Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, community, creativity, depression, disability, faith, family, friends, grief, health, homelessness, job hunting, life, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, transitions, urgent, writing

10/27: Creativity and Storage

It’s now been a week in the new place. I also still don’t have access to storage so I can get my mattress and stuff out. I was depending on one person who said they’d help, but hasn’t so far.

Tasks are slowly picking up. I had one yesterday and have another one tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, those two will only get me closer to $0 in my checking account as I’m about $260 in the red. If I’d had work throughout the month, I wouldn’t be in this predicament.

So, I’m asking. It’s only one month’s rent plus late fees ($305 plus about 40 or so), and using PayPal will keep it from getting sucked into the checking account (I did finally deactivate the GFM).

It wouldn’t bother me so much if it weren’t for my back. I’m sleeping on the floor with very little cushion. I’m now getting numbness along my right side (the side I keep re-injuring), which isn’t good.

The sooner I can get into storage and get things out, the sooner I can move the rest of it into a smaller unit again. Which means less storage rent. My goal will be to go from the 8×20 unit down to a 9×10. It’s about half the price.


Now that that’s all out of the way…

I finally heard from the one place I might be doing that internship/job (the place doesn’t pay me, SE Works/state does). I like the place. They’re an arts organization that focuses on making arts education available to all, among other things. I’m hopeful.

Right now, my focus in on getting my life back on track, but I also can’t forget what drives and heals me: creativity. With that, I am happy to say that I will be doing NaNoWriMo for the 13th year running. I’ve done and won all previous 12 years. Last year, I was a mess, though. I admit that. I ended up piecing together my 50K words from various half-finished stories. This year, I have two small ideas that are going to be expanded into one larger tale. I haven’t decided if it’s going to be fully off-world SciFi or Post-Apocalyptic Earth… not yet. It doesn’t wholly change the story much. In the snippet I wrote earlier this year, I do reference a poison gas that was used in WWI (Mustard Gas), but it could still be referenced similarly in an off-world story. Just maybe the planet they’re on is one humans colonized and shit went sideways.

Who knows… I’ll let the characters determine that part. I know that Post-Apoc stories are a HUGE thing right now. It would be very easy to make this PA.

My writing has stalled in some aspects the last two years or so. Four years ago, my dad died, and he was my biggest fan and cheerleader. A month ago, I lost another cheerleader, my friend Connie, to cancer. She was always in awe of how I came up with the adventures and random shit my characters ended up doing. So this year is for Connie. I’ll make sure they get into a decent amount of mayhem.

Now that I’m coming out of homelessness, I can stop being on constant alert… hyper-vigilant mode. That’s from a combination of homelessness and PTSD. It’ll take some time to fully come out of it.

I think writing this tale in November will help pull me back into life again. Where I don’t have to keep looking over my shoulder.

~A

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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 anxiety, birthdays, community, depression, disability, faith, friends, grief, homeless, homelessness, housing, job hunting, life, poverty line, transitions

10/14: Changes Afoot!

I’ve been quiet (again) for a bit because I’ve been running around trying to get a handle on what feels like a million things happening at once. A close friend of mine passed away right before my birthday, so that sent me into a bit of a tailspin. She was one of my first writing friends here in Portland when I moved here.

Then paperwork got moving finally for a WEX job (I think that’s what it’s called). The agency pays for up to 240 hours at $12/hour for me to get work experience in (technically) what I’m going to be retraining for in school. The problem is that since it’s a temporary job, many places don’t want someone coming in for a temp assignment in accounting/bookkeeping. You’d have access to HR records and other stuff. Not things they want some random person walking around with knowledge of. So, we’re working on finding a suitable place.

The other thing is getting into an apartment. I’ve been here at the shelter almost 7 months. WAY too long, for both their liking and my own sanity.

But…

I got approved for a studio I’ve been looking at for a while now. Back in my old neighborhood, close to storage and everything else. Human Solutions will be helping with the first few months as I get off the ground. Up to 6 months.

I’ll likely be moving out of the shelter sometime this week, if all goes well with timing of paperwork and checks and whatnot.

So, after a year and a half of being unhoused (another term now being used for homeless), I will have a place of my own again. It’ll be nice to have my own small kitchen and a bathroom I don’t have to share. No more people stealing my food from the fridge… and back on my old full size mattress. I’ve been sleeping on a twin size bed or smaller this whole time.

On the bad side, I didn’t get approved for disability, which sucks. So, no dog for now, no getting a bunch of IKEA furniture to maximize the small studio apartment… and other things. I’m working on a plan, though.

I should at least get the bed frame. A white MALM bed frame with the drawers underneath. Need to maximize storage potential.

Also, there are a few things at the top of my Amazon wishlist. Very important stuff for a new place. No tub, just a shower stall, and I don’t have the things I need for that. If someone were so inclined. Or IKEA gift cards… It was my birthday at the beginning of the month. Also… “apartment warming?”

More to come in the next stage of my adventures.

~A

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

Posted in anxiety, community, crowdfunding, emergency, faith, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, storage, transitions, urgent

9/26: 9PM, Still so close! #crowdfunding #urgent #auction

SHARE ME!!!!! So close… still about $250 shy. (yes, that’s Berke Breathed’s Bill the Cat… he represents how I feel right now)

This will be short… just like me.

The idea right now is that the donations from today on the GFM likely will NOT post tomorrow (it takes a couple of business days).

BUT!!!

If I can get the last $250 via PayPal and pay what I have between PP and GFM and then pay with the rest when it clears… I’m hoping they’ll let me go through with it. We’re just that close. It’s roughly $225 waiting to clear. That’s pretty freaking close, in my opinion. Then it’ll be paid up and I can start October with just that month’s rent up.

And if/when I get into this apartment, I’ll be able to remove a good chunk of what’s in there and downsize to a smaller storage unit. The apartment I’m hoping to get isn’t big. It’s a teeny studio, so I’ll have to be smart in what goes in there. I have stuff in storage (IKEA Ivar shelving to cover nearly every inch of wall for one thing) that can help me maximize the space. Then organize what remains in storage and I’ll only be a couple blocks away so I can access it easily.

But I need to save my stuff first.

With help.

Almost there.

I’m giving it 12 hours from now (9AM) to get the last bit. That’ll give me time to get on transit and bust ass over there (as I’m currently NOT two blocks away from storage) before auction at noon.

~A

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 activism, animal advocacy, animal welfare, anxiety, auction, cats, community, crowdfunding, disability, dogs, emergency, eviction, friends, homeless, homelessness, job hunting, life, storage, transitions, urgent

8/29: Random Requests, #Disability, #Dogs, and #Shelter Life (#crowdfunding)

I have ideas buzzing around in my head, but when I do manage to get them down, I can’t seem to form enough of a blog post to justify sharing.

Yes, I need help with storage. Massive help with storage. If I don’t get funds before Friday* it goes up to somewhere between $1600 and $1700. Is that achievable? Maybe. Honestly, I don’t know. I need to save my belongings. If people can use the GFM or PP, great. Although I now have a problem on PP. Hence the asterisk above.

* So, I am homeless. I have a P.O. Box. But that isn’t acceptable for PayPal to send a new debit card. I’ll have to wait to order a new card when I move. Until then, it’ll take time… the usual amount of time for a transfer to go through.

I also owe some people money. I hate not being able to pay them back as fast as I’d wanted to. Soon. Hopefully, very soon.


Disability Update: The judgment has been issued, but I won’t know it until the full thing is written up by one of the judges’ clerks. It’s been 2 1/2 months since my hearing and 1 1/2 since my case went to review. The clerk at the law office said I’m now getting into the time frame they normally see the decision handed down.

I touched on this on FB earlier today.

I’ve read and been told that I can make up to 30K/year and still receive benefits. This is apparently not true. There’s SO much misinformation out there. I can make about $14/hour part time. Which means someone will get an accounting clerk dirt cheap. C’est la Vie. I don’t think I can handle full time work anymore. Being out and about running between appointments and tasks the last few weeks has damn near killed me.

The other thing is the timing of the lump sum check. I have different people saying you get it immediately, others saying it takes months. So, I asked the clerk at the lawyer’s office for this as well. If the lump sum is over $20K, it takes extra signatures to approve it. Each set increment adds another signature. So, if it was 50K, yes, it would take a while. Mine could be as much as 30K, so it may be delayed a bit. I don’t know. We will see.


Dogs: I get it. You want to spoil your dog or cat. I do what I can to spoil Portia. And as I plan for the near future of getting a dog myself (I’m sure Portia will NOT be happy about it, but I’m working on how to help her adapt), I notice more and more how people treat their dogs.

And honestly, I’m not always impressed.

There was one resident here at the shelter who had her dog so well trained, she wouldn’t lick faces. Yes, you read that right, she didn’t lick faces. She was a sweet, well-tempered dog about 98% of the time. She had some moments.

Then you have others here who go over the top. One mostly has hers in a modded baby stroller. He’s obese. As in -I couldn’t tell if he was a boy or girl- when I first met them. Seriously. You couldn’t see the non-removable boy bits. He’s also extremely anxious and doesn’t do well if he isn’t part of the action.

Another… well, I couldn’t tell at first if the chi-dog could walk because her human always carried her. ALWAYS.

See, there’s a fine line between spoiling your dog and babying your dog. I intend to buy toys and nice beds and stuff for my future pupper/doggo. But I have zero intention of babying to the point of obesity or having people wonder if she can walk. Granted, I’m looking at getting a Groenendael (Belgian Shepherd, larger dog), so carrying won’t be feasible. We will see how things go. I will bend over backwards to make sure she’s healthy and happy, but going over the top is too much. I want my dog to be physically and mentally happy.

She’ll gradually be a working dog with a LOT of training over the first few years. But my desire to get a puppy and raise her with a lot of training is due, in part, to Portia not liking dogs. I want her to watch the puppy grow and the puppy to be raised with a cat so she knows how to behave around them. At least one breeder I’ve emailed agrees with this plan. And even if she doesn’t complete service training, she’ll still be a phenomenal and well trained dog.


I’ll likely do a more expanded assessment of the place I’m living now once I’m out and can get some distance. I do know one thing: 4 months may be the average time here, and what management wants everyone to aim for, but not everyone can fit that ideal. It just isn’t always doable. I’ve been here a shade over 5 months. And the ONLY reason I’m looking at getting out soon is because of CCC. As I go into their training program, I’m eligible for up to 6 months of rental assistance.

And one of the Case Managers here is leaving for good this week because, as she apparently said, she’s tired of breaking hearts. She sees the same problem with the “four month plan” that I do. It isn’t enough for everyone.


More tomorrow or… something. Tomorrow is a wild day. I have an Information Interview (not a job interview) at a local store (this is for the scholarship for the short term training classes) in the morning, then two doctor’s appts in the afternoon.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, crowdfunding, depression, disability, domestic abuse, emergency, eviction, faith, grief, homeless, homelessness, life, observations, poverty line, PTSD, sexual assault, society, storage, transitions, urgent

5/23/18: Facing the Past (and #crowdfunding)

Yes, crowdfunding. What funds I have made this month have gone to catching up on other smaller things and groceries after my food stamps ran out. Because it sucks being on food stamps when you have Celiacs. Everything is more expensive. Also being in a shelter where you have limits on how much you can have in the fridge/freezer/cabinet makes food costs go up as you can’t really do family packs of chicken thighs and such. So, help getting storage settled before the end of May is ideal. Auction would be next month, in June… and that’ll come up really quickly if I’m not careful.

So… facing the past. I met with my therapist yesterday and chatted with one of the mentors here at the shelter today. Both women have pointed out something that is related, but a bit different.

My therapist has figured out that my life pretty much went upside down and sideways when my dad passed away in 2014.

The mentor today said that every time we’ve talked, I bring up one thing: the repeated sexual assault back in 1994.

Two major events in my adult life. Two events I swore up and down I’ve dealt with via therapy and such.

While I’ve dealt with the shit on the surface, I’m realizing now that the rest of the proverbial iceberg is slowly emerging and I don’t know how to deal with it. The frustrating part is that I can type or write out stories dealing with it, or poetry, or even essays. *cough*blog posts*cough*

But speaking? I struggle with the words.

The mentor today is going to find the titles of some books and see if she can find some groups for me to go to that can help. She also mentioned that the situation of being homeless in and of itself is traumatic. But I’ve been in some form of survival mode since 1994, never letting myself really live. Really work my ass off at succeeding.

At what? I’m not sure.

Sadly, I have limited sessions for therapy. After this coming week, we may be spacing them out more. Which is fine, but it still kind of sucks.

I have a very long road ahead of me. Be patient with me. I have a lot to unpack. A lot of work to do.

~A

Posted in animal welfare, anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, chronic pain, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dogs, emergency, friends, health, homeless, housing, life, music, poverty line, PTSD, storage, transitions, urgent

3/20/18: #crowdfunding, adjusting, and some bad juju

I received one donation today… to that person, many thank yous. Still have a long way to go. I want to get storage covered and caught up by the end of the month. Auction is 4/12, but once April 1st rolls around, another months rent gets tacked on, so the total goes to about 1400 or so (taking into consideration late fees and all that stuff).

I’ve spent the day adjusting to the new space here at the shelter. While my room is a bit larger than most on this floor, my next door neighbor, who also has a kitty (she’s 6 and a beauty), mentioned that some bad juju has happened in this room and that may be partly why Portia is uneasy. I need to cleanse the fuck out of this room… without setting the smoke alarm off. I’d love to smudge it, but my smudge stick is “somewhere” and I can’t really go get another one. Same applies for my salt bowl and candles. I can’t risk setting off the alarm. Ideas would be great.

Twin size bed, as opposed to the single width rollaway I’ve been sleeping on for a year. Those, for people who haven’t heard of that size, are about 2 feet wide, where a Twin size mattress is about a foot wider.

Portia is still mostly hiding. Partly from being in a new place, partly from all the noise (doggos in the hall being noisy doggos), and likely some from the bad air/juju in this room. We have a dresser, small closet (litter boxes are in the bottom of that and fit perfectly), and a two tier plastic shelving thing. And a chair.

The Wi-Fi isn’t ideal, at least in the rooms, but I don’t expect super fast anything. Well, I’m gonna go sneak in a shower and then relax the rest of the evening… it’s been a long and somewhat stressful day.

As I was typing this and an FB post up, Portia came out of hiding and is now purring on the bed next to me. She’s still uneasy, but getting there. I’ve discovered having classical music playing kinda low helps buffer the noise from outside the door.

And more tomorrow! I start physical therapy (again) tomorrow afternoon. Maybe a poem tonight, if I get inspired.

~A

Posted in anxiety, cats, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, health, homeless, housing, life, Personal, poverty line, society, storage, transitions, urgent

3/19/18: #crowdfunding and moving

Yes, still any help will do. Share, retweet, donate, etc… trying to save my belongings so that I can get through this period of homelessness and regain my sanity and other things I feel I’ve lost along the way.


I got the call earlier this morning. The room at the shelter is ready for me. I’m not ready. But I’ll head down in a bit, check it out, and I’m allowed to put something in there. The door will be locked anyway, so it’ll be fine. I wasn’t expecting this until tomorrow, so I’m a bit surprised.

My hope with moving forward is that I’ll be able to get steady work soon and be able to move into a place of my own again…

Portia is NOT gonna like being crammed into the carrier again. But she’s on meds to calm her own anxiety now, so hopefully I’ll get less scratches this time.

I’m going to try to keep blogging as much as possible over the next few days, but this transition will be interesting.

Not much this time… I’ll be back later…

~A