Welcome to my blog. I’m a blogger. Sigh. For over 20 years people have been telling me to start a blog. I’ve had a lot of excuses, even snobbiness – that’s not a real website or book. Then i’m not a writer, my life isn’t that interesting, okay it is but people don’t want to hear about me, ok they do but I don’t want my family to read it, well ok i don’t care but definietely not my mom…
That last one is true. I’d rather my mom not hear about all of my shenanigans (Hi mom!) but she probably knows anyways.
So how do I start a blog? Hm. I did the welcome. Put up a few funny anecdotes. Oh, well let me introduce myself. I’m Amber. My dad called me Sam, but it wasn’t short for Samantha. My siblings sometimes called me Hamburger. Now they mostly don’t call me, my closest family is 500 miles away. My dad called my friends all by the same name, George. For whatever reason he thought giving girls boys nicknames was funny. Again for whatever reason I think naming animals after other animals is too. With pets I have Moose (dog) Badger (cat), Puppy (rat), Snake (snail), Lizard (turtle), etc.
Some friends call me Red because I have fire engine red hair. Others call me Esbie, ones who met me online. It’s my characters name from a game I played when I was a teen. Its always been easier for me to make and keep friends online, or to talk in general. I have had a lot of names in my 40 years really. And I keep friends easier online due to a mental illness but more on that later. I make them easier because I am autistic. I have never been diagnosed but it’s fairly obvious, especially since I have an 8 year old son who is non-verbal. He doesn’t talk but in spite of that and my issues we have a lot of friends. He has a sunny disposition, always smiling, and though i’m pathologically shy and have trouble talking I can write, and have been active online since the early 90s.
I’ve had a lot of job titles through the years as well. You might think i’m sorta familiar because I cashiered at walmart for years but lost 100lbs and a foot of amber colored hair since then. But also chef, maid, door to door salesman, escort (err hi again mom), bartender, artist, marketer, personal assistant, and finally marketing specialist. Soon I go back to school for grant writing and we’ll add non-profit organization CEO to that resume.
Of all my titles though only one really matters to me, Mom. My son was a surprise. My mom says (I was a surprise too) that she liked to say surprise not accident, because an accident was something that hurt you but a surprise is something good you didn’t even know was on its way. So he was a surprise, during a time where I was suicidal due to trauma, so he saved my life. I gave him life and he saved mine and together we’re trying to make it a good one. And i’m trying to figure out which one of those jobs to work at to make sure that it’s sustainable after i’m gone. I have a plan for that too, sustainability – build a little house that’s built to be off the grid, live in it until we can build another to rent out to pay property taxes. Then we’d just need a well for water and he can work giving ghetto ghost tours if he wants.
I used to hear my son suggested as the topic for a blog when I objected and though obviously he’ll feature in this one a lot, he is not its focus. I want his private life to remain private, insofar as no one needs to hear about him being disciplined or upset.
And really, the blog isn’t about me either. It’s about Ohana House, which really isn’t a house at all. We haven’t built one yet. Anyways Ohana means family and Ohana House is wherever we are with our friends and right now that’s a trailer in Clearlake California, though Ohana Trailer doesn’t have such a nice ring. Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten and Ohana House is the home for people who feel left behind or forgotten to make friends.
Beyond that Ohana House is an (upcoming) art studio and non-profit organization. Its mission is to help the helpers. I’m studying grant writing because when I looked at how to help my community what I decided was the best choice is grant writing. The thing they need most is money. And with my friends i’m the mom. You know who i’m talking about. If you’re hungry, if you need a bandaid or shoulder to cry on, that’s where you go. That’s me and often my friends as well, and together we created Ohana House. We wanted to help bring art to these poverty stricken areas, and help people learn to heal through art but also realized every neighorhood has a house like mine and a mom like me. That place you go to hang out with your family, the one not related by blood. So for now that’s who we’re dedicated to helping. If you’re hungry people will tell you to go to the food pantry but what if you don’t have money for the bus, or must bring a disabled child, or are the victim of trauma or abuse and too scared. No not the food pantry, you go to moms. As with me though she often has all the same issues and needs help and what do you do when you can no longer go home? We don’t want to find out (Love you mom) So that’s what we do, help with helping. And food, and first aid supplies, and hope.
So this blog is about me, but also the inhabitants of Ohana House, though it isn’t a house at all, and they don’t live here. Writing about people is problematic, you don’t see it a lot in book. That’s because each person mentioned must sign a release to be legal and people don’t do that. You see it in blogs, maybe with just name changes, but when bloggers write books they usually change everything. I was writing a book and busy changing all I am going to write here to be legal when I realized my friends are shameless. They’ll sign. I already had a great idea for a plot though and a few chapters, and a few friends also had things they didn’t want to upset their mom. Why not write both they asked and just leave them out of one. But Ohana means no one is left behind, we don’t do that, so what we came up with is this. Two versions of the same plot. Different stories as retold by the characters from their perspective and in each if they’re one thing, they will be the opposite in the other. If they’re good in the blog, they will be evil in the book. Except good and evil changes from choice to choice and we need both plot and plausible deniability for the characters. So not only will there be questions about whether a character is good or evil we also won’t just tell you whether each situation is the truth, or a lie. It’s up to you to decide. After all whether someone is good or evil, or a situation is positive or negative – those are things each individual must figure for themselves. I’ve spent my entire life trying to answer those questions, hindered by mental illness and trauma. So really this blog is about the friends or enemies i’ve made along that journey and whether or not the good outweighs the evil. Whether or not i’m the hero, or the villain, of my own story. I guess that’s something no one finds out til the last chapter. But I guess the ending is something we all help write and here you are. We hope we can help you or since we’re all still writing our own stories you can help us, so we’re glad you’re joining the family. Ohana. Welcome.
A bird doesnt sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.— Maya Angelou