I am so excited to share today’s interview with the absolutely lovely Robin– she is such a wonderful blogger and I really hope you guys take a few minutes to go check out her blog which will be linked below!
1. Thanks so much for being a part of this interview. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what your blog is about.
Well, first, Pooja, thank you so much for the opportunity to tell you about my blog! I would describe my blog as being a conduit for the voice I felt I lost early in life. I started journaling at a young age because no one was listening to me. Of course, what I wanted them to hear were my feelings, so maybe I was asking too much. A little later, life confirmed that I was alone and so I felt I had no voice. That’s why I named my blog Proof of My Existence and the subtitle is “ . . . she left breadcrumbs.” It appears over the title in the header. This blog is my breadcrumbs, giving me back my voice and proving that I do exist and am worthy of being heard.
2. When did you start your blog and what made you decide to start blogging?
I started my blog in February of 2020. Of course, this wasn’t my first blog. I had started others in the past but abandoned them. This one though, this one has stuck; this one I’ve settled into and it’s settled into me. I can’t imagine this one not being. I originally started it for two reasons. The first reason is because I wanted to set up another future business for myself. I’ve been working freelance for probably 18 years or so by now and, in addition, I’d been in the performing arts in multiple ways since the early 70s. Over the last 10 years I’d been teaching dance-fitness and also performing as a dancer and I’m just tired; I’m talking bone tired. So I knew it was time to start thinking ahead to something new. Then the pandemic hit and in the space of just one week I lost all 13 of my assisted living communities where I was teaching. I knew that blogs don’t make money overnight but still, it was my intention, at the time, to turn my blog into a business. The second reason I started it – and this is actually explained in the very first entry, Parallel Lives (The Long Intro) – is because of frustration over having to prove to New York State that I am actually the daughter of my deceased father. (eye roll going on)
3. What are some of your long term blogging goals?
As far as long-term goals for my blog, well, I just want to keep on writing my voice, speaking my thoughts and sharing things I learn about myself and about life along the way. Ironically, I did try to do the whole this-is-how-you-make-money-with-a-blog thing but, to be brutally honest with you, that just doesn’t resonate with me; my efforts felt false and made me feel ashamed. I am not motivated by money (maybe that’s why I’ll never really have a bunch – HA!). When money is the goal, I sort of go limp and get bored and frustrated. It can’t be the reason I do anything. I have to have some meaningful purpose behind any activity to even bother with it. I hated trying to monetize. Now, I’m not naïve; I know eventually I’m going to have to make this a thing, so I guess I will one day. I’m hoping that it’ll find me as opposed to me having to find it. Now, that is naïve!
4. You write about a number of topics- what inspires you to share these posts especially the more personal ones which can sometimes be difficult to share?
Well, I’m really glad you noticed that. My favorite posts are the personal ones. I share personal experiences because, one, I need to speak them to the air; that having-a-voice-and-proving-I-exist thing again. And two, because personal experiences do tend to be universal. We all share common, human experiences. Sharing my experiences and reading and commenting on the experiences of others is a sort of community-building. I’ve always been a misfit: existing in so many different types of communities and yet always feeling like the oddball – no, knowing I’m the oddball. I think in a lot of ways creatives are always some level of misfits; sharing my experiences helps me to find my peeps, so to speak. I’ve also learned, over decades, to live and manage my life in a way that makes me satisfied and grateful, despite the underlying depression that is simply a permanent part of my being. Sometimes, because of this blog, I get to try to be encouraging to others who deal with the same issues.
5. I love that you talk about mental health and wellness on your blog. What are some tips you would give to people who may not be feeling the best they could be?
Well, first I would tell people never, ever stop trying. Do not give up! I believe with all my heart and soul that life is an ongoing project, not what you’re doing right here, right now, today. I had to stop paying so much attention to the events of my life (because seriously, doing that was killing me) and I had to start seeing my life as a whole. What I wanted for my whole life was not about any single events that occurred, no matter how bad they were. I wanted, on a whole, to feel important and valuable and so I started to do things for myself that made me feel important and valuable. I say that like it’s so easy but, no, building your life for you, your way is hard. I probably swung too far in the opposite direction but I most certainly did stop letting others dictate – by their words or their behaviors or their insinuations – my value, my choices and my direction. But again, this is not easy; I hope I’m not coming across as though it is. And it’s not quick. Again, it’s a lifelong learning process and, I believe, the most impactful educational process you’ll ever go through. But one more thing: gratitude. I’m not being Pollyanna-ish here (is that a word?). It’s absolutely imperative that you start realizing that, whatever your circumstances are, you do have reasons to be grateful. Start acknowledging those things everyday and the other things will get smaller and smaller as your sense of gratitude gets bigger and bigger. Again, this is a long-term, lifelong process. Start today.
6. How has your blog evolved over time?
Well, right now I’m in a poetry class. Prior to starting the class, I knew nothing – for real, NOTHING – about poetry except that I like spoken word and that once I took (stole) a poetry book from my college library (I sent it back) because I just couldn’t let it go out of my life, I was so struck by it. It was a book of poetry by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. So I’ve been dabbling in poetry on the blog, both as assignments and as personal attempts. I don’t believe I’m a poet although I believe that sometimes I might wax poetic when trying to get my thoughts across. I really think I’m more of an essayist. I’ll have to explore the differences and definitions between poetry, prose and essays. At any rate, right now I’m sort of in an experimental mode on my blog. I try not to be afraid. If something works, that’s fine; if it doesn’t, that’s fine, too. I want to be honest about things, including failures. I think I’ve even included a little art, very little, and that will increase because I’m starting to delve into fabric art now and I’ll probably want to share a little of whatever I make. Maybe.
7. What is your favourite food?
So, favorite foods is a very difficult question to answer because I don’t tend to have favorite things. I have so many favorite foods that I had to stop calling them that: all things Italian; steak (which I’ve cut back on a lot in the past few years); junk food – pizza with extra sauce!; my own creation called The Big, Stinky Salad (tastes and looks a lot better than it smells): lettuce, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, tuna, feta and cheddar cheese, and a hard-boiled egg. I make this salad as a meal, not a side dish; Chinese food; all things crab, especially steamed crabs; homemade minestrone, chili, bean soup. All of these things bring me joy! See what I mean?
8. What is your favourite hobby?
My number one favorite hobby is going out dancing with my hubby. We hand-dance and we’re very good at it. People are always stopping us to talk about it and trying to figure out what style we dance. We tell them we were teenagers in the 70s, during disco; we’re both Zumba instructors and love Latin dance; and we’re old, married people (31 years), so our style is undefinable and totally our own. Going out to dance with my husband is also the number one thing I miss losing because of the pandemic. We used to go out a minimum of twice a month. Sometimes we dance in the living room or out on the deck when a great Latin song or an old-school jam comes on but it’s not the same as going out and dancing in the middle of a crowd of other dancers. Funny thing, the moment we join hands and start dancing, I start laughing! It happens every time!
9. What is your favourite movie?
Favorite movie, hands down, no time needed to think about it: Gaslight – Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Angela Lansbury, Joseph Cotton. “Elizabeth, Elizabeth! Elizabeth, Elizabeth!” I watch it EVERY time it comes on. I need to buy it.
10. Thanks again and please feel free to add anything you would like to share with the readers.
Again, thank you so much, Pooja. It’s such a privilege to be interviewed by you. Your questions really got me thinking! I shared some links in the answers; I hope they prove helpful to your readers. Thanks, again!
If you enjoyed this interview don’t forget to stop by Robin’s blog by clicking here.
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