I’ve been having trouble writing about fun and beautiful things. My job as a writer has felt dichotomous with the constant stream of deep, horrific bits of news and political diatribe. The constant narrative in my head: What I may say or think about joyous lifestyle topics can’t matter because we have to be vigilant. We have to focus on women’s rights and conservative theory and global warming. Who needs a new pie recipe when our idyllic world is crashing down around us? It must be irresponsible of me to report on smile-inducing lifestyle items when I am so well known as a sexual assault survivor in a time when I should make my voice heard.
But no. As much as I pour over testimonials and think of responses, I cannot speak. It is time for others to speak. And it is time for me, who spoke so many years ago, to provide solace, comfort and hope. This is why talking about magic is important.
I have just returned from California’s Disneyland and I can say without a doubt that idealism, hope and wonder are exactly what we need.
People joke that they need some pixie dust in their lives as if only the truly blessed ever find it. But what does this mean, exactly? I think deep down, we all just need to be valued. And while embracing a wave of self-esteem we allow our hearts and minds get a break from trauma.
Confidence. Happiness. And attention. This is what overwhelms you at Disney Parks, on Adventures by Disney and sailing aboard each of the cruises. Buttons are handed out for anniversary celebrations and first experiences. Cast members really care about where you are from and beg to know if there are family allergies so they can recommend an appropriate meal. You feel valued.
There is a sense of democratic equality, lining up together for rides or experiencing fireworks as part of a group witnessing a miracle. You look over at another person wearing mouse ears who just saw Pixar images projected all over Sleeping Beauty’s castle and you are part of a team. Friends without having to speak. The pixie dust is a common ground.
People are united in their love of characters and stories. We recognize in ourselves the tiny girl who stops short when Elsa emerges to take photos with the guests. We remember our own first time the teacups came into view or chased a Stormtrooper for a photo opp. We are one in our love of storytelling.
We stop in stores to bring a bit of Disney home. A kitchen spatula or model of Pluto for the garden, knowing that our feelings are so positive we must preserve and keep the sentiment alive when we leave.
And so I write. I was kinder when I left California. I gave up my aisle seat on the airplane. Carried a bag for an older man. And that’s not because I’d been reading about politics and tsunamis. It’s because I got a break from it all. Recharged. Remembered that I do believe in magic, kids laughing, families bonding and the exhilaration of roller coasters when you know you are actually safe. In times of strife we have to remember what Walt Disney once said: “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.”