My childhood ceased in one fell splat.

Every lady knows the emotional weight of that memory — when, in a not-so-metaphorical typhoon of confusion, you discover that peculiar splotch in your panties and your world breaks in half.

Now, take that thrilling adolescent recollection you have, and imagine it set to the saccharine soundtrack of Disneyland’s Main Street parade. Bam! You have my life.

Also, can we talk about how I was nine when I first got my period? Talk about unfair. Was my childhood diet somehow 400% milk? Was I descended from Viking women? Did I commit a crime against humanity in a former life? I ended up as that 5th grader who had to pay close attention to the degree of butt-tightness my Capri pants had during a week of every month. I always had to explain to friends why I always had extra clothing with me wherever I went.

It’s been a confusing cross to bear — one that was handed to me in a place that was supposed to be my ethereal escape.

It was a routine family vacation to Disneyland. Growing up in Northern California, that holy pilgrimage south during summer breaks was more than a treat. For a nine-year-old constantly surrounded by brown-rice-eating, Birkenstock-wearing, ex-Berkeley PhD students, sparkly Disneyland was necessity. I pined for the day I would traverse Sleeping Beauty’s castle, perch atop my noble (yet plastic) steed on King Arthur’s carousel, or spot Cinderella in a euphoric panic and run over to hug the shit out of her.

Disney characters came to life amidst a backdrop of pink castles and carts toting enough cotton candy to saturate my bones with sugar? It was freedom from summer boredom; it was a break from strict parents. Disneyland was whimsy incarnate.

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