Posted in activism, asexuality, bigotry, bugaboos, faith, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, politics, sexuality, society

6/26: Building Bridges… #politics

Since the election in November here in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK, our society seems to have fallen into a free-for-all of hate and violence. I’ve posted on the vicious cycle in the past. Quite recently, in fact. Since that post, I’ve seen news of more vehicles being used to plow into crowds of Muslims during Ramadan. And then there’s 45 (I don’t use his name) breaking a long-standing tradition of the White House celebrating Eid. He also didn’t say a word on Pride Month, so at least his hate is consistent.

One thing I’ve noticed, at least here in the US, is that a large number of people killed or harmed in hate crimes are not “white Christian people” (for the record, if you haven’t figured it out, I’m a white somewhat-Christian female), but people of color as well as non-Christian religions and LGBTQIA. Vehicles plowing into crowds of Muslims outside their own mosques, LGBT being attacked and arrested for wanting to show their pride, black men and women being gunned down by citizens and police alike, etc… the list just keeps going.

This cycle is perpetuated by fear of the unknown. That fear becomes hate. Are there attacks by non-whites? Yes. But the ratio of white attackers to non-white attackers, at least in the US, leans toward more whites than non-whites. Here in Portland, hate crimes and discrimination are on the rise. And we’re a pretty damn liberal city. Our surrounding cities and counties are not so liberal, though, and we have a lovely mass transit system here. One I use all the time. If my queerness were more obvious, I might get some random jackass giving me shit. My mohawk isn’t quite enough. Remember, this is a very liberal city. And I’m not quite queer-looking enough to get harassed.

We fear what we don’t know or understand. This is fairly common human nature. The nature of our society. The thing is that we have access to more information at our fingertips than our not-so-distant relatives. If you don’t know something, look it up. Ask questions, talk to people. If you fear Muslims, go to the site for TED Talks (also, if you have Netflix, they have a fair number of them there as well) and look up the religious ones. If you want to understand POC or LGBTQIA, …. ASK! No harm in putting a question out there.

The only stupid question is the one that never gets asked.*

Ask. Listen. Learn. Seriously, learning isn’t just in a classroom. Each day, we have a chance to learn from our surroundings. Take advantage of that.

The more we know, the less we fear. Okay, except for spiders… that’s my weakness… I know plenty about them, but still don’t like them. But when it comes to humans, just learn. When we communicate and learn from each other, the barriers we build in our minds and our society will break down and we can work together.

That’s all for now… sorry I’ve been quiet.

~Amanda

(* – Although if you ask me, as an Asexual person, about amoebas or how we mate, that is one question you should keep to yourself. It gets old.)

Posted in activism, anxiety, bigotry, community, empath life, faith, life, peace, society

6/19: Can’t Shut It Out (aka Dragon Gets Angry and Philosophical)

Hate begets hate.

The cycle just keeps going. Every morning, I wake up to news of anger and hate. People using guns, knives, vehicles, etc to maim and kill. People on the fringes of society who loathe and hate those who are different. People who want revenge for something the people they harm didn’t do.

I’m am Empath. I cannot block out what is going on. The emotions that whirl around in our society today. Anger, hate, anxiety, fear… it keeps going. It keeps hitting another level. Genocide, bigotry, prejudice. It keeps ramping up. Another attack. Another shooting. Another vehicle plowing into a crowd.

No matter the race or religion of the person with the anger, it is terrorism. Terrorism is not something “they” do. It’s something “anyone” can do. Terrorism is striking terror and fear into other people. Usually a group or subculture. I look at the various attacks of the last several months and I see hate and anger being forced onto a group of people… making them afraid.

Some terrorists want you to retaliate. Daesh and other fringe groups. They do NOT represent all Muslims. Not by a long shot. As someone said (whom I can’t remember the name of), “If all Muslims were terrorists, the rest of us would be dead by now.” When you have millions of followers of Islam, just as with -any- other religion, you will have the angry, deluded fringe. It isn’t even just religion. It’s political groups, it’s subcultures of our society.

One example of a non-religious incident: A couple of years ago, a Furry convention up in Seattle was under fire because a few people, possibly not even con-goers, decided to trash hotel property. In a considerable way. I’m not talking dinging the corner of a desk. I’m talking willful destruction of property. The hotel contract was cancelled and they couldn’t find another hotel in Washington State to host them. That convention is now on hold until everything settles down. All because of a few jackasses who fucked things up.

See the similarities? A small percentage of a group gives the rest of said group a bad reputation. A fraction -a very small fraction- of Muslims are connected to Daesh/ISIL.

And yet, others lash out at anyone they think is Muslim. The attack last night in England. This time a white person running a vehicle into a crowd of peaceful Muslims as they left their mosque.

If you can’t understand why some Muslims stray and start becoming violent, look at the person who injured several peaceful Muslims last night.

Then if a Muslim who has turned to violence attacks a crowd of non-Muslims, the cycle of hate and fear and anger and violence continues.

To end this, we must focus on those who do good in the community. I see mosques opening their doors in times of natural disasters and other situations to those who are not of their faith, but who are in need. I see them going out and feeding people who need food. Shelter when it is needed. I see more Muslims behave more Christ-like than a lot of people who consider themselves Christians.

My core faith is Christianity. I lean toward Omnism overall. I do my best to understand all faiths. I have a lot to learn. But I think we all do.

Focus on those who have strong positive ties and help others. Ask them as a child would ask a parent. What is your faith about? What do you believe? Try to listen to what they say. Talk to people, listen to people, learn from people.

The organist at a church I used to attend was being honored one morning for 40 years of service. He took the mic and told a little tale. When he and his wife converted to Christianity, they knew a few other Christians and many, many friends of theirs were not. He said he noticed that over the years, the scale has tipped so that they know very few who are not Christians and many who are. This stuck with me.

This is partly why I maintain friendships with believers of all paths, as well as many atheists. I try to show what Jesus taught: love, acceptance, compassion. I don’t preach to people… despite being ordained. I sit back and observe and show compassion when I am capable. I’ll readily admit that I’ve been under a lot more stress the last few years, so my supply of compassion is a bit low. But I still try.

One thing I think a lot of people don’t fully understand about Islam is that it’s the third of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Allah is Arabic for God. The same God Christians worship.

If we listen and learn from each other, I believe the fear will dissipate.

What we don’t know, we fear.

So, let’s start learning. Start asking. Go to the sources. Talk to an Imam. Talk to… anyone!

This list of TED Talks is a good place to start. Here’s another page chock full of talks. And then the Interfaith Amigos…

We need to work on building community with those who are not just like us. We can win over hate.

~Dragon

Posted in feminism, life, Personal, society

6/13: Girl Power

I’m no Wonder Woman or Supergirl or… hell, even Black Widow (and she TOTALLY needs her own damn movie), but I have noticed (and been told) that I get a lot of direct-hire tasks on TaskRabbit. Now, sometimes the tasks are normal-ish things, but more and more, I’m getting hired for something that is stereotypically a “men’s job” … furniture assembly.

Most of the time it’s IKEA, but I also get Wayfair pieces (do NOT get me started on their shitty directions). I enjoy doing it, even when it’s a challenging piece (that one bed frame was hell, but I got it done). One of my last jobs before the eviction was that bed frame I just mentioned in the parentheses. The wife of that couple helped bring parts to me when needed. Her husband had just had surgery, so he couldn’t do it. She was one of a handful of my past clients who said they were happy to see a woman doing this type of task.

When you think about it, my work on furniture is very empowering. I enjoy it, but also it’s helpful for the clients. For one thing, they see a female person doing furniture assembly… again, something you mostly see men offering. The more important factor is that I’m typically going into single womens’ apartments. Many would feel uncomfortable having some strange dude doing this. And being a survivor myself, I understand that concern. I’m here for my clients so that they can feel safe and still have whatever furniture they need help getting assembled taken care of.

I think it’s only once I started talking to my clients about it that I realized this isn’t “normal.” As I’ve said in the past, I grew up around power tools and a fixer-upper house that never quite got completed. I’ve built my own rough furniture (I still miss my rolling TV stand). Assembling pre-fab isn’t usually too difficult. Because I’m such a tomboy, I don’t really think it odd that this stuff is second nature to me. Or that it isn’t natural for other women.

This is just something I do.

I had to take a break from TR during the eviction. I had too much on my mind. I certainly could have used the income, but I just wasn’t able to focus. Now I’m able and willing. I have to be careful with my back and such, but in short bursts such as these tasks, I can handle it.

I’m back.

~Amanda

Posted in activism, asexuality, bigotry, bugaboos, community, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, sexual assault, sexuality, society

6/6: Not Broken #asexuality #pride

Being asexual tends to either get rude/lewd comments or dismissive remarks.

I’ve heard the “amoeba” crack so many times, it’s permanently etched in the back of my brain. Yet every person who says it thinks they’re being all cute and funny.

You’re not. Please… just stop.

I get the “maybe you need to try dating women. You might be a lesbian after all.”

I am more aesthetically attracted to men than women… by a LONG shot. Can I appreciate the female form? Yeah, but I’m not attracted to them.

“You just haven’t found the right guy yet”
“Maybe it’s a libido/hormone thing.”

I could go on…

For the record, asexuality is NOT a physical/hormonal/libido thing. It’s how our brains are wired, not the hormones. Some of us have active libidos. Some don’t. Some are occasionally active. Doesn’t mean we act on those urges with others. (There are great food analogies elsewhere)

What IS a physical thing is what’s called “sex aversion.” And anyone, of any sexuality, can go through phases of being sex-averse. I am also sex-averse due to the repeated sexual assault from years ago. Some are virgins (they tend to think of the act of sex to be icky, for lack of a better word), some are survivors like me, as well as other reasons.

I’m on this topic as June is Pride Month. Some in the LGBTQIA community don’t see Aces as being part of the community. I’ve heard the “well, this is about sex and they don’t have any, so they don’t count.”

WRONG!! All sexualities are about the different types of sexual ATTRACTION. Not the act of sex. And yes, we count. A lack of sexual attraction is still a misunderstood sexuality. But major researchers of sexuality have recognized asexuality for decades. Yes, we’re different. We get some discrimination as well. Not as much obvious treatment, but it is there. Some others I know have been subjected to “corrective rape” which is such a back-asswards thing to do… we don’t need to be fixed.

No repairs are necessary.

We aren’t broken.

~Amanda

Posted in artsy stuff, life, Personal, poetry, society

6/1: Woven

[I wrote this back in 2012 in a notebook that I just rediscovered in storage today.]

Intertwined.
Breathing.
Up and down.
Backward
Forward
Weft and Warp.

One color meets another.
Crossing each other
Maybe to meet again
Or not.

Humanity moves
Breathes
Passing each other
Once, maybe again.
Touching briefly
Or for life.

I knew you once.
Passed through life
Briefly.
Once.
Maybe twice.
Warp and Weft.
Back and forth.

One strand
Holds
The weight of 
Those that come
Before
And
After.

Shall we meet
At another
Junction
Again?
Or never to be?

The fabric we
Become
The humanity
Of our 
Woven lives.

We each are
One strand.
But we become
So.
Much.
More.

APA 2012

 

~Amanda

Posted in community, crowdfunding, life, Personal, society, storage, urgent

5/17: Being colorful in a grey world

It’s no secret to those who know me. I love purple. I love color. Granted, I’ve been wearing a lot of black and grey lately, but mostly because that’s what I tend to wear when it’s colder. Also, very utilitarian…

Right now, I’d love to get my hair dyed purple again. Not like there’s a lot of it, but hey, gotta have some fun, right? Well, other than the obvious “I don’t have the money” there’s the job hunting aspect. Here in Portland, there are lots of folks with “fashion color” hair. But it’s difficult to tell if a company will be okay with it and I don’t want my hair color to keep me from getting a job.

What I wish is that Corporate America -and society in general- get their heads out of their collective arses and allow more color. More individuality. Our society is so set on continuity and conformity that when I walk around downtown, I see a LOT of grey and brown and beige and black and… men show color with their ties and women with their shoes. But it really should go beyond accessories. Why not wear a red skirt with a white or black blouse? Why is hair color in anything other than “natural” colors looked down on?

It’s only hair, people. ¬†Get over it.

~Amanda

Posted in chronic pain, community, creativity, crowdfunding, emergency, eviction, life, Personal, society, storage, urgent

5/16: running out of #crowdfunding time.

Share me! Help me make a miracle happen!

Quick begging- er- #crowdfunding post. My PT from yesterday has me down for the moment. Voc Rehab had to cancel as she is apparently out of the office… at least this time I checked my phone before leaving. *sigh*

What can I say to prove this is real? 

Here’s some of it, before the space you see got packed with furniture and more boxes. This really is virtually my whole life about to be auctioned away. My costumes and a few Steampunk projects, among so much more… 


I’m not sure where else to turn. Two days to pull off a miracle.

~Amanda 

Posted in anxiety, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, homeless, life, Personal, poetry, society

5/10: midnight poet

Fading.

Still awake. 

Wish.

I wish.

This is a dream to

Wake from.

Heart beats.

Still frozen.

I cannot move.

Even though I must.

Identity slips away. 

Who am I? 

In this vast world.

One of many.

I do not 

Belong here.

Foreign yet

Borne of this place.

A place I am

Lost in.

Wandering. 

Meandering. 

Absorbing all.

Refuse to lose

Myself 

In the cacophony 

Of existence. 

2017 APA