What that one post about “What they don’t tell you about the DCP” doesn’t tell you about
The day after everyone finishes their last shift - the one where you’re all too scared to even look at each other because you know you’ll lose it - you come into work and you don’t recognize 90% of the people on the line. Scheduling has already been considering your friends gone for at least 2 weeks, filling the labor gap with the crew from the AM shifts, the ones you never got to see except maybe once during training because you get the bottom of the barrel hours when you’re at the bottom of the pole. Everything feels sort of distant and bizarre, like you’re going through the motions, but underwater and in reverse. You have a guest say or do something ridiculous, and you turn to share with so-and-so because you know it will make them laugh, and then you remember. It’s like when you were little and trying to see if you could navigate the stairs in the dark - you think you counted them all right and proper, but you misstep, and suddenly your stomach is sent hurtling into the Twilight Zone. It’s like that, but still not quite. You can’t put a name to it. You can’t describe it. But it engulfs you, and it feels like there are needles behind your eyes as you try not to let the tears slip out. You bite your lip, and focus on the guests. You try to anchor yourself in the small details coming past your touchpoint: the scribble of hastily designed buttons, lanyard decorations, hand-designed magic bands, nifty pin collections… You wait until the burning at the base of your throat subsides before you trust yourself to engage. A crew of people all wearing empty celebrate buttons. You decide to chance it. Hi there! Welcome to the Magic Kingdom! What are you guys celebrating today? They look up at you, and that’s when you glimpse Maingates instead of tickets. The gold tasseled ears poking out of one kid’s bag. The autograph book clutched in the hands of the girl closest to you. The mascara and eye liner that’s smudged across the board. The red and white and PC/CS/VW cards peeking out of lanyard holders. It’s our last night, someone says quietly from the V next to you, we wanted to do Wishesone last time. You open your mouth, but it’s like the First Order shot a black hole gun down your throat. No sound escapes. You forget how to breathe for a second as that awful stair feeling snakes through your gut. Swallows you up. But you turn on The Smile and nod sympathetically, and manage to squeeze out a very small That’s a lovely way to finish. They scan their tickets, link arms, and make their way into the park. You can hear them singing along to the park entry soundtrack as they disappear into the breezeway.
The day after everyone finishes their last night in the park - the one you couldn’t be 100% apart of because you had to work, but you still got to watch Wishes “with them” as you worked Exit Ferryboat, and you still got to have one last round of zingers and fries and making jokes at Alehouse at ungodly hours - you sleep until 3 in the afternoon. You set your alarm for 10am, because it’s your Saturday and you have things you have to do, errands that need to be run, but when you go to turn off your alarm and get your day going, your phone is a long string of notifications on Facebook: tag alerts from goodbye photos, parting statuses you’ve been mentioned in, new posts in the Ohana Chat… It’s just too much. You roll over, go back to sleep, have some weird dreams about crashing your car in space, and don’t resurface consciousness until 5 hours later. More time for your phone to accumulate even more alerts, but also more time to be mentally/emotionally ready for the floodgates they will undoubtedly be opening…again.
The day after your second program ends but you’re on extension, you feel like Jessie in Toy Story 2 while the rest of your friends drive off. Like parts of your heart are getting sectioned off and scattering around the globe. Japan. China. England. Australia. New Zealand. France. Germany. Canada. Puerto Rico. Brazil. Argentina. Italy. The map of the US suddenly has new landmarks in your mind: so-and-so’s house in Texas. So-and-so’s school in California. Iowa. Washington state. Michigan. Nevada. New Jersey…
The day after it all, you realize that even despite this being the hardest 5 months of your life - being away from family that most likely won’t make it to next year, putting school on the backburner AGAIN to make ends meet on immediate bills, living in a constant state of anxiety about whether you have housing stability, constantly doubting whether you’ve wasted thousands of dollars trying to breathe this dream into reality, strangled non-stop by the fear that you have failed yet again to make a place for yourself in this world - you have been surrounded by the best and brightest and loveliest and simply most amazing people on the planet. You have been buoying through your storms on the life raft of love and compassion that was built board by board through the coming together of complete and total strangers. The day after it all, you wake up and you realize that while you may have moved back to Florida with only a mini van full of the bare necessities and a handful of friends waiting to embrace you in Orlando, you now have a family that stretches to infinity and beyond.
What that one post about “What they don’t tell you about the DCP” doesn’t tell you about is that the ending of it all doesn’t break you - it helps you see how far you’ve grown, how much your heart has become anchored in a world-wide network built on faith, trust, pixie dust, and a lot of tequila and wine spritzers and arguments about lexical gaps in three different languages simultaneously. The fireworks burn a little brighter. Fake Celine Dion makes you cry a little harder. Graduation ears feel so much heavier than any grad cap and gown. And suddenly, the world feels a little more like home.
Te amo 再见 अलविदा Vaarwel Au revoir Adjö Adeus Arrivederci Pronto Ciao…
happy friday all! it’s the last friday in may, and i’m celebrating with a collection of finds i know you’re gonna love — like these bold and gilded statement earring styles from prague-based benumade. RAD product photography too, guys!!