My life has been touched by some uber amazing women whose passion for life and the way they choose to live it have really inspired me. A few years ago, I started the She’s So Inspiring series to showcase these amazing stories because I knew that they would inspire others. Some of these inspiring women are bloggers, some are not, their lives are all different and they are all incredibly special. I am so honoured that they are sharing their stories and sprinkling a little bit of their awesome right here. May you be wom-inspired!
Meet Robyba May.
My decision of whether (and when,) to bring the She’s So Inspiring series back to the blog was largely dependent on my Wish List and that wish list consisted of wonder women that I hoped would take part in the series and Robyna was right up there at the top.
Robyna is a writer and creator who has a wonderful way with words, not to mention a needle. She has two blogs which she manages with seamless style (excuse the pun,) Mummy and the Minx, where she writes about everything from style to health (and lots more between,) and Chasing His Sunshine where she writes about love, life and parenting after loss. I’m so honoured she’s sharing her story here. Meet Robyna, she’s so inspiring!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have always been a dreamer. The kind of kid that would squint at the dragon flies in the garden and transform them into fairies. That hopeful spirit has stayed with me – trying to find the beauty in the small and mundane. As an adult that has transformed into trying to find beauty in the senseless, Still trying to conjure the magic.
When I was very small I’d always be writing and reading. It was where the extraordinary I was looking for resided. That immersion in words stopped for a while as uni, travel and work took over. I still read a lot and had a vague and distant dream about one day writing a book, but I had no consistent creative practice. My life followed a highly predictable pattern. My career path steadily rose, I bought a house with my partner, we married and had kids.I continue along my average life, grateful and plodding. Then my second son died at two weeks old.
The perfect life crumbled and I had to find a new way. I started writing again. For a long time it felt like a conduit between myself and my son. As though words connected us and we were tethered by more than grief. I started blogging at Chasing His Sunshine to share those words to a wider audience. Eventually, with the birth of my third son, I wanted to write beyond loss. Myself and a dear girl friend started the Mummy & the Minx as a way to explore identity in the context of early motherhood. It ended up being an amazing way to connect with my creativity and creative people. My youngest is now three. I am working again in the corporate sphere. The Mummy & the Minx continues, although I write it solo now with a focus on sustainable fashion, career and parenting. And as things often circle to the start, I find myself thinking more and more about finally writing a book about surviving the death of your child.
Tell us 3 things you are and 3 things you’re not.
I am positive. There are studies that show people gravitate toward a default level of positivity no matter what happens in their lives. Even after Xavier died, I found positivity creeping in when I didn’t expect it.
I need people. I’ve learned this fairly recently. After a few years of running a relatively successful consulting practice, I’ve headed back to the corporate world. I didn’t realise how much I missed day-to-day, face-to-face contact with the people I work with.
I am a complete geek. Hours in front of spreadsheets and code make me extraordinarily happy.
I am not a good house-keeper. I love all those Pinterest boards full of beautiful homes. I don’t have one of those. I don’t think I ever will. But I do love looking at other people’s.
I am not a self-promoter. Like a painter who’s house is in desperate need of renovation, I can tell other people exactly how to self-promote but I just cannot do it for myself.
I am not a swearer. It’s sort of an odd quirk of mine but I don’t swear except in extremely exceptional circumstances. It’s not a high and mighty thing – I just feel very awkward and like I’m trying to be someone else.
Complete this sentence, ____________________ changed my life. How and why?
My children changed my life. All of my children are extraordinary (to me), And each of them has changed me in different ways. They have tested me and brought patience, shown me the enormous capacity of love and taught me take myself less seriously. Xavier’s lessons have been the hardest but I don’t want to focus on his death as being the only pivot in my life. There are so many twists and turns.
What has been life’s greatest lesson?
Go Gently. This was told to me after Xavier died but I think it’s sound advice in all sorts of contexts. Go gently on the earth, on others, on yourself, on your dreams. Just handle everything in the context of slow kindness and grace. Rather than viewing everything as a struggle, view it through a gentler lens.
What is your biggest achievement?
My kids, of course. But beyond that, I am proud of the way that I have maintained my career. Having children has meant pausing on the ladder, perhaps stepping a few rungs down, but I have still clung to the ladder. Even when our world shook and everything turned upside down, I was still able to hold to that with a great deal of support. I am very thankful for that. I am also thankful for a very strong marriage that has survived some serious shaking. But I’m not sure I can claim that as a solo achievement.
What has been your toughest obstacle and how have you overcome it?
Myself. Honestly, I am forever getting in my own way. The mean girl who lives inside my brain says the most horrible things and I still haven’t managed to silence her. But I think as I’m getting older and gaining more perspective I am also getting braver and more confident. And the mean girl is starting to fade a little more each day.
Viktor Frankl says “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.” Everyone needs a purpose, what’s yours?
I find it difficult to articulate a particular purpose, just as find it hard to answer questions about burning passion. I am naturally curious about a range of ideas and things and I adore learning, My creative side needs nourishing otherwise I feel out of sorts. I truly enjoy my job. I love my family beyond words. Does all of this amount to a purpose?
This idea of purpose was something I struggled with after Xavier died. Many families in similar situations set up organisations and charities and their child’s death paves a purpose for their life that wasn’t there before. That wasn’t my path. Perhaps I come back to how I started. My purpose is to find the beauty in the mundane, to create magic in unexpected places and to provide love and support to those in my circle, however wide that circle may expand.
What are your words to live by?
In a gentle way, you can shake the world. Mahatma Gandhi
I keep coming back to this theme of gentleness. I think there is power in it. I am not one to rage against the million injustices of this world. It leaves me with little other than a hoarse throat. But I do believe that through being gentle and kind, by being mindful, we can all have a big impact.
If you could have any mentor, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
Not everyone has the experience of having a near-perfect boss. But I did. Just as my career was taking off I had the kindest, wisest and most understanding leader. I still think of her, and what she would do in certain situations, often.
If you could play hookie for a day what would be on your list to do?
The beach. Always the beach. The morning playing with my family in the waves. Lunchtime with good friends and good conversation at a beach-side pub. The afternoon and evening alone with my husband and true love.
You give so much to others, what do you do to take care of yourself?
I read a lot. I purposely set aside time for creativity. I am part of a book club with completely amazing, intelligent women from a variety of walks of life. I take advantage of opportunities to learn. Exercise and diet are things I definitely need to get on top of, but my mental life is well cared for.
Thank you for sharing, Robyna.
Let Robyna inspire you a little bit more…
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Linking up with Kylie for IBOT