A Disheartening Day

31 Jan

I went to the veterans lunch today. A special event was going on, with the mayor and press and such. One of my stalkers whom I have a Harassment Prevention Order against showed up. I have been instructed that should either of my two stalkers show up anywhere I’m at, I’m to call the police even if the person leaves so that the police can have it on record.

My phone battery was at 2% so I asked the director of the Building Bridges Veterans Initiative, which hosts the luncheons, to use his phone to call the police. He refused. I explained the situation to him, even though I knew he was already aware of the situation. He explained to me that he wasn’t going to ruin the event and make the Building Bridges Initiative look bad in front of the mayor and press by having the police show up.

I explained to him that I’m advised by the court to call the police, that I felt unsafe around this violent individual who physically assaulted me on Christmas Eve at church. He told me that if I felt unsafe I should leave. I should leave.

The director of the Building Bridges Initiative is also a pastor at Cathedral in the Night. I’ve been involved with them from day one, when I was the only volunteer they had, and they would parade me around like their mascot. Today I felt betrayed. He made it clear that I’m not safe there. He made it clear that I don’t matter.

I had to leave and go home to charge my phone and call the police. Fortunately, the police came quickly, and after taking my statement went to look for my predator. Of course their first stop was to go to the luncheon, which Pastor Chris Carlisle didn’t want to happen. Because the police put the law and safety before political motivation. Sadly the pastor put political motivation before the law and safety.

I’m so hurt. I’m struggling to process these emotions.

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2017

22 Dec
2017 was a year of transformation and plot twists.
 
Creating the Northampton Community Support Network. That failed, technically, but it led to other opportunities that supported the same goals.
 
Started the ELCA School of Lay Ministry.
 
Joined a city committee.
 
Ran for city council.
 
Wrote something new for a new publisher.
 
Created another new podcast. Cancelled (sort of) that new podcast.
 
Got a new job, potentially leading to other job opportunities.
 
Came out as queer.
 
Was found to no longer be mentally disabled.
 
I started 2017 in a very dark place, which led me to create change in my life, which opened up all sorts of new opportunities and an exploration of who I am. Who we are. I am not the same persons that I was twelve months ago, and would never have imagined how much would have changed in one year. And though I’ve gone through change and transformation, regeneration if you will, that took me out of that dark place and brought me to a more spiritually minded place, it has brought with it more challenges which I now carry into the new year.
 
I’m now only working eight hours a week paid, and a lot of volunteer work, but now have my primary income source gone. As I move forward, will I find employment that will help me to continue the work I’ve been doing in this community, or will I find work that will take me away from working with the community.
 
As my writing picks back up again, how will that affect my priorities?
 
Having had a second attempt at a relationship that wasn’t healthy, have I given up on love?
 
I entered the world of politics this year? Will I move forward in that direction? And what of the opportunities that are potentially before me in the field of recovery?
 
Will my not having a car prevent me from gaining employment? Will my not having employment prevent me from having a car?
 
As someone who has gone from being a homeless, mentally ill alcoholic to a person who serves the homeless, mentally ill, and addicted, how does that affect my social relationships. As 2017 ends, I find those in my old peer community resentful of my success, and those of my new peer community skeptical of my abilities. I find myself in a lonely place where I walk in two worlds and feel welcome in neither.
 
One thing that won’t change is my excessive sharing on social media that makes Trump look reserved in comparison.

One Year

12 Nov

I know this has been a tough year for our nation but for me personally, this has been an amazing year of positive transformation. One year ago on this date, I was feeling so much pain and hopelessness. And from that depth, I regenerated into a new person.

This year I came out, my heart healed from romantic wounds, I returned to writing and to creating a new podcast. I began studying in the School of Lay Ministry. I created a new organization to help those in need. I got a job with the Northampton Recovery Project. And I even ran for public office.

Tonight I celebrated a year of transformation, having come out of the depths of despair. I’m blessed to have be part of a loving community of friends and family that have walked with me through the lows and highs and supported me through my transformation.

Our second guest speaker event was a success!

11 Nov

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Friday’s group attendance doubled. We had a guest speaker, Kali Baba McConnell, who spoke on isolation. We had many new attendees and there was a lot of great discussion following the speaker’s story.

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It was great to have new faces at the group, a trend that seems to be recurring when we have guest speaker events. I hope word keeps spreading so we can keep expanding. As most know, this group is just the beginning of a greater vision I have for this community.

Please don’t give terrorists what they want.

31 Oct

Terrorism has only one goal. To spread terror, which leads to hate, because terrorists do no know love and they do not know God. They only know hate and so they wish to spread this.
When you react to terrorism with hate and bigotry, then they have been successful. When you spread hate and bigotry, then you are helping the terrorists spread their campaign of terror.
They want to be hated. And they want others who aren’t terrorists to be hated. Creating a world of hatred is their goal. Peace and unity is what they are fighting against.
Fight terrorism. Support peace and unity. Reject hatred and bigotry.

Northampton Community Meals

29 Oct

Don’t call it a soup kitchen.  For one thing, there’s hardly ever soup.

Northampton has a free community meal available six days a week.  The meals are:

Monday, noon, St. John’s Episcopal Church

Tuesday, noon, St. John’s Episcopal Church

Wednesday, 6PM, Edwards Church

Thursday, noon, St. John’s Episcopal Church

Saturday, 11:30 AM, Edwards Church

Sunday, 5PM, Main Street (outside) in front of First Churches

These meals are for anyone.  You don’t need to show any kind of identification, income verification or proof of residence.  If you want to eat, then show up and eat.  That’s it.

The meals are usually visited by a mix of individuals, mostly of the lower economic group.  Some are homeless, some are living inside.  Some are active addicts and some are in recovery, and some don’t have an addiction issue.

And the meals…  Of late, they are restaurant quality.  Have you ever heard of a soup kitchen that takes menu requests?

Each meal usually has a meat and a vegetarian option.

And at the meals, not only can you come back up for seconds (and thirds…) but you also get another meal to take home.

And so many pastries and breads.

One attendee has said that Northampton is one of the most generous cities in the country.

I write this to ask for support for the Manna Soup Kitchen.  Please come by and have a meal if you’re hungry.  Please come and volunteer if you are not hungry.  Or do both.  Sitting and sharing a meal and conversation is also service.

If you don’t have time to volunteer, drop off some clothes, blankets, gloves, jackets.  If you bring donations to a soup kitchen, they go to people living outside.  If you bring them to Good Will or the Salvation Army, they get sold to people looking for a bargain.

Manna Soup Kitchen, led by Bob and Lee, is doing an amazing job for our community in need, and I hope that those in need find their way there, and those who have their needs met find their way to helping to support the effort.

Group Ending

25 Oct

Our current food grant will run out in January. If our numbers don’t go back up to averaging at least six attendees a week then I will pull the plug on the Friday group.

This group was a tryout to gain support for a community center. The numbers for the group are not demonstrating a need for a community center.

This will not be the end of my vision for the community however. If one thing (the Friday group) is a waste of time then I will divert my energies into other ways to help those struggling with homelessness, poverty, addiction, mental illness and trauma.

As you all know I also work closely with Cathedral in the Night, the Northampton Recovery Center, Building Bridges, Street Stories, VOICE, Next Step, and Manna as a means to help others and of course I’m now running for city council as another means to serve the voiceless in our community and promote the idea that we all have a right to exist.

So the Friday group will probably end but the vision will continue.