This I Believe

Margaret - Wethersfield, Connecticut
Entered on May 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity, hope

I believe in Santa, so I believe in me. It’s not that I go to bed on December 24th with the idea that a rotund, rosy cheeked man will fly to my house with his reindeer, descend my chimney and stuff my stocking hanging over the fireplace, but I’m open to the possibility.

It’s my belief in the potential of that magic that I haven’t lost with age. What might be enchants me. In our world, reindeer can not fly. I don’t believe in flying reindeer in the real world, but I believe they can exist vividly in our mind, especially the minds of children. In kid’s imaginations their world can be anything, they can be anything—firemen, astronauts, mothers, even invisible superheroes. It is the day someone confirms that Santa doesn’t exist that we all start to lose that wonder, the innocence that allows us to believe whole-heartily in our creations.

Perhaps I’m naive. But it is that pure, childlike belief in Santa that enables me to believe in myself. It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But how else can I stand up to a world that daily screams in my face: “that’s impossible; you can’t be a writer we reject you; you can’t be an actor there is so much competition; you’ll never make money with a history degree; how will you accomplish all that in one life, you’ll never find the time?” When the world around me screams that it’s impossible, I shout back that it isn’t. If I work hard enough toward anything I want, I will succeed. I believe in myself. I’ve never believed anyone who said giving up on my dreams was part of growing up. I’m still inventing my future.

Naive, innocent, even gullible…no adult wants to be these terms, but when people look me in the eye, an intelligent twenty-five year old who still believes in the magic of St. Nick, it is what people like and admire most about me.

We all want to believe.

I believe in Santa.

My sister and boyfriend both agree that telling children about Santa Claus is a lie, a cruel way to start their lives believing in something that isn’t true. Maybe their opinion stems from losing their Santa virginity one day in school—the awful day when a classmate informed them that Santa is not real. I recall a number of students telling me that Santa didn’t exist. After years of failing to conform me, around 6th grade, they finally gave up trying. No one was going to dismantle my imagination.

We should tell all children about Santa right away, so they can start considering the possibility. Let us enable every human to imagine what can be achieved, if they put their minds to it. For me it’s Santa, but Santa is only a symbol. Everyone needs to find a piece of their childhood to hold on to, like when they refused to relinquish their favorite teddy bear. We need to hold on that tight. Those childhood dreams are the only thing that can keep us grounded enough not to give up. No matter what our background, we all need a little practice for the day we step out of the nest and face the world that insists, “You can’t.” Instead, go out believing, “I can.”