How I Raised Over $2500 in One Day for Medical Expenses

7 Steps to be Practically Audacious

Yesterday, I raised over $2500 in one day with one GoFundMe Facebook post.

(Backstory: I have rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease, that requires very expensive medication to keep me walking and functional. Due to some insurance and copay assistance program shenanigans and kerfuffles, I needed $2500 to cover my medication until my insurance deductible was met and it is covered for the rest of the year.)

I was floored by the response to my post and full of so much gratitude for the generosity of my friends, acquaintances, and some folks I don’t think I’ve ever met in person.

As a therapist and amateur social scientist, I try to take the difficult things in my own life and figure out how I can use the lessons I learn to help my clients in theirs.

So, I got really curious about the factors that allowed this magical experience to happen.

I’m interested in the state of being audacious. In fact I’ve built a whole brand around it.

Some words and phrases that pop up when you google the word “audacious” include: recklessly bold, defiance of convention, fearless, uninhibited, and without shame.

When you think of someone who is audacious, you often think of this guy:

Original Image

I think of audacity as a little more subtle. Being bold and defying convention can be tender and strong at the same time. Like this:

Original image
How do we bring more tender audacity into our lives, defy convention, and make some magic?

7 Steps to Bring Some Audacity into Your Life in a Practical Way When Sh*t Hits the Fan:

1. It’s Ok Not to Be Ok: Be Honest about Where You Are

Having just switched jobs and apartments (and on the tail end of weird eclipse/retrograde juju that included emergency dental surgery for my cat and a new radiator), I simply couldn’t absorb the cost of the medication. Allowing myself to accept my financial situation without fighting it and to admit that I needed some help was the first step in making this magic happen.

2. Feel the Feels: Sadness is a Bat Signal

I’ll be real. I had a moment sitting at my kitchen table where I felt completely helpless. I didn’t see any way out of this mess without a mountain of credit card debt that wasn’t sustainable. I let myself feel it. I cried. I got angry at how unfair our medical system is. I sent a word vomit text to my best friend.

3. Do the Work: Get Unfrozen

I felt like curling up in a ball. But from the pit of despair, I started moving.

I froze. But I didn’t stay frozen. My feels were telling me to avoid, to run, to hide. But that wasn’t going to be useful here, so I decided to do the opposite.

I needed to make sure I knew all the facts and had exhausted all the options instead of simply assuming that I was doomed. I reached out to a buddy who is an insurance expert. I asked a friend to connect me with one of their friends who works at the drug company for my medication. I reached out to the pharmacy to see if I had missed any options.

The result? Mostly, nothing in my circumstances changed, but a I felt like I had a little more control over the situation. Let’s also put this in perspective-the worst case scenario was that I was going to end up with a bunch of unexpected credit card debt. Not great, but not life threatening. I was going to be ok whatever the outcome.

4. Be Honest about What you Need and Ask for It

Now for the hard part. As a double Capricorn (sun and rising), asking for help isn’t exactly my strong suit.

However, I’ve learned that a surefire way to not get your needs met is to not ask for what you need.

One of my favorite questions is “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

So, what the hell? All people could say is no. And more importantly, what if they said yes? The risk was worth it.

Pro-tip: Hold it loosely. Releasing expectations is part of the magic. I truly believed when I put the request to the Facebook universe that I would be ok whether I got $2500 or zero dollars. It was figureoutable. Or maybe it wasn’t. But that thought wasn’t useful to me, so I let it go.

5. F*ck Shame: Deal with the Vulnerability Hangover

Y’all, asking people for money is hard. It brings up all sorts of shame gremlins, whispering all the reasons you should be embarrassed about putting a legitimate need out to the universe. This is where your coping skills come in. Instead of dwelling and ruminating about all the ways I may have just embarrassed myself very publicly or revealed personal facts about my health and current money issues to strangers on the internet, I ditched a networking event that I should (those pesky should’s) have gone to and went to go see my best friend sing at a beautiful spot by the river looking at the gorgeous Chicago skyline on a cool fall evening.

Brooklyn Britches and the Whispers

Seriously, how could you not feel better after that?

6. We’ve Got Nothing but Family Here

None of this magic would have been possible without the people that donated. And people didn’t donate because I am an exceptionally great copywriter or because I’m anything special. People donated because I consider most of these people my #chosenfamily. I’ve invested in them in different way and they have invested in me.

That is the power of community, folks.

I’m pretty sure I’m in the front row crying during this video recording, so I’m just gonna leave this right here because it illustrates my point and also I want you to hear the song:

Sharkk Heartt

7. Gratitude

Life is hard sometimes. It’s easy to forget to acknowledge the everyday magic and the magical people in our lives. The most valuable part of this experience for me wasn’t the money (I mean, it’s valuable. But not the most valuable), it was the feeling that people had my back. LOTS of people. As a queer, adopted child from the South, a sense of family is really important to me.

And yesterday, I felt like I was part of a family. And it felt like Magic.
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Rena McDaniel is a Clinical Sexologist who works with folks feeling anxious and lost about a transition they’re experiencing in sex, gender, sexual identity, or relationships. They want a queer-identified, trauma-informed professional to help them uncover more of who they are so they feel confident in their own skin. She provides folks with the support they need to go from feeling broken and alone to whole and part of a community. Sign up for her newsletter for musing and updates here.

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