Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm starting a NonProfit

I've been dreaming of starting a nonprofit organization that provides instruments, music lessons, and music therapy to foster children. I started a fundraiser to buy some guitars for foster children for Christmas. I successfully raised $2000 (including the matched donation from my employer). Because I did this and voiced my dreams about the organization, my friend, coworker, and accountant for the nonprofit that I currently work at is going to help me start the organization and establish a 501C3.

I'm feeling pretty excited. I've known the name of my organization for two years, but I don't want to mention it here in case it's successful someday and people go back and see how crazy I am.

My violin and music was so important to my survival in foster care. It gave me confidence, purpose, and an outlet for my intense emotions. It even gave me a college scholarship! I lost my violin every time I changed schools or foster homes until a foster children organization bought me a violin when I was 14. Now I get to do that for other foster kids! And I get to help foster kids who would otherwise never have the opportunity to play an instrument. Maybe this is my purpose now. Maybe this will make a difference. Maybe.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thankful (edited repost)

Thanksgiving is a very difficult holiday for me.  It serves as a reminder for what I am missing in life.  If it were up to me, I'd take a long road trip and camp in the wilderness until this gluttonous holiday is over.  I can only really remember foster care after the age of eight.  I don't remember much of my time and placements before then.  There are 10 Thanksgivings in foster care that I remember.  I spent every single Thanksgiving, except for a couple, at a strange table with strange people in a strange house.  Every family had their own traditions and quirks.  One family made these special cookies with Hershey kisses in the middle of them and everyone had to eat one and say what they were thankful for that year.  One family had a treasure hunt.  One family played a basketball game before dinner and the list goes on and on.  I never got to enjoy these things as tradition because I was always the new person.  I was always unknown.  I was always just a guest.  I was never part of the family.  I spent every thanksgiving as an outsider.  I observed.  I sat quietly and watched families enjoy the time they had together and studied them.  I would watch my foster family interact with each other--everyone grazing on appetizers, hanging out and enjoying each others company.  This is what family is, I thought.  I want this.  I want to be part of this.  Will I be here next year?  Will they be my family next year?  Do they remember my name?  

Thanksgiving is a day that reminds me that I've never had that kind of connection.  It reminds me of what I'm missing.  It reminds me that I don't have family.  It reminds me of all the Thanksgivings I cried myself to sleep overcome with desire for family, stability and tradition.  It reminds me of how different I am from the average American.  It reminds me of how undeserving I am of family. 

While I have somewhere to go this year, that wasn't always the case.  After I aged out, I always spent Thanksgiving by myself but not by choice.  When I lived in the dorms in college, the entire dorm would shut down for the weekend.  I would be the only person in the entire building.  I would run up and down the hallways, check out all the laundry rooms, and lounges on each floor.  From my room on the 12th floor I could see a family sitting down to their Thanksgiving dinner.  I watched them for a little while and made up conversations I thought they might be having.  One year I lived with my now ex girlfriend in a dorm room.  When Thanksgiving came, she went home and I was all alone in an empty building again.  She couldn't take me home with her because her parents were against gay relationships.  I know her family is more important than I am/was, but it still hurt.  

Thanksgiving reminds me of how lonely I am and how much I fear I will always be.  It reminds me of how alone I've been my entire life.  Thanksgiving also makes me angry.  I'm angry that I've lived in 42 foster placements.  I'm angry that I never got adopted.  I'm angry that I almost never spent Thanksgiving in the same place twice.  I'm angry that most people have families and I don't.  I'm angry at myself for not being cute enough, smart enough, special enough to be adopted.  I'm angry that no one ever wanted me.  I'm angry that I'm serving a life sentence for the crimes and mistakes of my mother.  I'm angry that she gets to live a free life while I'm confined and caged by my anxiety and memories.  The night after Thanksgiving dinner is also an anniversary that haunts my dreams and thoughts today.  Thanksgiving night was the beginning of my three year sentence in hell.  Thanksgiving was the beginning of my second long term living nightmare of my childhood.

I don't mean for this entry to be so negative.  I want to like Thanksgiving.  I really do.  I want to enjoy this special family centric day despite it's controversial background.  I am thankful for a lot of things in my life now.  I am grateful for having somewhere to go this Thanksgiving.  I am thankful that I will know most of the people at dinner this year.  I am thankful that I love the people that will be around that table.  I am thankful that those people are in my life.  I'm thankful that no matter how alone I feel, I'm really not.  I am thankful that I have people in my life today.  I am thankful for that little boy that shares my DNA.  I cannot imagine my life without him or his parents.  I am thankful that they are still in my life after everything that happened.  I am thankful they didn't drop me when things got hard like I expected them to.  I am thankful that they didn't even have to invite me to dinner this year.  It was just expected that I would come.  I've never had that before.  I've never had a home for Thanksgiving.  I am thankful that I have a home and a job.  I am thankful that I am healthy and relatively sane.  I am thankful I don't have schizophrenia.  I am thankful that I have access to health care and therapy.  I am thankful that I have a great girlfriend who loves me very much even if she can't read my blog or hear my life story because it upsets her too much.  I am thankful that my childhood is over and I am thankful that I am an adult.  I'm thankful for pecan pie.

I truly am thankful for all these things.  How do I get myself to focus on the good things in my life today and not the pain?  I want to find a way to make the darkness and memories to go away.  I want to just forget all these things and enjoy the holiday.  I want to be excited for holidays and not dread them.  I hate this time of year but I want to love it.  I want to feel festive and excited and happy.

Here I am again, alone for all the holidays including my birthday last month. No matter what I do in life, I will never have a family, even as an adult. What do I need to do? Giving someone a baby wasn't even enough! That relationship didn't last long and I'm back to being alone on Thanksgiving every year since. I honestly feel like nobody in my life has ever loved me just for me. There are always conditions and demands that I be pleasant and easy to be around at all times no matter what is going on with my life. I always have to be "worth" the effort of loving me in order for people to stick around and once people get what they need or want from me, it's harder to remain worth it. Any amount of struggle and people are done. So that's where I'm at again. I had somewhere to go for a few Thanksgivings as an adult and I had a little while of believing I had finally been part of a family. But like every other family and relationship in my life, I am no longer useful and worth loving, so they are gone. They took a huge piece of me and then threw me away. Just like everyone else.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New blog

I have a new blog. If you would like to follow it, email me at for the link.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I am a weed

I suppose the metaphor is a bit cliché, but most people grow up as precious bulbs in a bed rich with the soil of their ancestors before them. They grow up shielded from the brutality of the real world and nourished not only by the blossoms that protectively loom over them, but also by the gardener who ensures that they have what they need to thrive and weather the storms that come and go. Eventually that little bulb will grow into a hardy plant that blooms with beauty that enriches the life around it when the conditions are right.

I'm not like most people--I was born a weed. I have haphazardly landed in strange soil in bed after bed.  I've tried to plant my roots, slowly growing in the shadow of the beauty the looms above me only to be forcefully, but carefully to ensure none of my roots remain, yanked out and thrown away as soon as I begin to show who I am. 

Once in a while a novice has protected and nourished me out of curiosity of what I would become, but they would eventually pluck me up with disgust as soon as I had everything I needed and began to bloom. My blossoms have never fully developed to show the world my full value. I have the kind of beauty and potential that nobody wants to infect and infest the life in their garden beds. They worry that I will kill the beauty of the others around me, so they toss me away as soon as they know what I am. 

Yet, I've always been unpredictably resilient, growing in places and at speeds no one thought I could. I pushed my way through cracks in concrete and asphalt and tried my best to bloom even in the worst conditions. I keep trying to grow in place after place. I have pushed myself deep into the dirt beneath me and tried with all that I have to sprout a root to anchor me in place. I've tried my best to be beautiful and useful and wanted.  But nobody wants a weed in their garden.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

The end of a chapter

I feel like this blog was written by someone else, maybe a long lost friend or a half sister.  The girl who wrote this blog was in a very dark place.  She was terrified and downing while everyone around her analyzed and critiqued her swimming techniques while she struggled to find a way to keep breathing.  The professionals who were supposed to help her anchored weights to her ankles and the people who were supposed to love her walked away when she was being pulled to the bottom and needed them to hold on to her hand the most.

I'm not this girl anymore.  Those weights fell off when she was ran over by a boat called Homelessness.  She slowly floated to the top and began to walk on dry land for the first time in a long time, gulping air and life into her body.  And although she's deeply devastated by what happened, she keeps walking, picking up what's salvageable and trying to rebuild a flood-proof foundation.

In other words, I went through fucking hell physically and psychically for the better half of my 20s and my entire childhood.  Many people let me down.  Many people walked away.  And the professionals in my life unintentionally caused me a great deal of harm.  But here I am.  Getting rid of psych meds and harmful therapeutic treatments gave me the ability to fight for my own life again.  The darkness isn't as dark anymore.  I don't ever think about ending my life anymore, but I so obsessed with it while on medication that I was thinking about ways I could die even when I was laughing and telling jokes.  Losing my job, my housing, my insurance, and pretty much everything in my life saved me.  My life got better while I was homeless last year.  It got better because I could no longer afford to take my medications or continue therapy with professionals who were doing more damage than good.  I had a therapist who made me feel like she was going to dump me at any moment for years, completely recreating the destructive dynamic of my childhood in 42 homes in foster care.  I mean, UCLA's ER literally tied me to a bed and stripped my clothes off to "help" me, but I digress.

It's funny because I am more alone than I have ever been since the day I aged out of foster care to homelessness.  In some ways I am even more alone than I was then.  At least in all the ways that matter, but I feel so much stronger, determined, and capable than I did a few years ago when I was surrounded by people who said they loved me and called me family.  That's the difference between me and everyone else.  When people call me family, they don't truly mean it.  Not really.  Most people can fall apart and need help and not lose their ENTIRE world while doing it.  That's what family does.  They have to stick with you even when you're a fucking lunatic for a while.  But me?  I have people who throw those words around, make big professions and promises, but they are always empty.  I am not like other people.  The people who "love me" never even talk to me to let me know that they are having issues with me or give me an opportunity to fix things.  They never communicate with me.  You know...  the basic foundation to any healthy relationship.  They just dump me because they can.  That's the difference between "real" family and this "friends as family" mantra people keep spitting at me.  I guess the biggest difference in me now is that I know I don't deserve that and I never have.  The people in my life--those who said they loved me and called me family, all those people that have abandoned me when I was most in need should have held on to me when I was slipping away.  They should have protected me from predators.  They should not have put my mother's parental rights over my human rights.  They should not have protected a grown man over a little girl.  They should not have just stood there when 7 people held me down and unnecessarily ripped off my clothes in the name of mental health care in the ER.  Nor should they have abandoned me when I was clearly very fragile and so in need of someone to show me that I mattered and that I truly was family.  That they WERE different.  That they DID mean it.  But they didn't.  I own up to my complete insanity and bad behavior these past few years, but I have never deserved to be tortured, abused, or abandoned so much in my life.  No one does.  Seems like a simple thought, but it's not one I've ever truly believed before. 

I'm not sure where I was going with this anymore.  I went a little too deep with the analogies.  Basically right now I'm trying to put my life together, go to graduate school, find a way to not ever be homeless again and hopefully have some sense of safety and fulfillment in my world.  I'm not sure how to merge this person I am now with the person I was in this blog.  Is it even possible?  Should I try?  Is it even healthy?  Part of me really misses blogging--having virtual support, witnesses, and comrades validate my experiences and mental civil war.  But this blog has also done a great deal of damage in my real life.  It gave some people a peek into my inner world and scared them away.  Part of me wonders if it was healthy for me to have done this blogging thing in the first place.  Is it possible to continue in a healthier way?  Should I continue this because this was part of me not that long ago?  Should I abandon this and start new somewhere else?  Should I abandon this altogether?  I don't know.  But I do think about it often and definitely miss having a place to verbally vomit all of my feelings and feel less alone in the world.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How do I do it?

I am so stressed out about this graduate school stuff.  I have to figure out where to go and I have to do it very soon.  It was between 3 states, but based on some friend's advice I can no longer go to school in Colorado. 

So now I have to figure out if I want to go back to Los Angeles or if I want to go to Seattle for school.  The school in Los Angeles said that it's not really possible to work and complete the Masters of Occupational Therapy program because the course load is very full.  They say that in their FAQ about the program.  Both programs are 2.5 years long (including summers) and six months of that is full time field work.  If I choose to go to the school in LA, I have to go back very soon or I lose my residency and have to wait TWO YEARS to get it back.  My lease here is not up until July, but the deadline to apply to the school in LA is September.  If I take classes here, I will lose my residency in CA.  

I don't really know what to do. 

How am I supposed to support myself in Los Angeles without a job?  Or Seattle, or in Colorado?  I refuse to give up my dogs.  They are the only family I have.  So how do I house and feed myself, two giant dogs, and a cat without a job while going to school full time.  I can get loans for school.  That's fine.  But I'm worried about food and shelter and basic human needs. 

I can't continue on the aimless path I am on now because it will kill me.  I feel the depression and anxiety lurking close and closer in the background these days.  But I have no idea how to better my life.  I really want to be an occupational therapist, but how?  I'm okay with struggling and living in poverty.  That's not what I am afraid of.  I'm afraid of not being able to support myself at all.  The cheapest rent I could feasibly get in the LA area (outskirts too) with two giant dogs is about 850 a month.  If I somehow get lucky and find a roommate, it would still cost about this much. 

I asked a friend about it and she was like, "Just live with your parents.  That's what I did."  I politely said I couldn't, but in my head I was screaming FUCK YOU. 

I'm tired of life being so hard financially and otherwise.  Another friend in Canada said he gets to go to graduate school for free since he was a foster kid.  I'm happy for him, but fuck.  That sucks too!  I already have 38k in student loans I can't pay back.  I know I'll have to add about 30k to that for tuition and fees for graduate schools.  If I take out loans for living expenses, I'll be in debt for the rest of my freaking life.  Lets not forget my amazing medical bills I can't pay off either. 

My anxiety about this decision is eating me alive.  I can't sleep or concentrate on anything else. 

My poor 8 year old dog has developed what I think is arthritis in on of his legs and I can't afford to take him to the vet right now.  What happens if he gets really sick while I am in graduate school without a job?