He had dropped out of Zen priest school, or maybe got kicked out, I can’t remember, and a few weeks later he broke up with me because I believe in magic. He told me I couldn’t make it in San Francisco because he couldn’t, and I used magic to prove him wrong.
This story may or may not be about Santa later.
I also broke up with a guy once because he believed in ghosts. This was a very real fight we had, him and I. It wasn’t one of those instantaneous, car screeching to a stop, ‘get the fuck out!’ kinda things---but once he told me he had seen a ghost, I knew he believed in a type of magic I couldn’t. And I want to make myself, but I can’t.
For someone who performs in improv troupes, I am not very good at make believe. I am a good actor, and I am quick witted, and good at making things up quickly, but I am not good at pretending things are any way than exactly how they are.
I hope this makes sense this time
I asked him, The Ghost Believer, who is a hardcore atheist, what a ghost actually is. He didn’t know. I don’t know either and don’t really wanna Google the actual definition of ghost, but he truly believed it was the spirit of a dead person. Ok, but if there is a spirit, that’s not atheist. That’s maybe Agnostic or Apatheist. He, like went to Atheist groups, and had Atheist tattoos, so, I was seeking clarification. We come to find out, he basically saw something, hoped it was a ghost, and decided it was, even though he didn’t really know how he defines “Ghost” and was totally OK with that.
How can people be so OK with not understanding something? How can you say you believe something you admit you don’t understand?
Look, I know it’s possible, more people do this than don’t. It’s not a bad thing. I’m jealous really, I absolutely can’t do it.
I broke up with him because I couldn’t prove him wrong.
A wonderful friend of mine proposed, on their Facebook page that we write a letter to Santa that we would write today if you still believed in him.
My brain goes:
Ok, it says today, so that is like, with all the current knowledge and thoughts that I have now. Like, everything is the same except I believe in Santa. So does that mean I believe in the North Pole? A sleigh? Coming down the chimney, doing everything overnight, and all that other bullshit? I mean, I guess that IS in the category of believing in Santa. You can’t really separate the Santa from the Santa bullshit….
You are overthinking, Chelsea! Just think what would you want? So like, how powerful is Santa? Like, if all this is really true, I wouldn’t want to waste my letter to him on something as mundane as an object. Like, can I ask Santa for…
Wait a minute, what even would I ask him for? World Peace? Radical Love? Universal Radical Enlightenment? ….Wait, that already exists. All the imperfectness of the world is necessary for the world to actually exist, therefore, if you removed the imperfect things, the imbalance would create chaos. Therefore the world would be not perfect.
Wait…(This is kinda when I realized my brain is having a lot of trouble with this task)
I go back in to my daydream, this time focusing on the note itself.
I try to imagine what I would write.
Does the letter to Santa, like, guarantee the wish will come true anyway? Like, why am I writing him anyway?
I gave up.
O ye, of little faith
It’s true. Whatever faith is, I don’t have a lot of it.
This process is also basically what happens in my head every time I try to entertain the idea of Christianity.
I don’t know, man, I think Santa is a lot like Jesus. And I can’t blindly believe things, even when I try. It just doesn’t work. I have tried. A lot, actually.
My father is a compulsive liar, I don’t trust anyone.
I have had my worldview shattered more times than I ever care to write about.
The first book that ever saved my recommended that I question everything and I have been.
It’s lonely and exhausting in my head sometimes.
I know I am not alone.
That’s why I write this shit.
I know there are other people who sometimes wish their brain worked, more...simply.
Ok, back to magic:
The Zen drop-out, didn’t understand my magic as well as Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Alan Watts, Jason Silva, BigThink or some similar pseudo-philosopher or scientist does on social media when they try to explain that music can change the cells in your body, or looking at the stars in the sky is really kinda time traveling, plants grow better when you talk nicely to them, and placebo’s work. Why isn’t anyone asking more questions about why placebos work? You know, no one really knows what love is, but everyone knows what love is, and from the view of an atom the human body is a universe.
That’s the kind of magic I believe in.
I just outright refuse to believe this kind of magic---the mysterious science, imagination, creativity, aliveness---isn’t enough.
That we need fake stories.
The RingPop and the 5 dollar bill was under her bed. Right next to the soft core porn magazine from 1989 in 1993 that had been there my entire life. I wasn’t surprised, but I was still devastated. My poor mom never stood a chance of being the Tooth Fairy. I did an experiment where I pretended to lose a tooth so I could check if the tooth fairy was real, or, as I had hypothesized, my mom was lying to me. And there was the same red RingPop I had received with the last tooth. Evidence. Naturally I reduced that this also means Santa isn’t real. I never really believed anyway.
I remember singing the songs, and going along with the stories, but by the time I was 4 or 5 and could start to understand what my mom was telling me about this man that comes once a year to bring gifts, I was skeptical. I kinda forced myself to believe. It felt like I was supposed to, like the rest of the world and my mom wanted me to. Like I would be disappointing them if I didn’t. I wanted to believe in Santa, I just never could.
Finding the RingPop, It didn’t feel victorious. It felt lonely. I felt conspired against. I wondered what else the world was lying to me about, and I wondered why they lied to me in the first place.
To me, Santa is a cute story, but kids would be totally fine to know it is a fairy tale and pretend. Kids are really good at that. Comic book characters, Princesses, costumes, and dress up parties have always been good enough.
I was walking down the street and a little boy was wearing a cape. He started running really fast and screamed “I’m flying”
And he could really care less if he is actually flying or not. He never stopped to wonder or care about truth.
Every year for the last 5 years or so I have spoke on Facebook about how I think it’s wrong for people to tell their kids there is a Santa and insist on believing in him or you will be punished with no presents. I also think this is a bad way to force adults into a certain religious faith.
I didn’t do that this year. I guess I am starting to see that magic is...
for those of you who ask endless beautiful questions and need to understand everything, and
for those of you who have a perfect acceptance into your faith
And for everyone in between...
Magic is something we all create differently.