Shadows and Substance

LPTrendsPeople: Stephanie Strong – a My Story submission. Do you remember your first trip to Disneyland? I do. Mine was a month ago. Yes, I was well into my adult life before I ever got to visit Mickey Mouse’s home, walk through Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and make my way through Indiana Jones’ cave of mystical wonders. But as anyone who has ever been to Disneyland will tell you, your first time is an experience that you will never forget.

Ironically for my this was the fourth time someone had offered to pay for my trip there. I was so excited to finally be able to actually make it to the park with Sarah, my best friend. I was even more happy to be able to be there for her that morning, when she got the horrible news of her mother passing, one hour from our arrival at the happiest place on earth. After deciding to go ahead as planned and spend the next two days at Disneyland, I realized just how strong a person she was.

The happiest place on earth…

Our first ride was her favorite ride, The Hollywood Tower Hotel. I listened as the ride explained to me that beyond it was another dimension: a dimension of sound, of sight, and of mind. I was moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. I had just crossed over into… the Twilight Zone. After a wonderfully exciting and terrifying ride it hit me how true that was for the both of us.

Disneyland was filled with bittersweet moments of remembrance and laughter, tears and joy, and everything in between. The very last thing I got to see that day were the fireworks. I found them to be uplifting and inspiring. They stuck with me long after Sarah and I had made it into our beds back at the hotel room. The experience of that whole day resonates with me like a sounding gong.

What I learned from my first visit to the happiest place on earth was to follow my dreams no matter what. Life has always and will always put unexpected crap in my way to distract me from the happiness that can be mine, but I have a choice: to live in the land of shadows or to live in the land of substance. And if I choose to live in the latter, someone somewhere is going to throw me a rope, and help pull me out of my pits of despair, to be inspired and uplifted.