12-21 June 2017
Flying solo. It’s not the first time, but it’s official. There’s more on that later. However, the moment arrived on June 11, at 3:30pm when I turned in my very last assignment, turned off my computer, closed the blinds, packed up a dog and a human to spend time away on vacation (I still get separation anxiety when I board Duke).
Or, as I call it, the “escape I’ve been wanting since January.” I was on a mission, a one week tour, and on a self-care program. I was celebrating three milestones in life, focusing more on my birthday and graduation. I was concerned about surviving the last three weeks of school. I was simply trying to move forward one day at a time. It was the hardest part of my life, but I am thankful I had the trials and tribulations because it gave me a focus. This is something I’ve spoken of many times.
One. It was just me. “How many in your party?” One. “How many?” Just one. Single riders inquire here. So I did. “Tell me about single riders. I’m one.” A few male cast members fought over who was going to give me a pass as a single rider on the Indiana Jones ride; the third one-upped them and gave me a pass that was even better, and more like a Fastpass. It was my birthday, after all! They asked about my novel, that I am now calling the most anticipated read of the year.
I spent the best three days of my life at Disneyland, and completed a bucket list: physically spending my birthday at both parks in CA and FL. I was at Walt Disney World five years ago. Crazy how time flies!
I did my normal 14 hour marathon. I got the photo I’ve always wanted: an empty Main Street at night. I ate a little, treated myself to a manicure/pedicure, a nice steak birthday dinner, and discovered the kids menu around the parks was better suited for my appetite. I lost more weight. I watched the fireworks on my birthday. I spent time hanging out in Mickey’s house. Sitting on the couch, at his desk, shaking my head at the kitchen, and his gardening tool house (still not for me). It was great…and I forgot to get selfies!!! Mickey applauded me, and Pluto gave me wet kisses. LOL. I want to thank the Green Army Men who taught the crowd how to clap. I was on the bench finishing two beers before heading back over to Disneyland. I was drinking when the Sergeant told a guest, “There isn’t any noise when your hands are open, ZZ Top action figure!” and almost spewed the drink out. He spoke to “ZZ Top action figure” several times during their performance. I am not afraid or ashamed to laugh out loud, and that’s exactly what I did.
I enjoyed my drinks. I found another new hangout place in California Adventure, in conjunction with the Karl Strauss beer truck. I had a stalker. I met some new friends, and spent the remainder of my last night in the parks with them. We met another person who was doing a one-day marathon and wanted to get in a few more rides before he had to leave. One became three, then four for a while. AND, there was football talk; three NFC East rivals/fans present: NY Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys. (The season can’t come soon enough!)
I had the best time with me, myself, and I. I was told if anyone could pull off Disney alone, that it would be me. And I did it. I did it all. I would do it again. In fact, I’m itching to go back. Disneyland is a short flight west. I am also looking at a 2018 Walt Disney World vacation, before I say goodbye to New Mexico.
I have stories. Then again, as a writer, don’t we always? I spent time with my in-laws and helped a very special young woman celebrate her first major milestone graduating from high school. I am proud of her. She’s seizing an opportunity to pursue her dreams. We’ll be friends for a long time, and I’m still proud to call her my niece.
If I can replicate a Carthay Manhattan (there’s still something missing), then I can do something with these lemons that are still waiting to be pulverized into the perfect drink.
I miss my patio days. I miss writing from sun-up to sun-down. I miss the days waking up late (because sleep still eludes me), not having to go into work because I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t perform efficiently. Several of my family and friends might be relieved to know the drinking has slowed down, and I’m rebuilding my bar.
There are new chapters ahead, but I can’t get to them yet until I finish writing the last ones to wrap up this journey. I have learned a few more things about myself during the week away.
And for my thesis? Well, I have approximately 50,000 more words to write to complete the novel, and I’m still writing. Now, I call it work and make it a priority to write every day. I have some back stories to insert, and a few clarifications to make. It is an epic story, and a crossover where women’s fiction meets speculative fiction. There is female empowerment. There are moments of paranormal activity.
Stories, journeys, lemons, individualism, an empowered woman; a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a niece, a friend, a new friend; a stranger, a peer, a colleague, a former student…a writer. I’m not going anywhere, and, as I mentioned, there are a few more chapters remaining here. More importantly, there is nothing wrong with being alone. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. I am far from the latter. I encourage you to embrace being alone sometime!
Stay hydrated and cool!
Featured image: Stunning New Mexico sunset. Below: Walt and Mickey.
Photos by Karen M. Hellinger. 2017