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Over the last several years (mostly since 2013), my health has gotten very poor, to the point of being almost disabled. I have eosinophilic asthma, erythema nodosum, dermatographia, hypersomnia (which might be related to another sleep disorder I suspect I have called Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Syndrome or DSPS), just to name a few of the chronic illnesses/conditions I deal with that puts my life on hard mode. Getting my autism/adhd diagnosis has only confirmed that I will likely struggle with health-related concerns for the rest of my life at a higher rate than average, despite healthcare providers regularly doubting me and generally being unwilling to label me as chronically ill/disabled.

I spent most of my adult life working dead-end, minimum wage jobs that obviously had no benefits, so when I got sick and almost died in 2013 from a lower respiratory infection that later turned to pneumonia, I had nothing to fall back on, was now saddled with a pre-existing medical condition that every nurse in that Texas hospital was certain I didn't need "Obamacare" to overcome, and now owed over 50k in medical debt from my nine day stay in the ICU (and that was after the hospital dropped 50k from the bill because I was poor and had no insurance).

I have tried working full-time since getting ill, but it takes such a huge toll on my health/mental health now, that it feels like working any full-time job at this point has become untenable. Especially a job that has some sort of physical aspect to it, so restaurant work is now out of the question. Working full-time means I barely have the energy to take care of my kids, that I have to rest more to make up for how exhausted I am. It means I barely have time to take care of my own needs. I currently work part-time at a local community college and that's about as much as I can handle.

So what's an autist living in a toxic and fascist-capitalist society to do when working full time means burn out and chronic exhaustion, but you obviously need money to survive? Find a way to monetize your hobbies. Which is, of course, bullshit. I shouldn't have to monetize the very things I do for simple pleasure just to survive in this world.

But here we are anyway.

However just because I am asking for donations and support of my arts, doesn't mean I am not offering anything in return. I am working on a poetry book that will be made available to anyone who makes a monetary donation. While it does feature many of the poems I've shared on my website, there will be several poems and digital artwork that I've created exclusively for this project. I plan to share a lot of the bts work I've done on my novels, including maps and digital portraits, raffle off some of my ceramic artwork, and so much more. And if my ideas end up bombing, I'll just keep trying to find what works for whatever audience I end up creating.

Even if none of us should have to monetize our hobbies, in a society that cares so little for its more vulnerable members, maybe the silver lining here is building communities of like-minded people who can appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses in a way the rest of society cannot.

So, if you're inclined, please support an almost disabled neuro-divergent artist/writer.

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