On Asking for Help (and, Hopefully, Not Starving)

Asking is hard. Particularly for those of us who are femme, who were socialised to be women, or who do caretaking work, it can be so easy to put the needs and desires of others above our own; we grow very used to advocating for others, at our own expense. And for those of us from marginalised communities, whom society disregards or punishes for existing, it’s almost impossible to feel like our wants and needs matter.

But they do matter, and we have to believe that, because we are sometimes the only advocates we have. Others cannot know what we want and need if we never share it with them. That’s a shame, because we often find folks ready and willing to help us. We just need to give them the chance.

Still, it’s really scary. So many questions come up to block our path: what if no one helps? What if they call us selfish? What if, what if, what if? We want the help, but we wish that others could intuit and “opt in”, rather than us risk rejection from those who aren’t interested. Putting ourselves out there makes us vulnerable.

Okay, deep breath.

This isn’t abstract. I need to ask for your help right now.

This past week, I had a medical emergency. My blood sugar got dangerously high, so high that I grew dehydrated and had to go to the emergency room. I spent 5 hours on a saline drip, and was given a shot of insulin. I was really scared, and in the aftermath, I started thinking about my life.

Currently, I attend classes at Portland State University. I’m about a year from graduating. I also work at the Queer Resource Center on campus, a job I may not have once summer starts, since the positions open up at the end of each school year. I don’t know how I’ll pay my bills or eat this summer. I don’t know how I’ll find a job after I graduate, one that will be understanding about my chronic illnesses and disability. I feel like my best bet is to really focus on my small press. Hopefully, in a year, I’ll be able to get by on that and my income from freelancing.

Last week, I launched an Indiegogo to raise funds. I’m asking for $10,000 to buy things like ISBNs, a P.O. Box for business correspondence, a storage unit for books waiting to be sold, and other physical things, as well as give the press the ability to contract artists to design book covers, offer small (likely tiny, actually) advances to authors we’ll publish in the next year, and stuff like that. If we reach the goal, I might be able to start actually paying myself from sales of my book. If we overshoot the goal, I may even be able to hire a part-time assistant to help me out. (Which would be great, because I am disabled, so there are some things I may need help with.)

I’m really dedicated to making Mourning Glory Publishing a successful business, not just so I don’t starve, but because I believe that the voices MGP will publish are vital ones, that need to be heard. I believe in the power of stories to change the world. Telling stories saves lives, transforms them. The voices of the most marginalized members of our society need to be heard, to be recognized and lifted up, to be celebrated. It’s this work I want to do, and why MGP is so important to me. (Not starving would be a nice bonus, though.)

So, the ask: please visit the link, and share with your friends, family, followers. If you have Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or GooglePlus, please share on those platforms. Let folks know you support the press. And if you can give, please do. I really am grateful for everyone’s support, and I still have a long way to go to reach the goal.

Thank you.

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