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Day 52–Alburquerque, Matthew Shepherd & OK

This morning I got up at 5:00am and played my video of my last Pilates class. I just listened to Rima give instruction. I completed the 22 minute video but it was with a heavy heart. We really connected. I appreciate so much just how much she taught me and she taught me with such love, patience, and laughter.  Then much to my surprise, it was raining/snowing. As the doggies and I piled into the car, we all realized that our cocoon of gentle weather in Sedona was over. As we got on I40E, the snow got worse. Mind you not like New England snow but about 3 inches. Here in New Mexico, they seem to just plow once and throw red dirt on the road. So it is just one big mess.

As my speed rapidly decreased from 40mph to 20mph and I pressed the button on my extra 4WD, cars started passing me. I thought to myself—what’s the hurry. I know the weather is bad and driving conditions are not good and we are driving on a mountain. I just put my blinkers on and let them all go by. I thought to myself, “I am a tough New Englander and I know road conditions. “ Then, all the traffic on the other side stopped dead and everyone was slowing on my side. There were two accidents on each side of the road.  The weather reminds us to slow down, be patient, and that we cannot out run it.

As we continued on, the snow gradually lessened and then the sky and the land opened up to just flat farm land as far as the eye could see.  We had arrived in Texas.

I don’t care much for Texas and try to be intentional about where I stop. As a woman traveling with two dogs, I am vigilant and careful. No rest stops, just public places. That reminds me of a conversation I had with Tim. I was telling him how when Jen was in Sedona and we were walking on Main street she quipped, “I wish I could hold your hand.” I told her, “go ahead” with some trepidation. Tim quickly started to tell me not to worry about what people thought but then I interjected. I shared that we were worried about our physical safety not peoples’ thoughts. He like the good friend that he is quickly said, “Oh yea, that’s right, you see I didn’t think of that first because of my life experiences.”

Our day to day experiences shape our thoughts, assumptions and actions. We all have fear, hurts and anger it just that it comes from different places and there in lies the lessons.  Each day as a wife of a woman, I walk a balance between not giving in to fear, knowing that I must walk in liberation to be liberated and being aware of my surroundings.

I listened to Melissa Etheridge’s song for Matthew Shepherd as I drove through the planes of Texas into Oklahoma City. I thought to myself, how many more Matthew Shepherds are there? How many are just living in silence? I hope they find Northampton Pride & Joy on facebook. It will let them know that they are not alone and there is community waiting for them.

Loving across the binary makes the world brighter and opens hearts wider. It is living in truth and sharing all of our light with the world and for that we are all enriched.


About Joy Rain

Joy has been a diversity and inclusion consultant and mediator for over ten years. Prior to consulting, she was professor of Psychology and Women Studies. Joy has a Master of Arts in Psychology (Boston University) and a Master of Education in Social Justice Education (UMASS Amherst).


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