because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Letting Go of Love: On Grief and Dirty-Faced Boys

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When I was in elementary school, I liked a boy whose face was always a little dirty, a boy who wore corduroys that were always patched at the knees. Somehow, I sensed he had less than I did in this life, and for some inexplicable reason I felt a connection to him.

One afternoon, this boy and I held hands during a roller-skating party in our school gymnasium. It was wonderful, the way he whipped me around the room. His fingers tightly gripping mine, I felt alive, chosen.

I started bringing candy to him, assorted caramels rolled in colorful wrappers, and he happily took my plastic baggy filled with sweets, eating everything hungrily and without much appreciation.

I brought him treats for a long time, until I realized it was the candy he liked, not me.

Apparently, I haven’t learned much since my elementary school days.

Because I did it again.

This one knew how to clean himself up well-enough. He told me that he’d stop smoking cigarettes someday and shared enough secrets to make me feel like I was special. I liked the way he curled around me at night, pulling my body against his, making me feel delicate. I loved watching him sleep, hearing his breath, studying the curve of his face, his perfectly shell-shaped ears.

But nothing was easy. Our conversations were filled with miscommunications, and he was forever hanging up on me when we spoke on the phone.

And yet.

I encouraged him to follow his dreams, helped him with his business, opened my home to him, gave him my heart, my body. Some many offerings.

The point is I see it now, this old pattern, this longing to save someone I like. To make him love me.

I want to say that I’m hopeful that one day I’ll find my person – someone who is willing to accept responsibility for hurtful words, someone who apologizes and makes an attempt to change his future actions, someone who is willing to fight for me rather than with me, someone passionate and affectionate – a partner who possesses all the attributes I dream of and which, at one time, seemed so simple.

Time for me to stop offering up what little sweetness I have left.

Time to love myself and eat all the chocolates.

Ever stayed in a bad relationship for too long? How did you know when it was time to end things?

tweet me @rasjacobson

PERPLEXIA: Original Artwork For Sale

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Dear Friends:

If you’ve been following me at RASJACOBSON ORIGINALS on Facebook, you know I just finished this little lady.

PERPLEXIA is a little different than the whimsigirls I usually paint. She’s a little frustrated over the state of affairs in the world right now, but she’s trying to stay hopeful.

This 18×24 inch multimedia piece features lots of layers of thick acrylic paint as well as color pencils and pastel crayons & oil markers & select papers.

I’m over the moon for this little red-head.

She’s almost dry and looking to go to her forever home.

If you’re interested in purchasing the original, message me for details about pricing.

There’s only one original, and once it’s gone – it’s gone!

As you know, much of my work is available as 6×6 prints (on Masonite squares – $30), trivets (black framed 8×8 – $40), coasters ($10), and magnets ($5). I also have select images available on pendants for $25 and blank greeting cards/envelopes for $5 each.

Original art makes a great gift for weddings, confirmations, graduations, birthdays & b’nai mitzvahs.

Interested in custom work? Feel free to email me with your questions.

Thank you for your continued support, everyone!

Sincerely,

Women Warriors: I Want to Paint Your Story

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MURIEL TAKES A SICK DAY, June 2016 • This painting was inspired by a woman I met at a private pool club. With her dark skin, her striking gray hair, and fantastic white, skirted bikini, I couldn’t help but to notice her. As we chatted, Muriel confessed she woke up that morning and realized she hadn’t taken a day off in 15 years. “I called in sick,” she said.  “I’ve worked hard to support my family,” she said. A single mother to one son, Muriel had scars on her abdomen from several surgeries, including a botched hysterectomy. “I used to be self-conscious about them, she said, shrugging, “Now I think of them as war wounds. I’m a freaking warrior,” she said, smiling.

We women are so hard on ourselves. We worry our breasts are too big or too small, our thighs are too thick, our wrinkles are too deep.

We all have insecurities, and we wear them like scars, trying to hide behind them, covering them up with makeup and high collars. We wish they would go away, assuming that if we didn’t have them, then we’d be happy.

This year, I’ve gotten really into nude figure drawing. And you know what I’ve discovered?

No body is perfect, but each body is stunning in its own way.

I’ve been inspired by the courage and confidence the models possess.

How is it that these women are so comfortable in their skin? I wondered.

“I’m actually not comfortable with the way I look in regular photographs,” one of the models confessed. But it’s different when I see myself depicted in a panting. I can’t believe that I inspire these great pieces of art. It makes me powerful,” she said, “like Leda or Venus or one of Cezanne’s ‘Seven Bathers.’”

In that moment, I hatched an idea.

The State of Undress Project was born when I realized that everyone has insecurities but it is possible to own them and reframe them as strengths.

When I was going thru the throes of benzodiazepine withdrawal, in addition to my physical and emotional pain, I was terribly ashamed. Our culture stigmatizes people who suffer from anxiety and depression, and rather than talk about what’s bothering us, we are encouraged to take pills to medicate our feelings of sadness and fear.

While I was healing, I decided to sharing My Benzo Story with anyone who would listen, mostly because I wanted to raise consciousness and try to help make sure that no one else went thru what I was going thru. Once I started to share about the specifics of my personal journey, women started to seek me out to share their stories. Not just women who had been damaged by benzodiazepines, but women who have other invisible issues: eating disorders depression, anxiety, rare autoimmune diseases; women who have endured grief and loss and pain.

For the last year, I’ve been painting colorful portraits & figure studies of women who identified themselves as living with invisible obstacles.

These women had to be willing to write up a short piece in which they clearly explain the invisible challenge they face — and they had to be willing to pose in some state of undress — so that I could paint their likeness resulting in an impressionistic piece of art.

Posing semi-clothed requires immense vulnerability, bravery, and trust. I feel fortunate that these woman trusted me with their stories and allowed me into their lives in this most intimate way.

I believe that every woman is beautiful, and I’ve collected the stories of women who understand that our flaws are part of who we are, women who are excited by the idea that they are helping me to create a collection of images depicting many kinds of female strength

It is my hope that during the process, each woman feels sexy and strong and empowered.

And that maybe, just maybe, they will come to believe that they are worthy of being the subject of a work of art.

Because each of us is a work of art.

Intrigued? Interested in participating? Contact me and we’ll get started.

tweet me @rasjacobson

It’s Been a Long Time: Am I Still a Writer?

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TENTATIVELY TECHNICOLOR is a 18×24 inch multimedia piece featuring acrylic paint & colored pencils. The original is SOLD, but reproductions are available as wall art, trivets, coasters, pendants & magnets. Click on the photo & be magically transported to my shop.

It’s been a long time since anyone has wanted to interview me about my writing.

Or maybe they wanted to, but up until recently, I wouldn’t have been able to oblige. As many of you know, I suffer from PAWS – post acute withdrawal syndrome – as a result of improperly weaning off Klonopin, a powerful, physician-prescribed anti-anxiety medication. Initially, my brain was so damaged that I couldn’t walk or talk. Worst of all, I couldn’t read and I couldn’t write. At 44 months off, I’m doing nearly everything I did prior to the injury. It’s just…harder.

And today, I found out that the interview I did  with author AJ Alexander went live.

I met AJ during August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman BlogFest (#BOAW2017), and we liked each other’s writing style. Also, we kinda thought we may have dated the same weird-psychopath for a minute there. We didn’t. (((wipes brow)))

I’m truly humbled to be recognized for my writing.

It’s been a long time since I’ve identified as a “writer” – but I must confess, I’m back to it again.

If you’d like to read the interview about my new creative process, click HERE.

Do me a favor.

Leave a comment.

I’m on a diet, and instead of chocolate, I’ll devour your words.

Also, check out Aurora’s blog.

And follow her on Twitter @AuroraJean_A.

tweet us @rasjacobson & @aurorajean_a

Manifesting a New Home

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My childhood bedroom. For real. This is it.

Growing up, I lived in a bedroom my mother said she decorated ‘especially for me’.

The truth is that she decorated it for herself, but I didn’t know that at the time.

All I knew was that she loved the way the red furniture looked atop the plush, lime-green wall-to-wall carpet. She loved the way the floral bedspread matched the curtains, which matched the desk chair cushion, which matched the teddy bear that had been crafted out of the same material.

Unfortunately, it was a room that did not suit me.

At all.

While my friends had posters of rock stars tacked to their walls, or pictures of famous super-models or bulletin boards with pushpins, or shelves with trophies and ribbons, I had pink and green floral wallpaper that my mother selected for me before I was even born. For me, home was more like being in a hotel room: a place that you stayed temporarily.

“This house belongs to me and your mother,” my father explained. “One day you’ll have your own house which you can decorate however you’d like; until then, you go by your mother’s and my rules. And that means no holes in the walls.”

I remember complaining about these rules… and then being grounded for complaining.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I now realize I was being taught to submit, to ignore my needs to take care of the needs of others. My father always told me to listen to the little voice in my head, but the voice in my head contradicted the voice he heard. The voice I heard told me to challenge, to speak, to do things that other people told me were scary. The voice I heard told me to create, to organize, to decorate, to beautify in my way.

When my (now ex) husband and I separated in 2015, I wound up in an apartment. It’s not a bad place. I have plenty of square footage in which to roam about, a storage area in the basement, a garage in which to park my car at night. There are two elevators, one of which is often not working. The long hallways are painted in drab neutrals and feature crystal light fixtures and plenty of enormous mirrors. The carpets are worn. Fresh cut flowers sit in a decorative vase in the lobby. Various doormen help folks with their comings and goings.

But living here has not been good for me.

And I finally realized why.

For the last 24 months, I’ve been experiencing that same stifled feeling I used to feel when I lived at home with my parents as a teenager.

I can’t decorate the way I’d like to.

Can’t entertain the way I’d like to.

Can’t listen to my music at the decibel I’d like to.

(also, my neighbors know waaaaay too much about my comings and my goings)

For me, a home is not just four walls, a floor and a ceiling.

My home is an extension of my creative self.

It never occurred to me I would feel this way when I signed the lease two years ago.

While moving in, I watched the movers as they attempted to cram my beautiful leather couch through the door.

“Lady,” one guy said, wiping his brow. “This thing ain’t gonna fit.”

A few days later, I purchased an unattractive sofa and chair combo from the “scratch and dent” side of a local furniture store.

(because, you know, I wasn’t going to have it forever)

I made a lot of decisions that way.

Since then, I’ve acquired many temporary items.

Broken things.

Things that I wouldn’t want to bring into a real home.

Today I realized that the reason I’ve been doing this is because I haven’t been able to visualize myself staying in Rochester long-term.

When my son heads off to college in August, I have the opportunity to relocate and start over.

Or I can stay where I am and continue to build on what I’ve created for myself over the last 2 years.

Maybe I can find something like this, huh?

I don’t know where I want to do this starting over – but I can see it, this home.

It’s bright, a single-story home with lots of natural sunlight. It’s clean and new and open. There are 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms. Wood floors. A space I can use as an art studio with white walls and shelving and easy access to a working sink. I can see the patio in the backyard, my little patch of grass.

I get panicky when I think about starting over all by myself somewhere far away from where I have spent the last 20 years of my life.

But I also know that wherever I go, I always meet new people – some of whom who become dear friends to me.

So I’m putting my desire out into the Universe.

Help me.

Show me where you want me to go.

Bring the right people to guide me.

Help me to trust myself and others.

And let me live long enough to know what it feels like to be at home again.

Ever moved somewhere alone? How was that for you? What’s the worst thing about moving alone? What was the best thing?

tweet me @rasjacobson

**NOTE: I’d like to thank my parents for taking & sending this photograph to me, knowing full-well that I was writing about my childhood bedroom. They are beyond generous and mostly understand that I have this strange need to write about it all.

Letter to My 12th Grade Son, 3 Months Before He Graduates High School

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Dear TechSupport:

You used to shout at your friends before playing Capture The Flag.

“No burying the flag.”

“No jailbreaks.”

“My house. My rules.”

My son, you love rules.

But over the last few years, you’ve had to accept that man-made laws are not perfect.

Because people are imperfect.

Each night, you watch the news and shake your head.

Now you understand people create laws that can lead to atrocities of human suffering.

Know the question to ask yourself is always: “Would I want this to happen to me or someone I love?” Know also that the answer to this question connects you to the deepest place in your heart as well as all of humanity.

I remember you, slim and long, holding a saber in your hand. Moving with a sense of purpose, you lunged and parried and reposted. This sport – a maddening game of mental chess — requires patience, athleticism, chivalry and grace.

Know that you possess all of these qualities.

That you are able-bodied and strong.

Even if you never fence again.

Know the question to ask yourself is always: “How can I use my strength to help others?”

I’ve always known you’re wicked smart. I’m not bragging. I’m just quoting from the comments that your teachers have made over the years.

Student is a critical thinker.

Student asks important questions.

Student is a leader.

Though I’m forever encouraging you to go with your gut, you’re a scientist, analyzing situations from every viewpoint and trying to make the best, most rational decision you can.

Dude, I don’t understand how you got 100% on the Integrated Algebra Regents.

I mean, I know that you did it.

But you know how I feel about numbers.

To me, numbers are the enemy of words.

But you see magic in numbers.

You love the number 8 because it’s even.

Because it is divisible by 2 and 4, both of which are even numbers.

Because the number is made of two circles. And circles have no sides.

And infinite sides.

If you tip over the number 8, it becomes a pair of glasses.

And the symbol for infinity.

You love how infinity goes on forever.

Like Pi.

Believe me, I’m over the moon that you’ve made friends with numbers.

Please, just don’t become obsessed with 100.

Know that greatness is not about always having the right answer or pleasing others. That greatness is about asking important questions and doing what is right and good, even if you have to stand alone.

{That said, it’s okay to let other people hide the flag in a non-obvious location during Capture the Flag. Seriously, Bubba. It’s a game. Not the time to take a stand. Pick your battles.}

At the end of this academic year, you’ll be heading off to summer camp.

And then to college.

I’m already grieving losing you.

I’ve hardly had time to make sense of it.

I think it started the day I realized you are taller than I am.

Of course, I’m here for you.

But you’ve gotten quieter, less interested in sharing your words with me.

You hand me a Rubik’s cube and tell me to mess it up.

Your fingers touch mine for a nanosecond before you pull away.

I get it.

You’re expending your energy elsewhere these days.

These days you’re probably thinking about that girl and how she uses a green headband to keep her hair off her neck.

Stuff like that.

How did we get here?

Wasn’t I just cleaning up spilled Goldfish crackers and taking care of ouchies.

Explain to me how we got here, my number loving son.

And tell me that I did a good enough job.

That all the formulas worked.

You’ve been on this earth for 6430 days.

I’m paying close attention because I get it now.

This time won’t last forever.

I want you to know that you, my son, have been my greatest teacher.

But can I tell you just one thing?

People don’t ring the doorbell asking you to hang out because they want to see me. They don’t cheer your name when you walk into a room because they like the shirt you’re wearing. They do these things because you are that guy: the one who builds people up and makes them feel accepted and loved. You make weird card games fun.

You win with humility and lose with grace.

Except when it comes to Capture The Flag.

Dude, that game is your undoing. Cut people some slack. Seriously.

I know that’s more than one thing.

Do me a favor and cut me some slack, too.

Love,

Mom

The Hairiest Snizz

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Click on photo to see more of my work.

NOTE: This post is part of the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest VI! To read more entries, and potentially win a fun prize, visit the fest page on August’s McLaughlin’s site between today and 11pm PST March 11th.

In 4th grade, I liked a boy named Johnny. I brought him fresh tangerines and chased him around the playground at recess. One night, I penned him a handwritten note asking if we could maybe go roller-skating together sometime.

The next morning I stuck the note in his cubby right before we stood to recite The Pledge of Allegiance. That afternoon, Johnny stood among the other boys in our grade and motioned for me to come over. My heart thumping in my chest, I trotted to his side.

At one point, he crouched down to retie the laces on his sneakers, and I was surprised when he touched my ankle. Standing up, he inched closer to me. I was certain he was going to kiss me right then and there, in front of everyone.

It was going to be awesome.

“You’re hairy,“ Johnny announced. “I don’t like hairy girls.”

When I got home from school that afternoon, I found my father’s razor and used it to shave my legs.

And my arms.

And my armpits.

I didn’t even have peach fuzz under my arms, you know, because I was nine years old.

Still, I shaved there all the same.

Just in case.

The threat of spending my life alone and unloved sounded worse than a death sentence.

• • •

Years later, someone I loved told me that he wanted a woman who didn’t burp, fart, sweat or have any hair on her body, except on her head. I laughed and told him that wasn’t a woman; that was a doll.

When he expressed a preference for women who were “smooth down there,” I decided it was time for laser hair removal.

I remember the technician’s rose-colored safety goggles, her gloved hand squeezing my inner thigh.

“I hope you’re not doing this for a man,” she said to my crotch.

At the time, I believed I was doing it for myself.

But it was a lie.

• • •

A few years ago, my friend Eric invited a few people to his parents’ cottage to celebrate his birthday. It was warm, and everyone was lounging around in some state of undress. At some point, Eric’s girlfriend – let’s call her Jenn — announced she was going in the water and stepped out of her long skirt.

Jenn had a lot going on down there.

Dark hair came out of both sides of her bikini bottom.

I’d never seen that much hair on a woman, especially coming from parts I’d been taught were private.

“Gross,” my husband hissed in my ear. “That’s just gross.”

• • •

After my divorce, I took a lover. I was terrified the first time we were intimate. I kept waiting for him to criticize something about my physical appearance. But he didn’t. He made happy sounds when we kissed. He twirled my curls around his fingers, bit my thighs, and told me my body was beautiful.

At first, I didn’t believe him.

But, over time, I realized he was telling the truth, and I wept for all my years of not-knowing.

• • •

As a young girl growing up during the 1970s and 80s, I watched enough episodes of Charlie’s Angels to know that Jill, Kelly and Kate had pretty faces and slim figures. When they wore their tiny bathing suits, they did not have any superfluous body hair.

As a result, I’ve spent a large portion of my life tweezing and plucking and waxing and sugaring, believing that female body hair is unsightly and disgusting.

I see now how all of us, men and women alike, are impacted by this culture’s unrealistic portrayal of women. Women are not hairless; neither are we all long and lean.

I‘ve done many things to attract a lover.

I’ve primped and preened. I’ve told jokes and laughed at their bad ones. I’ve pretended to be interested when, in reality, I was bored. I’ve put myself on a diet, done things that I didn’t really want to do.

When you strip away all the layers, the truth is that I’ve been worrying about everyone else’s opinion of me since I was in elementary school.

• • •

Sometimes, I wish I had a chance to go back to my 4th grade self, to that day Johnny teased me in front of the boys. Instead of internalizing his criticism, I imagine myself moving closer to him, rubbing one of my hairy legs against his.

I would laugh at him and tell him that his ideas about shaving are ludicrous, remind him that human beings are mammals and that mammals have hair on their bodies.

That the messages in the movies, and TV, from friends and family and strangers, are nonsense.

That I don’t exist for his fulfillment.

I would wish him well, hope one day he might meet a woman who loves herself so much that his opinion about body hair might change, that in her arms he might have the chance to know a boundless and intoxicating love.

Afterwards, I would make my way home.

There, in the privacy of my own bedroom, I’d inspect my arms and my legs and deicide I’m good enough ‘as is’.

Instead of seeing myself as defective, I’d be resilient enough to know that one person’s opinion didn’t have to become my truth.

And instead of running for a razor, I’d walk into the kitchen and eat one of the many tangerines I’d been wasting on boys like Johnny.

What do you think about superfluous hair? Gross? Sexy? No big whoop? Feel free to share your funny stories here. I won’t tell anyone. Probably.

tweet me @rasjacobson

Why I Won’t Be Invited To That Party Again: The Day I Called Someone Out for a Racist Joke

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I’m at a party when, suddenly, the affluent host makes a horrendous racist joke.

Sitting just outside the group, I watch the men laugh uproariously while their women exchange pained looks and then look down at their hands.

I’m excruciatingly aware of how no one is willing to confront our host about his behavior, how silence provides the perfect climate and culture for toxic behavior to thrive.

I think to myself:

This is one of those moments. They don’t want to upset the wagon cart, make a fuss, be dramatic. They don’t want to find themselves on the outside of the social group. 

(You know, like me.)

So here I am at this party, realizing that I don’t really like any of these people. 

So I just say it out loud.

“I’m super uncomfortable by that joke you just made,” I say, trying to look at the host squarely in the eye, but doing a rotten job of it. “It’s racist,” I say to the ground.

I look up at him, hoping he’ll apologize.

Instead, he laughs, pats me on the head, and walks away.

It takes a moment for me to realize that I don’t have to stay, and all I have to figure out is how to make my departure. 

Had I been at this party in my former life — as half of a couple — my ex-husband would have told me to ‘calm down’ or tried to convince me that our host is intoxicated, that he didn’t mean what he said. He would have told me to forget the man’s words and ‘just enjoy the party.’

In other words, ignore the slight. 

Guess what? 

I’m done with that.

Ignoring racism exemplifies everything that’s wrong in this world, and I’ve decided to challenge people when they’re cruel, insensitive or disrespectful. 

But dealing with racist humor is weird.

People seem to be enjoying themselves; they’re laughing.

But we all know making fun of people is not the right thing to do, either.

It’s not how we should act as humans on this planet.

It’s not how people with thinking brains and working hearts behave.

If you’re someone who truly values the diversity that we claim to hold dear in this society, put your money where your mouth is.

Practice having these difficult conversations with other adults.

Question people about their thinking.

Get curious about why they think the way they do.

Challenge them on their misinformation.

Encourage them to get outside their cultural bubbles and interact with new people.

And, for goodness sake, until you see some personal growth on their part, show some integrity and stop attending their parties.

What do you do when someone you know makes an inappropriate comment about race/class/gender/sex?

tweet me @rasjacobson

Changing The Things I Cannot Accept: Time To Fight For Feminism, Ladies

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Feminism in Buffalo, New York, circa 1992. I am, of course, the one in the hat.  

In 1991, I landed my first job, teaching 3rd grade English as a Second Language. Kathy, the teacher with whom I worked, was smart, generous, kind, and warmhearted. She treated every child equally. She arranged the desks in neighborhoods and talked about community responsibilities. She bedazzled her bulletin boards and spent a lot of time doing little things she believed mattered to her students.

In the spring of 1992, as the debate over Roe v. Wade heated up, an event was planned in front of Buffalo’s GYN/Women Services. My friends and I agreed it was our obligation to ensure that women were able to make their appointments free from harassment from the notorious rabble-rousers who were coming to town. After all, GYN/Women Services provided prenatal care and regular obstetrics appointments for its many patients. It was not a killing field. It was a medical office that mainly provided routine office procedures like breast exams and pap smears in addition to providing legal abortions.

I attended the rally with two friends.

People screamed at each other from both sides of the street, on both sides of the issue. I didn’t like the things the Pro-Choice people were chanting: things like “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries,” and offensive rhymes which dragged religion into the issue. My friends and I didn’t have a problem with anyone’s religious practices, and we didn’t want to be associated with all that noise.

So we walked across the street to CVS and bought electrical tape, and we taped our mouths shut.

Reporters and photographers were busy looking for that one cool angle, that one interesting image.

Their camera lenses landed on us.

When our picture was published in LIFE magazine, I brought a copy to school to show Kathy, my teacher-friend. I wanted to talk to her about the caption, which read “Women tape their mouths shut to represent the Silent Majority who favor safe, legal abortion” — and explain how that didn’t quite capture the whole story. I wanted to tell her how — at the end of the day — when the news vans with their giant satellite dishes had driven away, I felt used, like a pawn in someone else’s chess game. How it had occurred to me everyone had an agenda and we, women, had been pitted one against the other by religious leaders and politicians, by media spokespeople who encouraged participants from both sides of the street to shout louder when their cameras were rolling.

Kathy squinted at me coolly.

“We were on different sides of the street that day,” she said.

Kathy and I worked side by side for the rest of the year, but our interactions were different. I learned so much from her: how to treat children with dignity, how to walk the fine line between friend and disciplinarian, how to integrate non-native speakers of English into the larger class: so many things. I wanted to make things right.

I tried to talk to her about her feelings regarding reproductive rights — I believed we could find some middle ground — but Kathy held up her hand.

“We’ll have to agree to disagree,” she said, shutting down my attempts at dialogue.

I never realized an issue could be so divisive that it could destroy a friendship.

Lately, when I watch the news I feel like I’m back in the 1990’s.

Issues and rights I thought long settled are being challenged again.

But this time around, it’s not only reproductive rights that are being challenged.

This time, the rhetoric is more ominous as basic human rights are being challenged.

As a feminist, I believe in reproductive freedom, and I will never accept federal, state or local rollbacks/cuts or restrictions to our access to quality healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education.

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I may be older, but my core values remain the same in 2017. 

I believe all women are free and able to care for and nurture themselves and their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments. I believe women deserve to live full and healthy lives, free from all forms of violence against our bodies.

I believe it is our obligation to protect the rights of all people, including our gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender or gender non-conforming brothers and sisters.

I believe in an economy governed by transparency, accountability, security and equity; that all workers must be paid equitably with access to affordable childcare, sick days, healthcare, healthy work environments, and paid family leave. I believe civil rights are our birthrights. This includes voting rights, freedom to worship without fear of intimidation, harassment, freedom of speech for all citizens regardless of race, gender, age or disability.

I believe every person and every community has the right to clean water, clean air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands. I believe our climate must be protected, that our land and natural resources cannot be exploited for gain or greed, especially at the risk of public safety and health.

Twenty-five years ago, people kept their politics pretty quiet. But, with the advent of social media, people have become much more open about their political leanings.

I’ve taken the electrical tape off my mouth.

Now is not the time to be silent, friends.

Decades of polite silence has created a divided country.

We have to start having these uncomfortable conversations if we ever hope to move forward as a country.

I’m fortunate to have nurturing relationships with women of every race, class, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, and religious practice. My life is enriched daily by the interactions that I have with these women. We laugh and cry together. We share food and we share stories. We celebrate each other’s successes and hold each up during dark times.

Why wouldn’t I want everyone to have the same inalienable rights that I enjoy?

Who would have thought that twenty-five years later the personal would be so political… again?

Have your relationships changed as a result of political differences? If not, how have you managed to make it through the election season without any shift in friendships?

tweet me @rasjacobson

3 Things the Universe Wants Me to Do

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I’m wicked competitive.

No matter what I do, I want to be the best at it.

I don’t mean the best that I can be.

I mean the best as compared to all the people.

As a gymnast, I was taught it was necessary and possible to be as close to perfect as possible.

As a teacher, I strove to create perfect lessons.

As a wife, I tried to make a perfect home, tidy and warm and well decorated.

I aimed for perfection as a mother, too.

(Sorry TechSupport.)

I’m not saying this perfection thing is a good thing.

I’m just saying, I tend to go for blood be outcome-oriented.

My son works differently.

(You guys remember TechSupport, right?)

He’s process-oriented.

When he was younger, we had plenty of conversations where I’d ask him about how he felt about his performance in some athletic endeavor or something.

“I learned a lot,” he’d say and shrug, as if to add, No big deal, mom.

Anyway, because I’m feeling pretty dang good, energetic and cognitively clear, and because I’m coming back to life and feel invested in living again, I’m aware that one of my less pleasant character traits has reared its ugly head.

fullsizerender-2Yup, my competitive nature flared today.

I found myself thinking that I need to be better.

That I need to take more art classes and sell more products, get my work into more boutiques, be bigger-er and more famous-er, that I need to be the best artist in the whole world.

But how does a person “win” at art?

It’s ridiculous.

When I paint or draw or create something, I’m 100% in the moment – much the way I am when I look at a field of sunflowers, enjoy a coconut ice cream cone, take a dip in the ocean, or feel a lover’s mouth against my own.

Embarrassed by my own thinking, I decided to meditate on it and, after a while, I realized that I’ve been holding onto a misperception.

I was taught to believe that one’s work is only as valuable as the money one receives for doing that work.

I think a lot of us grew up with that ethos.

It’s an old belief.

And old beliefs die hard.

These days, I operate under a completely different set of beliefs.

  1. The Universe has a plan for me.
  2. The Universe wants me to do what I love.
  3. When I do what I love, the money follows.
  4. The Universe can change its plans for you at any time.

Apparently, the Universe wants me to do 3 things: paint, write, and help people who are coming off psychiatric medications.

(they need to know the body really does know how to heal.)

So that’s what I’m doing.

It’s enough.

Tonight I’m shrugging my shoulders and laughing.

And realizing I need to dial back my intensity a bit.

It’s all coming together.

I don’t have to have it all figured out today.

(thank goodness, because i soooo don’t.)

I know the Universe has big plans for us all in the new year.

Can’t wait for 2017 to begin.

What ONE thing do you believe the Universe wants you to accomplish in 2017?