For the month of December, I’ll be shining light each day on some extraordinary women I know. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. These are bold, beautiful, brave women — artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses.
Robin Elliott is a single mother of two amazing adult children, a senior Shiba Inu, and two rescue cats. She is originally from Southern California, but spent her formative years in Oregon with a short stint in Seattle before returning to California in 2011. She has a Bachelor’s in English Literature and a Master’s in Public Administration, and works in local government administration. She enjoys reading, sewing, trying new recipes, and traveling.
1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?” For most of my life, I wanted to be an author when I grew up. As a child and young adult, I used to keep a spiral-bound notebook with me at all times, and I would spend hours filling them with handwritten stories in all genres. I must have filled hundreds of them! This also led to a lifelong obsession with finding the perfect pen, and I still have very strong opinions and preferences in my writing tools to this day. I have continued to write throughout my life, and have had a short story published in a publication called Line Zero. I am not as prolific as I used to be, but I do still write and still dream of writing a book one of these days.
2. What makes you the most proud of yourself? I think the thing that makes me the most proud of myself are my children. We have been through some very turbulent times throughout their lives, and they have had every opportunity to make bad choices or take their lives in a questionable direction based on some of their life experiences. But they have both grown into kind, compassionate, intelligent, amazing human beings who are engaged with and concerned for the world and community around them. While I know that I am not 100% responsible for who they have become, I do believe that I helped them navigate through times and experiences that could have had a negative impact on their development or understanding of themselves, and I am proud that I was able to help them become such outstanding young people.
3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength? I was in an emotionally, mentally, and financially abusive relationship for about 16 years. The relationship took a toll on my mental and physical health, and for many years I was literally broken. During this time I was diagnosed with depression, severe anxiety, and OCD. I also suffered physical health issues. I became a much different person – timid, scared, weak-willed, and unable to speak up. I knew it was an unhealthy situation and recognized the toll it was taking on me, but because of where I was emotionally and the fact that the relationship had isolated me from my support network I didn’t believe I could make it on my own.
In 2008 I took a promotional opportunity which necessitated a move out of state to Seattle. I moved in February, and my ex-husband and children stayed in the old house to finish out the school year. I was TERRIFIED to be on my own – because I married young, I had literally never lived alone. It took every ounce of bravery I had, but I made the move on my own. The first few days were awful, but I slowly gained the courage to begin venturing out, to explore the city, and to make friends. This was a freedom I had never had before, and it sparked something in me. I was able to reflect on my situation, recognize what I was accomplishing on my own, and, with the support of an amazing friend I had met through my new job, I left my ex-husband about a year later. During that time I would have described myself as a rabbit – I was scared to do anything, to speak to anybody. I was afraid of my own shadow. I was convinced I needed a partner to take care of me. Now, I am happily single and love my life. I travel the world solo and have wonderful adventures. I have a very successful career. I am happy and healthy, and am finally growing towards my full potential.
4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.? At 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning you will probably find me curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee and snuggling my rescue dog and cats, binge-watching whatever series I am currently obsessed with. Most recently was Six Feet Under (amazing!) and Chernobyl (incredible!).
5. What makes you smile the most? I smile any time I witness any small, unprompted act of kindness or caring. It can be easy to become cynical with the constant barrage of negative information we are subjected to, but there are still so many good people in the world who truly do care about each other and the human experience. I love seeing these reminders, and if I pay attention I can find them almost every day.
Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self? I would tell myself not to make myself smaller for the comfort of others. That my community, those friends and family who are truly meant to walk through this life with me, will never find me “too much” or want me to tone myself down. That my loudness, my passions, my convictions, and my voice are valuable, and that I should never feel ashamed to share them.
Today’s #OneGoodThing is sharing this extraordinary woman and one of my writing buddies at NaNoWriMo, Robin Elliott, with all of you! We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! Kindness is Everything.
1 year ago today: Adjusting my crown
2 years ago today: Help from up high
3 years ago today: Sock bun curls