9 days until the start of The Ride.
I'm sitting cross-legged in Sky's living room recliner. The TV is on but I'm not really paying attention. Instead, I'm mulling over my last conversation with Skylar.
Something discouraging happened today. I will go into detail in a later post, but for now just trust me that it was something VERY discouraging. Immediately afterwards I was sick with guilt and shame. That social anxiety reared its ugly head and my mind immediately went to the worst-case-scenarios. Skylar would be disappointed, I will just slow her down and cause problems, she wouldn't want me to go with her anymore… blah blah blah. In an uncharacteristic move, I voiced these insecurities to Sky. Her response honestly shocked me. (She shocks me a lot). She said:
"I started The Ride saying I was willing to do it alone. But the truth is, I couldn't do it without you. Or I could, but it would kill me."
My gaze met hers and I knew she meant it. I was silent in response, even though my mind was racing. I was thinking about everything it has taken to get us to this point, the challenges we have overcome, and the sacrifices we've both had to make.
I pull the wooden handle of the recliner and kick my legs out. One of Skylar's dogs, Bingo, comes over and rests his chin on my leg. I scratch at his ears, feeling heartsick over my own dog, Apollo, and how confused he must be. We've been together since he was 8 weeks old. The poor boy already has separation anxiety. I cry every time I think about him. I am thankful that prior to leaving I had lived with my roommate for a long time, so at least Apollo has a pseudo pet parent and a familiar environment. But wow, it still hurts so much.
Leaving our fur babies is a big deal but only a small part of our overall sacrifice. Every day that Skylar prepares to leave her sanctuary on this mountain, I see glimpses of the pain it causes her. Sometimes it’s the sniffling I hear drifting out from the tangle of brown and grey that is her whispering loving words to one of her dogs. Sometimes it’s her frustrated anguish that bubbles to the surface when we talk about what we are giving up and why we feel it's necessary to do so. Sometimes it’s her eyes becoming over-bright when she talks about people and things she will miss here while we are gone. Sometimes it's the hardness in her voice when she mentions the real possibility that she doesn't come back. All of those moments and more show me the true character of Skylar Gwynn.
I turn my head slightly to better hear the music from the porch that is wafting under the door. It’s Sky. She's singing along to one of her favorite songs as she sews patches onto the back of her leather motorcycle jacket. I feel my own eyes becoming over-bright. Skylar genuinely embodies strength, determination, and uncompromising integrity. I feel truly honored to accompany her on this incredibly important endeavor. I grit my teeth and follow Skylar's lead in hardening myself against the doubts, the insecurities, and the worst-case-scenarios. We have work to do. To save women and children.
In strength and solidarity, sisters...
We Rise. We Ride. We Rebel.
Love, Joy xx