So yesterday around noon, one of my local best friends picked me up from my house and took me to the Britney Spears event that I’ve mentioned in my previous blog entry. This event was actually called Britney: The Zone and it’s only going to be open for a limited time. And so that’s why, when I’d heard about it for the very first time at the end of last year, I knew I’d have to take advantage of said opportunity. So even though I didn’t really know what to expect, other than knowing that there would be rooms for each of Britney’s biggest music videos, I was sure that I wouldn’t regret this decision. But the thing is, even today, I’m having trouble thinking about how I’m going to write this post…but I’m pushing through it…because the entire world needs to know about why Britney: The Zone really was the ultimate fan experience, EVER.
So, on the drive to this event, my friend and I stopped at Starbucks to get ourselves coffee and some food. We wanted to make sure that we’d have enough time to accomplish this and allow for getting lost, if my friend’s GPS (Global Positioning System) lead us the wrong way for some reason. And it was me who’d suggested that we get a sandwich from Starbucks; that way, we’d only stop once on the way to the venue. I ended up ordering the spinach and feta cheese wrap which is one of my favorite things from Starbucks, with a smoked butterscotch frappuccino. Since the day was going to be full of adventure, I thought I’d start that adventure with trying the smoked butterscotch frappuccino, since the hot version of said drink was delicious. And fortunately for my sake, the frappuccino version of said drink was also delicious!! My friend had brought his Bluetooth speaker with us and we tried to listen to Reddit stories which, for anyone who doesn’t know, Reddit stories are a way that people can tell stories about frustrating things that happen to them, such as relationship problems with someone they are dating/interested in/not interested in, stories about entitled people they interact with, stories about mistreatment in their workplaces/other social circles they’re involved in. And TBH, listening to Reddit stories with this particular friend of mine has come to be one of my favorite things that the two of us share with each other. But unfortunately for our sake, when we’d tried to listen to Reddit stories via his Bluetooth speaker yesterday, the GPS on his phone kept interrupting our listening pleasure. It was somewhat amusing though, to hear my friend keep telling his phone’s GPS to shut the fuck up. LOL. But us taking somewhat of a roadtrip, I’d say, was such a blast.
My friend’s car that we were in, did give us some trouble on the way there. So it was a good thing that they’d picked me up from home nice and early. One of the parts of the car that keeps the hood on the car, fell off, causing us to have to drive slower than we otherwise would’ve driven. This caused us to be a few minutes late to the venue which was super stressful for me internally because the people in charge of this event had repeatedly posted on social media, warning folks that if they arrived late, they may not actually be able to enter the venue. And it’s possible that they said that to ensure that people would actually show up. But even so, my brain automatically defaulted to the worst possible outcome. But thankfully, my brain lead me astray this time around and I was able to participate in this ultimate fan experience, after all.
But when we’d first arrived at the venue, finding parking was not easy. And so, I really wished that I’d had a handicap placard with me because perhaps, that would’ve helped us find a parking spot easily. But thankfully, we did find a parking spot after some time and we then made our way into the venue. And the first thing I noticed once we were inside the building, was that Britney Spears music was blaring all around us. Now, of course folks are probably thinking “duh, Chelsea; you’re at a Britney Spears event, for crying out loud.” And yes, that was true…but I was still surprised that they’d made this place like, an entire Britney world. But that being said, once I’d made that particular discovery, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d have the time of my life. But even so, before the good happened, some bad had to happen first though, apparently. That was annoying AF.
My friend and I’d just met someone who’d worked at the venue, who’d directed us to the counter that we needed to get our wristbands at. I was having a bit of trouble with my phone though, trying to actually pull up the tickets I’d purchased for this event. But after taking some deep breaths, I was successful in my mission; and the person who was helping my friend and I, then asked us if we’d registered. But I told them that I wasn’t sure what they’d meant…but that I’d had The Zone app on my phone. So they then walked my friend and I through how to register and I gave my friend my phone to do it quickly, to save us time. It wasn’t like we had a limited amount of time to be there but I felt better doing things this way. And once that step had been completed, we were off to the bathrooms, since they didn’t have any inside of the areas where the event was actually happening. And that’s when the bad that I’d mentioned earlier, happened: I had no idea where my fucking phone was. All I knew, was that my friend hadn’t handed it back to me; and so, I immediately asked them if they’d grabbed it…and they had not. So as you can probably imagine, my heart felt like it had stopped beating. I was panicking 100 percent almost immediately, because literally everything is stored on my phone. I then became even more paranoid, when I thought that the venue may not even have cameras and that that would be the end of the world for me. Like, I was going through alternating between “maybe they’ll have to call the police, if someone ran away with my phone,” to “I absolutely cannot, will not, go through this experience that I’ve looked so forward to for months, if my phone isn’t found!” I know that this probably sounds to folks like I’m being a drama queen but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even want my worst enemy to have traded spaces with me, during this difficult time. But thankfully, the venue did have cameras and the kind staff there did find my phone…so all was eventually right with my world again. But I’ve been through a lot of scary shit…and this was definitely one of the scariest things EVER!!
But that being said, while my friend and I waited for my phone to be found, my friend told me that there was a Britney Spears merchandise shop in the building. So I decided that that would be my first positive part of this whole experience. To be clear though, this merchandise shop was a separate part of this whole experience. And it turned out that this merchandise shop had everything from shirts, to CDs, to patches and pens…and even backpacks. And I knew that I’d probably at least get a backpack…which is exactly what I did. And on the backpack I’d gotten, there are pens and patches that say things like “it’s Britney, bitch,” “Baby One More Time” and “Piece of Me.” But given the craziness that had just been resolved with my phone, I asked the cashier at this shop to hold onto my new backpack until we’d finished going through this experience. Thankfully, that wasn’t a problem and I felt great knowing that I wouldn’t potentially lose yet another thing that day.
My friend and I were then on our way into the beginning of the interactive part of this experience, as a couple of the staff members there had told us that they’d found my phone. So the first part of the interactive aspect of this venue, was a classroom type set-up. And in this classroom, there were of course chairs for folks to sit on as well as a Britney super-fan who welcomed us to this amazingness. And in addition to that, we classmates were then shown a video of Britney’s assistant, also welcoming us to this event. Throughout this class lesson, we were encouraged to take pictures and videos too. We were even videoed saying “it’s Britney, bitch” which was neat. And then we were off to the next area which was a basketball court, as basketball is Britney’s favorite sport. And within this room, as well as the other rooms in this adventure, there were props that we could take pictures with, sit in or on; and most of these things were either in Britney’s music videos or things from her tour that she used or wore. For example, there was a bike in an enclosed case, that was from a music video of hers, if I’m not mistaken. There was also a jacket in an enclosed case which was something that Britney had actually worn on a tour she’d done. For the “Piece of Me” room, there were magazine covers, cameras and it was made to look and feel like there were paparazzi trying to get pictures of us fans/talk to us fans. And the coolest thing in that room that I remember, was that us fans could allow a camera to take pictures of us and then put us on an actual magazine cover. Then there was yet another room that had a ball pit that fans could get into, as well as a circus cage that fans could get into…but unfortunately for me, both of those things were not possible for me to do. But that being said, the staff in the room were super apologetic about this, once they saw my wheelchair. I let them know that I understood that there’s no way they could’ve thought of every minority group when they created this…and I felt good about that exchange. Although, no lie, I find myself secretly wishing that there’s some way I could go back there to participate in those two events…like, maybe I can DM them the link to this blog entry, or maybe I can find someone to go back to this event with me who can lift me into the cage/into the ball pit. And if not, that will be fine; but it’s at least worth a shot.
Other things that I could do though, were to try and throw small rings onto a big ring; and I did my best…which was great because I thought the sound of the small rings hitting the big ring, was neat. It was a thud that I didn’t expect but that made me smile nonetheless. And in addition to that activity, there was an activity where I could put on a hat that a ring-leader wears and have a short video made of myself wearing the hat and then showing me throwing the hat somewhere away from me. In addition to that, for the “Toxic” video, there were airplane chairs for us to sit in. And beside some of the airplane chairs were champagne bottles that were screwed down onto tables. There were also barf bags that I think said the word “Toxic” on them…but I think those were for show, not for folks to actually take home with them. In the “Oops, I Did It Again” music video, that particular room was designed to give people the look and feel like we were on Mars. There was even an astronaut that we fans could take pictures with which I of course did. And then, there was also an area where we could have a short video made of us that showed us on one side and Britney on the other side. That apparently looked really cool because both us the fans and Britney, were dancing however we wanted to. And TBH, I’m super self-conscious when I dance because I’m not a good fucking dancer, like, at all!! But I looked like I was having fun, so I was told…and that is all that matters.
After my bestie and I’d finished going through this entire Britney Spears exhibit, my friend noticed that there was yet another Britney merchandise shop that we could check out. And some of the things that they had in this particular shop, were phone cases, shirts, lanyards and necklaces. I was a bit bummed that they didn’t have Britney phone cases for the iPhone model that I have. But I did get a neat necklace that’s like a dog tag with pretty designs on it which was awesome. It was cool to experience the two different Britney merchandise shops because this one in particular, only sold things that were specific to this Britney: The Zone experience. Whereas the first Britney merchandise shop we went to, had varied things from her tours, music videos ETC. And then before my friend and I’d left the building, I made sure that we didn’t forget to grab my new backpack.
All in all, I truly had the time of my life yesterday; but there’s something else important that I want to talk about. And that is the fact that I love how free I felt wearing my Britney Spears outfit. Like, the top portion of it was difficult for me to put on…and the bottom portion of the outfit just took some getting used to, as it was half skirt, half shorts, as one piece. But once I’d gotten used to the outfit in its entirety, I loved the way it felt on my skin. I loved the fact that it showed a lot of my legs, as I think my legs are the sexiest physical part of me. But the reason I wanted to talk about this particular thing as a part of my review of the entire Britney Spears experience, was because as a woman who felt free in the celebration of my body, that feeling helped color my over all experience. Because before yesterday, I hadn’t dressed in something that showed much of my skin in years…because literally every single person I’ve dated has I guess, felt threatened by my sexiness. Or, every single person that I’ve dated has felt like me showing off my skin would cause other people to look at my hotness…which, yes, that is true. But I’m hot…and I think that other human beings recognizing that truth, is a beautiful thing!! And it hurts my soul when I think of the fact I even allowed anyone to dictate what I wore/what I didn’t wear. I hope that I never settle for such bullshit again…because I’m sexy. Period!! I’m not just sexy at certain times, that other folks determine. I’m sexy because I fucking say I’m sexy. I’m sexy all of the time, because there is nothing sexier than a bad-ass, confident woman, both of which describe me to a T. And anyone who doesn’t celebrate that, well, that’s on them!! I’m making a vow to myself here and now, thanks to the empowering experience I had yesterday at the entire Britney Spears fun day…but also, thanks to the empowering music that Britney Spears has made, that’s gotten me through so many of the hardships in my life, whether it’s surgeries I’ve had or other kinds of traumatic things that we’re talking about. Music truly is an amazing thing…and I’m sooooo lucky to be a Britney Spears stan!!