Sunday, May 23, 2010

Am I Honest and Scrappy?


I just got off the water. Doesn't that sound romantic? Well, I did. And it was. My husband and I sailed around our tiny lagoon on our $200 Sunfish. And I felt like I was a Jewish Kennedy.

I feel guilty for indulging in this perfect luxury. Yes, I know it's a sport. But I usually sit at the bow and watch my husband maneuver the winds. I threw on my green sweat pants and a beat up old UCLA sweat shirt, the one with holes on the elbow and the rip on the left side of the pocket. I placed a big floppy hat on my head and black sunglasses over my eyes. My hair is stringy straight and I wear no make-up. Not to sail. I look like hell but nobody would know--because of the smile on my face.

The winds were up and we sashayed through the water--fast at times. Really fast. I smiled broadly. The boat keeled on its side and my feet dangled in the cold water. Romantic. Perfect. Just Tom and me.

Before we began our sail, I spoke with a friend of mine who was interested in hearing about my life. I spent most of the time telling her about my writing. I told her that I worked until the kids came home and my days felt a bit chopped up. She reminded me that I would miss this time when the kids were gone.

I thought about this for a moment or two. Not that long ago I would have found this tremendously sad. But not today.

I recognize that big change is coming and I will miss these days so very, very much. But I am slowly evolving. I know I need to make time for me now. This is my life.

Part of what I'm working on right now (a rerelease of my father's autobiography) involves me going through boxes and boxes of old photographs. Photos of me as a kid, of my mother and of my kids. Thousands and thousands of memories.

I stopped dead in my tracks. There were endless pictures of my two sons. Pictures in albums, loose pictures, negative saved. I realized that I took so many pictures of my kids because I was sure that something bad would happen and all I would have or they would have were pieces of matt paper, to remind them or me of what once was. It all felt so incredibly morbid.

The Empress over at was dishing out awards the other day and she gave me the honest and scrappy award, daring me to come clean.

I was born to be free but have always battled my fears. As a result I am certain I have lost the best part of my spirit.

I could feel it this late afternoon as my husband caught the wind in our sails and took us everywhere and nowhere--freedom. Fast and free. The way I want to live.

The way I once was, a long time ago before circumstance and sad endings creeped into my joyful being. Fear of the unknown or in my case, fear of the known.

Honest--I watched my Dad die. I watched his kidney's fail then his heart. Then my sister. First her heart, then her kidney's and finally her lungs. Then my mother, her mind. Things failed all around me. All around me things fell apart.

Scrappy--Kyle was in my stomach when Georgie's lungs finally failed for good and I had no choice. Everyday had to be a miracle because I had a lot of living to do, for a lot of people I adored and who adored me. Morbid. Yes, because too much recognition that every moment is precious means that you live in a world where you know that everything can be taken away in a moment. Morbid yes. Free no.

Scrappy--I sail on a lagoon in an old boat and I enjoy every minute of it. I have grit. And guts that I seldom give myself credit for. It's time I do. I look at the picture I posted of myself and that's the girl inside of me. I've always been there. Free

So Miss Empress, your highness, is that honest and scrappy enough? Thanks for the challenge. My personal challenge is to try and be a little more free everyday. A little more honest and scrappy!


  1. Terry, what a beautiful post and what an amazing journey you've been on. Loss can do horrible things to us. Having my dad die so suddenly, with no warning, I feel has made me always hold myself in check, always waiting for the other shoe to fall. Can I insulate myself from great pain by not loving too hard? No, really, I can't.

    Also, my god, your sons are clones of you obviously! Congratulations on working some of this stuff through in an honest and scrappy way and making your way into your future!

  2. Wow. Your honesty and bravery here is wonderful. Reading your reasoning for taking so many photos of your boys gave me the chills. You have, indeed, lost a lot. But as you say, you also have a lot in your life that's blessed.

  3. LOVE the picture and love the posting. I love that you can still find that scrappy little girl inside yourself. I love that you are slowly, ever so slowly, finding peace with these new changes that are coming. I love that you went out with just your life mate and found a way to have a good time, without pining for the boys or worrying about the future.
    Have a great week, my friend. Keep capturing these moments. They will be fun to read in the future, as you trace your journey.


  4. I understand this so, so well: "because too much recognition that every moment is precious means that you live in a world where you know that everything can be taken away in a moment. Morbid yes. Free no."

    It's fleeting moments here and there that remind us how amazing it feels to be free - free from the inability to be truly happy and not on constant guard. I feel that for people like us who fear having the rugs pulled from under us those moments are easy to recognize, because they feel so different from what we normally feel. Question is: how to turn that fleeting moment into a way of life?

    I love how you posted a photo of yourself as a little girl to remind yourself of a time when you *had* been that person - free, scrappy, happy without conditions.

    Another amazing post!

  5. Terry, I think this post represents a breakthrough in a way. The idea that your friend reminded you how much you would miss these moments with your boys and you responded by thinking of your own life and, undoubtedly, magical moments like sailing with your husband. Bravo to you for honoring your memories while celebrating the life you lead now and will continue to live as you and your boys get older.

    Brave and scrappy for sure!

  6. Terry,

    So honest and raw. The paragraph that describes your pain made me cry. So sad. Perhaps you have had your epiphanies about these moments or not, but I think your sails and the freedom you experienced will help you process. One day at a time. That is what I tell myself.

    Thanks so much for your comments on my posts during Five for Ten. I appreciate it.

  7. Terry, you are honest, brave, scrappy, and funny. You have such deep memories and they'll always be a part of you. No fear of losing that.

    You crack me up with the Jewish Kennedy remark. I love it! I would have love to have seen you in your sailing attire... dah-ling!

  8. Scrappy for sure, but also deeply soulful. I am sorry that you have suffered such terrible losses, but you have made more then grit out of it, you have made soul and it resonates loud and clear.

    I had already prepared my post for tomorrow before I came to read this, but you may find synchronicity weaving its web once again.

    Happy Sailing

  9. Here's to more sailing. Here's to feeling the wind in your hair. Here's to letting go. Go to this place often. It will remind you of the present. It will remind you that we don't have control over any of this but we have these moments. Sail on, my friend.

  10. you know I understand. All of it. So brave of you to put it all out there for us all to read. And to acknowledge it all for yourself as well. I'm glad that boat ride put some wind in your sails and gave you a breath of life. Because that's what we need to live. Life. xo