Friday, August 24, 2012


Had a conversation with The Guy the other day that I'm sure made him think I was completely judgmental and maybe a little cruel.

It was about looks.

Well, more precisely, it was about how society treats people based on their looks.  I could tell The Guy was looking at me through different eyes, because of what came out of my mouth, but I was pretty stubborn, as only a Clyburn can be.

The industry I work in would not exist, if it weren't for the (unfortunate) importance placed on beauty and style, and I will admit, I'm attracted to beauty.  And style.  This started at a young age because my mom is, well, vain.  And schizophrenic.  Most of my youth was spent being told that I would have to work harder to be considered pretty by others.  Some days she would stare at me and tell me she wished I were prettier.  She doesn't anymore - she claims she never did - but it isn't one of those things a person forgets, you know, being told by her mother that she's not pretty.

The kids in fourth grade proved her right in her assessment of me by being exceptionally cruel.  Nothing was safe: My hair - gross; my clothes - ugly; my face - weird; my intelligence - teacher's pet.  There's something about being told you're weird-looking constantly that makes you start to believe it.

So the other day I said something akin to,"If Pooka's ears stuck straight out like that, I would have them fixed."  The Guy looked at me like I had grown a third eye. 

"What?  We live in a terrible society.  I don't want her to have any immediate disadvantages!"

And it's true.  If you and one other person have fantastic and similar resumes - and you're gorgeous and the other guy is bland - guess what? You're hired!!  In fact, your resume could be less spectacular and you will more than likely be hired.  If you want me to find all the social psychology experiments proving this, I will.  And why do women who really can't afford them buy new boobs?  Because they know they'll suddenly get more attention.  Why do my clients cover their grey hairs?  Sometimes it's vanity, but sometimes it's survival.  A highly intelligent female client was looking for a new job and said,"I have to keep these at bay.  I don't want them to think I look old.  It's an old boys' club and the women they let in have to be cute."

Sad, but true.

What about just about every woman I know worrying about her weight?  When I ask, it tends to go back to their mothers saying something to them. My mom once said, just before I became bulimic,"Boys might like round butts, but they don't want a fat girl.  Did you really need to eat that?"

My daughter will have her bad moments in life, but for the most part, I know she'll be okay.  I know because she's already thoughtful and caring, smart and funny.  And gorgeous, which will get her pretty far all by itself.

I just wish she'd fatten up a bit...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


With all the politics flying around this election year, this post will come across as propoganda.  Try not to let it.

Today I held my seven-year-old's body and hair (it's very long) as she projectile-vomited.  All day she'd been complaining of a sore throat and headache.  Off and on she cried because of the pain in her stomach.  Any other parent would have taken her to the doctor.  I didn't.

She's uninsured.

When you lack insurance and have no money, your options are narrowed.  People tell you,"There's that free clinic on Latah..." Yes.  Thank you.  It's open for two hours on a Monday night.  Today is Tuesday.  They have many suggestions, actually.  None truly work.  So I checked her temperature.  No fever.  That's a good thing.  If she'd had one, I would have taken her to the ER - the only place in town open at that particular moment that doesn't require insurance or payment up front. 

I'm not heartless.  I love my daughter more than anything or anyone.  She is my life.  I want to create the best life for her. 

We live in a jacked-up world.  People decry government assistance,"It's for lazy people!!"

Really? My daughter's LAZY?  Am I?  I once waited for five hours in the Health & Welfare office trying to get her CHIP, Idaho's insurance for children.  I make too much money.  When they told me the amount I'd have to make, I said,"How can anyone live off of that??"  Seriously?  Where would one live?  The homeless shelter??

Five hours is a long time anywhere, but when you're surrounded by crying children and crying mothers it seems to last years.  It was filthy and the workers acted like drones, which breaks my heart.  How can a person pull herself up when faced with that line on a regular basis?  No wonder people give up.

When people talk politcs and favor the tax breaks for the rich and getting rid of Medicaid, I want to scream.  If I were rich - no, WHEN I'm rich - I will gladly pay more to help my fellow Americans.  I donate time now to do that.  I don't have money; I have time and skills.  I do what I can.

What are you doing?

Friday, August 17, 2012

what is passion?

I've been sick for a couple of weeks now.  This week I lost five pounds.  I've been lethargic and tired and a bit grumpy.  My body doesn't feel like my own.

Despite this, there are things I had to get done, like moving and working and being Mom.  So I did. 

This morning, as my body insisted on laying back down after my shower, The Guy snuck in for a pre-work snuggle.  Even tired, I can still respond to his touch.  Even tired, when Pooka cries out in her sleep, I can be at her side in seconds.  Even tired, if Boy needs a piggyback ride, I'm available.

I can be exhausted, but if an idea comes to mind I will quickly write it down.  Sadly, I can be full of energy and writing can be a chore if the ideas aren't coming. I'll still do it, just not as prolifically.

So, passion.  What is it?

For me today, it's the realization that there are things I won't stop doing no matter how badly I feel.  I'm passionate about my family.  I'm passionate about writing.  Let's face it, I'm passionate about social media.  [What?  An audience is important to a performer.]

Passion is what drives you.

What is your passion?  What do you love so much that sickness can't keep you from it?

Monday, August 6, 2012

...and I'm Done Comparing

I woke up many times last night with an upset stomach and my usual overthink.  It was a hard weekend in some ways.  Emotionally, I'm up and down as The Guy and I make it through our first rough patch.  I wish I could say it'll be our only, but I'm a realist.  Hopefully, this one will teach us something about how to handle any in the future.  So far, I think we're doing pretty well.  We were friends first, so we have that.  And then there's that whole love thing I feel for him. 

I'm not naive enough to believe that love conquers all.  That said, I think Love can be a pretty damn good foundation.  Of course, my beliefs on the subject depend on the time of day.  At 4:00 a.m., these sentences may have read differently.  Right now, I feel pretty good.

When I sit down and chew myself out it's usually because I'm being whiny and insecure about something.  I don't have a dissociative disorder - it's hard enough just being one of me, trust me - but I have two sides that war sometimes.  There's my practical side - The Intellectual - and the scared, insecure side - The Whiner.

The Whiner feels that she isn't enough.  Everything worries her: Will people think the mosquito bite on my face is a pimple?  It's a slow week at the salon...does this mean I'm losing clients?  Am I pretty?  Why did I say that?  I'm not loveable.

The Intellectual is a planner.  She's a doer: Really? A mosquito bite?  Fuck them, if they have a problem with you - get rid of them.  Who cares if you're pretty or not?  You have a brain! Pretty isn't real, intelligence is.  You said that because you needed to, so fuck them if they can't take it.  Loveable?  Seriously.  The only way to fix things is to get in there and work.  You need to be proactive.  Loveable is not tangible.  Beauty is not tangible.  Get over it.

The Intellectual is also a bitch, apparently, and swears like a long-haul trucker who spent time in the military.

When The Whiner wins, I'm a mess.  I think that no one ever appreciated the Real Me and no one ever will.  My dad was gone a lot, because he was a long-haul trucker who spent nine years in the military, and I wanted to be the happy kid for him when he was home.  My mom and brother are schizophrenic - 'nuff said.  In fourth grade the kids in school were never going to be okay with me, so I learned how to morph into something that was just quirky enough to be accepted, but still fit in.  It took me years.  Luckily, The Intellectual propelled me through some of it.  Even today I think it's strange that many people feel they know me because of social media and this blog and spending time at the salon with me.  One person introduced me to his friend saying, "This is GiGi.  You'll love her.  What you see is what you get with her."  Wow.

When The Intellectual wins,  I start shutting down the emotional side and just get to work.  I power through in a very practical way, not allowing feelings to dissuade me from getting things done.  Often I think it would be better if she ran the show. 

Ultimately, I am, of course, GiGi.  We are all multi-faceted.  I'm no different than you in that way, right?  On good days, neither of these weird dominant parts of me need to make an appearance because I'm a balance.  I'm emotional, with just enough of the tougher, practical side to temper it. 

Most days are good days, luckily, or The Guy would probably have ran months ago.  I need to remind myself that even the best couples have tough times and cut us both some slack.  The Guy and I are two people who came into this with kids, parenting styles that didn't match, our own sets of friends, exes, and very different backgrounds.  We might have a lot in common now, but we are not the same.  Instead of being sad about that, I should be glad, I guess.  I mean, if I'm insecure about myself, why would I pick someone that is a mirror image of me? 

Our instant connection wasn't, "Yay!  I found you, my missing other half!  The person who knows me after two hours!  I shall love you forever!" - it was friendship.  We liked each other.  Through time, we figured out we loved each other.  Others noticed it first, actually, we were too busy being friends.  Friends who listened and shared and marveled at the other's stories.  Friends who laughed at each other, and friends who cried when there was pain in the other's eyes.  I fell in love with him slowly and was surprised by it.  We weren't playing some mating game, we were just hanging out.  It wasn't a game of twenty questions between people on a date, it was real life.  It was time spent getting to know each other in a deeper way.  It was me showing someone else the Real Me.

All I can do is hope that he's okay with that.  The Real Me and her two weird sidekicks.