Wizarding World of Harry Potter -Feb. 6, 2018 Log (Pt. 2 Tuesday)

I have to say, this is probably the second best vacation I’ve ever been on:  I had the best solid sleep I’ve had in about two years last night, and everything is going well.  I had proper rest, we live in a great hotel, the weather is perfect, and we got to see the second half of Harry Potter Diagon Alley in Universal Studios today – I think I can add today as the fourth happiest memory I’ve had, with the first being in Taiwan with study abroad friends, the second being throwing a surprise party with kids for my co-counselor, and the third being sitting on a gondola in Venice.

I guess part of what makes it so happy too is going through what feels like hopeless hell, everything going wrong.  Today, everything went smoothly and right, which is rare.  No regretful feelings, we got to do pretty much everything.  I had a solid 9 hours of sleep, we woke up at 8am to get to the park, and rode every ride and saw every inch of Harry Potter World (besides the Hogwarts train but it’s seriously ok cause the rest of it was that awesome), I got Florean Fortescue’s strawberry-peanut butter ice cream, got my Gryffindor quidditch shirt in kid’s size, got my Hogwarts keychain that I regretted not buying the first day, my mom got her turkey legs, we saw the Mardi Gras parade AND managed to squeeze in E.T. in the last two minutes of the day.  We took a few pictures at the exit and I felt confident to take a photo in my wheelchair.  Yes, my wheelchair.

I dreaded this wheelchair forever, and the first day I rode it I had moments where I felt like my life was falling apart and I was becoming an even more useless, dependent person.  I brought not much joy due to my depression to others, I was physically weak and easily fatigued, I did not even bring much income in, I felt like I could barely help myself:  I felt worthless.  And truth is, I will probably feel frustrated by all the limitations again many, many times over, but I realize that accepting the help of using a wheelchair made my quality of life 10x better. I was no longer so fatigued and uncomfortable that I could not properly enjoy whatever we were doing, and as the second day, I got used to stares more and even stared back happily.  I guess it’s still different since I don’t know anyone personally here, so I feel somewhat less self-conscious.  Props to my parents for wheeling me around all day, I am amazed at how fast regular people walk without tiring!  The speed they go at is like a mild superhero speed compared to my own.  It saved us a lot of time too not to have to rest every other minute.

I have to say, to date I highly enjoyed both Harry Potter rides, I also enjoyed the Jimmy Fallon ride, Transformers, and the Incredible Hulk were the highlights.  The amount of blessed feelings and happiness I experienced in 4 days so far seems to make up for how shitty I’ve felt the rest of the past year.  To simply be able to accomplish more than I can brings me great elation and then I feel very satisfied and full.  I’d rather have one great vacation than 2 shitty ones where I feel sick the whole time.  Wheeee.  ^_^

Here’s to hoping the last day is a solid one as well.  I can probably live off this good vibes week for quite awhile, maybe it’ll last me till spring?  Fingers crossed.

 

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter -Feb. 2-3, 2018 Log

So… just to put down a few quick notes about my trip thus far:

I’ve been working on being less self-conscious, and realizing that in doing so is accepting all of me, even the “bad” parts that I instinctively try to hide.  It may not seem like a big deal, but it is to me.

  1.  The first step, was when I pretty much wore my filter mask the entire day… traveling at the airport, airplane, etc. I wore the mask.  It made me feel different even though I knew the mask was cuter than the surgical ones I used to wear.

Cons:

-felt like some ppl stared and tried to be chill about it

-got tiny bit humid after forever and kind of a hassle on my ears

-caught myself in the mirror and did not feel pretty

Pros:

-got kinda used to it after the 2nd hour

-was more breathable than surgical masks

-whenever a person coughed or sneezed close to me, I was no longer super paranoid that I would get sick soon after

2)  Wheelchair all day today:

Cons:

=stuck out very much and was pretty self-conscious, especially at moments when I got up and a couple ppl stared esp since I had no broken legs to show for using a wheelchair

-got no perks at the theme park since you can now pay extra for express lane

-had no freedom for movement since I was pretty much pushed by family all the time (dependent)

-became very aware of anything like a rope or steps that would be super flexible and easy for a walking human (inconvenient)

-did not like feeling so much shorter than everyone else

Pros:

-was kind of nice to be “pampered” almost by my family, who willingly pushed me around taking turns

-was much more attentive personally to other wheelchair-users

-no longer had headaches or felt like passing out, esp on the rides that were more extreme

-no longer felt past the point of dead after a few min of walking; however, felt that point approaching at the very end of the day (ah! lasted till the end :D)

-speed was much faster to reach all the attraction spots since we were now walking at the avg human pace, not mine

3)  Oxygen:

Used oxygen during the plane ride when I went to the bathroom, and my oxygen level dropped to an 85, but then went up to a 91 after a few seconds.??  After oxygen use it went up to a 97.  Walking from car to the hotel room my heart bpm was 158, and oxygen dropped to a 90, but standing still goes up to a 93 after a few seconds as well.

Other Cons:

-I still had a few moments where I felt like I might break down because my mind started to wonder to the fact that I was so dependent that I would not be able to experience a day like today without the help of being pushed around by someone else, and that my body would only get worse

-Didn’t particularly want to take any photos while sitting in wheelchair, but also didn’t mind as much as I used to

-my brother seemed kind of bored at times, and it made me feel a bit more like my family wasn’t enjoying with me but simply accompanying me to make me happy, which made me feel a little burdensome :/ but they did seem overall to enjoy themselves on the rides.

Other Pros:

-During the plane ride here, I saw a brief moment where my dad sort of held my mom’s hand for a few minutes-  Why it’s significant:  I don’t think I’ve ever seen my parents affectionate much like that, esp for no particular reason (like leaving the country for a month) I thought it was nice.

-I had a heart to heart with my mom on life randomly last night, just talking about some of our problems and experiences we have had with people in general

-my brother more than just the typical gestures of niceness like treating us to dinner today, but actually asked me if I was okay at one point and also asked me if I needed oxygen in the car, and that meant more to me than treating us to dinner tbh

-The Harry Potter castle ride was FREAKING AMAZING.  So was drinking butterbeer and seeing Hogsmeade.  An Ollivander’s wand is $70- I would buy one if it actually had magical powers… but instead, I settled for a Gringotts key keychain, and a Pumpkin juice drink for souvenirs.  Also had two delicious dinners in a row, one at Sonny’s BBQ, and today at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp restaurant. YUM.

-Other highlights:  The Incredible Hulk, the first roller coaster I’d ridden in like 10 years… really fast and smooth.   the Skull Island King Kong one was not bad as well.  Seeing cute little kids geeking out in full Harry Potter capes and waving their wands made my day.

I’M DETERMINED TO HAVE FUN.

 

Advice for Greater Empathy- the Dangers of Inspiration Porn

I don’t know how many times I’ve been called an inspiration by friends or just people I’m having a personal discussion with.  I think it would greatly benefit everyone in general to learn about how to help others in having greater empathy-  counter to general belief, there is also usually a “better” way to show your empathy with someone you care about… of course, there are the typical “I’m so sorry for your loss” or those standard sayings, and while they’re not “wrong”, I often find a lot of people are completely oblivious or unsure of what the right things are to say to someone in need.  Of course, to a certain degree, different kinds of words or actions to show solidarity or other types of things work for different kinds of people and characters, but if one were more willing to open their eyes and minds more, they would find that there are usual sayings or things people do that are actual less helpful than they think… and actually kind of useless and frustrating for the person hearing it.  If one is interested, there are always more specific, better ways to gain understanding and empathy, and to show it.

One of the things that I find vital for people to learn is the right wording and the right timing for it.  I am not an inspiration simply by default for dealing with a chronic condition- some people might find this comforting, but be careful in who it is and making sure what the situation is – illnesses and health conditions vary as much as the individual human experience in anything else.  If they grew up totally fine managing their health, why go out of your way to tell someone in a wheelchair they’re an inspiration and singling them out like that, and without first understanding what their struggles are, if they are even what you assume they are?

If perhaps they recounted how difficult it was to rehabilitate themselves after a hospital run or something, it might then be acceptable to say you’re inspiring for pushing yourself to get better, or for opening up, or for using their experiences and platform to further a cause and raise awareness.

It pisses me off when I see some video on facebook with a girl in a wheelchair singing her ass off, and somehow that being by default, “inspirational.”  Do her legs have anything to do with her pipes?  If not, then why is it inspirational?  That’s the wrong use of the word, and what I would label under “Inspiration porn”-  you posted that and made an immediate assumption because you saw she was in a wheelchair, and it made you feel more driven or blessed in your life somehow.  You can be grateful for your own health and appreciate her vocal ability without denoting it to her physical ability to walk, or to think wow that person’s life must suck, I feel better about mine.  That’s WRONG.