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The Wandering Widow

Observations, Tips and Reckless Truth Telling on the Road Through Grief

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Wonder Woman

✔️ San Diego Comic-Con

A Wandering Widow Post

It’s funny how you can live somewhere and never do the things other people travel there for. I lived in San Diego for years, but never went to Comic-Con. A few years ago, during an especially funny episode of The Big Bang Theory, Dan and I decided that going to SDCC should be on our bucket list. Since we’re both kinda geeky, it sounded fun. Plus, how can you go wrong in San Diego? So my friend, an SDCC veteran, helped me get badges to the biggest geek party in town.

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You can never go wrong in San Diego.

And it was a party. It’s a good thing I’m retiring in a few days because I’ll need a week or two of naps to recover.

XOXO,

The Wandering Widow

P.S. In case you’re thinking I’m a huge jerk for taking a vacation right before I retire, this bucket list trip was on the books before I made that life altering decision. Live Now.

Here are my Top 5 Comic-con Takeaways:

1. You can definitely do it as an SDCC virgin, but having someone help you learn the ropes is easier. Fortunately, there are a lot of SDCC blogs that can guide you along. Read them. Learn from them. When you are advised to bring a refillable water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, and backup batteries for your phone, do it. And be prepared to walk a lot! We averaged around 20,000 steps a day, and that was with a LOT of breaks at San Diego’s finest eateries and drinkeries. (Breakfast on the patio at Mary Jane’s gives you a lot of people watching and celeb spotting opportunities. And Whiskey Girl has my stamp of approval for any time of the day).

I’d add a small umbrella (for shade) to the list for those long outdoor lines. It was unusually humid and I didn’t reapply sunscreen frequently enough, so brought home a lovely stripey sunburn.  I can’t imagine how hot it was for those in full costume and makeup. I bow down to their dedication and commitment to their characters. And the cosplay didn’t disappoint. 

2. Don’t wait until AFTER you have your badges to book your hotel. Rookie mistake! We ended up paying a premium for a divey motel. I was told that most San Diego businesses close to the convention center make over 30% of their annual revenue during Comic Con. I don’t doubt it. Price gouging is the name of the game. It was still worth it, just be prepared and budget accordingly.

The entire Gas Lamp District gets into the Con spirit.

3. Don’t stress if you don’t get badges for every day. Enough events are happening around the convention center that you will have plenty to do. I found that some of my favorites were offsite and didn’t require badges at all.  Bladerunner 2049 was my favorite, and not just because of the Johnnie Walker whiskey bar at the end.

 One of the things I loved best was that the whole town gets involved, taking it from mere convention to super festival.  Hotels, trains, and trams were all wrapped and decorated appropriately.  And there were lots of themed marches and displays supporting shows or movies.  We participated in Nerdist’s Wonder Woman March but also got to enjoy History Channel’s Viking funeral march and Outlander’s exciting outdoor entertainment.

4. Keep your patience and a sense of humor. Everyone else is just as excited to be there as you are, lines are inevitable. Make new friends. And don’t be put off by the 2-3 hour waits…the lines move faster than whatever the end-of-the-line-keeper tells you.

If it’s your first time, be prepared for sensory overload. It was worse than Vegas for me, and I couldn’t figure out what to look at with all that color, lights and noise everywhere.

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5. Enjoy yourself. SDCC was amazing, but the best part was being able to spend time with friends.

I loved that everyone connected with the Con was respectful and still able to have a good time. I lost track of how many languages I heard spoken–this is truly an international event. It is also family friendly, and it warmed my heart to see so many parents bringing their kids. But folks, please leave your dogs at home as this is an anxiety ridden event for Fido. 

I can’t wait for next year!

That Scene in Wonder Woman (Spoiler Alert!)

If you haven’t seen it yet and are planning to, stop reading right now. And get your freaking ticket ASAP, this movie is AWESOME. I loved being able to see it with three generations of the wonder women in my family.  It’s about dang time we get to see such a strong female lead, and DC sure threw down the gauntlet for Marvel.  But that’s not what this post is about.

While I left the theater wanting to a get a sword and fight bad guys and stuff, I was also reeling.

I couldn’t find a single image of the scene that kicked my ass. Interesting. Guess grief really is that hard to look at.

Dan was a soldier.  A regular American bad ass defender of freedom, protector of others, and fighter of dangerous people. AATW!  So when Steve made his heroic choice, it wasn’t really a decision. It was his only option. To have taken any other action would have meant betraying who he was at his core. I was a military wife for a lot of years, so that scene didn’t really hurt me as much as sadden me. It is a movie, after all.

It was Diana’s reaction that brought me to my knees.  Her grief was palpable, painful, raw, and perfectly captured by both the director and the actor. And it mirrored the intensity of my own grief.  I’ve come a long way in the last year, but that scene stole the air from my lungs. Literally.  I felt my pulse shoot up and the hyperventilating start and knew a PTSD anxiety attack was not far behind.  Bearing witness to her grief ripped open the healing scars on my heart. Had I been prepared that it was coming, it may not have been quite as overwhelming.  Or it may have been just as bad. Who knows. Honestly, just thinking about that scene weeks later still raises my blood pressure. I was so thankful for the powerful ass-kicking fight scene that followed because it was the distraction I needed to regain control of my lungs.

What few W’s want to acknowledge is that her grief, our grief, is a catalyst for the transformation into someone stronger.  Someone MORE despite the loss. Someone who can value both the best and worst in others. Someone who doesn’t give up. Someone who will mourn for their rest of their life, but who keeps living in spite of it. While I don’t have lightning shooting out of my hands (too bad, I can think of a few occasions where that would be handy), I will battle my grief until the end.

So yeah, I’m not saying I’m Wonder Woman, but WW also stands for Wandering Widow, and you’ve never seen us in the same room.

XOXO,

The Wandering Widow

Words

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion,  our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”               

Albus Dumbledore

Words are powerful. They represent culture, belief, and identity. Words can build and destroy. Their power is why governments ban books and silence truth tellers, and why we sometimes revere writers who wield the words that give us hope. 

I can remember the first time someone referred to me as a widow. It was only a few days after Dan died and I was horrified. It was a gut punch. How dare they say that about me? How dare they say that to me? I wouldn’t even use the word. Hearing it was like fingernails on a chalkboard. That word meant Dan was gone. It meant I was alone. It meant I was married to a ghost. It meant my universe had imploded.

In the last year I have become more comfortable with the word widow. Well, maybe comfortable isn’t the right word, but it doesn’t make me cry to hear it or use it. Now I use it as a shield…one word that explains my story without my having to go into detail. Throwing widow into a conversation is like deflecting bullets off Wonder Woman’s bracelets. Kapow! Insert new topic or awkward silence. And sometimes I’m a bit snarky about it. Apologies to anyone who has been on the receiving end of that.

I recently referred to myself as “single” for the first time. Not a married to a dead guy widow, but single as in unattached. As soon as the word left my mouth I was stunned into silence (which my friends and family will assure you almost never happens). It just kind of hung in the air in a cartoon bubble. What does that mean? What does it mean that I just voluntarily described myself as single? Does it have to mean anything? Hell yeah it does. I just haven’t decided what. 

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