Elias Padilla plans on putting down roots in Seattle.
“I’d like to travel, but I’d like to make Seattle a home,” says Elias, originally from Stockton, California. “I like it because there’s a lot of art; creativity around. And there’s not a bunch of prejudice, you know; everyone’s their own person here.”
Art and individuality are important parts of Elias’ life. And although he is a well-rounded creative, Elias has been focusing on poetry writing as of late.
Growing up, Elias wanted to be an architect. He has always enjoyed drawing.
“I do some intense drawings. I did this one drawing — it took me almost a year to finish. And it was on regular, letterhead paper. So much detail in it.”
Elias can recount the exact moment writing stole his heart. It was in the ninth grade. “I wrote a story. It was my first day of class there. I transferred from another school and we had to write a story and [my teacher] goes, ‘I’m gonna read these; I’m gonna pick out the best three. I’ll read them to the class and you guys vote.’ And I got the first one. ... I got the best story.”
When Elias arrived in Seattle, he used poetry as a means to make some extra cash in Wallingford. A seasoned salesman, Elias found Real Change in 2004. “When I saw someone out there selling the paper, I was like, ‘That’s what I wanna do.’”
Since becoming a Real Change vendor, Elias’ poetry has been published in the paper several times.
“You get out of it what you put into it. The more you put into it the more you’ll get out and it doesn’t always have to be money.”
Elias believes Real Change is one of the best options for Seattleites who are struggling, homeless or low-income.
Elias said Real Change has gotten him through so much. “It’s one of the best things that Seattle has to offer.”
When asked about what Elias wanted readers to know about him, he addressed potential vendors.
“Don’t let anyone stop you from achieving what is important to you ... Real Change is something you can get ahold of. It’ll guide you through it. ... It’s like a network. ... It opens up doors instead of keeping you stuffed in a corner going, ‘What should I do?’ This happens. This is something in the making that’s always happening.”
Home, as a concept, is not easily defined. Especially in a city that’s grown so much in such a small amount of time. Elias has, for years now, observed and written about this growth. He’s moved around the city a bit, but is currently living in Ballard.
“I like Ballard. ... I used to live there like seven years ago. It’s changed a lot since then.”
But in the face of a rapidly changing Seattle, if one thing is definitive, it is that Elias’ aptitude for self-expression continues to add to Seattle’s distinctive nature. Having found where he belongs, perhaps his home, Elias promises that, despite obstacles that often accompany change, he’ll “always make it back to Seattle.” And Seattle is lucky to have him. There’s no question that Elias embodies Seattle’s charming character. When selling Real Change, Elias says, he will often chat up residents “just see what their voice sounds like.” If you’re ever passing by QFC or Bartell’s in Ballard, listen out for Elias’ friendly hello.
Elias is one of 300 active vendors selling Real Change. Each week a different vendor is featured. View previous vendor profiles.
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