There's something about Disney, though, that makes all of this just a little bit easier to deal with. For many of us, Disney movies played a huge role in our childhood. Disney was often the source of our favorite movies, the songs we loved to sing, and the characters we emulated, for better or worse. Disney, with all its flaws, offers us the chance at escapism. When it first premiered in 1937, people loved Snow White because it offered them an escape from the dreary drudgery of reality, 83 minutes of bright colors, cheerful music, and slapstick comedy.
That escapism, I believe, is what drives my love for Disney. When I'm having a horrible pain day, all I want to do is burrow under the covers where no one can hear me scream, hold my heating pad tight, and have a Disney movie marathon. When I miscarried last year, I regularly belted "Let It Go" at the top of my lungs while driving home from work. I'm sure the other motorists who may have taken a quick glance my way thought I was some kind of weirdo, but it was honestly the cathartic release I really needed.
My husband and I go to Disney World once a year, even if it's just a short weekend trip, because at our Home Away from Home, we can forget our troubles and just be kids again. While some people might think that stage performances, parades, and fireworks extravaganzas centered around the belief that "Dreams come true!" might be too sugary sweet and out of touch with reality, that's exactly why we love it! Day in and day out, my dreams do NOT come true. Living with chronic pain is debilitating and downright soul crushing. It feels like bad news is always just around the corner. I've come to expect the worst because, for me, it usually happens!
That's a pretty bleak outlook on life. It's the reason so many people who live with chronic pain have debilitating depression. And it's no way to live.
For us, visiting Disney World is a place to regroup and chase our cares away. It's where "Have a magical day!" is the standard way of saying goodbye. It may not seem like much, but it makes a big difference to focus on the magic, as orchestrated and scripted as it might be. It's a place that reminds us what it felt like to be five years old, where the only things we had to worry about was how to weasel our way to a second piece of cake, and which Lisa Frank coloring book to use next. It's a little taste of that euphoric sense of hope that only comes from believing in Santa Claus and just knowing, deep down in your bones, that everything is going to be ok.
So go ahead, laugh a little bit the next time you hear I'm planning my next Disney trip, or when you find out just how many times I've watched Frozen (it's probably into the triple digits by now). I'll send you a post card. ;)