Cry It Out Before the Night Out

*Author’s Note: Hello! This is Sienna, from the future! I underestimated how much time I would have each day to write my journal entries in Las Vegas, however I did manage to take plenty of photos. I am backdating the Vegas entries but it’s worth making a note to say that I am writing each entry now that I’m back home in the UK.

When Alex and I had confirmed our Vegas trip a few short months ago, I was dead set on having at least one night out. It had been so long since we’d gotten dressed up and hit the town for a night of drinking, dancing and general shenanigans, and Vegas seemed like a great place to break that fast. Plus, not only was I excited to see BTS in concert, but I was also going to meet a bunch of the people I’d been talking to every day since last June!

Since I have a lot of anxiety and, to be honest, fear tied to social situations, one of the ways I cope is through planning. Over the years I like to think I’ve gotten more relaxed and less strict about my planning, but I would be lying if I said that the plans didn’t really matter. Before the trip I was trying really hard to find times in all of our schedules where we could do something together as a group but in the end it didn’t really come together, and naturally I was disappointed.

Saturday rolled around and Alex and I end up being the only people in our group not attending the second concert day, and that, along with just general social fatigue, jetlag, and post-concert depression, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Normally when I get really emotional or find myself overwhelmed about something, I just need to take a bit of time to myself and then I’m good. Whether that means crying, being mad, sleeping, or whatever, I just need that alone time to process whatever’s going on. The crucial element is the passing of time so I can sort out my emotions and understand what it is I’m feeling, otherwise I’m kind of stuck in the midst of my emotions.

When you’re traveling and sharing accommodation with people, privacy is not always possible. So on Saturday when Alex and I went down to the pool with our drinks, lathered in SPF 50 sunscreen and ready for our thirty minutes in the blistering desert sun, the security guard asking for IDs and saying we weren’t allowed to bring outside drinks into the pool area just threw me for a loop. As we sulked back to the room that was when I realised that I had way more riding on my plans than I originally thought. I sort of blew up at Alex for not “perceiving my anxiety” and picking up the slack for me, which is a really silly thing to be mad about, but my reasoning at the time was that I only had so much social energy and by that point I was running on fumes. “Communication is key” is something I’ve sworn by for years now, although I have to admit that it is hard to communicate effectively when you’re exhausted and emotional.

We returned to the hotel room while our roommates were getting ready for the concert and I just felt like such a loser. I couldn’t even do the thing I had set out to do and it felt like everything was going wrong, so I crawled into my bed and cried. It was embarrassing, but I didn’t know what else I could do right then. All I knew was that I was upset and felt drained, so my body responded with tears. My friend Liz was trying to comfort me, saying the loveliest things about me as a person, and I feel so rotten that instead of asking for space I was just a pessimistic jerk. And when Steven, my friend’s husband, had texted me about joining Alex and I for our dinner reservations I just wanted to cancel everything because how could anything I planned go right?

Liz and Sophie left for the concert and I cried a bit longer while Alex listened to my worries and frustrations. It felt good to vent and to be heard. As the time got closer to our dinner reservation, I finally made the decision to say “Fuck it all!” and have that night out I’d been wanting for ages. Alex got in touch with Steven and we met up at the restaurant a few hours later.

We had dinner at Best Friend by Roy Choi, located in the Park MGM on the Vegas Strip. I had never had Korean food before, and since Alex and I are vegetarian I was a little nervous about whether or not there would be enough options for us. The front of the restaurant looks like a diner and a record store combined to make a cozy, hip cafe; it was very cute. The hostess greeted us and we were lead through red vinyl curtains into a spacious room draped with hanging plants, colourful wall murals, and chic black marble table tops. Compared to the front of the restaurant, the main dining area felt like it was on another planet. The vibe was super trendy and cool, but not in a try-hard way, if that makes sense? We were seated at our large table (because my original reservation was for six but we ended up only having three… Oops!) and soon we were greeted by our server.

Best Friend serves their dishes “family-style” which makes sharing super easy. We ordered the street corn, eggplant schnitzel, bbq veg, veg noodles, and broccoli banchan. The meal was really delicious and that’s not just because it was the first time I’d seen a vegetable since landing in Vegas. The street corn and the eggplant schnitzel were two of my faves and they were honestly tasty enough to consider going back to Vegas again. For dessert we shared the gochujang pot-de-crème which was a spicy chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream and deliciously spicy pecans!

During dessert we ordered another round of drinks and then eventually wandered out to the casino to do “a gamble” as I like to call it. Alex and I are not gamblers by any means. In fact, we had only budgeted $10 each for gambling because both of us know it’s a losing game. Still, we sat down at a $15 blackjack table with Steven and he kindly bought us in for a few extra rounds. We won the first hand immediately, and that’s when I knew we should have cashed out, but “when in Vegas…” etc. etc. We played a few more rounds of blackjack, none of us winning anything, and then we got up from the blackjack table and moved on.

After gambling we found our way outside and came upon a place called Beerhaus that had a bunch of outdoor picnic tables covered in giant jenga blocks. We found an unoccupied table and pushed all of the trash to one half so we could set up our giant jenga, just as a group of very drunk twenty-somethings stumbled over to ask if they could sit at the other half of our table. We said sure, because why not? They were a nice group of people and it turns out that they were local to Vegas. One of the girls was very intoxicated and insisted that we become friends on instagram, so I obliged. After a few rounds of jenga and two rounds of insanely overpriced drinks, we set off to try to find the monorail to head back to the hotel.

It was at this point, when we were all fairly saturated with liquor and beer, that I was aware my feet were hurting but also somehow convinced myself that I would be fine as long as I could perch somewhere every 2-5 minutes. Also, I’m usually the navigator, but when your feet are throbbing louder than your heart you tend to relinquish some responsibilities to others. Anyway, we trotted along for maybe an hour, although it could have been much less but it’s hard to tell when you’re having some premium chats and some really good laughs, and we ended up admitting defeat when we found ourselves below the monorail with no visible way up to the entrance. We caught a lyft back to the hotel and met up with everyone in the lobby just as they were coming back from the concert.

Even though the day started out really rocky and I was certain it would only end in ruin, I’m really glad that I didn’t talk myself out of going to dinner like we had planned. It can be really hard to see the forest for the trees and I can’t express how much I appreciated my friends’ patience and kindness when I was being a bit of an asshole. But we all have those moments, it’s what makes us human. I’m just lucky enough to have a bunch of really good people around me who help pick me up when I’m feeling down.