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Don't Quote The Raven

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8.21.2014

Basically all I can say is that both my friend and I walked our combined seven kids around the entire fairgrounds for over five hours in over ninety degree heat and lived to tell about it.

Talk about troopers.

And they didn't even test our water bottles with that weird alcohol strip thingy when we walked in.

Just an fyi for you fellow rockstars.

8.18.2014

That stupid Pinterest quote (well obviously it didn't originate the same time Pinterest did, but it has definitely gotten a bazillion times more popular since) about "do what makes you happy, always" or "whatever it is that makes you happy, that, do that" or "whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy."

Yeah those. 

Those stupid quotes. I mean, stupid isn't even a big enough word to describe the complete idiocrasy that are those statements. Every time I see someone pin one of those or instagram it, I roll my eyes and think to myself, oh really? No, seriously, really? Only do what makes me happy? Whatever I decide to do, at any moment, make sure it makes me happy?!

Actually, that sounds pretty good, now that I think about it. Doing the dishes makes me very not happy, so I think I will cease doing those for the rest of my life. I disdain vacuuming, not as much as dusting of course but cleaning the toilets trumps all when it comes to unhappiness, am I right? Ok then. That settles it. No more housecleaning, of any sort, in any state, ever.

Happy.

I also hate grocery shopping and bill paying and weed pulling. All of which puts a huge kink in my "always and only be happy" plan. 

You know what makes me happy? Hostess Ding Dongs. Eating all the sugars makes me euphoric and mad with all the happies in the world, so according to your moronic meme I should just eat the whole damn box. Also, sleeping all day makes me happy. No, sleeping all day puts me in the most ecstatic state know to the heavens so I think I'll just sleep 'til noon and ignore and neglect my kids. Because you know what doesn't make me so-called happy? Waking up at the crack of dawn because it's the natural wake cycle for my children. I actually hate waking up before the sun so tell me, why should I do it? I mean, if it doesn't make me happy, why?! 

Should I maybe do it because it's the responsible thing to do and because of the obligations I committed myself to when I chose to have children? Because let me tell you, all you non-moms out there…yes having kids is amazing and incredible and rewarding in so many ways, but on the flip side, having and raising and taking care of and being responsible for living human littles is a hard job. Full of many, many non-happy moments. 

For example, it makes me not happy to force my kids to clean up their messes. It would be so.much.easier to just clean the mess by myself (you fellow moms out there hear me?) but that wouldn't be the best life lesson for my child. So I stand there, and direct my child to not move one inch until they pick up every single lego they flung across the kitchen floor, and when they do move an inch, I have to physically move them to the time-out station, and after five minutes I direct them back towards the lego mess and tell them once again to pick it all up or else it's back in time-out and then it's just a repeat repeat back and forth between time-out and lego picking up that I look at the clock and it's been over an hour since this all began and godammit I could be reading a book or watching Dr. Phil or writing a blog post during this time but no…nooooooooooo I have to stand watch over my six year old who doesn't know any better than what his mother is teaching him and even though it sucks for me, its crucial for him and his upbringing and future stance in being an upstanding citizen in society so I can't really afford to be lazy or careless, now can I.

Even though it would make me real "happy" to pick it all up myself, which would take less than two minutes, or even better, hire a maid to do it all for me! Yet, that's not my life, and it's not what I want to teach my kids.

I want my kids to know the value of hard work. I want them to learn the lessons their dad and I have learned in life...you gotta work yourself up from the bottom to get to the top. (Ok ok, let's be honest here…Rob had to work his way up more than I did, I'll admit. He worked as a plumber for seven years before he started his own business, in which he worked no less than fourteen hours a day for almost two years before he started making any kind of profit. However, let me not amiss a moment to proclaim I worked pretty hard myself and didn't do too shabby either, ahem.)

I tend to lean more toward the more realistic Pinterest sayings such as "Hard work spotlights the character in people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don't turn up at all" or "Opportunity looks a lot like hard work." (Thanks Ashton.)

Cleaning and scrubbing and wiping down our boat with a little hand rag doesn't make me happy, but owning a boat and being out on the river does. Not buying things when I want them at Target doesn't make me happy, but saving money so we can take a family trip to Hawaii does. Getting up early to work out on the treadmill doesn't make happy (at all!), but not being a lard ass does. Some days, being a culpable mother and a wife doesn't make me happy, but most days, having children who are alive and a husband who loves me does. (See what I'm getting at here you dumb Pinterest meme? Sometimes we have to do things that we don't want to do in order to live a "happy" life.)

My kids have to do a lot of things that don't make them happy. I mean, can you imagine if I just declared to them "change of plans! From now on, do whatever it is that makes you happy!" I reckon there would be a lot of messes and straight chocolate eating and brother fighting and screaming and yelling and not very many crucial or positive life lessons or character building.

Same thing with us adults. We all want the luxuries life has to offer, but so many of us don't want to put in the hard work it takes to get them. Because a lot of times, "hard work" doesn't equal "happy." And if we are supposed to live our lives by inane dippy misleading Pinterest quotes, me thinks there are going to be a lot of hard wake-up calls to "happy" people.

So no, don't just "do what makes you happy."

Do what makes you a quality decent admirable upstanding human being. Like that pile of dishes by the kitchen sink. That. Do that.


ps: Want to follow me on Pinterest? You can do that here
I have some pretty amazing hilariously funny (and not stupid) 
meme's on my snicker board and also you can follow 
me on instagram username: @ravenasmith.


pps. You can read here where I wrote a post about my
two boys being quote "happy."

8.12.2014
I know a lot of people are reeling over the sudden death of actor Robin Williams. I know that I, for one, was completely shocked. To me, to my eyes and in my mind, Robin Williams had the definition of "it all." A wife, three kids, a super successful career and was admired and revered by his peers.

Had it all. And then I found myself thinking, "why in the world would he take his own life? He had so much going for him. He had the life of dreams. What so many would kill for."

Except to him, and in his life, and in his head, and in his deep depression, and then it became too much for him to handle. And it's such a wakeup call, such a reminder, to not judge someone without walking in their shoes. 

I can't take my mind to a place where I would have the mindset to end my life. At least, right now in my current situation I can't. I would never be so bold as to say that I could never see myself in that situation, because I have no idea what could happen in the next two minutes, let alone the next twenty years of my life. 

Everyone has a breaking point. Everyone. Every single person on the planet has a point in which it would be too much to bare to go on living. I've had this discussion a few times with my sister, who has a Bachelores of Science in Nursing. She also did her practicum in acute psych at Scared Heart Hospital in Spokane, WA. Without disclosing patient privacy, she has told me some interesting stories about her experience in the psych ward and it's inhabitants.

During one of these discussions, I said to her, "I just can't imagine ever being one of 'those' people. I can't even fathom losing my mind so much so that I had to be locked up in a facility for so-called crazy people." But then again, on the other hand, I have such strong anxiety (which I definitely take meds for) that I can just barely grasp the outskirts of mental illness. Do I have any idea what it feels like to have such debilitating depression to take my own life? Not even close. Not at this point in my life anyway.

And during that same discussion with my sister, I remember saying to her, "so do you think it could actually happen to me? Personally? I mean, do you think I could lose my sanity so much that I had to be committed to a facility?" 

And her response was, which I will never forget, "the mind can only handle so much. Everyone potentially has a breaking point."

Robin Williams had one and it was too much. And to so many outsiders, it seems hard to comprehend. Like I mentioned earlier…he had it all, or at least, had it all to the standards of society. No one knows what went on inside his head. No one knows the thoughts and stresses that kept him up at night. No one knows the demons he fought every single day.

I'm sure everyone reading this has had an experience where they woke up and read in the newspaper that someone they knew or knew of had committed suicide, and their first reaction was "that person?! I would have never thought!"

It's like that cliche'd saying "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

I obviously didn't know Robin Williams personally, but if someone said to me "another Hollywood great committed suicide today. Guess who it was." Robin Williams would have been last on my list. Because to me, he had zero reasons to end his life. But he wasn't me, and I'm not him.

Which is such a grand reminder to not judge others.

The person who cuts me off in traffic. Who knows what their deal is? Maybe they are rushing to the hospital because they just got a call that their five year old was out playing in the yard and got bit by a rattlesnake. (I know I would be bypassing all road rules.) Maybe the Subway worker is being short and rude with me because five minutes before he clocked in for his shift, he found out his wife was having an affair.

Yes, it seems dramatic, and yes, maybe the Subway worker is just a royal pain in the ass in general but the truth of the matter is we just never know.

The gal who pulls up in a Mercedes SUV and walks like she's better than everyone might be doing so to compensate for a shitty marriage. That guy who reamed you out for bringing a baby on the plane and grabbed you by the wrist on the way to the bathroom and told you to "shut that baby up" (true story) just possibly could be on his way to bury his only daughter. Maybe, maybe not. The truth is, we have no idea.

And for me, a tried and true realist, I tend to err on the side on cynicism. I will admit it, I see the glass as half empty. Admittedly, when it comes to people, I initially assume the worst. I honestly laugh out loud at those of you who "strive to see the good in everyone." Good in everyone?! There is no good in child rapists and murderers but that is another post for another time.

Back on topic. Judging, and what it does and does not do for the soul. I may judge the single mother with two kids, but who knows if in three years my own husband will stray and I'll be in that exact same situation? Who knows if I will be the one to stray? I can confidently say right here and now that I could never ever image either scenarios happening…but so many people who that has happened to could have said the exact same thing at one point in time.

Who am I to judge?

Who are you to judge?

Guess what? I never thought Robin Williams would commit suicide.

I bet no one thinks I would ever either.

I also bet no one thinks you would ever either.

Hopefully, surely, it will never happen to either of us. I pray you and I never have to deal with the debilitating disease that is depression so strong it makes us want to end our lives. I pray this every single night and with fervor.

I also add to my prayers for myself not to judge harshly or hastily. I think we all know people put on a front. For whatever reason to cover or hide, no one knows. What the decent ones of us do know, however, is that yes, every one of us is fighting our own battle. Every single one of us has our own story and until you live it, how dare you judge.

How dare I judge, as I have done in the past.

I'm not perfect, I have my own issues as do we all.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams.