Why should you Grow Yourself with Shannon Ashley?

Just a few years ago, I was a new and struggling single mom who had to couchsurf or “rent” foreclosed homes just to stay afloat. I battled daily suicidal thoughts and was addicted to drama in my relationships.

I was a mess.

Writing is what got me back on my feet. First, writing for other businesses and then writing for myself. In April 2018, I began writing on Medium, and quickly skyrocketed to become a top writer there. In December 2018, I quit my job in social media marketing to pursue full-time writing on Medium.

It turned my life around and helped me find purpose in my pain.

Since then, my life has hit some ups and downs. I was diagnosed with advanced lipedema (aka lipo-lymphedema) in 2021, and Medium is no longer what it used to be. After my lipedema diagnosis, I embarked upon a treatment journey that has undoubtedly consumed my life.

After three lipedema removal surgeries in early 2022, I'm still working to improve my mobility and quality of life. I'm scheduled for a fourth removal surgery in March 2023, and will need skin removal surgeries too.

As I prepare for this next surgery, I am continuing to fight my insurance company for coverage, and I'm still trying to build my writing career. Currently, my lipedema treatments and health status prevent me from leading a “normal” life, and I don't get to write or publish as much as I used to.

However, I haven't given up on my writing—it's simply moving at a slower pace than I'd like.

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What you'll get

When you subscribe to my newsletter, you'll gain access to all of my work and updates. I'll keep you updated on my progress in terms of my health, but you'll also be helping to support my work, so I can keep writing in the midst of my treatments—and get back on my feet as my health improves.

As my health improves, I plan to finally complete several books that have been in the works, and also create a non-profit organization to help fund lipedema treatments for other women like me.

What I write

If you're familiar with my work on Medium, you might know what I'm all about. I generally describe myself as a cultural critic, single mother, and trauma survivor who loves to publish personal essays about anything that matters deeply to me.

My work is greatly inspired by Fred Rogers who wrote, “Anything that's human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”

That quote from Mr. Rogers has informed everything I write. As such, I don't really believe that any topics are off-limits, nor do I believe in limiting myself to just a few topics. I especially feel that some of the best topics I can tackle are those that are most difficult to talk about. I'm all about dealing with our “big feelings,” and handling them with honesty and vulnerability.

As a neurodivergent writer with inattentive ADHD, autism, and a pretty extensive history of trauma, I can't promise you perfection, but I do promise that I'll give my all—and my honesty.

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A newsletter about anything (and everything) human.


Shannon Ashley
Full-time writer, single mama. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest.