Though Florida is in the middle of a nasty drought that’s wreaking havoc with wildlife and brush fires, in the past week we’ve started to see a return to our regular afternoon rainfall. I was at Magic Kingdom on one such day to stream, but once the rain starts, it’s very hard to stream because my phone doesn’t like water. That being said, I didn’t call it a day and run home, though I will admit to you that I wanted to. I’ve been struggling a lot lately with depression and anxiety and each day is quite honestly a battle, but I didn’t leave. I hunkered down at Cosmic Ray’s where I watched the clouds roll in.
Despite I had started out my day rather strong, several well-intentioned lectures on how I live my life that day had brought me right back down into the darkness. Anyone who struggles with depression and anxiety knows that managing it can be an intricate balancing act, I’ve learned through the years that keeping faith in my dreams to be the most powerful medicine, though some days are harder than others. This day was up and down. I needed to get some photos and video for W&O but the rain and the lectures were making me just want to head home and bury my head after a long day where I was feeling a bit beat up.
Instead, I trusted God to provide for me as he promises to do, and I ate a chicken sandwich because I hadn’t eaten that day and I know that has an effect on my anxiety. And most importantly, I prayed.
I gathered all the strength I had and took it one step at a time. I needed a new fuel rod because mine was empty and a long text chat with Amy had left my battery dead as well, so I went to the shop near Space Mountain as opposed to just picking one up on Main Street as I headed out. I figured going to Space Mountain meant I was fighting the dark. I kept my focus on just that one thing and I kept myself from thinking about any dire thoughts that would make me want to run home. I still wanted to do one more stream and I kept thinking all the way to the store that the rain wasn’t hard, just constant. I could maybe stream from beneath the umbrella, but one thing at a time.
I got the new fuel rod and I plugged in my nearly dead phone. I packed up my purse and zipped it to try and keep the contents dry. I took a deep breath and went back outside.
As I was headed into the store I had been intrigued by how much of “life as usual” was still going on despite the rain so the first thing I did was film a pack of cars going by on the Tomorrowland Speedway. I wanted to show people how cool it was that these people weren’t letting the rain make them stop having fun. As I stood there watching people in their ponchos driving the open air vehicles it made me smile. It was just so ridiculous, but kind of cool.
So I continued on watching and smiling as I went through the park. I think my favorite were the people line dancing at the new dance party in Tomorrowland, in the rain, in their ponchos… just dancing.
I reminded me of that Vivian Greene quote – Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
A lot of people left, the park was emptying out quickly. It was kind of funny at times, just this long stream of ponchos headed for the exit. Some people didn’t have ponchos or umbrellas and were just basking in being drenched. I got some great photos and video of a nearly empty hub which I loved because it’s so rare to see it like that no matter what time of day or night you’re there. And I smiled every time someone saw me with the camera and made it a point to smile, or wave, or make a peace sign into the lens.
I just thought why can’t it be like this all the time? People happy, carefree and connecting with strangers. Even at Disney, so many aren’t happy. Parents stressed, large groups totally oblivious to anyone else around them, kids screaming. Here it was pouring rain and people were being friendly, happy. It was great but I wondered how it was that the rain was bringing out such joy and such a playful spirit in people? It made me think about how tragedy brings out the best in people too. It’s like we need to have our control taken away before we relax and let our true selves shine through.
I could have started the stream then and walked down Main Street with everyone, but I made myself go into Adventureland. I knew at that point that I was writing this post and I wanted to make a video to go with it. For that, I needed content! So I went through Adventureland, Frontierland, and Fantasyland grabbing up a few more dull photos and video and started to lighten up as I did.
Although I did grumble every time I stepped in a deep puddle. lol
By the time I turned on the camera to stream the walk out, I was feeling lighter, but more, my head was in a better place. we did the walk out and it was actually fun. There weren’t too many people who joined us live, but I just really appreciated the company, sharing the experience, and getting to show off something I don’t usually. A rainy park.
When I got to the end of Main Street I signed off and went to replace my fuel rod again since I’d been using it nonstop for the photos, video, and stream. When I came out of the shop, again I was faced with a choice. I was right at the train bridge, the beginning journey home was just a few steps away, but I chose to go back into town square to get a few more photos and when I was there, they announced the Rainy Day Cavalcade!
In the few years I’ve had my annual pass I’ve only seen it a few times so I was delighted because I find it charming! I got a video of the entire thing and I wouldn’t have been in that spot in that moment if I’d given into the dark at any point during that day.
I realized that in life, there are people who dance in the rain, people who run from the rain, and people who video in it… though they try to avoid puddles. Sometimes the same person can be all three and none of us really understands the other but what we have to remember is that it’s okay for a person to be where they are in life, we can’t fix or change anyone but ourselves. I can respect the need some people have to get out of the rain, but that doesn’t mean I have to. I can respect the dancers, but I got more joy watching them than joining in, it’s just where I was in that moment.
And that’s okay.
Living an authentic life, living my truth, is the most important thing to me and this life, it’s won or lost in our heads before we ever do a thing. For some of us, that battle is fierce, but at some point yesterday I realized that part of my purpose here in this life is to write… to share my view of the world, my struggles, my moments of dancing… not because I’m the most fascinating person on the planet, but because I have the gift of introspection and writing. I see things and it is mine to put what I see out there for others to ponder and maybe something I said helps you keep going one more day, maybe something I say makes you smile at the next person you see and maybe that person needed that smile more than they needed a million dollars. I’m a ripple, and I have found my place. It’s always been there, Disney, introspection, observation… it comes together in the streams, the magazines, the books… we’re all part of the same rhythm, but we’re all different instruments, I love that I’m finally understanding that it’s okay to be me and I love that in accepting that, my ripples will go farther than ever.
I’m on the quest of learning to dance in the rain, I’m not there yet, but I don’t run and wait for the storm to pass anymore either. I like that. We’ll see what’s next. Enjoy the video of my afternoon in the rain and next time the storm comes, make your choice consciously, whatever it is.