Wednesday, June 25, 2014

unexpected but kind of expected loss

Today I lost a friend to a drug overdose. It was no one mentioned on this blog but instead a friend where I saw and watched the warning signs and said nothing. We used to get beer after work and while I bitched about our crazy boss he tried to be the devil's advocate.

He made me laugh and kept me from going crazy in a job I hated.

I remember one day when he was fairly new I told him,"Sam I like you, you make me laugh so you can stay."
He responded sarcastically, "oh good now that I have your approval I can sleep at night".

I've already been struggling this week due to other things but I just don't handle death well especially under the circumstances. I hate myself for sitting by and watching those signs day after day but doing nothing.

I got word while working my other job. I abandoned my desk and went outside and confirmed it wasn't a joke then started crying. I tried to regain my composer but I walked into my boss's office and began immediately crying. She told me to go home and take tomorrow off.

I've been drinking since I got home and trying to get myself under control. Ive had almost half a bottle of vodka and an anxiety pill but I feel nothing.

I don't know how it is I seem to find these broken people but I know that every time I go through this it hurts more like I should be able to stop it some how. I don't understand. I hate myself for it.

At this point I'm just ranting. I'm just so heart broken and feel so alone.  I'm trying to keep it together because other people need me right now but I have needs too and I just can't right now.

Fuck. I need more vodka I'm about to start crying again


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kl returns (again)

Kl is back in Portland, safe and clean. You can imagine my surprise when I saw her at work the other day. I was training a new staff member but I forgot her as I dropped everything and hugged kl repeatedly. I kept hugging her and rambling not knowing what to say. I was afraid if i let her go i would never see her again. I admit I am still afraid of this but she was on her way to the court house to deal with her legal stuff so I had to let her go. I sent my employees on break so I could smoke a cigarette and regain my composure. Seeing her soothed a lot of my worry though I do worry she will disappear again. I hold on instead to my belief that in the end everything works out as it should.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Snow Days

It's snowing. Not like flurrying, that us Portlanders pass off as snow and make a big deal about. Real, live snow storm. Four inches was the last report I heard. Which to people used to snow sounds like nothing but for us, who freak out when there's just a light dusting this is a big fucking deal.

Personally, I've never seen anything like it. I didn't even see snow fall for the first time until I was eighteen. You know, California doesn't do the whole snow thing. If we wanted snow we had to drive three hours to see it and then it was already fallen and hard. I didn't care for it much.

Snow falling is still new to me. So, four inches in unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it in my life and I keep making excuses to go outside and see it. I've built snowmen in my front and back patios. I've bought winter boots and scarves and hats from Walmart. I've made snow angels. And work has called me telling me not to come in because of the storm. I've baked more cookies in the last two days than I have in months. I've made soup and cooked fish steaks and twice baked potatoes. For this first time I'm running my heat. Because you know, I have the option to just turn up my thermostat. Sure, I pay for it later but I have the option.

And while this is all fun and games for me I know it's not for everybody. While I was on the back patio this afternoon watching the snow fall my new roommate came out. I rather dislike her and avoid her at all costs but with being snowed in I'm starved for human contact so I conversed with her. As always a mistake.

Her comment, “I wonder what the homeless people are doing right now.”

Of course, she doesn't know. But even so I wanted to punch her or knock her over. They're freezing. That's what they're doing. I don't have to wonder I know. If this storm had been last year I could have easily died of hypothermia. I know they've probably opened up extra shelters but I also know there is no way the city has provided a bed for everyone who needs one tonight.

Have people already died from the storm? Will everyone make it through the night? We'll never know because those that don't make it in the snow won't be reported. No one will care. And here I am safe and snug in my warm house while there are people sleeping in the snow.

I am ashamed. I know and understand the concept of survivor's guilt and imagine that is what I'm experiencing but I honestly have been tossing and turning unable to sleep because I know there are kids on the street, looking for shelter in doorways and under bridges. It's not fair that they should struggle in the cold and I'm here. If this storm would have been a year sooner it'd be me out there.

Crazy thoughts have crossed my mind like letting strangers stay in my house to keep warm or going to sleep outside myself. But I don't have the means to make my home a shelter and sleeping outside myself would do nothing to help. I think instead I will collect up my extra blankets (I have an overflowing closet full of blankets I kept for such an occasion) and take them downtown tomorrow and see where there is a need for them.

I ache for the children who are cold tonight and for my inability to do anything for any of them.And I hate that their struggle is coming at my delight to play in the snow.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

One Year Off The Streets


Today it's officially one year since I moved into my house. One full year off of the streets. It feels both shorter and much longer at the same time. That was a much different life that I lived. I changed a lot while on the streets and I've changed a lot since reentering life with a home. Even my body has changed. I've lost almost 15 pounds since I've gotten off the streets. It's amazing what having control over your food and never having pasta will do!!


I know it sounds crazy but I think moving off of the streets was a much bigger culture shock then ending up on them. I had lived in such types of environments before. It was almost kind of nice. I was surrounded by people who were blunt and rough around the edges. People like me. I'd had to elbow my way through survival and fight all my life. So that was nothing new.


I've never in my life stayed in one house for a full year. That's so weird to me. That I haven't picked up and moved yet is crazy. I've finally made myself a home. Which is all I've ever really wanted.
I've been thinking a lot about life on the streets and musing over certain things. I wouldn't change it. I'd change maybe some of the mistakes I'd made. I'd be a better friend. But I wouldn't change that I ended up there. The most amazing thing for me while I was on the streets is that my entire life had always been a secret. I had never been able to share the things that happened to me or who I really was. I always had to keep this front up to protect myself from people finding out about my childhood or how my family was.


In the new Disney movie Frozen I found the Ice Queen most relatable character in the movie. Locked away and forced to keep her identity a secret even from her beloved sister she sings, “Conceal, don't feel. Don't let them know.” And of course she goes crazy keeping locked away until she's eighteen. And then she explodes. (Sorry, You know I'm always looking for a way to incorporate Disney into any entry.)


That was me before the streets. I spent twenty years hiding who I was from every one. It haunted me and my PTSD plauged me. I tried to be perfect to cover up the ugliness I hid. And then on the streets, I found out I wasn't the only kid like me. I wasn't the only one who had secrets. And with the street kids I didn't have to share my secrets but I wasn't burdened by them anymore because I wasn't alone. Some had secrets much worse.


Plus, there's no use pretending to be perfect and happy when you're homeless.
If I step back and think about it I was quite the unusual homeless kid. I never touched drugs. I planned a baby shower. I fought with the people who called and treated us shamefully. I stayed Mom to my cat. I crocheted baby blankets. I taught the other street kids to crochet. I turned my friendships into blog posts and I found the internet to be accepting of our trials and triumphs.


As for the people who got me there, my sperm donor and former roommate, I'm not incredibly bitter about their parts for putting me in such a position. If my roommate apologized, I'd forgive her.
I was thinking about this moment when I was at the gym earlier today. I remember one Sunday KL really wanted milk but there wasn't a way to get us any without stealing. So I took her into the Unitarian Church I used to attend because I knew they put milk out with the refreshments they have after the service. I saw my old roommate there and pointed her out to KL. I had to hold her back from going and screaming at that lady. I saw all my old friends there too. Part of me wanted to allow KL to say what she wanted to say. It wasn't a very “Unitarian” thing to do to just cast me out like that. They should have to look it in the face. Pot Head described the church as, “a bunch of rich white people who think being liberal makes you a good person” but they wouldn't give a street kid the time of day. I thought he was right. And I hated that I was one of them in my past life.


KL had said: “I'm not going to do anything. But she should know what she did to you. You don't deserve this.” She was probably one of the best friends I'll ever have. No, she still won't talk to me. I think of her every day. A year doesn't change that.


Houdini is selling drugs and pretty strung out. I still talk to him, though not as often. And he's still my brother. Pot Head's sister died so he went back home, which happens to be about 20 minutes outside of my hometown. I was surprised to find I missed him and not just for his weed. When I make a trip home I'll visit him too. I saw that Jesus was back on the streets a few months ago but haven't been updated since. Baby Mama broke up with her boyfriend and had to move to California because he was chasing after her and the baby. I saw her off at the airport and hugged Cire goodbye. I love that baby so much. It broke my heart to see them go. I think of them and miss them every day. They left about two weeks ago. I haven't talked to Gru since he moved out nine months ago. I don't miss him. One of my friends ran into him a few months ago and he immediately started talking about me and how I ruined his life. Nice to see how he's moved on.


For seven months I kept the place to myself and the cats. I have a new roommate now. It's been really rocky having someone else move in and she's definitely not my first pick. But, it's someone to help cover bills and we're on pretty different schedules so I don't see her often. I've yet to find a stable job which is discouraging but somehow I've still managed to keep a roof over my head. Which makes me happy and says something about my work ethic.


As far as school goes, I've dropped out. It's not that my grades were bad (they weren't) or the course work was too hard. I justified it with my health and needing open hours to work (both issues on my lists of reasons) but the real reason I left was I couldn't stand to be around people my age. The biggest culture shock of all was being around kids who thought getting a B was the biggest problem their life would face. While they were crying over a B I was worried about where my friends are sleeping at night, and whether KL has over dosed in a bathroom somewhere on the other side of the country. I hated being there. Shit, I got to the point where I did the bare minimum just to pass. I stopped going to class period. I hated every second I spent stuck with those niave, spoiled brats. In all honesty I've come to believe that college really is just for the rich, healthy, white kids. Personally, I'm terrified by the fact that I'm going to spend the rest of my life in debt just for a silly piece of paper that may or may not help get me a job.


I've slowly begun to piece my life back together again. I've restored old friendships that I lost while on the streets. I was with one friend on an adventure to the Goodwill Bins when he brought up my cameo appearance in Busted. So, busted I told him what happened.
“So that's what happened in the year no one heard from you.”
“Yeah.”
“Why didn't you tell us?”
I shrugged.
“If you don't tell us we can't help you.”


I am continually surprised by the compassion and empathy my friends are capable of. They are some of the most amazing people in the world. I'm surprised by the friends that helped me and the friends that turned on me. I really found out who my real friends were. I've also made new friends. None of whom know what happened to me. Or well, none but one now. Three of us went out drinking shortly after the new year. We have a bar we always go to and we know all the bartenders and regulars, it's kind of like Cheers. Well, this particular night I told the bartender to (I quote) “fuck me up in one drink”.
Well, he must have been successful because I started talking about my childhood and revealed a glimpse of what had gotten me into foster care (which they don't know I was in). I didn't know this until a few nights later when I went out with one of the two people I had been drinking with and she asked me something about my stepfather. I had only been drinking a Corona that night so I immediately downed it and asked for something stronger.
“When the hell did I ever mention him?”
“The other night when you were drunk.”
“What exactly did I say?”


Apparently I had told them that he hit my mother and left it at that. But my friends didn't judge me for it or think of me differently knowing that. Said it just explained some things about me. So that night when we went out and smoked a cigarette I told this friend about being on the streets. It actually feels kind of good when I can mention something that happened on the streets. I don't really have anyone left anymore who was there.


I remember when I was eighteen and had just moved to Portland. I was on the phone with my maternal uncle, and he gave me really the only piece of advice he's ever given me. He told me about how the gay community is so used to being outcast from their families due to their sexuality that they find their own families, they call their “chosen families”.


“Stay away from your parents and find a chosen family” was the advice he gave. When I was in Atlanta I was able to meet his chosen family and I liked them very much.


Today I have my own chosen family. I have people who like me and accept me as I am. I don't have to be perfect. I can make mistakes. My friends make me happy. Even when I don't want to go out I'm always glad I did and leave feeling happier and content. If I don't come on our Sunday drinking nights or no one hears from me in awhile they call or text to see how I'm doing. I'm really lucky.
And yes, I still keep secrets. But, they no longer burden me. It's funny how unimportant that stuff becomes. There are just so many other things to talk about.


It hasn't been easy to keep this roof over my head. I've clung on for dear life, some months I haven't been able to pay any bill besides the rent. I still don't run the heat in my house. Too expensive. I just yawned and saw my own breath and I'm inside right now. But this is also the first year I've made it through the holidays and January without a major PTSD issue. I've struggled. I've worked hard. But I'm happy. For the first time in my entire life I am really and truly happy.
At the same time I'm still very aware that just as I did before I can end up on the streets again. Anyone can. Another thing KL said when she heard my story was, “God, now I know it can happen to anyone.”
And it can. Still, I am happy. I am at home. I am at peace.


Also, as a celebration of my one year off the streets in the next few weeks I'm going to go through all of my old unfinished blog posts that never saw the light of day and post them for your reading pleasures. So stay tuned!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Contentness


Just so you know, I should be doing homework right now. But I'm writing to you, my much neglected blogger friends. I may be paying for this later but I really want to share my thoughts before they change!



This is the time of year that my PTSD fucks shit up. Very hard. Usually. This year not so much.



Normally, by this time I'm in full relapse mode. This year, not even a little bit. Of course, there's still plenty of time for my world to collapse but for now I'm incredibly content. Even without it being the holidays I should be freaking out right now. I had some serious work troubles. I went from a job that scammed me to a job where the owner of the company was trying to fuck me. I've struggled to pay my rent. And I'm failing my classes. (Though, in all truth, the grades are my fault. I've been horrible this term and done some things I'm really not proud of academically.) I have bills I can't pay. I have a shut off notice for my power. I don't have clothes that fit the new job's dress code. (Job that does not involve getting hit on or scammed). KL is still non communicative. Houdini is strung out. My cats (I have three now btw) are expensive little buggers. My pain levels with my fibromyalgia are beyond comprehension right now.



Yet, I'm really fucking happy. I've been wondering where this joy has been coming from so I did some soul searching about it the past few days. And I came to a conclusion after some thought.



You see, I had some brief contact with my mother a few weeks ago. When I first quit my job I called my uncle (her brother) to ask for help. He told me that he was also about to lose his job but my mother was doing well and to call her. So against my better judgment I did. Any guesses how that went?



“Yeah, I can't send you $10 to do laundry I'm buying a car.”



She didn't even realize how ridiculous she sounded. And it stung. For a few days I was in a slump. I thought, “If my own mother won't help me, who will? How could anyone want me when my parents don't want me? What does this say about me as a person? Am I really that bad?” Even though I cognitively understand my parents are narcissists, it's really easy to fall into this trap of thinking after growing up in an environment of constant verbal abuse.



But that Sunday night was drinking night. Every other Sunday I go out with my friends and drink at our bar. I went feeling rather worthless and crappy and left feeling warm and loved. And it wasn't alcohol talking! I didn't have any money so I didn't drink except stealing drinks from them. It was the companionship and how they surrounded me with support in my hardship.



Usually, when I get home after a Sunday night I text one of my friends to let him know I made it home safely. Well, this Sunday night I decided since I wasn't drinking I didn't need to send that text. Surely, I made it home safely sober, if I do it twice a month tipsy. Also, I don't pay any attention to my phone so I didn't notice when he blew it up asking if I made it home okay. He finally found me on Facebook, rather upset and concerned.



I felt bad for causing him to nearly have a panic attack but I felt so loved then. I realized I matter to people. If I don't make it home safely someone will worry and look for me. Then, I have at least three people who randomly show up on my door whenever they damn well please. Or in one friend's case, whenever he gets kicked out of the strip club by my house. It only recently dawned on me that it's probably not normal that at least twice a week someone just shows up at my door unannounced for no other reason than to see how I'm doing. (They probably do this because I don't check my phone and I'm not friends with them on Facebook but still!)



I'm rebuilding the friendships I lost while I was homeless too. Part of this is from me going to school so I see some of them there. I've started reaching out to a lot of them but a lot of them are also reaching out to me and letting me know I am missed.



Oh, and remember my friend who was having a baby in shelter? Well, her baby is walking now and when I come over he walks to me with a giant smile on his face. There is NOTHING in the world that could warm my heart more than that.



In the end, I'm realizing I matter to people. Not just one or two people but LOTS of people. Lots of people from lots of different groups. And I think it's helping me understand what I've always cognitively known. There are BILLIONS of people on this planet. My parents represent 2 of those people. 2 very broken people. Yes, parents are supposed to cherish their children. And it would be nice if all did but my parents cannot see beyond their own needs, wants, and desires. There is nothing I could do to please them. Therefore, I shouldn't care about their opinions.



As long as there are people in the world who care about me I'm not worthless. And I think I matter to a lot of people. My disappearance would be noticed. I may not know what my friends see in me. I may not always understand their warmth and kindness but they really have been there for me while I've been struggling these last few months and that has filled me with so much warmth. For some reason I am important to them. For this reason I am not worthless; I am valuable.



You'd think I would have realized all of this when I was the only street kid who received care packages and had people to hang out with besides other street kids! But, I think I needed some time to get all of the verbal abuse I suffered the last two years out of my system. Being with people who build me up is what purged all of that out of my system.



And even though my grades are suffering for my social life, I am so happy I've found so many wonderful people in my life. A few of them are so wonderful they are even getting on me for my grades! I now get messages telling me to get off the internet and study! (oops!) But it's nice that they care about me beyond my company too.



To my parents all I have to say is I don't need you. I have found other people to be my family. I will take my chosen family over you two any day. I am not the things you did to me or the things you said to me. I am stronger than any one from our family could have ever imagined. And I don't need any of you in my life. I have everyone I need.



Goodnight Blogger Family. <3

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What To Give, How To Volunteer, How To Help

So I've had people ask me lately what to give/where to donate/etc when looking to help the homeless youth population. Thanks to reddit my post about this has skyrocketed with page views in the last hour. However, it was pretty early in the game to make that post so I thought it would be helpful to make new post on this subject.

Things to Give:
[Most people want to give food but most homeless youth (in Portland at least) don't need food. So I'm posting to offer some alternatives.]
*Money if you're comfortable with it
*Cigarettes
*Jackets
*Warm Clothing
*Blankets
*Tarps (to cover themselves at night when it's raining)
*Sleeping mats
*Crochet your own sleeping mat
*A night in a hotel room or hostel
*Toiletries
*Contact Solution (this was a huge need for me when I was homeless)
*Pet food
*First Aid supplies (another really big need for me)
*Over the counter medications (advil, allergy medicine, etc.)
*Hand Warmers (little packets you shake and they heat up to keep you warm for six hours or so)
*Bikes
*Mini Hair Straighteners and Curling Irons
*Make Up
*Shaving razors
*Puzzles
*Mini Board Games
*Gift Cards
*Shoes
*Books


Places to Donate/Volunteer:
*Big Brothers/Big Sisters
*New Avenues for Youth
*Project Metamorphosis
*Pear
*Food Banks
*Shelters



If I think of any more I will edit and add them later. Have laundry calling my name. :/