I was ten years old when I found out there was no Santa Clause. I used to be terribly embarrassed by that fact because all of my wiser, more mature friends had known long before they hit double digits. But now I look back at that- that ten years of believing so fiercely that whatever doubt may have been introduced in my mind by my peers was almost instantly dismissed because I refused to let go of something so magical- and I am proud of who I was. I was a little girl who didn't just love fairy tales and magic creatures and science fiction and fantasy and all the other things of that nature. I was a little girl who believed.
I believed in magic. Maybe not with wizard hats and magic wands- but in the quiet, invisible kind. That electricity underneath the static of life that you could only hear humming if you stopped listening to all the people telling you to pay attention. That possibility of something extrodinary, something oustide the bounds of reality that only the true believers can see.
I believed in love. Maybe not TRUE LOVE like in The Princess Bride or love at first site. But in the humble, almost unnoticeable kind that exists between two people who choose to spend their lives together. Who grow and change together. Who become better people because of each other.
I believed in greatness. Maybe I wouldn't grow up to become the famous author I dreamed of being when I was really young. The one who would write a book so good that not only would it remain famous for centuries after its publishing, but it would even crack its way into High School lit class cause no one could argue that it didn't need to be taught. But I would do something. Something important. Something that would last in some way long beyond my years of life and have a bigger impact than I could foresee while living.
I believed in these things so wholeheartedly that I refused- vehemently, passionately, rebelliously refused- to give up on them. Even after my family started to unravel when I entered adolescence. Even after High School proved far more rejecting than any of my childhood imaginings could have possibly prepared me for. Even after my first relationships proved that all the ideals I held about being in love had nothing- NOTHING to do with reality. Even after life got hard.
I still believed, I still held out hope. Partially because I went to a college that encouraged its students to hold onto those beliefs. We were supposed to be great. We were supposed to be artistic. We were supposed to be revolutionarily creative. SO many that had come before us were, why couldn't we be?
I entered my adult life with some fear, but a lot of hope. Hope that my dreams could still come true. Not the way I imagined them. More real somehow. But that they could come true.
I'm losing that hope now. I'm losing those beliefs. Magic? Only in the movies, only in stories and books and graphic novels. That's why that fierce creativity is so damned important- because being able to live in that world long enough to write it takes a willful forgetting of everyday life. Love? Sure, it happens. But it happens with palimony agreements and mortgage payments and years without sex while you raise kids and lots and lots of therapy. And that's if you're lucky. Greatness? Read my past few blog posts and you'll see that that belief is firmly dead, replaced by a generalized moroseness that I can't seem to shake.
Sometimes when I'm walking out among the trees, listening to the wind, feeling the hairs on my arms pick up the temperature so I can feel it deeper than skin level I remember that little girl. So full of dreams, so firm in her beliefs, so full of potential. I remember her, but I don't feel her anymore. I can't lose myself in that childhood world view and allow myself to fantasize the way I used to. There's always something pulling me back to reality and a voice chastising me for being so silly and wasting time when there's work to be done.
I work with crazy people. Not neurotic "I have relationship issues" or "I drink too much" people but "I think you have a camera implanted in your forehead to record my thoughts" kind-of people. My boss talks about how scary it must be for them. To lose touch with reality, to be unable to distinguish what is real. Part of me- the logical part- agrees with her. I can't imagine how frightening it is. But another part of me can't help but wonder if maybe, in some ways, they're the lucky ones. Sure, they'll never have what we call a normal life- jobs and mortgages and marriages and teacher conferences. But they don't have that voice telling them that this can't be real, either. They can be lost in that other world. Scary at times, isolated, uncontrollable. But maybe, just maybe, magic.