10 Things I Learned From Robin Williams Characters

My heart hurts today. I know that Robin Williams was not my personal friend, but he is one of the few actors who I spent the last 30ish years admiring and enjoying. I’m about to send myself on a serious Robin Williams movie marathon, starting with Dead Poet’s Society and working my way through as many nostalgic flicks that I can.

Photo from Eva Rinaldi

Photo from Eva Rinaldi

Interestingly enough, I was thinking about Mr. Williams on Sunday, when I posted an image with the phrase “carpe diem.” I meant it as a joke, but the message is still the same. Seize the day.

Robin Williams Carpe Diem Seize the Day

I thought it would be an apt tribute to discuss just some of the the very important life lessons that I learned from this Chicago native through his brilliant and beautiful character portrayals. Each role that he chose carefully crafted an epic view of the world as we know it, and it truly is magical when you combine them with each other.

  1. Words and ideas can change the world.
  2. Always keep windows open. Never ever ever close them.
  3. The bad days will remind you of the greatest pieces of your life.
  4. Be cautious and be daring and be wise.
  5. Find your happy thought and keep it in your heart for the days you need to fly.
  6. Seize the day.
  7. Families that have love are the ties that bind.
  8. Believe in magic and fairies and the power of love.
  9. Fight for your family.
  10. Humans are passionate. That is part of what makes us special.

And from the man himself, I was reminded of this:

Depression is real. The funniest, wisest person you know may be suffering deeply on the inside with little internal hope of escape. It may even be you. I encourage you to ask for help should you consider self-harm in any of its forms. As the very funny and very wise and often depressed Jenny Lawson reminds us, depression lies. Please don’t ever forget that. You are not alone.

The lack of negativity that I’ve seen in response to this tragedy is awe-inspiring. The world lost a bright light to the darkness, and the entire internet is hugging right now. Let this be a step toward the realization that there are many people who suffer from mental illness and they need support.

Go out there and seize the day, my friends. You only have this one life.

Were you as surprised and devastated as I was by the news of this wonderful comedian’s passing? What Robin Williams films, characters, or quotes resonate with you?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I agree with the Supreme Court…But Not for the Reasons You Think

I’ve been having this massive, internal struggle.

Because…

I agree with the Supreme Court.

Hear me out before you get shouty. I’m not against birth control. I’m pro-choice. In ALL matters. I believe in a PERSON’S right to do what they want pertaining to their lives and bodies, so long as it doesn’t harm others or break laws.

So when Hobby Lobby took their plight to the U.S. Supreme Court, I wasn’t thrilled. But when the Court determined that it was their right to refuse birth control, the liberal world went guns blazing in attack mode. And I started feeling this unyielding urge to agree with the Court’s decision.

I couldn’t figure out why.

I don’t believe that anyone should be denied birth control…and quite frankly, with this decision, no one is being DENIED anything. Employees of a known religiously-motivated company will not have their birth control paid for by the company.

The aforementioned employees are not being told they’ll be tested for use of birth control or fired for using it. The company doesn’t want to pay for it.

Fine.

If you don’t agree? Don’t work there.

But we’re missing the point.

There is a MUCH bigger issue here than birth control or the idea that this is about women’s rights. Because it’s not. Health care in the United States is tied to employment.

TIED TO OUR JOBS.

Pissed-off liberals will tell you that the employers just gained the right to tell employees what they can and can’t do with their bodies.

But you know what?

Employers have had that privilege for YEARS.

I was on birth control for almost 10 years. Never. NOT ONCE was it covered by my insurance. Not even partially.

Currently, I use several medications (unrelated to contraceptives, but related to my well-being and ability to function on a daily basis). Because some of these drugs are available over the counter, I can’t even use my HSA (which is SUPPOSED to cover medication prescribed by a doctor) to purchase them.

ADDITIONALLY, my current employer will only insure my prescription drug purchases as long as I don’t use one of the big four pharmacies in the area. Because they are direct competitors with my company. Did you hear that? Let me repeat it for you. My company is dictating WHERE I can make my prescription purchases.

Because health care is tied to our jobs.

I spent the better part of my twenties uninsured. I didn’t go to the doctor. I didn’t take care of myself with regular checkups because I couldn’t afford it. Was I unemployed the entire time? No. I worked part time jobs, freelanced, waited for grace periods at new jobs.

The Obamacare plan was a step in the right direction, but it was just a step. Babies don’t start walking and run a marathon the next day.

The Supreme Court is right.

Why is the government forcing these mandates on companies? Because from where I’m standing, companies shouldn’t be in control of insurance. They need to regulate insurance companies (or do away with them altogether). The government should be making healthcare the same for everyone. Employed. Unemployed. Religious. Non-religious. Sick. Healthy. All health services should be readily available AT THE SAME COST for everyone.

Insurance is a big fat multi-billion dollar operation. These companies make COMMISSION on you. They’re gambling on your health. They “negotiate” prices with doctors’ offices and hospitals to give you a “discounted” rate…except that many times, you’ll get a better rate if you DON’T have insurance. Or if you qualify for Obamacare. I’ve discovered, after talking to several people, that some insurance plans available through employers cost the same, or more, but offer FEWER benefits than Obamacare. And yet people who are offered “reduced-rate” insurance through their employer don’t qualify for a reduced-rate Obamacare plan.

There are still problems with the system, but we’re moving in the right direction.

So maybe both sides of this debate should stop worrying about one company’s beliefs and a single court ruling, and instead they should worry about the bigger picture. Because this isn’t about women or contraception or religion. This is about corporate entities having control over ALL of our medical decisions.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Was a BOSSY Little Girl…and I’m OKAY With That.

Shit’s about to get real here, people. I have a confession.

I’m about to admit something that makes me feel shameful. And weird. And like I really am not allowed to say this on the internet.

I’m afraid I’m about to get some hate mail up in here. And that terrifies me. A lot.

But I’m going to do it.

I’m going to admit…

That I am not a feminist.

The reason I feel so ashamed to admit this is that I feel like I SHOULD be a feminist.

I’m a lady. I’m a hard-working, strong, competitive lady. I have a job. I have a life. I have confidence. I’ve worked my ass off to get where I am. I know what I want and I say what I feel.

Except when it comes to admitting that I. Am. Not. A. Feminist.

Because I’m afraid of what the world will think.

It’s hard not to identify as a feminist. Because everyone’s a feminist these days. Except me. Sure, I care about women and equality. But I don’t think that’s what feminism stands for right now. What I see is feminism attempting to squash men and be their superior, not their equal. And I can’t get behind that. So no, I am not a feminist. I’m a humanist. I believe in the rights of every single person on this planet. And the ability for every single person to have opportunities. Because THAT is what we should be about.

Last year, at BlogHer, I couldn’t sit through Cheryl Sandberg’s chat. I just. Couldn’t. Because she didn’t make me feel empowered. She made me feel like I should stomp on the hearts of men until they hear me roar. I walked out.

And I felt judged for walking out. And for not joining the “Lean In” buzz or the “Bossy” buzz. That’s how feminism makes me feel: Judged.

I thought that after a few weeks, the buzz would die down. I thought after a few weeks, I wouldn’t have to hear about how little girls should NEVER be called bossy.

I was wrong.

Months later, here I am…boldly stating that I was bossy. Because there is a campaign to #banbossy. You can’t BAN a word in the English language. You can’t STOP people from using it. And you certainly can’t REPLACE it with a word that is NOT its equal. Especially when being bossy is something that is real. And yes, it’s got a negative connotation…but it probably should. Because above all else, being bossy is not an attractive quality in a man, woman or child.

I was bossy. I sometimes still AM bossy. And that does NOT mean I have executive leadership skills. That means I have a flaw that I need to focus on bettering.

Of course, because I am bossy, does not mean that I lack executive leadership skills. I have them despite my occasional bossytude. My executive leadership skills come from my ability to LISTEN to others. To take ADVICE. And to work WITH others in a TEAM setting and not DEMAND that they do as I say.

My executive leadership skills landed me as president of the Lombard Jaycees in 2010. I wasn't a beloved president by all, but I tried my hardest to be the best leader that I could. And I had to really work past my bossytude. (This was my last event as president...and I really wanted to post my pretty dress again.)

My executive leadership skills landed me a gig as president of the Lombard Jaycees in 2010. I wasn’t a beloved president by everyone, but I tried my hardest to be the best leader that I could. And I had to really work past my bossytude. (This was my last event as president with my board of directors…and also, I really wanted to post my pretty dress again.)

I was a bossy little girl. I wanted everything done my way. I didn’t listen to reason. Or logic. Or my mother. I wanted what I wanted and I didn’t want to think about anything other than the word, “yes.” I wanted to play Barbie or the Game of Life or watch the Zombie movie (Night of the Comet. It’s on YouTube. Look it up. You’re welcome. Sort of) or watch Labrynth. And I did not want to listen to anyone else.

My poor brother received the brunt of my bossyness. I made him play Barbie. And a game I invented called “Little Things” where we had to get all of our little toys out into the hallway and match them up in like a cage match type thing. I was a strange child.

I can still sometimes be bossy. Like when I tell Brian that he should fold my laundry. (And then he doesn’t, because he shouldn’t, because that’s MY laundry.) Or when I tell my mom that she should cook something in a way that I cook it, and not the way she has cooked it for the last 30 years. (And then she doesn’t, because she shouldn’t, because it’s HER cooking.) Or when I tell my co-workers that they should do something my way. (And then they don’t, because they shouldn’t, because it’s THEIR work.)

But this is something that I’M working through. I have some OCD tendencies. That makes me meticulous, but it also means that I have to actively take note when my OCD tendencies are making me bossy. Instead, I try to give others a chance to voice their opinions and speak up. THAT is what a leader is SUPPOSED to do. Sure, I’m not perfect and I mess up sometimes, but that’s MY goal. To be a true leader.

And I know bossy little boys. And I know boys who grew up into bossy men. And that’s not leadership. It’s not attractive. It’s not desirable. I have a partner who listens when I talk, who voices his opinion and expects me to give him the same courtesy in return.

So I’m going to try to forget I saw anything about this #banbossy campaign, but if you’re down with it, I won’t judge you. Please don’t judge me.

I’m confessing with Kat from Vodka and Soda (mostly because I’m really thirsty after all that ranting!) with #HumpdayConfessions. Now THAT’S a hashtag I can stand behind. 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Frozen Parody – Thanks for Making me Laugh Until I Cried WGN Chicago!

You guys!

I HAD to share this with you.

You know how much I swooned when I reviewed Frozen?

And you know how much I bitched when the Polar Vortex came to town?

And of course, how much I bragged when  I ran into Lake Michigan in winter (It was too cold this year, kids…I just. Couldn’t. Do. It.)?

And that one time I built a snow beach in my front yard?

Snow Beach

After the last Snomageddon in January 2011, I made myself a snow beach in subzero weather in order to win a trip to Mexico. I didn’t win. But this picture will live on forever.

Well, this video from a Chicago news guy pretty much says it all. Really, I am so jealous I didn’t come up with it, I can’t see straight!
Enjoy.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Punxsutawney Phil Saw His Shadow and Peyton Manning is Going to Win Another Super Bowl Ring

Predictions, predictions.

Today is all about predictions. (Tomorrow is all about my vacation…be patient my young ones.)

So the groundhog saw his shadow. That bastard. I mean…I’d much rather have spring come early than 6 MORE weeks of winter. *durp* (Just because I recently returned from Florida doesn’t mean anything. It’s still cold and snowy!)

Anyways, mostly, I’m here to gush about my football sweetheart…Peyton Manning.

I’ve never been a Denver fan, and I was only an Indy fan for Peyton, so when the Colts dropped my love like a bad habit, I switched loyalties PRE-TTY fast. That being said, I think it’s important that Peyton win this one. If only to shove it in Indy’s face. Hard. (Football makes me violent. I come from a sports-obsessed family.<—loved writing that post.)

I’ll be enjoying the game with several of my cousins, drinking beer and winning a chili cook-off (prediction number 3). The only problem with Super Bowl is I actually like the commercials AND the game. So the only time I have to pee is during half-time. Such is life, eh friends?

Welp! Time to go buy shit to make my soon-to-be award-winning chili. Crap, that means I have to put pants on, don’t I?

Turkey Chili

Simmering joyful goodness

What are you doing for Super Bowl? Or do you care more about Punxsutawney Phil? Or are you just rebelling from pop culture completely and doing your own thing?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!