Looking to do something artsy this summer from the comfort of your own home? Look no further! You’re invited to join me…
I was recently interviewed about my benzodiazepine journey by August McLaughlin of Girl Boner Podcast. August and I “met” each other waaaaaay back in 2012 and became blogging buddies. She has stuck with me during my entire healing ordeal, and I feel like this is probably the best interview that has ever been done because she approaches the topic from a totally different angle, which speaks to the problems asscociated with Western medicine and how doctors are getting it very wrong when it comes to women’s health. So many women find themselves “psychiatrized” after postpartum experiences, and August’s non-judgmental focus on the way I made my way to psychiatric medication is nuanced, compassionate and especially revealing, I think.
The episode is called Becoming Unf*ckwith-able, and here’s what August had to say:
After a difficult pregnancy, traumatic childbirth and near death experience in the hospital, Renée Schuls-Jacobson (Rasjacobson Art), endured “next level insomnia.” Little did she know the dark places her attempts to feel better would gradually lead to. Her story is also one of mighty healing, hope and vibrancy—in the Girl Boner department included.
There are several places where you can listen to the podcast.
The links are included below.
Blog (includes a transcript):
I’d love to hear what you think and if any of my story resonates with you.
*** NOTE: This episode contains mentions of traumatic events and suicidal ideation. If you’re struggling with such thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 ***
Click the link to check out my book, – Psychiatrized: Waking up after a Decade of Bad Medicine.
Thank you all so much for your continued interest in my healing journey and my artwork.
I’m a summer girl, so the loss of sunlight is tough on me.
Suddenly, there are fewer hours in the day to get everything done, and for a few days in there, I didn’t even manage to get outside to get my walk in.
(That is never a good thing for me.)
In an attempt combat Seasonal Affective Distress, I’ve signed up to take a class at The Warrior Factory, one of those places where people work on improving their balance and strength & then get to practice their new new and improved skills on a cool obstacle course.
Seriously though, my upper arms told me it’s was time for me to push out of my comfort zone and try something different.
I start in two weeks, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress from artist & author to super ninja.
What else do I have to tell you?
Tomorrow, November 6, 2021, I’ll be at 880 Yellow Mills Road (aka: Fig Hollow Barn) in Palmyra to talk about the dangers associated with long-term psychiatric drug use.
Here’s a link with details about the event. https://www.rasjacobson.store/events/ It is not necessary to RSVP, but it helps us to anticipate for the best set-up.
(Like… do I need a megaphone or can we sit in a small circle?)
NOTE: The venue is in a non-winterized barn, so be sure to dress accordingly.
After that event, the next thing that is coming up is my:
ZOOM ART Liquidation Sale!
The nice thing about this event is that EVERYONE can participate. Whether you live five minutes away or five time zones away, this is a great way to connect and do a little shopping at the same time! Honestly, I had so much fun sharing my artwork LIVE via ZOOM last year! If there was a silver lining to the COVID quarantine, that was it.
This year, there will be 3 opportunities for you to purchase my wares online. I’ll be showing tons of items that are not on my website, most are $30 or less.
Everything must go, so shop early for the best selection!
Purchase over $100 & shipping is FREE!
Nov. 9 & 23 & Dec. 7 • 7:15pm – 9pm
Meeting ID: 789 925 7474
Even if you can’t stay the entire time, I’d love for you to stop by at the beginning to say hi! My friend, Trish Campbell, will act as moderator & make sure everything runs smoothly. There will be several opportunities to win FREE STUFF, and it’s going to be a lot of fun!
The Crafted Underground Indie Market is already in full swing weekends between now and Christmas Eve at 217 S. Salina Street in Syracuse, New York
I’ll be there:
Nov 20 & 21 and Nov 27 & 28 from 11am-7pm.
I’ll have FREE GIFTS for the first 50 people to make a purchase.
That’s it for now.
I hope you all get outside to enjoy these last few days of beautiful fall colors.
Oh oh oh!
One more thing!
If you’ve read my book — PSYCHIATRIZED: Waking Up After a Decade of Bad Medicine — I would really appreciate it if you’d send me a photo of yourself with my book for publication on my social media pages.
PS: When you send me a photo, you will be automatically entered to win my November FREE PRINT giveaway!
Okay, now I’m done.
We’ve already starting to hear grumbles about the chain of supply in 2021, and consumers are being encouraged to start their holiday shopping early this year.
Lucky for you all, this Fall there will be multiple options to find me both IRL & online.
• • •
IN-PERSON in SYRACUSE, NY
Nov. 20 & 21, 27 & 28
Dec. 18 & 19
11am – 7pm
217 S. Salina Street
Syracuse, New York
• • •
IN-PERSON in ROCHESTER, NY
Saturday, Dec. 4
10am – 4pm
Bishop Kearney Holiday Art Show
125 Kings Highway S.
Rochester, NY 14617
• • •
IN-PERSON in BUFFALO, NY
11am – 5pm
140 Lee Street, Buffalo, NY
This event will take place at The Powerhouse, a gorgeous new industrial event space located in Buffalo. In keeping with the mission of the Jack Craft Fair, this event will showcase a highly curated list of local, handmade vendors and is free to the public. Food and drinks will be served throughout the day.
ONLINE VIA ZOOM HOLIDAY SHOPPING
I had so much fun sharing my artwork LIVE via ZOOM last year! This year, there will be 3 opportunities for you to purchase my wares online. And everything must go, so shop early for the best selection!
Purchase over $100 & shipping is FREE!
Nov. 9 & 23 • Dec. 7
7:15pm – 9pm
Meeting ID: 789 925 7474
• • •
VIA MY WEBSITE
You can always stock up on prints, magnets & tiles 24/7 at MY WEBSITE!
Looking forward to seeing you later this month!
PS: This 9×12 original watercolor is available for $55, shipped anywhere is the continental USA.
If you want it, simply respond to this email. First person to call dibs wins!
I’ve finalized my Fall schedule for 2021, and I wanted to let you know what’s going on and where you can find me over the next few months.
So far, 55 people have sent me photos of themselves holding my book for me to post on my social media pages! I *really* appreciate this! And if you’d like to be part of the fun, all you have to do is take a selfie (with book) and send it to me! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
I also wanted to mention that I really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to leave me an Amazon review about the book. This is incredibly helpful for indie authors, as it helps to gain exposure.
• • •
This Wednesday, I’m starting to work on the audiobook version of PSYCHIATRIZED with Scott W. Fitzgerald of ROC VOX Recording & Production. I’m very excited about this endeavor. I know that when I was sick, it was very difficult (and sometimes impossible) for me to read. Hopefully, an audiobook will provide an addition option for people who’d rather listen than read.
• • •
BOOK LAUNCH in SYRACUSE, NY
Sunday, October 3, 2021
8219 Marketplace, Building #10
This Sunday, I’ll be in Manlius, New York for my BOOK LAUNCH! I’ll be talking about my experience of healing after longterm prescription benzodiazepine use. Those of you who have read my book know that when I was at my lowest low, a woman named Renee McLain brought me home with her and took care of me for an extended period of time.
Many people have asked if I was imagining Renee, if she was real or a figment of my imagination.
The answer is, of course, she’s real!
Renee McLain happens to be the owner of Center of Grace Wellness Center in Manlius, New York, which is where my first book talk will take place! Renee will be at the venue and, after I speak, she will talk about what she does to help people to release repressed trauma(s). After the presentation, I’ll be signing books, and there will be a curated selection of my artwork for people to purchase. There will also be a small reception after the presentation for folks to enjoy.
To reserve your seat(s) HERE — or call BJ at Center of Grace at 607-227-3878. Seating is limited, so be sure to RSVP.
BOOK TALK in ROCHESTER
PSYCHIATRIZED: Waking Up After a Decade of Bad Medicine
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Hillel Community Day School
191 Fairfield Drive
Rochester, NY • 6:30 – 8:30pm
I’ll be talking about my experience of healing after longterm prescription benzodiazepine use. Renee McLain will be present to talk about Somato Respiro Integration, and (finger-crossed), I’m hoping that my former therapist Vickijo Campanaro will be in attendance, too. After the presentation, I’ll sign books, and there will be a curated selection of my artwork for people to purchase. For more details about the event and to reserve your seat(s) HERE. Seating is limited, so be sure to RSVP.
• • •
ZOOM ART CLASSES
If you’d like to join me Wednesday nights for my ZOOM ART CLASS for ADULTS, a small group of us meet weekly from 7-8:30PM EST. People can sign up for a month at a time or for the next three months. These classes are no pressure, and they are designed for connection and relaxation. For more information & details about supplies, click HERE.
And if you’d like to see an example of the kinds of things we do, click HERE.
Hope everyone is enjoying the cooler temperatures!
I’ll be in Booth #33 in the GREEN SECTION
845 Yellow Mills Road
Palmyra, New York 14522
Saturday 9/18 • 9am-5pm
Sunday 9/19 • 10am-4pm
**$5 ENTRANCE FEE TO BENEFIT LOCAL CHARITIES
Children under 12 are FREE.
I’ll have magnets, tiles, prints, ornaments, original watercolors & acrylic paintings!
• • •
For more details about the show, click HERE.
I’m excited to be able to enjoy post-Covid festivals and outdoor gatherings again. I’m vaccinated and will have hand-sanitizer; I’ve also changed my display to make it more Covid-friendly. This list will be updated frequently. Hope to see you there.
Festival Season 2021
June 5 & 6 • Fairport Canal Days • Cannery Lot, Fairport NY • 10am-5pm
June 19 • Themata • Culver Road Armory, Rochester NY • 11am-4pm
June 26 • Pop-up at Purple Painted • 77 West Main Street Macedon NY • 10am-4pm
July 10 • Bishop Kearny Craft Sale • 125 Kings Hwy S, Rochester •10am-4pm
June 24 • Themata • Culver Rd. Armory, Rochester NY • 11am-4pm
August 14 • Jack Craft Fair • Buffalo Outer Harbor, Buffalo • 11am-5pm
Sept 18-19 • Purple Painted Lady Festival • 845 Yellow Mills Rd, Palmyra • 9am-5pm
NOTE: If you can’t make these festivals in person, I also take credit card orders via my website.
PS: Make a purchase during the month of June and you will be automatically entered to win my FREE ART GIVEAWAY. Drawing to take place on June 30, 2021 and the winner will be announced on July 1, 2021.
Many of you know that I started teaching online art classes via ZOOM during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
My GROUP CLASSES meet Wednesday nights (via ZOOM) and run for a full month between 7-8:30 PM Eastern Standard Time.
During any month-long set of classes, we focus on trusting our intuition, trying new techniques and — most importantly — gathering together with like-minded people online for relaxation and play. Some of the things we might paint include characters, critters, squiggles, abstracts, florals, high inaccurate figures and wonky portraits.
While I like to encourage people to experiment with watercolor, acrylic and multimedia, all you *really* need to participate is an open mind — and a few basic supplies.
People frequently ask me about which supplies I like, so I’ve finally compiled a list of some of my faves.
- An assortment of pencils, some water activated; some not. (I like Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle for water activation.)
- Pentel Aqua brushes
- Watercolor set (I use Crayola’s 16-color pack.)
- Black Gelly Roll 08 pen
- Watercolor paper – 140 lb
- Colored pencils (I like Prismacolor Premier.)
- Assortment of paint pens. (I like Posca brand.)
- Assortment of tissue papers (or magazines or newspapers or old books to rip up)
- Gel Medium (& disposable sponge brush to use with it.)
- Acrylic paints. (I like this Liquitex assortment. Great for people who want every color!)
- Liquitex White GESSO
- Assortment of paint brushes (for acrylic)
- Palette for paint
If you’d like to join my Wednesday night ZOOM class, click HERE. Classes run September – May.
Sign up for September classes before August 15, 2021 and use the code RASJ10 to receive 10% off your first month of classes! Refer a friend and receive a free gift!
DISCLOSURE: I am part of the Amazon Affiliates Program, and I receive a few cents from every purchase made thru one of my links. I am grateful to you for clicking thru and helping me in this way!
Looking to do something artsy this summer from the comfort of your own home?
Look no further!
You’re invited to join me at JOYfilled Arts & Crafts Virtual Summer Camp to run July 22-24, 2021.
This event will feature at least THIRTY unique workshops taught by TWENTY different artists.
Participants will sign up to attend several LIVE classes and, at the completion of the event, you will have video access to ALL THIRTY workshops! There’ll be virtual Happy Hours, a virtual Campfire & much, much more.
I’ll be teaching two classes — WHIMSICAL MULTIMEDIA GIRLIES & FUNKY FLORALS and a fun little FREE mini-class, too.
Some of the other classes being offered include: Dream Big with Mandalas, Drawing Out & Quieting Your Inner Critic, Masks We Wear, Collage and Painting with Deli Paper, Intuitive Basket Weaving, Artist Trading Cards, Tutti Fruity Paint Over Collage, Blending with Acrylics, Intuitive Painting, Vision Board Workshop, Sculpting with Wool, Painting with Wool, Beginning Watercolors, Intro to Acrylics, Tooling and Dyeing a Leather Card Wallet, and Chakras 101 Workshop – with more being added. With so much variety, you are sure to find something that peaks your interest.
Please click HERE for more info & to sign up.
(When you sign up thru either of the above links, I receive credit for inviting you!)
- All You Need is a Phone, Tablet, or Laptop
- Learn and Create From Home!
- Extended Access All Class Recordings
- Supply lists provided for each class
Hope to see many of you there!
I am so fortunate & grateful to have been interviewed by, my friend, the multi-talented Ya’cub Shabazz of Sankofa Studios for giving me an opportunity to share my story on his inspirational podcast.
I hope you will learn a bit more about my experience during benzodiazepine withdrawal as well as my artistic process — and then click over to check out Ya’cub’s website, his podcast series, & his educational series.
Before I write another word, I want to say thank you.
I could not have made it thru this year without the support from my family, friends, and devoted clients. Without festivals in 2020, it was especially challenging to do business. Nearly all of my sales were to repeat customers — and that truly means the world to me. Thank you for thinking of me this year, for thinking of small businesses, for shopping local. I am truly grateful to each & every one of you. I am wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas & a Happy Healthy New Year.
• • •
LOOKING BACK AT 2020
This past year has been very difficult for everyone. Personally, I’ve felt off-center for most of 2020. Ideologically, I’ve vacillated between thinking humans need to fight this pandemic with everything we’ve got and believing that the planet is sick and tired of us and doing its best to purge itself of us. (I still lean toward the latter.) As a person who was profoundly injured by a pharmaceutical product that was (up until recently) generally considered “safe,” I am ambivalent about this vaccine that has been developed in WarpSpeed. I’ve watched our government unravel under a deeply flawed leader, and I have ached with the realization that 50% of our country embraces his racist vitriol. I’ve leaned into terribly uncomfortable situations and tried to hold oppositional worldviews in the same headspace.
Sometimes I’ve done this well; other times, I’ve failed miserably.
I HAD PLANS, Y’ALL.
At the end of 2019, I was feeling confident & optimistic & planned to acquire new gallery space, participate in more festivals/shows, to network with more people professionally and socially, maybe even allow myself to date again.
I THOUGHT 2020 WAS GOING TO BRING CLARITY.
Unfortunately, the pandemic did not allow me to achieve many of the goals that I set for myself at the end of December last year.
However, I pivoted quickly & created new intellectual & professional challenges for myself.
SO WHAT DID I DO?
Like everyone else, I took my life online.
I TOOK MY MEMOIR WRITING CLASSES ONLINE.
I bought a monthly membership to ZOOM. Being able to continue with the women in my Intro Memoir Writing & my Advanced Memoir Writing Classes provided me with some sense of normalcy. Tuesdays & Thursdays became anchor days, and I looked forward to checking in with everyone, hearing about how everyone was handling the big (and not always pleasant) changes in their lives.
I TOOK MY ART CLASSES ONLINE.
After two failed attempts, I created a functional overhead camera setup and I started teaching art classes online, too.
When I ran out of acrylic paint in early April, I started playing with watercolors, showing up every day for nearly three months to paint LIVE on Facebook. As it turned out, a bunch of people joined me to paint in real time every day — and LOTS of people tuned into to watch at their leisure because they found watching me paint relaxing and entertaining. I ran monthly contests, sending free prints to people who created art that moved me the most.
I rounded out 2020 teaching two individual art classes each day & offering group classes once a month. I learned how to create successful Facebook Events, and I plan to do more of this in 2021.
This year, in addition to selling my work via my website, I started selling my work LIVE via Facebook and ZOOM. Much gratitude there to my friend Tricia Campbell for helping me to facilitate a successful holiday season. I was surprised by how much actually sold, especially before Black Friday. I will definitely do more of this in 2021, for Valentine’s Day…and I have a super cool, very fun idea percolating! More on that in 2021.
I PLUGGED IN TO COMMUNITY.
Once I figured out that things were going to be okay for me financially, I worked on creating some kind of social life for myself.
In April 2020, when we were all locked down, I set up a Facebook Group for people from my high school. We had several meetings where a bunch of us checked in & caught up. My friend Kim Colby Luber and I co-hosted an interactive game for members of my high school graduating class of 1985 to play together; we played a few other games, and then a few other members from the class took over, which I appreciated. The group is still there, and I know that if necessary, it wouldn’t take much to resurrect activity there.
I feebly attended a few online exercise groups and checked in with a local divorce group via ZOOM even less frequently. After spending five hours a day teaching online, it didn’t feel great to sit in front of a screen for very long, but I did my best.
I TOOK CARE OF MY PHYSICAL HEALTH
I ate well.
I slept well.
And I scheduled that stupid knee surgery that I’d been postponing. At six weeks out, I’m walking two miles a day before it starts to ache a bit. Hopefully, it’ll be even better in another two months.
I TOOK CARE OF MY MENTAL HEALTH
In the ideal world, I process challenging things by sitting close to someone, talking things out face-to-face, and hugging it out. COVID has forced me to manage my own sadness.
I learned how to do this during benzo withdrawal and my subsequent divorce, so it SUCKED to have to move into what feels like solitary confinement yet again. I’d only just acquired a few people to whom I can turn when I am struggling. Suddenly, COVID made it so those people would no longer let me in.
I am eternally grateful to my father and a few close friends in different time zones who allowed me to call or text them whenever I needed to do so.
I LET SOME THINGS GO
I’d hoped to play my drums more.
It didn’t happen.
I hoped to complete my memoir in 2020.
It didn’t happen.
I just didn’t have the mental energy to work on something so emotional with everything being so dang emotional all day long.
Also, I spent too much of 2020 hoping that a certain person would come around and care about me the way I cared for him. After chasing him for way too long, I’ve finally realized he’s not my person. When someone cares about you and your feelings, they want to see you. They want to talk to you. They don’t ghost you; they don’t make you a last priority. This has been a painful realization – and I’ve learned that sometimes people’s actions do not always align with their words, and I need to pay attention both. (You’d think I’d know this by now, but I seem to be in the “slow class” when it comes to healthy relationships.) At least I see this clearly now, and I will exercise more caution before allowing myself to get attached to the wrong person in the future.
MY YEAR IN NUMBERS
Each year, I like to reflect on different areas of my life. Most of these things are subjective, but I also like to look at the numbers, too. After all, numbers don’t lie. Blue reflects numbers that were up from last year; Red represents numbers that were down from last year.
8,667 – combined followers on all social media outlets
1,587 – people on my mailing list
384 – unique pieces of artwork sold this year
160 – unique client sales
30 –people I spoke with who are healing from an iatrogenic brain injury
90 – individual art classes taught
100 – number of ornaments sold
19 – Best selling print image DON’T LOOK BACK, FLOWER FACE
2 – number of shows/festivals in which I participated*
(PS: I didn’t really participate, but my work was represented. Much gratitude to Stephanie Rober Sheedy for bringing my work to Naples, New York; to Lauren Hirsch for showing my work during her holiday pop-up shows at Lauren Hirsch Custom Framing & Original Art in Naples, New York; and to Erika Sorbello for carrying my work at her amazing Gallery Salon in Rochester, New York.
1 – speaking engagement via ZOOM
0 – number of first dates I went on
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
I’m not sure.
But that’ll be the topic of my first post in 2020.
I definitely need to do some hard thinking on how I want my life to look and feel moving forward. Changes definitely need to be made, so the questions are:
- What kinds of things can I change realistically, given that COVID restrictions will continue for some time and the future is uncertain?
- Also, how can I continue to thrive personally & professionally in this extremely challenging climate & culture.
I am curious to know how y’all are doing. What has worked for you this year? What has gone to shit? Please share your thoughts here or on Facebook or via DM. It helps me to read your words, and — if you post publicly — chances, are your words will help someone else, too.
PS: Artwork in this post is still available. Please inquire if you are interested in purchasing.