It made everything look beautiful And I wanted it to stay like this So bad

I grew up dreaming of Disneyland. Disneyland was the one remotely normal thing about my childhood. I've expressed this before and in the coming months, I know that I will express it again.

There some article circulating shaming Disney Adults again for some wedding or whatnot, which I don't quite understand why people would be upset because they didn't pay for it, and I think weddings are stupid anyway.

Then this article came to my attention, echoing many, many of the points that I had said over the last few weeks: Disney and the Disney parks gave poor, non-yt children (especially those from fractured backgrounds) some semblance of normalcy. It's not simply a matter of "not growing up," or "refusing to grow up," Disney epitomized the American dream that had been promised to us. It represented, as the author so eloquently says, "boundless optimism." It represents safety, stability--that no matter what bad things happened in our lives, there was a place where we could go and just be kids like every other kid and we could have somewhere that was clean and safe that our whole family could hang out at. Like one of the people interviewed in this article, we couldn't afford very much, if anything at all growing up, but we had the Disney VHS tapes we watched over and over. 

Going to Disneyland was escaping the heaviness of the break-ins, the trauma of being stalked and bullied in school, the fact that I grew up in a broken home and had no friends. Disneyland and Disney films were the most beautiful, breath-taking immersive pieces of art I had ever seen. I designed my own attractions. Endless imagination, endless possibilities. Disneyland was always going to be there, my home base. I went every year with my family for years. It remains one of the very few happy memories of my early life that I have.

Every happy photo of my childhood was taken in Disneyland.

I went to Disneyland in 2005 for my high school graduation, for the first time in since the Country Bears closed in 2001. We went with my sister and her then friend. I listened to the Jesus Christ Superstar 1996 London Cast recording the whole way down. It would be the last time I saw The Beating Heart Bride.

She was beautiful and tragic and devastating and I loved her. Deeply. I miss her to much. Her annoying replacement was no replacement. I still think about her all of the time. Haunted Mansion was never the same again.

The 2005 trip didn't end all that well.

The next time I went to Disneyland would be 2012. It was another trip that didn't end well (for the same reasons and the same person). It was so bad, I said I was never going to go back to Disneyland. I think 7 years was the longest I had ever taken between Disneyland trips. The 2012 trip was going to be my last.

Then  I had my nervous breakdown in 2017. To celebrate my diagnosis, my friend took me to Disneyland for 2 days (hahaha). I had a very special moment to myself, just a little WELCOME HOME sign that changed the trajectory of my entire life. I couldn't wait to get back. I was back again in about 9 months, and then for my birthday the following year, once in 2021, and twice this year. I hope the two times this year will be enough. I hope that I get to do everything that I want to do. I hope I get to do things enough.

That little WELCOME HOME sign that I saw in 2017 made me realize in the span of 2012 to 2017 that I had chased after the wrong things. I went all over creation trying to find something that wasn't there. It said "WELCOME HOME" like I never left. I went looking for myself and the things I didn't need, and this was the place where I belonged. What I needed was me. I had myself again.

I used to walk to my grandmother's house after work several times a week. I knew my entire life that one day that day would come to an end, but most of the time I found a way to not think about it. I never, ever thought as I was doing it, that this would be my last. But one time it really was my last, and I have never walked that way again. I never went back to her briar patch, either. I knew she wasn't going to be there, and I didn't want to be there and see her not being there.

It's not like Brigadoon, "I know it's not there, I just want to see where it was."

I don't want to see where it was.

I am not an immovable spoiled brat completely adverse to change.

I just want stability. I don't think that is so much to ask.

I never knew when the last time I would walk to my grandmother's house was. I never knew when the last time the last day played with all of my friends outside or the last time we'd all hang out together as a friend-family would be.

I have a pretty good idea when the last time I'll go to Disneyland is. I am pretty sure that it will be this trip.

They won't miss me. They have millions of people who will take my place.


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