60 Days On the Mat — Day 38: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby


Hi Terry, it’s Mary, Mary Tyler Moore.  Yes, the actual Mary Tyler Moore called my cell phone, and I answered.  It was 2004.  I remember it so vividly, like it was yesterday.

They always talk to you that way.  Whenever Andy Griffith would call me during that same TV Land Awards show in 2004, he would say, Terry, it’s Andy.  Andy Griffith.  

Maybe we all do that?

My Mom -- No idea what year, but she is beautiful.

My Mom — No idea what year, but she is beautiful.

I have always LOVED Mary Tyler Moore.  I thought my Mom looked a lot like her when I was a kid.  I would watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show mesmerized by how much she resembled her — both the Laura Petrie and Mary Richards incarnations.

I have always thought my mother was beautiful, the kind of beautiful I was not, despite the fact that people told me I looked just like her. I do look just like her, in a sort of larger forehead, larger body — more in an awkward sister kind of way.

Class was hot.  Class was hard.  I was dripping from head to toe.  Yesterday, I could barely push back from the pain in my left shoulder, today it was like it never existed.  I was pushing back with one arm.

Maybe there is something to the Dr. Pepper with a side of bacon diet?  I vow not to test this theory.

I did not eat one single morsel of food until after yoga ended at 7:00pm.  My body nor my mind noticed, apparently I had eaten enough the day before to sustain me for almost a full 24-hours.

I was in a very playful mood as I went to the mat.  When you decide to do something this insane, by the time you reach day 38 inertia is simply pulling you though from one moment to the next.  For awhile I tried to make sense of where I was going exactly, and now I just go.  Even on days when I try to over think it, I really can’t.  There is no time!

We start standing up in forward fold.  I can feel my back body releasing.  As the flow begins, inertia is pulling me.  I am jumping and rolling and going with very little pause.  I am pushing myself, after all, I ate my way across Los Angeles yesterday.

I secretly hope The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings is taking better care of her ovaries than I am of mine, especially since hers are the ones I am counting on at this point.  I am told diet has very little to do with it.  As someone who lives in an evidence-based world where medicine is concerned, I am hoping this is true — especially since I cannot be there to feed her.

Chaz is winging class again.  I have decided I like it when she wings it; it’s a great class. The play list is even better.  Bohemian Rhapsody comes blaring through the speakers and I can hardly concentrate I am laughing so hard inside.  Mainly because the urge to act ridiculous is stronger than the urge to do yoga.  I will never know exactly what the hell this song means, but I love that it moves through the ballad, guitar solos, opera and hard rock.  It’s all over the place in a good way.

I have read all sorts of analysis through the years on what the song actually means. Personally, I think Freddie Mercury was simply fucking with us.  Whatever it is, it’s bloody brilliant.

We finally go down to the mat and do an abdominal sequence that almost makes me cry.

As I begin to relax on the mat my mind drifts back to the Mary Tyler Moore conversation.  I had called her husband a few hours before she called me back and explained to him that I needed to find out who she wanted to sit at her table for the TV Land Awards.  There were seven cast members from The Mary Tyler Moore Show with a plus one coming — bringing the total to 14 people.  The tables only sat 10 people.

Terry, we have a problem.

I am sure we can fix whatever it is, I reply.  I had pulled my car over in a rain storm in Los Angeles so I could talk on the phone without distraction.  This was before bluetooth.

I am sitting in a Krispy Kreme parking lot.  Underneath it all, I am freaking out.  I am talking to THE Mary Tyler Moore on the telephone!!!

You’re going to have to get a bigger table.  I can’t leave anyone out.  As she says it, I see Mary Richards in my mind.

I explain to her that no one has to know she was even asked.  I will take the blame; that’s what I’m here for.

No, Terry, you don’t understand.  You can say that, but at the end of the day no one will believe you.  You have to understand, I’m the bitch.  I’m always the bitch!  

In that moment, it all became so clear to me. As a strong woman, running the production company producing the show, she was held to a different standard than a man would have been in the exact same position in the 70’s.  We have come a long way, thanks in part to the women of that generation.  I have never felt anywhere near the obstacles and push back I know they experienced during a very different time.

Regardless of the generation, I do think strong men are simply considered strong men. Strong women are always the bitch. I’m not sure how we change that, especially since women do this to each other.

Even my Mom was her own brand of rebel in the early 70’s.  She would wear denim pant ‘suits’ to teach at Sam Houston High.  She was so known for this act of defiance, they made her a birthday cake with a lady wearing blue jeans on it.  My Mom also went back to school to become a dentist when she was in her 30’s.  She did–and still does–a lot of really amazing things. In my eyes, they are all just as groundbreaking as Mary Tyler Moore.

I briefly wonder if this having it all, being it all, doing it all attitude from that generation fooled mine into thinking our ovaries were good forever?

Nah, they were perfectly happy if we never thought about our ovaries at all.

They may have fooled us into being petrified of marriage–but I think we did that to ourselves–since many of us lived The Goodbye Girl or Kramer vs. Kramer in some form or another as children of the 70’s.

I remember watching Quinn Cummings in The Goodbye Girl in the theater when I was eight and thinking, Oh shit, we are smarter than them.

My mother recalls similar sentiments when she was young, so this was not just children of the 70’s.

These thoughts float on and I think, Who really cares?  

Life is sort of a Bohemian Rhapsody.  

My life was good – is good – gets better every day.  I can’t ask for more than that.

Needless to say, we built a special table for Mary Tyler Moore and Andy Griffith that sat 14 people each.  This kept the room looking balanced–everyone was happy–and no one knew otherwise.

I never officially met her face to face at the show.  I did not want to bother her.  But I will always have the phone call and that’s enough for me.  I often wish I had pictures, but at the end of the day, I would rather just have a good story.

After eating a light dinner, I capped it off with a piece of my special homemade-especially-for-me red velvet cake while watching the opening sequence to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

I do love the opening of that show.  She really did turn the world on with her smile.

And I have most definitely made it after all.

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