Wednesday, November 30, 2011

...and Doing Your Best Is Better than Being the Best

So the economy's in the toilet, and everywhere I go people are complaining that their friend/kid/neighbor/husband can't find a job, so I have a hard time understanding why people who have jobs don't try their best to keep them. 

Why am I bitching? 

Because I watched the trash collectors blatantly ignore my neighbor's overflowing trash can because he failed to move it LITERALLY two feet from the end of his driveway to the street.  If you tell me that there is a law preventing them from doing this - some kind of property thing or whatever - I will apologize and move on, although that doesn't explain why did they decided not to pick up the leaves that were in plastic bags on my street.  Only the paper bags were picked up.  Really?? 

Consumers should be getting the best service.  There shouldn't be one complacent worker out there.  More people are using food stamps, waiting for unemployment checks, and struggling.  As a business owner, I reward my loyal clients with discounts and grandfathered-rates, as do all my friends that are self-employed.  We do what it takes to make our customers happy, and when we screw up (which is bound to happen when one is stressed), we overcompensate. 

I know it's bleak out there - why not do the best you can to offset that? 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

...and Gratitude Is Better than Attitude

It's been an amazing year and there are still a few weeks left. With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I thought I would share that for which I am most grateful:

Initially, I had this intention to do something beyond my comfort level every month until I turn 40 in April. That sort of changed when I left my husband. Not to say things didn't continue to push me, they were just unexpected things, and I needed to regroup. He and I are figuring out how to co-parent our gifted daughter. We'll get there. It's hard for me to relenquish control because I worry based on our past. It's hard for him to get past his anger that things changed, and I caused that, though he admits that he wanted to leave as well. Somehow, we'll make it work so she has two whole parents. I'm grateful that she is healthy and resilient. I'm grateful that he & I are making our way through this. Eventually, I hope to write that I'm grateful it's routine and normal...

That wasn't the biggest change of the year, either. To some friends' astonishment and others' pleasant surprise, I jumped head first into a new relationship. We were already friends; the progression has been easy and natural. I'm happy. He's an amazing man and my best friend. I'm grateful to have him in my life. I'm grateful that his son and my daughter have created their own special friendship. I'm grateful I get this wonderful new life with them.

Before ANY of that, I opened a salon with a friend. We've had our share of growing pains. I'm grateful we have a strong enough relationship to work through some yucky stuff. I'm grateful I get this amazing place to work. I'm grateful to all of my clients/friends for their loyalty.

I'm grateful I spent the year writing professionally. I'm grateful I get to do a radio show - 600 Pounds of Ugly - with some of the wackiest guys around. I'm grateful I get to be close to the people at a.l.p.h.a. and the women at City Light - they inspire me daily to be better. I'm grateful for the friendships I have with the most fantastic people who lead interesting lives and who choose to include me in those interesting lives.

I'm grateful. Period.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

...and Creating Your Life Is Better than Waiting for It to Unfold

I know, I know, it sounds like a fridge magnet, but I'm beginning to get it.

The last two years I've been like some half-hatched bird, chipping away at my trappings with a busted egg-tooth, and now I'm ready for the next step - you know, the one that sends me hurtling through space wondering if these new wings will work.  A scary thing, jumping into the unknown, but I'm raising a daughter who deserves to grow up unafraid of her own shadow.  Being a role model to her is certainly a constant reminder to push through any doubts.

I learned a lot training for my marathon: start out small, don't get discouraged, carry a lot of beef, lean on your friends, and finish even if it hurts.  Time to use that lesson for something much more difficult - life.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

...and Autonomy Is Better than Money (although I have nothing against money...really.)

I've never had a wealth of cash. I own my own business and get to schedule my life around the people I love and writing. It's a trade-off. I've been offered some sweet jobs, too. Jobs that would make me a comfortable living, but I would give up something too precious to me: freedom.

Someday I'll figure out how to keep the freedom and have the wealth. Until then, I consider myself fortunate.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

...and Taking Action Is Better than Turning Away

When I was nine, I was beat up on a school playground.  It was summer, so no teachers were there, or I know they would have intervened.  At one point, as I kept refusing to fight back, the girl yelled, "That's what you get!  I hate your mom's face!"  I went home missing a basketball, with a black eye, and a bloody nose.  After that, when school finally started, that girl (an 11-year-old) would flip my mother off at drop-off every morning.

I hated her until I found out what horrible things her own father did to her.

When we take ignorance and run with it, ugly things happen.  That little girl needed to hate my mother.  She needed to hurt me.  She needed to feel that there were others she could disdain.  When her father hurt her, she needed to think, "At least I'm not them."  It doesn't make what she did right, but it makes it easier for me to understand.

Today my friend Duane Quintana, an openly gay man who is HIV-positive, will host Social Justice Sunday at Exposure alpha Interchange, a downtown thrift store.  Today's topic is hate crime - something that is, sadly, on the rise in Idaho.  We'd come so far in the last few years, too.  Now we're regressing into ugliness.  We can stop that backslide.  It's never too late.

I hope I see you there.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

...and Not Bowing to Society's Timeline Is Better than Missing an Opportunity

I've been spending a lot of time with someone lately.  A male someone.  We've known each other a while, too, and our friendship means a lot to me.  He means a lot to me.  For some, this is cause for concern; for me, this is cause for celebration.

Anyone who's known me knows my marriage was on shaky ground for years.  We kept trying because we have a daughter, and that's what you do - you try until you can't any longer.  I've mourned that relationship.  I've grieved for years, actually.  I'm ready to stop being sad.  Some say it's too soon to move on from that, though.  They say I need to be alone with that grief for a while and settle into this new chapter.  I disagree.  Something beautiful has presented itself.  I don't want to turn away from it just because society thinks I should wait.

And I've never had a romantic relationship with someone who was a friend first.  It's an amazing thing.  I'm enjoying it very much.  There's already trust and a certain level of comfort.  We like each other.  How fantastic is that?  He likes me.  What a gift.

Monday, October 10, 2011

...and (Sometimes) Shrugging It Off Is Better than Trying to Understand

I've started this post so many times, and each time it sounded like something Abraham Lincoln would write: "When, in the course of one's life, she has opportunity to forgive or forget, struggle to understand, or just shrug it off...blah, blah, blah..."  Apparently, I'm feeling very old and presidential, like the weight of the free world is on my shoulders or something.  Thankfully, it is not.

There is a heaviness about my neck, but I know it will lessen without me begging for campaign dollars.  If you'd like to donate to my living fund, though, feel free to mail checks to: GiGi LeGault c/o Illuminate Salon, 214 N. 10th St., Boise, ID, 83702.  Any donations will be happily cashed.  Thank you for your support and all that happy bullshit.

Let me continue on about the shrugging off of shoulder weight.  For the last, oh, almost two years, I've been working on metamorphosing into something I can be proud of - or at least live with without self-hatred.  To some who don't understand this, it looks like pure selfishness.  Oh wait, it IS pure selfishness.  There, I freely admit to being selfish.  For the first time EVER, I am looking out for my own happiness.  I am embracing every day like it could be my last.  It's what I want Rhiannon to do, too.  I want her to start out seeking joy and fulfillment for HERSELF.  This does not mean that I wouldn't sacrifice all I possess, even my life, for those I love.  That is an integral part of all of this - letting those I love know what they mean to me.

The hardest part of this change has been the rage it's brought out in some.  I'm not talking about my ex, either.  Last night he said, "You have my daughter with you.  I want you to be happy and successful."  He may not love the way things went down, but he knows we needed to separate.  He's moving on and finding his own joy.  We have uncomfortable moments, but ultimately we have the same goal: A happy and healthy daughter.

No, the anger thrown my way has been from friends.  I've tried to understand the animosity.  I'm done trying.  This is me shrugging it off.

There is nothing more rewarding than the relationships I have.  I've done hair off and on in Boise for almost seventeen years.  In those years, I've met some of my closest friends just because they needed haircuts.  It's the best part of being a stylist, and I am luckier than most because my clients are friends.  They support me (literally) and share their lives with me.  I have a diverse clientele, too, so I get to hear great stories about many different things.  These people are the reason I stand behind a chair for a living.  Doing hair will never make me a lot of money.  That's okay.  I know I'll get rich the old-fashioned way - by inheritance.  

I won't always be a hairstylist, either.  Someday I'll write the Great American Novel, Oprah will come a courtin', the New York Times will herald me "The Best Thing Since Barbecue-Flavored Potato Chips," and all the world will be my oyster.  I'm sure that will piss someone off who supposedly loves me today.  My pseudo-mom told me yesterday, "There will always be those who are better friends when the weather is foul.  The minute the sun starts to shine, they will be the first to turn on you.  I'm sorry this has caused you sadness.  I'm sorry you're angry, because it's a waste of your time.  I'm sorry that a couple of people can tarnish the great things happening in your life and take your attention from those who truly love you.  It's time to let them go."

I'll do my best.  Thanks for the love.

Monday, September 5, 2011

...and Moving On Is Better than Stagnation

After fifteen years, my relationship with my daughter's father has ended. It's true what they say: You discover who really loves you when the chips are down.  My daughter and I have been living with friends for weeks, borrowing cars, and eating out of other's fridges.  It hasn't been the easiest of times, yet I've felt more free than I have in years.  Lighter.

Rhiannon loves her dad; she misses him.  That said, she does not miss the gloom that was our family atmosphere for as long as she can remember.  Yesterday, in the car, she said, "We're just happier now, huh?"  Indeed.  The time she spends with her father, however brief and infrequent, is quality time.  He takes her fun places.  They interact.  It's good.  She deserves that.  They get to make amazing new memories together.  I get to do that with her as well.

I signed the lease on a little house Friday.  The backyard is amazing. Rhiannon eats plums right from the tree and grape tomatoes from a raised garden bed. The grapes are tart - she says she'll wait a bit longer for those. She reads and draws while sitting on a tree stump.  We're painting her room a pale pink called Opal.  We haven't moved in furniture, but already my favorite people have spent time in its rooms.  It's a home.  Our home.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

...and Working in Your Own Salon Is Better than the Best Job in the World

I have had some great jobs working for some of the best people in the world - two I consider close friends - but nothing compares to working in MY place.

It was euphoric.

Today was one of my Top 5 Favorite Days. Really.

There is still some work to be done, but I don't care.  It's an amazing space and I'm grateful to be there.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

...and Taking a Risk Is Better than Wondering What Could've Been

Starting my own salon in downtown Boise!  My friend and I decided to take the risk and go for it - my name is attached to a two-year lease on a fun little space on 10th St.  The grand opening will be on First Thursday, March 3.  Hope to see you there!!