Spoiler alerts for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and content warning for suicidal ideation.
My journey to Batuu was not an easy one.
I just want to die. I feel guilty and miserable and I hate myself so much. You’re a bad, selfish person, I tell myself over and over and over again, and it just feels so fucking real. My head is pounding, and I cannot stop crying. I Google all the scary things again. I roll over in bed, and I see the artwork on the wall to my right. On my beautiful blue walls that are mine alone. It is a framed print of a little Calvin & Hobbes-style Luke and Leia, walking hand in hand along a log.
My little brother gave it to me.
I cry harder, but I promise to hang on.
I am in the backseat of my parents’ car, and it does not matter that I am 30; I feel small and helpless. And my parents love me, and I know this in my heart, but the Cruel Voice is so ruthlessly loud on this drive down to Orlando, FL. This Voice reminds me yet again that I am a failure and a disappointment to my parents. That I am a waste of their love and time and resources.
I am a waste of everything.
Tears begin to leak silently from my eyes, and I try so hard to wipe them away with the corners of the Beauty & the Beast pillowcase that is available to me. But I cannot stop. I do not know how to talk to my parents about this sudden outburst, do not know how to explain to the humans who created me, “Look, I’m just broken, okay? It isn’t anyone’s fault.”
I cry until my head aches. I wonder again if it wouldn’t just be better for everyone I love if I wasn’t here.
Holy fucking shit.
It is is 6:30 am, and I am standing in an ocean of people outside of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I know I am a hyperbolic person, but also: I have perhaps never been so nervous in my entire life.
I want this so bad.
I tried to give my family an out: “If no one else cares, I can go by myself. I can take an Uber, and meet you later!”
Read: Do not let me ruin this for all of you. Do not let me lead you into my nerd-folly. I am sorry that I am like this. I am sorry that I don’t make any sense. I am sorry that I am soft and bleeding, always bleeding. Let this be my tragedy alone, please. When I inevitably fuck this up, let it only hurt me. Please.
Everyone is with me. We are in this together, it seems.
At 7:20 am, we are all allowed into the park. We are inside the gates, and my phone is working, and maybe everything is going to be okay. We follow the tides to our left, and eventually we end up standing outside of a massive archway. All I can see ahead is darkness. There is still no suggestion, no hint of where we are going, of where I have been waiting to go for so long.
Muppet*Vision 3-D is to our left, and, of course, I love it, but not even the Muppets can calm me this morning. I am still shaking all the time. I know I am a worry to everyone, but there’s nothing I can do. I’m terrified.
8 am strikes, and we are all of us on our phones, furiously refreshing the My Disney Experience App until we are able to click on those blessed, blessed words:
Join Boarding Group.
I don’t get in at first. My button is still gray, I can’t get through. I want to curl up under a bench, and let the asphalt claim me. Why am I such a fucking failure?
I breathe. I close, and re-open the app.
It is 8:01 am.
We are boarding group 114.
I burst into tears IMMEDIATELY. Maybe I didn’t ruin everything.
By now, we are all of us moving, being carried into Galaxy’s Edge. I cannot stop crying. I didn’t ruin everything. We cross the threshold, and it…
Guys, it’s fucking beautiful.
I am every overwrought nerd stereotype, and I do not care. I am openly weeping, mouth agape, hands clasped to my heart, wearing a shirt that says, “Star Wars Made Me Gay,” Rebel Alliance earrings dangling from my ears…
And I am 30 and I am depressed and I am queer and I am scared, but I am also inside of motherfucking Star Wars.
I did not ruin everything. I do not exist to ruin things.
We are shepherded into the line for Millenium Falcon: Smugglers’ Run. I notice the cart where I can buy a Blue or a Green Milk, and I FUCKING WANT ONE. My Dad has only ever seen Attack of the Clones, so he does not understand ANYTHING THAT IS HAPPENING, but he hops out of line to buy me my weird drink anyway.
And here’s the thing about Blue Milk, my dudes: I legitimately enjoyed it, but would it have fucking mattered? It was the chance to have something in common with Luke Skywalker, so I was always going to drink one, no matter what it tasted like. (I thought it was kind of bubblegum-y.)
[What follows is a slightly more reasonable review of what I actually did at Galaxy’s Edge:]
Drank a Blue Milk. I don’t know what else to tell y’all. It is better than Butterbeer, but not as good as Pumpkin Juice. It made me feel like I was Luke Skywalker, and I kind of wish I had gotten another one, because damn, that is the best feeling.
Smugglers’ Run. I legitimately screamed when we walked on to the Falcon. I don’t know that I was a very good gunner, if I’m being totally honest, but I would have been delighted to hang out on the Falcon for the rest of the day. The attention to detail is incredible. I want to live in that queue.
Savi’s Workshop. Alright, look: Do you have $200? WHAT ELSE IS THAT MONEY EVEN FOR IF NOT FOR THIS? So, my brother and I traded promises to buy one another lightsabers for Christmas. He didn’t realize that you need a reservation (you totally do!), so I did not actually build this time. But every builder gets to bring one guest with them, so I got to observe the entire process.
I don’t want to give too much away, but: Unsurprisingly, I definitely cried again. I remember riding Star Tours with my little brother when we were both legitimately little, and I think perhaps my entire life has been building to being able to buy him his own goddamn lightsaber. It was an incredible experience, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
(We’re going back, because he still owes me mine!)
Rise of the Resistance. Hey, so remember how we got to the park at 6:30 am? Our boarding group was finally called at 6 pm. I spent the entire day refreshing the app and checking on our status. It was THE MOST STRESSFUL FUCKING THING I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED. Finally, while we were in line to ride the Alien Saucers in Toy Story Land, we made it to the 100th boarding group, and it was like, “Oh, shit. This might be happening.”
Guys, I know you’ve probably already read everything there is out there about this ride. And it’s true. All of it. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, because I am so so grateful that I hadn’t spoiled myself too much on the experience. But… there’s this one particular moment of the experience, and, honestly, if that had been the whole ride, I would have been totally satisfied. My mind was completely fucking blown by this ride. My mouth was hanging open. I looked like the complete dork that I am.
Get there at 6:30 am. Get there at 6. Do whatever you have to do to give yourself a chance at this experience.
I… I don’t know what else to say. I still feel guilty and miserable and I hate myself very much. But there was a moment just two days ago when I stopped caring about all that. When I was taken away to another galaxy by the powers of storytelling and craftsmanship, and damn. Maybe I will always be ill, and maybe my brain will always tell me cruel lies, but I will always have my faith in stories. No one– not even me– can take away my love for the stories that I love.
And I am working on my own stories now. This is how I will be okay, this is how I will get myself out of this mess. I will write and create and I will offer words and tales that give people a fucking goddamn break from the nightmares that plague us.
Maybe one day there will be a theme park attraction based on something I wrote.
And fuck, you and I are going to be there at 6:30 am when it opens up, and I am going to squeeze your hand as we stroll into the queue. And I will buy you a weird drink that’s from the thing I wrote, and it will be the single best moment of my entire life.
Because I do not exist to ruin things. I merely exist. And, in the midst of this, I will write. I will write for me, for us.
I am going to be okay. I am not going anywhere.
I still have a lightsaber to build, after all.
May the Spires Keep You.