it off.

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about Forced Gratitude.

Gratitude is something no one should ever demand or require. Anyone who does, it makes them come across as a manipulative abuser. Think about it. In an abusive relationship, the abuser may say things such as “you can’t make it on your own, so you have to stay… I do everything for you…” and others… all in a bid for obesiense.

But today, and the last several days (as well as times this has happened before) are where true gratitude comes up. I wouldn’t be able to save my belongings today and have them available for when I get a place soon, if it weren’t for the community online and in this world. I am absolutely eternally grateful for the help from people all over. Friends and strangers alike.

Being homeless sucks. Being poor sucks. Being both makes me see that there is so much that needs to be done to improve our society. No one should have to crowdfund paying for storage or medical bills, or insulin, diapers, food, etc… the list is endless. It shouldn’t have to be.

As I transition out of homelessness, I absolutely will lend my voice to the need for change in society.

Again, I thank everyone who has helped, from the bottom of my heart and soul.

~Amanda

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Posted in activism, anxiety, auction, bugaboos, C-PTSD, community, conformity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, eviction, faith, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, transitions, urgent

9/25: Forced Gratitude (& #crowdfunding #urgent)

[#crowdfunding plea at bottom this time. two days left before auction. see the bottom of this post]

Over the weekend, I lashed out in frustration and PTSD-related anger at the agency that runs the shelter I’m in. Yesterday, I got a verbal lashing about it from the person who runs this building. The words that stuck with me the most were about gratitude. That I should be grateful they’ve let me stay longer than the normal length of time.

Gratitude first: No one should be told they HAVE to be grateful for something. Am I grateful? Yes. Should that equate to forced silence and obeisance? No. I’ve spent most of my life allowing people to walk all over me and tell me how to act (did I follow their rules every time? No, but that’s a whole other post). If living here has taught me one thing, it’s to not be silent when shit goes sideways.

Am I grateful? Yes. Should I play the nice little quiet obedient resident who shows her gratitude by not speaking up? No. Fuck that noise. I will be loud. I will be vocal. I will NOT be silenced because my voice and words make someone uncomfortable. The crap I had tweeted about was painful. Triggered my PTSD as well as anxiety, and I know I wasn’t the only one who was having a hard time with it.

The person who chided me for “not being grateful” wasn’t here. Her weekend was disturbed every so slightly by phone calls. Mine and the others here? Much more.

Once I’m out of here and my time being homeless is over, I will be able to recap the things I see as wrong and right about our systems here in the Rose City.

One thing I will address now, though, is the intended length of time they think is adequate for us to find housing. Four Months.

Now, if you have a job and just need to be somewhere to save up and get back on your feet, fine. Also, if you’re looking for work that is along the lines of grocery, retail, food service, and doesn’t require long application processes, this can work.

But what about those like me? Those with disabilities and/or advanced education who need to work in other environments? The 4 month concept is flawed. Many white collar jobs take much longer to get through the process. And if you need to rework your resume or switch career paths, 4 months is definitely nowhere near enough.

I was told I should be more grateful that they’ve let me stay longer than the 4 months.

Forced Gratitude is not real gratitude. No one should demand it. Ever.

~A

#crowdfunding: I’m moving closer to needing access to my belongings. I’m just over the halfway point for paying off storage, but I need help. Auction is on Thursday at noon. I’ll have roughly $900 by the time the rest of what’s in the GFM and my own income clears. I need about $1400. Before noon on Thursday the 27th. Please spread the word. Thank you. I am grateful for all the help I can get. Real gratitude. Not forced.

Posted in anxiety, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, eviction, family, friends, grief, history, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, poverty line, society, storage, urgent

9/23: Halp? #crowdfunding #emergency

***AUCTION IS COMING UP ON 9/27***

JUST OVER HALFWAY TO FUNDED GOAL!!!

Time is running out on getting funds before auction Thursday. Some semi-good news, though. Apparently PayPal DID override the “no P.O. Box” bull and I’m getting a new card after all. Bad news: it only mailed Saturday. I don’t know exactly when it will show up, but they say 7-10 days. So it may not get here in time for 9/27.

Despite a few people sharing posts, nothing has happened. I will maybe have some funds from today and tomorrow in the mix, but it depends on when those post to my account (have to do those jobs first, and then there’s a delay).

I’ve run out of being on their good graces in terms of letting me get away with partial payments and the like. I know I’ll need the full amount of roughly $1400. I have about $3 in checking and $.42 cents in PayPal. I’m not going to ask the handful of people who have sent larger chunks in the past as I know their patience with me has likely worn very thin.

To those I need to pay back: I will do so as soon as possible.

Everyone else, I still desperately need help. I have some family heirlooms in there that mean the world to me, along with items that are one-of-a-kind and mean more to me as they are a part of my memories (the good ones) from childhood. My costumes, music, sheet music (some out of print and were my mothers). While much of this may not have much in resale value, they mean everything to me. My mother’s copy of Handel’s Messiah, in book form, that’s ratty and well-used… and over 100 years old. Choir notes and all. My mother and I never really got along that well, but we had music in common. We’ve both sung Handel’s Messiah multiple times.

Nearly every item in that storage unit is worthless to the rest of the world… but not to me. Once I get into an apartment again, I’ll be able to move what’s left into a much smaller unit.

I just need the chance to do all of that. Reorganizing it, downsizing some of it, pulling what I need out as opposed to storing it… then keeping everything organizing so I can easily find what I need.

I just need that chance. If I lose it all, I won’t have that chance. So, I need help.

~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 anxiety, auction, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, friends, homeless, homelessness, life, society, storage, urgent

8/5: Sunday Stuff

Looks like Auction will be late September, which is surprising to me, but I’m cool with it. Gives me time to save up this month and get it caught up. Will likely still need the help, so the GFM is still active for now.

Living here at the shelter is a week by week basis. I have to keep looking at housing and work and try to get a job ASAP. I may only have another week or two, which is a problem since I have no back-up place to go.

I’ve been running myself into the ground, it feels like, all this past week. If I wasn’t at a task or on the bus to/from a task, I was pulling the bins from the smaller temporary storage unit out and having a friend help me move them to another friend’s space until my main unit is out of hoc and organized so I can cram everything else in there. Or running around to appointments and other things. Yesterday, I crashed… hard. I needed the rest, though.


At one point, on my way home from an errand, I encountered a homeless man who, at least I’m hoping this is all it was, was clearly mentally ill and probably not taking his meds. He started calling me names and using insults as I walked past him. Including a word I’d never heard before: Wi**er. Which is actually a slang term for a white person emulating African American culture such as rap and all that. Hence why I ‘bleeped’ out the two g’s. Replace the W with an N and you have the original word.

Thankfully, one half of an awesome homeless gay couple intervened and went and talked to the man. He came back and told me that if they were still there when I finished in the grocery store, they’d walk me to wherever I needed to go, which was the bus stop. They waited at the stop with me until the bus came. I’d like to think I could handle the guy myself, but I know it might have proven difficult.

I didn’t want to get into a shouting match with the guy. It was tempting, but I was already tired and wiped out from my errand.


Not much for now… but I’ll keep everyone in the loop as to when and how badly the shit hits the fan.

~A

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

7/31: Random Snafus, Monday Part Deux

[write something witty here]

*thud*

Today has thoroughly drained my ass… I had a chore this morning (and one this evening), and then got accused of theft*, then had a task which went sideways**, then therapy, then meeting my caseworker… I just finished fixing and eating dinner… and at 8, the other chore round.

* I’m one of those weirdos out here who has never stolen anything, not even a penny from a till I was in charge of. Never shoplifted, nothing. So when one of the other residents accused me of stealing a 3rd person’s bottle of bleach from the laundry room, I was a bit upset and confused. Granted, not like the women here KNOW I’ve never stolen anything, but still it was strange. Besides, I have my own damn bleach. It just pissed me off that someone would make an assumption and accuse me.

** I had two tall cabinets to assemble and put in place in a little nook in a kitchen. Which ended up being 1/8 of an inch too narrow. AN EIGHTH OF A FUCKING INCH!!! Yeah, it sucked. Left it half done because she wanted to talk it over with her husband.

So, that’s my day in a large nutshell.

Living in a shelter requires some trust, but it has to be earned. Very few here have earned it, and many have lost any chance of earning it by repeated backstabbing and lies.

One of those lies has been thoroughly debunked. One of my ice packs was stolen out of the bag in the freezer. The person who was with me when I found out said one of the RA’s took it and gave to my friend who is outside. Her time was up here and she had to leave. I asked the friend and she showed me her cooler. Nope. Not in there. I knew the story was fishy. She couldn’t tell me WHICH RA took it. A week goes by and I find it in a shelf above the bag… further proof she was lying. So, someone “borrowed” it and finally returned it.

I’ve had other things stolen, mostly food. And then the accusation this morning. What is so frustrating about it is that they know how I feel about theft. If you own it and make reparations, fine. But just not acknowledging that you have sticky fingers? Nope.


I’ve applied for more work… hopefully something bubbles up to the surface soon. My time here at the shelter is tentative. I talked with the building manager today and we’re going to take it week by week. There is no other shelter in this system that has this setup.

I’m looking at apartments, even those in market rate buildings. Not cheap, but I need to keep looking for places. I’d MUCH prefer to have my own apartment all to myself, but living in an off-campus student building with roommates would be okay.

There may be a poem coming later…

As usual, I desperately need the help saving storage. It’s likely scheduled for auction in August and I’ll definitely need the full amount this time. No partial allowed. More on that tomorrow.

~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