Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, depression, dreams, eviction, grad school, homeless, job hunting, life, Personal, storage, student life

6/17: Falling Apart

I’m not totally sure what to do anymore. I have no back up, no resources. Remember: I’m homeless, jobless, and disabled. Trying to finish grad school has become an impossible feat. I owe nearly 5K to my school because I had to withdraw from my classes last term. I got a letter recently (I check my PO Box about once a week) saying if I don’t send something (and where is this money coming from?) before the 26th, it’ll go to collections.

So I’m at a loss. I’ve worked at this degree for nearly three years and the last two terms, due to depression and the eviction stress, I’ve tanked. Hard. I talked with my advisor and decided on just doing the one credit wrap-up capstone… but it’s one credit and financial aid only covers 5+ credits. I don’t have the funds to pay for one credit. I’m about ready to say, “sign me up for 5-6 credits for the fall term… fuck this, I’m going for the certificate.” Summer term has already started.

Maybe I’d get enough funds to pay off the school and a new term. Not sure.

So, here’s why I’m pissed off… they know I’m trying to finish the degree. There’s a damn good reason I’ve needed financial aid. I’ll try calling them next week and try to deal with this. Explain that with the debt, I can’t finish my degree… but I’m unemployed and fucking homeless so how the fuck am I going to come up with 5K??

I’ll call them next week and see what I can do. I don’t have the money. I’m trying to sell stuff out of storage so I can pay next month’s storage rent of a mere $280 (mere compared to 5K).

The letter from them states that enrollment will be frozen while I still have outstanding debts… I need a miracle of some sort. At the very least a small one to keep me from losing it while on the phone with them next week.

I’m frustrated. Partly with school, but mostly with myself and my life. I can’t fully put my finger on the WHY of the mess my life has become. I can’t blame it fully on either myself or “society.” Believe me, I wish I could figure it out. I wish I had that answer.

But it eludes me.

~Amanda

Posted in bugaboos, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, empath life, grad school, life, Personal, poverty line, student life, transitions

4/18: Perspective & #crowdfunding

Still desperately #crowdfunding. I need to round up a total of roughly $700 for two months of late storage rent and late fees and the auction fee…

Yes, I’m more stressed and pissy, but there are multiple factors right now. And most of them, I can’t really talk about. Do I come off as needy or clingy? Maybe. I don’t know, honestly. I do know that I’ve been doing the best I can to not completely snap. Last night’s post is the closest I’ve come. I hate asking for help, but I haven’t been able to bounce back up financially and job-wise as I had expected and hoped I would. So yes, I ask.

I am eternally grateful for all the help from various people. I’ve never really been good at all the social graces and stuff.  I may not always say thank you right away… but most of the time I do remember.

Our “Western” society is one of independence and not building strong selfless communities. We’re failures if we can’t “go it alone.” While I’m stubbornly independent myself in many ways, finances have always been a problem for me. I’ve repeatedly done what the commenter told me to do, “just find whatever job comes along that can cover the basics.”

The problem here is that Portland rents are skyrocketing and in order to afford a market rate unit close to reliable public transit (I don’t really trust the buses that much), I would need a salary of a bare minimum of 40K/year. For a studio. I don’t do well living with other people (I’ve known this a long time now). As an Empath, I have a hard enough time shutting it all out (I can’t block well) when I live alone… living with others is extremely difficult. I never have the chance to calm my thoughts and clear all the emotional muck.

I physically can’t do many jobs listed out there that are, in the commenter’s words, “plentiful.” Standing for longer than half an hour is painful. Sitting for long periods is uncomfortable. I cannot sacrifice my health and well being for a meager paycheck that won’t cover basic living expenses.

I know my limits (I know me better than you know me). I have for years now. They’ve changed over time. My old and newer injuries are catching up with me. Such is life. I shouldn’t have to justify my limits to a stranger. And yet, I have. Repeatedly.

I’ll likely do at least one post tomorrow… I’m already late to turn in this paper, but appointments and such have pulled me away. Tomorrow, I’ll be able to work on it more. Hopefully even get it done.

Good night, stay safe, don’t do anything Dragon wouldn’t do (that list is rather small, though), and spread the word… I feel I’m really close to the start of the next chapter of my life… I just need a little more patience and assistance so that I don’t lose what I have.

Thank you…

~Amanda

Posted in chronic pain, crowdfunding, homeless, Personal, student life, transitions

3/13: #crowdfunding and babbling

I have a post in my head, expanding on the Anger one from Tuesday… but right now is not the time for it. I still need help spreading the word to keep my stuff from auction. Any and all help is appreciated. I have some stuff around the house I’m staying in to take care of, but then I’ll be back to write that one up.

There are other things I’d love to talk about but can’t publicly right now.

I also have to tackle school stuff.

It’s amusing… one thing that always gets asked in interviews is about balancing tasks/projects. I get asked for examples of how I’ve handled things like that. Most of my experience with it is from personal situations. Like right now. I have to get some stuff done around the house here… then I’m also helping a friend with a time-sensitive thing, and my own paper due Monday (I had an incomplete last term, so I need to do the last two papers for it this term to pass), and a few other things need to get done as well. Not to mention getting funds together for storage.

All of this with a bad knee and a headache.

No, I don’t have superpowers. Anything but.

It’s a lot like when I’ve been staff on a local convention in November. I have planning for that, plus NaNoWriMo, plus school/work. And then keeping household stuff caught up. Usually when I wake up on December 1st, I look back at November and try to figure out how the hell I survived. I just did. I may not know exactly HOW I’m doing it, but I still do it.

~Amanda

Posted in chronic pain, crowdfunding, Personal, student life

3/10: Random Monday Things (& #crowdfunding, of course)

A few random things… (still need help to save my stuff in storage)

Latest round of financial pain: School. Really now? So, I withdrew from my classes (except the one I’m finishing the incomplete for)… and financial aid altered my reward… to where I now owe the school almost 5K. Add that to the nearly 3K I owe the management company for legal fees and repairs, etc… and then needing to catch up on storage… and hand over money to other smaller creditors…. I’m looking at damn close to 10K in debt (which doesn’t even include financial aid for completed terms, that’s over 100K, just in case you were curious).

The fun of buying makeup on a next-to-nothing-budget: I checked my bank balances (my computer was misbehaving, so it took me a while) and found I have a whopping 50 cents in my checking account and had $4.90 in my PP account. Why do I need to buy any makeup? Well, I have this interview tomorrow which is a super-huge-masssively big deal for me. I checked my toiletries bag, which is where I tend to put this stuff when “traveling” (or, in this case, moving around and homeless). I have blush…. I have two lipsticks, both way too close in color to each other… one or two lip balms… but no eyeliner. I’m not a huge makeup person. While I should go “full face” for an interview, that sure as hell isn’t how I’ll look day to day… eyeliner and lip gloss/balm… at the most. Hey, I don’t still look like a 20-something by doing nothi- wait. that’s exactly what I do… pretty much nothing. I don’t have some lengthy skin routine, I do get zits still, and no, my skin isn’t perfect… but I’m 44 and can pass for someone in her late 20’s.

Well, I couldn’t find my favorite eyeliner. I thought I’d stashed it with my “carry with me” stuff, but it isn’t here. Off I went to get a few groceries and some eyeliner. Food stamps cover the food just fine… but they don’t cover eyeliner. Had to stay roughly $4… I settled on one that was black-brown for $2. I don’t like the drier liner pencils, but me and liquid eyeliner don’t do well unless I’m using it for cosplay… and even then, it’s a battle. I like the softer pencils, preferably in more of a solid brown (my eyes are blue-grey)… but the black-brown and a solid black were all they had of the softer pencil… ah well.

Then I got home… rested a bit… remembered eyeliner. Looked in both bags… shit… then looked in the one I have next to my chair again. The packaging was upright, not laying down like I thought it would be… I don’t have to go back and look like a jackass for a $2 eyeliner. Considering I know that makeup is one of the biggest shoplifted items because they’re small packages, I really don’t want to go there. So all is good.

Nice things today: On my way to the grocery store (Freddie’s, for those in the PNW), I saw an eagle along with a few other birds having some kind of fuss over the various trees. Now I totally want to take my camera out there with the zoom lens and try to catch a few pics of them.

On my way back, the rain was starting up and I struggled a little with my granny cart and cane (because of my knee, I’ve been using it whenever I venture outside). At my last street crossing, a neighbor who had just pulled out of her driveway rolled down her window and asked if I needed help or a ride. I declined because I had half a block to go. It was nice to know that some people notice things like that. This particular intersection doesn’t have ramps on the curb corners… so I have to tilt the cart back and roll it up the side of the curb. When you have only one hand to do this, it’s a little more difficult, but I managed.

Then the hail started. At least they weren’t huge like the ones a friend in Texas got that damaged her roof. Still, being pelted by hail when you’re just trying to walk home is never fun (unless you’re 6 and don’t have anything to carry).

I may have more later…. not sure yet. Maybe a poem.

~Amanda

Posted in community, crowdfunding, faith, grad school, homeless, life, Personal, student life, tattoo

3/4: Grad School and #crowdfunding

#Crowdfunding First: Still need to get storage caught up. While some people may dismiss this is “oh, it’s just some stuff in her storage unit” … let me catch you up on a few things: My current 8×20 storage unit is holding ALL my furniture, most of my clothes and fabric, electronics, and many, MANY other things from when I was evicted. About 98% of my life is in that locked up unit I can’t access. This isn’t a few boxes of garage sale crap… this is my life. My books, music, electric piano, furniture, fabric, clothes, shoes, costumes… you name it.

I just happen to also be unemployed and trying to find work (but have some good ones that may yield a job… don’t wanna jinx it). Hence needing help. I need roughly $600 to cover March and late fees and April. Rent is $280/mo. I would prefer using Paypal as that’s immediate for me (debit card attached to it).

Grad School Update: I have withdrawn from this semester. I need to talk to one professor to see what I can do to at least pass the class as I took an incomplete on it last term and if I don’t do something this term, it becomes an F, and I’m borderline B- average GPA. I am at 3.01 cumulative. I need to pass that class somehow. I’ll email her in the morning when I’ve had coffee to boost my courage.

The other part… my intent was to get the MLIS and Certificate in Archives. My advisor, who I met with today, is concerned about my health and stress levels and let me in on a little secret. If I spend two years in an archiving job (one of the possible leads has aspects to it), I can take the same SAA certification test I’d take after getting the grad certificate. THAT’S the thing that matters, not the school certificate.

So if I can get this retake class passed before the end of term and then do my capstone this summer (I’d pay out of pocket, as it’s 1 credit, and financial aid requires 5 credits per term. If I get this one job, I might be able to swing it), I will have my MLIS with an concentration on Archives.

Yes, I’ve planned/hoped/aimed for getting the certificate as well. It was that one extra little nudge. But I need to be done. Wrapped up, bow on it, a hat tip to my dad up in heaven, and start moving forward with the degree I’ve wanted for a long time. A degree I shouldn’t be getting. I wasn’t expected to finish high school… let alone think of college. But here I am, finishing up my Masters.

Mine hasn’t been an easy path, but I’m getting there. One step at a time.

~Amanda

Posted in community, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, eviction, grad school, life, Personal, PTSD, student life, transitions

4/1: More Musing on School (& #crowdfunding)

CROWDFUNDING PART: So I’m now into April and need to scrounge up the $306 ($280+fees) for March storage and now another $280 for April rent. There is nothing I can sell off, as 98% of my belongings are IN storage where I can’t get to them.

March: $306
+
April: $280
= 
$586 to storage

I will be getting $150 from one friend, and another sent $20. But I’m still desperate to get it all caught up and paid for. Please share this blog and help me get the word out there… every bit helps. I’ll blog at least once a day and share updates as I have them. I do prefer using PP as it’s MUCH faster and no fees.


GRAD SCHOOL: I’ve mused on this off and on since I began. A lot of things have happened in my life since starting school in August of 2014. My dad dying, leaving a crappy job that was killing me, getting sick over and over, losing JoJo, and then the eviction.

But I don’t give up. I refuse to give up. I am not walking away from school. I’ve come too far. I’m the one who should never have finished high school.

But I did.

Associate’s Degree? Did it. Bachelor’s Degree in English with a minor in Music? Did it. Almost completing a second BA in Theater Tech (undergrad loans capped out).

I’ve gone further in my education than anyone, even myself, expected. I’m not giving up.

I just have to get other shit together in my life and go a little slower. I hate slowing down. But I’m not 22 years old. As much as I hate the idea, backing off from the remainder of this term to focus on getting my basic life stuff back together (job, own place again, etc) is what I believe needs to happen.

I just hate slowing down.

~Amanda

Posted in cats, community, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, faith, family, homeless, life, Personal, PTSD, student life

3/28: Salvaging the Remnants of My Life

I alluded to this in my earlier post. Pretty much since November I’ve been in some sort of massive upheaval. I was massively triggered by an incident that sent me into an emotional shut-down with my PTSD, Then another smaller trigger in December. Starting in January, the housing situation went downhill. My life, as I’ve known it, has been turned upside down, inside out, shaken up, bounced off walls and dragged around on a proverbial gravel road. Granted, I’m still alive, so there’s one good thing. I did, as you well know, lose one of my cats.

But school was on hold… I couldn’t focus on it. Trying to seriously sit down and job hunt took more focus than I could handle. I desperately wanted my dad to still be alive JUST so I could talk to him. So he could calm me down. All of my dwindling energy was on the eviction and figuring the next steps out in my life. Trying to get as much of my belongings into storage, figuring out where Portia and I would be going next, how to pick up what pieces were left of my life. I was drained, exhausted, mad, depressed, questioning and curious about the near future…. you name it. Funny enough, the one thing I wasn’t in the last few months was suicidal. Somehow I’d moved past that possibility.

I couldn’t focus on my writing either. Except a poem here or there.

I don’t know where I’ll be a month from now. Let alone six months from now. I had hopes of already being decently employed and saving up to move to Germany this fall for a second graduate degree. But I don’t even have enough money right now to buy a covered litterbox for Portia.

I’m afraid to open my school email and see what messages wait for me. My life has been hit hard. My health has as well. Right now it’s more my knee and my back injury/sciatica that’s giving me grief. Only slightly better than being sick all the time. Which I was most of the last few months.

I left a voicemail for my school advisor. I’ll be downtown tomorrow for a couple of things and said if she wants me to come in and figure this mess out, I’ll be around. Not sure she is, as she hasn’t changed her outgoing message for over a week.

Right now I’m back on the job hunting part. I’m getting that down at least. Running damage control on my schooling is next. I know one thing: no one, not me or my advisor or my professors, could have guessed that my life would be in such disarray. Until one has been through this kind of thing, they can’t really imagine how distracting and frustrating it is. It was hard enough when my dad died a month before the end of my first semester of grad school. it was unexpected. It hurt. It still does. Losing my housing and my soul-kitty and trying to get through the whole thing one day at a time… I’m still not sure how I’m surviving this. And I’m the one living it.

If you figure it out… let me know, okay?

~Amanda

Posted in community, crowdfunding, homeless, life, Personal, student life

3/28: Random Things & #crowdfunding

So, I swore I’d write a post today… I should be writing more than one, but I’m drawing a blank on solid stuff to write about at the moment. Yes, I still need to come up with the remainder of the funds for catching up on storage. Cat food is handled for now… with one cat, a small bag is just easier and less chance of the food getting stale and all.

Crowdfunding: I have half promised to me for March rent. Out of $306, still need 150-ish. PP is fastest, but if you insist, use the YouCaring link. I’m also at a point where, since Zipcar didn’t pull my payment in time, I now owe them $83 or so and if not paid, my account is frozen. Then there’s my base entertainment survival: Netflix Streaming… and the hosting for my websites… and lots of little things that add up. Any little extra is greatly appreciated.

Job hunting: Applied for two more jobs today. I’m not AS keen on them, but if they called me in for an interview, I’d be happy. I have to randomly pick which listing site to use each day. Such as Indeed. That one can go maybe twice a week. If I check it more often, I see a LOT of redundancies. Same goes for LinkedIn and Mac’s List. Craigslist is getting skeezier and skeezier by the day. I check that one every so often, but I’m getting less and less impressed.

The Little Things: My anxiety and stress show in various ways. One physical manifestation is my nails. I pick at them until they’re down to the nail bed. Since the whole process of the eviction, even through moving things to storage, I found this odd feeling of letting go. I looked down at my hands two weeks ago and noticed that 6 out of 10 fingernails were growing out considerably. My whole right hand and the thumbnail on my left. Now the middle and ring fingers on my left hand are starting to get longer as well. It’s been a long time, years I think, since I’ve been able to keep my nails a bit longer like this. It’s weird. Having to use a *gasp* nail file again to shape them… it’s almost like relearning an old trick. They aren’t SUPER long, but they are noticeable when typing even on the computer…

I’m sure there’s a second blog subject to emerge later… I had some text for one that started as my email to New Balance about a style of shoe they no longer make. My old ones are pretty close to dead at this point. They did respond today. Apparently Easy Spirit has several styles that are similar. I’m still of the mindset of “eewww… Easy Spirit is for old people,” but the black on black suede ones come close to something I’d like… AND they also do Narrow width… do you fucking KNOW how hard it is to find Narrow width shoes??? And if you saw my teeny little bony feet, you’d know… trust me, you’d know. I may be a convert yet. Now to just scrounge up the money for them.

I’m getting a little more vocal about one thing in my life. The insanity of the last few months has pulled me away from my schooling. This, above most other aspects of recent events, has bugged me the most. I have a feeling I’m past the point of no return for salvaging this semester… but I’m also afraid to open up my email and see what’s going on. As my life has taken this crazy detour, the things in my life that are part of my future goals have been inadvertently pushed aside. Namely schooling. When your focus is on survival, things like school just take a massive hit. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it is.

~Amanda

Posted in grad school, music, Personal, student life, writing

2016: The Review Begins

This won’t be long. Not on the computer. This has been a pretty crappy year overall. I’ve struggled with school and job hunting. I’ve come face to face with memories of parts of my life I thought I had handled well. 

A few good things happened. I got to meet Stan Lee finally. I found a great museum to do my practicum with, and am continuing the project to its completion. 

I still feel empty inside, to some degree. Not sure that will ever go away.

I wrote a manuscript for something other than Science Fiction or Fantasy. A massive step outside my fiction comfort zone. And I love what came from it.

I’ll write more about my observations of the year as I get to them. Some “practical-minded” types may say I should give up certain things, such as writing and the small press. But those things, and music, are more to me than “just hobbies” … they keep me alive. They help me breathe when I’m unsure if I can. They are a part of my soul. My dad saw that. He knew it. 

Never stop believing in yourself. Never give up on what you love. Ever. 

~Amanda 

Posted in crowdfunding, emergency, eviction, grad school, Personal, student life

12/9: Morning! &  #crowdfunding 

Can’t say yet how good my morning is. But between the weather shutting down my access to the museum and the same museum working off PPS weather closures, not a good start. Then hearing my upstairs neighbor stomping around like she’s imitating a herd of rhinos, yeah… no good. 

The snow from yesterday is iced over. Transit is having some issues. I have to get certain school paperwork in today to my advisor. Need the museum to help. Big snafu. Today does not feel like a Friday. 

Beyond all of that, rent still needs a push. I’m running out of time. I don’t think I can do “freak out” mode right now because I’m still in that numb ptsd and exhaustion mode. More posts to come…

~Amanda/Dragon