Back in July I went to Brighton for a few days. Honestly, it was an odd trip for me, and I've put off blogging about it for ages because I felt like I should write some 100% cheerful and positive post, and I just didn't feel that way.
But I did make it to March of the Mermaids. The parade was really fun, and ticked something off my 101 in 1001 list. It was also a really body positive experience as I was surrounded by fabulously dressed merpeople of all sizes, shapes and ages.
My costume was somewhat more understated than planned after my original costume went wrong, but I got something together at the last minute which I think ended up looking pretty good. Overall it was a rather mixed experience as I had such high (impossibly high!) hopes of making friends with dozens of people and having a spectacular costume and doing all the after parties, which didn't happen. But I'm glad I went anyway, and I did meet a few fabulous merpeople from the UK Merpod group, and got to hang out with Emily, so that was good.
Sometimes, even if you're in a bad mood, it's still good to be in a bad mood somewhere with new sights to see and places to explore.
Even in the mist of gloom there are little flashes of light, like seeing the bandstand all decked out for a wedding-I actually saw the couple saying their vows from the beach!
And it ended up that there were some wonderful moments on this trip. My partner came to join me partway through my stay, and along with Emily we went to see the Folklore, Magic and Mysteries: Modern Witchcraft and Folk Culture in Britain exhibition. It was displayed in the beautiful and slightly spooky setting of Preston Manor, an Edwardian manor house, which we also explored.
My partner had never been to Brighton before, so that evening we set out to explore in the fading light. We wandered along the beach for a long time, close to the water's edge. It was quiet and beautiful.
We walked through the lamp lit Pavilion Gardens in the dark, and saw the Pavilion glowing in pastel colours. I can never decide whether I like the Pavilion better at night or in the daylight.
We wandered back along the beach in the blackness, watching the twinkling lights of the Pier.
The final day didn't start off well-we walked all the way to the Booth Museum only for them to close for lunch just as we approached the doors. My sunburn was really painful so walking for ages in the heat and then getting nothing at the end of it was even more irritating than usual. But we took the opportunity to wander around the more residential parts of Brighton, found a couple of pretty parks, and found our way to Anna's Museum, which I had wanted to see for ages.
It was such a gem! It ended up being one of the highlights of the trip, and we spent a long time perusing all the strange and wonderful items from the pavement.
The weather for our last day was absolutely gorgeous, so we went back to the beach and braved paddling in the waves. Despite the beautiful sunshine the water was very cold!
We ended the day with a ride on the quaint and slightly bizarre Volk's Electric Railway, which was another thing I had been wanting to do for ages. It ended up being a strange but interesting mini adventure where we saw another side of Brighton, and I really enjoyed the train ride.
I felt like this whole trip was an important lesson in going with the flow. The parts I planned too much or put too much pressure on ended up not happening or being disappointing when they did happen. The parts where I just let myself be and didn't worry so much about what I should be doing ended up being the most enjoyable parts, even if they went a bit wrong or weren't what I had originally planned. Even if it wasn't a perfect, entirely happy break, it was a really good learning experience for me and helped me clarify a lot of what I was feeling uneasy about. So I'm still pleased I went, and I still had some moments I will always treasure. I think that's another lesson I had to learn-things don't have to be perfect for there to still be some good in there. Yes. That's it.