Recorded March 14
Track: All You Need is a Wall
Artist: The Books
En route to the studio, I received a text message from Carol at Truth Be Told: "I'm going to be seeing Andrea in five minutes."
I pulled over and made a quick video on my phone for Carol to share with Andrea. I told Andrea that I was bummed to miss out on this fortuitous visit and that I wished her strength, joy and peace from Austin.
Andrea, who was released from prison about 130 days, had been in Carol's "Let's Get Real" class and in my "Talk to Me Circle" class while she was incarcerated at GEO Lockhart. She had managed to make quite an impression on both of us.
For me, Andrea represents one of my biggest learning curves to date as a volunteer class facilitator behind bars. About three weeks into my semester with Andrea, I came very close to kicking her out of my class — something I had never done before (and have not since). I lost so much sleep over that woman, wondering if it was right or wrong to ask her to leave, wondering whether I'd have the courage to confront her, wondering whether I'd find the right words to get at the heart of the matter and understand what's really going on with her.
In the end, the confrontation did happen — outside in the hallway and away from her peers — and I believe the words I found, while definitely not perfect, were effective enough. Her response allowed me to see, for the first time, the sincere woman hiding behind that caustic exterior. Standing there in the hallway, I made a gut-level decision: Don't kick her out. Let her stay.
So I did, and she ended up being one of the best students I've had in terms of the transformation I saw in her and the growth she evoked in me.
As I entered the studio, Carol texted me again. On my phone was a picture of her and Andrea, smiling back at me from a Dairy Queen somewhere in Northeast Texas. Their peaceful faces stayed with me as I danced, and I felt a profound sense of freedom — to move, to believe, to love, to be.