You Can Help The Ones In Front Of You


You know how I keep talking about collective action? You know how I keep bringing it up as one of the only antidotes to the pervasive greed, selfishness, and indifference that plagues western societies?

Well, here’s a good example:

One of the most successful writers on this platform, Shannon Ashley, needs help from the community she’s been supporting for years. She needs it because of problems that writers like me have been talking about for at least the last year. Our culture creates obstacles for women and other groups by shaming them, then leaves us to fend for ourselves in a series of systems designed to make life difficult and expensive.

What does she need specifically?

She needs $60,000 for a surgery.

You can donate here.

To be honest, this really should be in the end of the post if you’ve read anything by Shannon Ashley.

Just go donate.

Of course, my goal is to have this post shared widely, which means it doesn’t hurt to make it longer. So I’m going to write some more bullshit about why it’s a good idea to help people, even though I’ve been writing about it every day for months now, and most of us seem to understand in theory.

Here’s why Shannon needs the surgery:

“My lipedema keeps progressing, and I am miserable. It zaps my energy, and my life keeps shrinking. I do less and less, but hardly know how to talk about it. I can’t keep up with my housework, and do myself a great disservice by not admitting to myself (and others) that lipedema is ruining my life.

I haven’t been honest about the extent of my pain over the past 16 months or so. My calves hurt constantly. There are sharp, stabbing pains, and dull but heavy, achey ones. The skin often feels sunburnt or painfully cold. The cold sensation is tingly and interrupts my sleep. Hypothermia of the skin is another lipedema symptom.

My sleep is suffering because my calves are much more tender than they used to be. My calves are now 31 inches around, and much of that skin is hard, extra sensitive to pressure, and in certain spots, scaly.”

— Shannon Ashley

Did you catch all that?

Imagine being a talented writer who develops a condition like this, and suddenly you can’t do the thing you’re really good at, the thing that’s been bringing you an income and making a difference in the world. That would suck, wouldn’t it? You would want help.

Despite what we think about asking for help, it’s not easy. It’s actually one of the hardest things you can do.

What’s lipedema?

Lipedema is an under-recognized disease of which the main symptom is an irregular distribution of painful fat and swelling in the legs, hips, and butt. Note: This isn’t the same as being overweight. The cure isn’t diet and exercise.

— Marta Brzosko

For what it’s worth, someone in my family had lipedema a few years ago. Like Marta says, it can hit just about anyone. Even with insurance, the surgery costs several thousand dollars. If Shannon lived anywhere else, she most likely wouldn’t be having these problems. She wouldn’t have to foot a gigantic medical bill by herself, when she’s trying to raise a kid without a support network. Of course, none of us have succeeded without help from someone. Some of us realize that. It’s why we give a little.

Some people work themselves up into real knots about where and how they can make a difference. They get paralyzed by thinking about the world’s injustice and inequality and unfairness. In that state of paralysis, they wind up doing nothing. It becomes its own form of procrastination.

In my opinion, it’s pretty simple what to do.

Start with the ones in front of you.

Campaigns on GoFundMe constantly raise much more than $60,000 to fund complex medical procedures. It’s a byproduct of our sad, broken healthcare system — but the silver lining is that people generally come together to help out those who need help. I mean, christ, Kyle Jenner’s part-time makeup artist managed to raise $100k for brain surgery. You think we could do something similar for a well-known blogger?

The top writers on this platform have a combined following of well over a hundred thousand. If a small fraction of those gave just a little bit of money, it would cover the expenses in no time.

I’m not kidding.

If 1,200 people donated fifty bucks, that would do it.

So the question is…

Do you have fifty bucks?

Do you have twenty?

There’s thousands of us on here who go on and on about the importance of helping others and aligning our actions with our values. Well, here’s a chance to prove it — especially to ourselves.

Other writers have looked up to Shannon for years, and she’s been a major influence to many when it comes to her voice and subject matter. She’s good at calling out bullshit and outlining realistic ways to approach problems in your life while being honest. She’s funny and compelling. A lot of us find it refreshing to read about fortitude and resilience from someone who’s dealt with adversity, instead of making up stories about it.

So, I think that’s a sufficient amount of bullshit about being a good person. Now let’s make each other proud and reach the goal.

Help the ones in front of you:




Unfluencer. | Also on Substack:

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Jessica Wildfire

Jessica Wildfire

Unfluencer. | Also on Substack:

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