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Rainbows and Glitter

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This past weekend I hosted my first ever Pride event at my store. Over the last year I felt nudge after nudge from the universe pushing me to host an event that would show the LGBTQ+ community in Marshfield that there is a safe place for them here. As the plans began to take shape and the event grew closer my excitement began to mix with fear. 

I was afraid someone would come in and say something mean. I was afraid that someone might try and deface my pride flag. I was afraid that the street would be filled with picketers holding anti-LGBTQ+ signs and throwing tomatoes. Ok, maybe that’s a little bit extreme, but the truth is, I was mentally and emotionally preparing for backlash. It’s not that I have a horrible perspective of the community as a whole, or that I think our town is full of bigots, but I do know that in all communities there are pockets of intolerance and sometimes those voices get loud. 

I told my husband and my friends how I was feeling and they encouraged me to keep my head up; not to shy away from being the voice I was intended to be for my rainbow wearing, love is love shouting, glitter covered family. 

Saturday morning I put on my rainbow colored crotchet halter top, had cotton candy colored hair braided into my already pink, purple, blue streaked hair, and covered my body in glitter and rainbow tattoos. I hung my pride flag, blew up my giant rainbow, and opened my doors with a smile covering my fear filled face. 

And I had the best day.

Visitor after visitor expressed their gratitude with hugs, words, and eye contact that told a story of their own.  Gratitude for a place that, even if they weren’t shopping, accepted them and/or their family member or friend without judgement.  

I hugged the sweetest girl who cried tears of relief-she didn’t have the words to say what her eyes expressed in seeing the rainbows, glitter and love that filled my store Saturday. I thanked a mother wearing a “Free Hugs” t-shirt for visiting and locked eyes with another who couldn’t stop saying “thank you”.

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around that fact that, in America, the land of the free, there are still populations of people who do not feel safe. There are groups and communities of people who still live in fear over things outside of their control like their skin color and private intimate relationships. 

Saturday I learned a lesson; not just in overcoming my own fear but in what it feels like to look into the eyes of another human and know what it feels like to finally feel safe. 

 

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