Monday, July 23, 2012

...and Love Is Better than Hate

What a cheesy blog title, fits. 

This morning, I treated my daughter to a coffee shop visit before we went our separate ways.  Because she's only seven, she keeps up a fairly steady stream of chatter.  This morning was no different.  Between bites of a Nutella-filled croissant, Rhiannon talked with me about a plethora of things, "Why did your mom always cut your hair when you were little?  Is that why you always cut it now?  Why do you always say my hair looks like I'm training for a career at the Co Op?  I think I look more like you than Dad.  I wonder when I'll see Esther again..." 

And then...silence.

"There's a woman over there with kind of a beard, Mama."

This small remark launched a discussion about transgendered people and being our own true self:

Me: That's because she was born a boy, but feels more comfortable living her life as a woman. 
Rhiannon: Why?
Me: Sometimes, even though our body parts tell us one thing, our heart and soul tell us something else. She'd rather be a woman. There are so many different reasons why.  

Rhiannon: Maybe she can wax her face then. [That's my girl - daughter of a cosmetologist!]
Me: Sometimes people choose to have surgeries to change their bodies or take hormones to do things that would stop beards or change their voices, but they're very expensive. 

Rhiannon: That's too bad. I think people should do what makes them happy. And being a girl is fun; we get to be pretty!

Not once did she say anything derogatory.  She seemed to really understand that our looks/bodies should not dictate who we are. 

This got me thinking on a conversation I had with a friend on Friday about makeup and dressing well.  I have this weird hangup about makeup and trying too hard because, well, because of my mom.  When I was nine, she started harping on me to wear makeup.  NINE!  While other kids rebelled by doing drugs and drinking, I refused to "be pretty."  I still don't wear makeup unless it's a special occasion or I feel particularly low on self esteem, which is a bit jacked-up considering I'm a stylist and own a salon.  My friend said, "Not that you aren't lovely every day, but I have to ask: Why wouldn't you try to be as attractive as possible?  You're insecure, but you don't have any reason to be."


So I wore a bit of makeup this weekend.  And got a lot of compliments.  It was...nice.

When others are striving to live as they see themselves in a world that won't accept them, why am I shlumping around like a potato?  Shouldn't I like what I see in the mirror? (Especially since I work in front of one...?)  Shouldn't my boyfriend be proud to show me off?  Shouldn't I live to my total potential?


Saturday, July 21, 2012

...and Moving On Is Better than Dwelling

My mom and brother are schizophrenic.  I grew up with two people who constantly believe their problems are brought by the actions of others, which is funny since I often start looking at a problem with this question in mind, "What did I do to create this?"

While I think it's healthy to know that most issues have two sides, I'm beginning to realize sometimes it really isn't you.  Sometimes things just happen in your life. This is devastating to a person who is used to being proactive and a fixer. 

How do you fix something you didn't break? 

My horrible flaws are: I worry, I dwell, I overthink to the nth degree.  If the problem wasn't caused by my actions, and I can't fix it, I turn on the hyper-dwell-overthink mode in my brain to give it something to do.  This is not a good thing.  Trust me.  All it does is make you tired and sad.  The only way to be proactive in a situation that involves you - but wasn't created by you - is to move beyond it.  This involves a fuck-ton of forgiving.  It involves a universe worth of love.  It involves trust.

I'm lucky.  I have amazing friends who smack me upside the head and remind me that sometimes there isn't anything I can do but move on.  They remind me of the good, agree with the fucked-up bad, and reassure me that nothing will ever make them stop loving me and mine.  Total support from spectacular people I respect and honor is very helpful.

Once the dwell-overthink thing starts to settle, I immediately move to the future.  The bright, shiny, new future. 

The one I get to help create.

Friday, July 20, 2012

...and Following the Advice Of Wiser People Is Better than Being a Dumbass

I didn't date a lot, but I can't remember a time when I wasn't boy crazy.  I watch Rhiannon around boys and remember what it was to be in first grade and have a boy write, "Justin + GiGi" under the metal slide in the playground.  It was heady stuff.

Romance is tricky.  It shouldn't be, but it is.  We watch movies or read books and there's a formula:

  • Boy meets girl. 
  • They figure out they love each other. 
  • Boy loses girl. 
  • Boy wins girl back. 
It's all very...pat.  In the end, everyone's happy and the theater is a mess of popcorn and spilled soda.

In real life, things can be just as pat.  People meet, fall in love, hurt each other, fight, and make it work or not.  But what is love?  Why do some people stay together and others not?

I think it boils down to this: A decision.

Couples I know that have been together decades say they decided  to stay together.  They decided the other person was worth the hard work it takes to make a relationship work.  They decided every day to stay despite all the shitty things that can tear people apart.  They decided everyday to still be in love.

I like that. 

I can be pretty emotional.  That said, I am very good at locking things away and ignoring them, too, especially things that hurt too much when they see the light of day.  I can be quick to react or very slow & dense.  I never know which will happen, either.  I can also be amazingly logical when I need to be.  My dad always told me, "You follow your heart.  That can be good or very, very bad.  What I need is for you to stop for a minute and be logical.  Think things through.  And quit trying to fix everything.  You can't do it."  I still struggle with that, but I do my best for his sake.  I badly want to control my life, but it seems to be forever swirling out of my reach.  Knowing I can decide to be where I am every day makes it seem like I have some semblance of control, however false that may be.

I decide.

I like that a lot.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

...and Living In the Now Is Better than Worrying About the Past/Future

Or so they say.

But here I am overthinking again.  It's what I do, especially on nights that are so hot it prevents sleep from taking over.  For me, the way out of the overthink is to talk it out.  If that's not an option, I write.  Once it's out, I hope to rest.

How does one get to the point where she can just be okay with Now

Lately, I hear the whole "live for today" thing in a very different way, and it doesn't sound comforting.  I say that as a person who has attempted to plot her life since the beginning and has always struggled with the unexpected outcomes.  Get good grades in high school, and you'll go to a great college, right?  Not if money issues and family dynamics get in the way.  Learn from a failed relationship and make deliberate choices before the next, right?  Ummmmm...I'm on my second divorce.

So let's say I meditate or find my center or whatever it takes to be in the moment, completely letting go of what the Future may bring - then what?  What does that look like?  I know in my practical mind that people can't truly live in the Now without planning for the Future, but I do get the metaphysical aspect of Now being all we truly have.  Still, it makes my brain hurt.  How do we concentrate on what the Future needs to bring if we're only focused on Now?  Fuck.  I suck at this.  Take care of Today, and Tomorrow will be okay?  Sounds close, but maybe I'm not bright enough to fully grasp the concept.  Happy Today hasn't always meant Happy Tomorrow, and that's where my brain explodes.

And what of the Past?  We're supposed to remember it or we're doomed to repeat it, but don't you dare dwell there or you'll never move beyond it.  Ugh.  Who can keep all this shit straight?

AND what if right Now there are things that make your heart hurt?  Nothing real, just your run-of-the-mill insecurities or worries, but still...discomfort.  Isn't it then okay to look to the Future and hope that things once again turn out unexpectedly, just this time in your favor?  Isn't it okay to daydream that your business makes more than enough to just cover the bills, that your child has a long and happy life, that you get to be in love forever?  Sometimes right Now doesn't assure all that, you know?

And here's the answer my befuddled brain just sent me: Faith, GiGi.

I just have to have faith in Tomorrow while I live Today.  Faith in the people I love.  Faith in me.  Okay.