I’ve always been a fairly anxious person. When boarding flights, I have to stand in front of the boarding line 15 minutes before the plane boards just in case it boards early. Halfway through a flight, I have to stand up and make sure my bag is still in the overhead compartment. With the lack of Pepperdine parking, I try not to leave campus as much and if I do, the whole drive back to campus I freak out over if there will be a parking spot or not.
But something else that causes my anxiety is social settings. Parties, classes, movies, anything where I don’t know the majority of people really triggers this part of me that makes me think that no one there likes me, that I look fat, that I don’t look cute, that everyone thinks I’m weird. Just this string of negative thoughts that amplifies my insecurities, as well as making up things that aren’t even true. I mean, why, in a movie theatre where no one really cares about who’s around, would I need to worry about what people are thinking of me.
So, last semester, I went to Disneyland for the first time by myself. I needed a break from Malibu and just people in general so I made the decision that I was going to go alone. Up until I went, I started to research articles about people going to Disneyland by themselves because somewhere in the back of my mind I started to wonder if people even did that. Right until I entered the Disneyland parking lot I was stressing myself out by just even thinking about what other people were going to think of me being alone. Were they going to think I had no friends, or that I was weird? Through all this I forgot to focus on one thing…myself.
Once I got to the Magic Kingdom, any little piece of anxiety started to chip away. I didn’t have anyone telling me what ride to go on first, or that they don’t want to wait to meet a certain character; I had the ability to just do whatever made me the happiest. Throughout the day, I came into contact with a lot of people. Different cast members who would move me to the front of the line because they thought I was nice and had one spot left or families who didn’t know where they were going and needed help; just a variety of amazing people that I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet if I wasn’t by myself.
Throughout the times I’ve gone to Disneyland by myself this year, I have become more confident in myself because I’ve started to realize that going places by yourself (even a theme park) isn’t weird, and most of the time people are there to try and have their own escape and they aren’t even worried about you. It even helped me become more outgoing to talk to people. This is because if I see somebody who needs help or looks confused, I will approach and ask if they need a picture or different things like that. Even just taking the time to talk to different people who work there has given me a ton of knowledge of the Disney industry and some of the amazing people who work there.
Yes, I still get anxious on planes and in cars and yes, I still get anxious in social settings; but because I have been exploring different things by myself, my anxiety has lessened in these social areas. Because why let random people’s perceptions of you dictate your day?
ALSO: Check out my latest Disney Vlog where I do a solo Disney day!