Jas Rawlinson a supporter and fundraiser of LIVIN who is an Australian mental health and empowerment speaker, best-selling author and a survivor of sexual assault and family violence. Jas is a highly respected event speaker and story writing coach and is passionate about empowering people to re-write their life stories.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Growing up on the mid north coast of NSW, I’ve always had a strong connection with both the beach and the mountains - so it was a bit of a surprise to me when, in 2012, I moved to Brisbane. (A place I’d always vehemently stated I’d never live!) That said, I love where I live, and on weekends you’ll usually find me taking a walk along the peninsula, or sipping a bubble tea at my favourite Japanese Cafe.
How did you get into writing and motivational speaking?
Not many people know, but I actually studied a double degree in creative writing and psychology at university - both of which tie in perfectly with the work I do today as a memoir book coach, ghostwriter, and resilience speaker. It took me a long time to work out what I wanted to do with my passion for storytelling, but the catalyst that really propelled me into this line of work was choosing to write my book: ‘Reasons to Live: One More Day, Every Day.’ Before that, I’d worked as a magazine editor and online content writer, but I’d never dreamed of running my own business or doing public speaking. My book opened so many doors for me in terms of my career, and was the spark that lit a fire within me to change lives through storytelling.
You have been very open with the confronting challenges and struggles you faced in your childhood and young adulthood; do you feel that telling your story has encouraged others to do the same?
Definitely. I’ve heard from so many people over the years - particularly some of my writing clients - who have opened up for the very first time about things that have happened in their past, as a result of reading my story and seeing my work. There are few things more fulfilling in life than knowing that your vulnerability has been a catalyst for other people’s healing and growth.
Do you find it difficult or therapeutic to talk about the incidents of your past?
In my twenties, I’d say that it was definitely a struggle, but since launching my ‘Reasons to Live’ series and moving into public speaking, it has become a lot more therapeutic. That said, there are always details of my story that are more challenging to talk about than others, and this is where I have to practice good self care to ensure I can empower others, as well as myself.
You have mentioned that journaling as a child was an outlet for you, do you journal/keep a diary today?
I don’t do much journaling these days, but I do keep a gratitude journal, which I write in most nights. Whenever I’m super stressed or anxious, I reach for it instantly - it’s the best way to get my thoughts out of my head and calm my mind when it’s racing.
You have combined your gift of storytelling with your gift of encouraging others to speak up in your latest book, ‘Reasons to Live’ can you explain the idea behind it and what impact you are hoping to make . . . . .
Thank you - I’m so excited for people to read this final volume in the ‘Reasons to Live: One More Day, Every Day’ series. It’s been an incredible journey over the last few years, and after speaking with almost 3 dozen trauma survivors, I couldn’t be prouder of this latest volume.
In a nutshell, ‘Reasons to Live’ is an anthology series of short memoirs from both prominent and everyday people, who share their journeys of finding hope, healing, and purpose after severe adversity or trauma. The idea for the project was birthed from my own experiences with trauma/mental ill health, as well as the loss of my dad to suicide, and it’s my hope that everyone who reads this series — whether they have struggled with mental illness or not — can take away at least one morsel of wisdom that helps them to push through tough times. Just as importantly, I want people to be aware of how they can support loved ones who are struggling and be part of a global movement to stop suicide.
You are generously donating proceeds from your book sales to LIVIN, how did you initially hear about LIVIN and what attracted you to the charity to fundraise for them?
Interestingly, I first heard of LIVIN when I met Webby (Sam) at the launch of my very first book back in 2018. My good friend Dan Price (who is also a proud ambassador for LIVIN, and one of my co-authors in Volume 1 of ‘Reasons to Live’) brought Sam along to the Sydney event we held in Surry Hills, and that was my introduction to LIVIN!
What advice would you give someone who is struggling?
I want you to know that pain is not a competition. As humans, we were born to feel, and our emotions are valid. Just because someone ‘has it worse’ than you, does not mean that your pain is not real or that you should shoulder it alone. Despite what you may have been told in the past, if you are experiencing mental pain, it’s okay to seek support or help.