Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tough Chik Spotlight: Sandra McClintic and Joyce Travis

I am starting a new feature, Tough Chik Spotlight. In this posting I am going to introduce you to women who inspire and influence me and you. I encourage you to nominate women that inspire and influence you. We will feature athletes, survivors and the girl next door. As you will see, TOUGH does not equate muscles and medals although it can. A perfect example is my first spotlight Sandra and Joyce, or as I know them as, Mom and Granny.

I thought it was fitting that my first spotlight would be the two women that started it all. For decades my mother and grandmother have referred to themselves as "tough old birds". It is an old southern saying that eluded to the mental and emotional strength rather than brawn and muscles. When I was training for the San Francisco Marathon I called myself a tough old bird on a fateful call to my mother. She replied "No, you are Tough Chick".
My Mom (Sandra) and My Step-Dad (Steve)

So why are Joyce (Granny) and Sandra (Mom) Tough Chiks? Here are a few reasons:

Joyce -
1. She actually rode a horse to school! You can't complain about your crappy seat on the bus when your granny rode a freakin horse to school!
2. She restored old cars, she knows more about what is under the hood than most men!
3. The only way to properly clean a floor is on your hands and knees, her house is still spotless to this day.
4. I have never heard her complain, no matter what life dealt her. Like living in a trailer with no bathroom and 3 small kids while her husband went to school and worked.
5. She lead by example, her life on the farm in Tennessee taught her that if something needs to get done, you did it. No matter who you are or what sex you are. Being a girl was never an excuse and you can see she passed that on to the other women in my family!
Me and Granny in her Tough Chik hat

1. She went back to school for her undergrad while I was in college and didn't stop until a year and a half ago with her PhD. Yes, she is Dr. Mom! Not knowing how to pay the bills or where this path will lead did not stop her from perusing her dream.
2. She left a marriage. You say why is that so tough? Well, if you have ever had to disrupt a family and leave a man who you have been with since High School, you know that isn't easy.
3. She is an amazing friend, she takes one of her closest friends to Chemo downtown once a month. It takes all day, but my mom knows how much it means to her friend to have a smiling face by her side during her darkest hours.
4. She has an amazing way of dealing with my crazy. Over the years, I have cried on her shoulder for everything from grades to boys to body image issues. Yes, she did convince me that I still had "baby fat" at the age of 16 and that the boys in college were "intimidated" by me. She might have been stretching the truth, but it did make me feel better. I eventually lost the "baby fat" after I layed off beer and I found a man who wasn't intimidated by i guess she knew what she was talking about!
5. She has been through hell, from losing her best friend in her 20's to dealing with a spouse who was an addict, abusive and a paraplegic. She has 2 amazing kids, but we haven't always been a walk in the park (not me...I am perfect!) No matter what she is going through, she will put it all aside to be there for you.

My Mom and I after graduation (PhD)

Both of these women have taught me to never quit, follow your dreams and that I can do it! They make me feel beautiful, confident and smart when I don't believe I am any of these things. They are Tough Chiks for not only what they have been trough, but how they came out the other side. They deal with life's bumps with grace and a truly role models. I am very lucky to have these ladies in my life.

I love you Mom and Granny!


  1. wonderful post. I was super close to my "Mem" (short for the french term from grandma Memere) and I miss her so much. My Mom, truly is my bestie.
    You are lucky to have 2 wonderfully strong woman in your life!