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12 Hours in Wilmington, NC

Was volunteering to work the ticket booth of a football game the night before I wanted to wake up at 3:30 am to catch the sunrise a good idea? Absolutely not.

Did I wake up at 3:30 am to drive two hours and catch the sunrise without falling asleep on the way there? Surprisingly, yes.

Since there was an extra weekend day this past weekend, I decided to finally visit a North Carolinian beach—Wrightsville Beach. I’ve visited the North Carolinian mountains several times, but this was my first time at the beach (mini gallery below).

For over an hour, I sat in the calm, peaceful stillness of the waves crashing in the dark. I was head empty, and it was beautiful. Normally when I drown myself in the sound of the ocean waves, I’m trying to let something go, escape whatever is troubling me. Considering I was head empty and smiling in the cold, I would like to believe there wasn’t anything troubling for me to escape. Nothing but joy flowed through my veins.

Then, of course, I took a little nap on the beach—balled on the beach towel like a fetus.

While I sat in the dark and was awake, I watched people trickle onto the sand in hopes of catching the 6:45 am sunrise. After the glory of the action was captured on many smartphones, I listened and half-watched an oceanside church service (I didn’t know that was a thing until I witnessed it IRL… they’re the reason I woke up from my nap).

My hope was to spend the day wandering around Wilmington, a city I heard so many great things about.

Then I reached out to some family friends for lunch (some I’ve talked about before), and my wandering didn’t happen.

Lunch turned into a late breakfast and a day they planned out. For the most part, it was joyous. We rode down to Fort Fisher beach in a convertible with the top down, where I could hardly hear what anyone was saying, but the entire world could hear our conversation. Granted, they’re a very old couple, so they simply didn’t know.

Speaking of them being old…

At the beach, the conversation of tattoos came up, and I was reminded that I had to put on an act. I was wearing two layers and a Band-Aid in Carolina humidity to avoid my anti-tattoos, anti-piercings, anti-internet, anti-LGBTQIA+ (“But we still have to love them”—their words, not mine) family friends from seeing my tattoos. When I revealed that I had one small one, the conversation changed and became about why someone would want to permanently mark their bodies.

All I could think of is
a) art
b) because they want to

Then we ventured to downtown Wilmington where we checked out The Cotton Exchange. Shoutout to the girl at one of the shops who said my outfit was giving cottage core; it was definitely me trying to look like a saint.

Before we knew it, it was time for me to endure the two hour drive back home. I would like to blame traffic for us not being able to do much.

Before I left, they gave me a trauma box (all the letters I’ve written over the years as I endured my very poopy childhood), which I am about to start getting into as I watch the highly predictable, poorly rated Love Again.

Wilmington

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