I’ve been working very hard lately. My boyfriend is in town currently, I’m filling out school paperwork and items for my FAFSA and loan information, and throughout all of it…. I’m still vegetarian.

Usually by now I’ll have broken and jumped to the nearest meaty comfort food (my personal favorite is biscuits & sausage gravy, which I may post the recipe for soon because I want to make it Saturday morning), but for some reason I’ve been able to beat the craving. I’m going to blame the bounties of summer & her fresh vegetables and the promise of my own measly zucchini plant finally pushing out a single squash (did you know that? zucchini is a squash? yeah? oh..). The recipe I tried this week and totally spaced on taking pictures about was Eggplant Parmesan. I literally had no idea what I was doing but it turned out pretty decently. Well. Amazing enough that I had to put my foot down in order for there to be leftovers.

But that’s enough of that. There’s a bigger issue in all of this. Working full time (at minimum wage, no less) with a commute that adds another 20 hours to my work week that is unpaid for has finally taken it’s toll. I am exhausted.

I need something better. I need a new start and I need to focus on school. I can’t be distracted…

This short post is here for one purpose and that’s to alert the masses that for the first time since 17, I won’t be trying to work as many hours as I can. I won’t balance it with school. I either will be working weekends or evenings, but I feel there’s a big chance I will be attempting to ease myself out of working my current job to find something else to pay my core bills while I go to school.

I’m terrified. Let me say that again. Terrified. All of my friends have moved on to either university or are almost finished. I turn 22 at the end of the year and while that’s not that big of a deal, I’ll be older than the other freshman. I haven’t taken a math course in six years and I have never been through this scary process of applying for aid & loans. Not only that, I have my animals to worry about. I have that beautiful kitty Peaches and my wonderful little crazy ball of poo, Annie. I know there’s going to be bigger vet bills for the cat in the future and Annie will be reaching two this December.

This is me having a panic attack. It’s an irrational fear of the future and the small things that has me nearly hyperventilating as I sit at the kitchen table, waiting for my breakfast muffin.. things.. to finish baking in the oven before I run out of here in a whirlwind to replace my phone charger and then leave for another 1.8 hour commute and 7 hour shift and another 1.8 hour commute back. Run on sentences. Self loathing for run on sentences. Coffee gulp. Stare at the screen for a few minutes with a twisting feeling in my stomach. Yep.

This is what a panic attack does to me.


What does it take?

(Image source: [here])

The source of this picture has nothing to do with this post. Right now, I want you to look at that. Imagine there’s a coffee shop on one side of this parking lot, a quiet murmur as people go about their Sunday and do whatever it is they do near a coffee shop & a liquor store at 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning.

When I was ordering my coffee today (with my father, out doing grocery shopping), I noticed a woman having trouble outside walking with her rolly basket. You know that feeling you get when you know someone is mentally challenged, has an apparent learning disability… whatever it is that you prefer the name of for political correctness, that. This older woman was the embodiment of that. I couldn’t tell if she was going somewhere or trying to get home. It just bothered me. And at first, I turned away like everyone else in this world does and took my $3.50 latte with a shot of Kahlua flavor & savored that first sip.

My dad and I exited the coffee shop and I stopped. I heard crying. I had almost forgotten about her — and there she was, having problems with her cart… and sobbing profusely. I looked at my dad and he just had this pained face, and he continued to stand there. I know he was trying to figure out something to do, but I couldn’t just stand there. I walked over, asked if she was alright. She wasn’t, her cart was stuck on the curb. When I got closer to her I could tell the clothes she had wasn’t as clean as she would probably want. And her eyes. Her eyes had so much pain in them.

I helped, and she started thanking me, over and over as she stood by her cart in the street, tears now streaming down her face. And I turned back towards my dad who still had his eyes on her. I heard her yell, “excuse me? kind lady?” and asked me if I had a dollar – and I didn’t. I did however have a small handful of change and I offered it to her, and she smiled. Gave her a hug. Told her, “God bless,” and she said the same back… and I went back to my life & back to my day.

For eleven hours this has been sitting on my head and bothering me. This incident brings up a couple really painful points to me, and I could spend the next three hours of my night detailing what they are but everyone would just bring up the point that maybe I could’ve done something more. You could’ve given her a ride, you should have done more…

Travelling through Portland nearly every day for the last year for work has given me the Portland mentality of “look the other way” and I hate that. And when I think about how I could approach not thinking like that… I become stingy. I remember how I need to save for groceries, for my boyfriend’s ticket down here/back home just in case, of how I’m saving for school and oh, don’t forget the $100 a month for a bus pass.

I just have to remember her appreciation for what I could give her. I just have to remember, that even actions will speak louder than a dollar bill ever can. I remember watching her make her way across the parking lot, still having some problems with the cart, but her posture seemed easier. And I would have been back out from the safety of the car to ask her further where she was going & if she needed a lift, if someone else hadn’t walked out of their car with an umbrella and start talking to her. I hope she got to where she was trying to go. I hope her day got brighter from the people she met along the way. I hope she is somewhere safe, and that she has someone to call in case something happens…

I can’t give money to every single person I see struggling, but I can help move their cart off being stuck on the curb…

Fuck, I hate this economy. I miss living in the adolescent ignorance of the world.