This I Believe

Mur - Durham, North Carolina
Entered on April 13, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe in magic. Not the magic of illusionists, but real, honest to goodness, magic.

I do not in my right mind think unicorns and magical swords exist. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to believe in them. I’ve always looked for magic in every aspect of my life.

When I was a kid, I was entranced by the thought of planes pulling banners behind them. They didn’t have them in the mountains where I grew up, and only heard about them. I had a vision that they carried mystical messages behind them, something like a giant fortune cookie. When I found out they just pulled ads, I was very sad. Even now when I hear a plane I look up, hoping to see some sort of wisdom.

I always wear comfortable shoes. 85% of the reasoning behind this is I like my feet to be comfortable. 14% is that I like shoes like Doc Martens and Chuck Taylors. But 1% is what comes from reading too much fantasy: if a portal opens and I am pulled through to another world, I’m not going to want to have high heels on. I’m going to want to be prepared for anything, and that includes being able to run.

I tend to look at the world as a wrapped birthday present. When it’s beautiful and wrapped, there could be anything inside. Magic swords. Cursed rings. A lost book of answers. When I take the wrapping off, I’m almost always just a little bit disappointed. Do I believe the person getting out of the mysterious tinted-window car is Keanu Reeves who has come to my town to hang out with me? Not really. But when just some guy gets out of the car, I’m a tiny bit saddened.

As an unabashed fan of science fiction and fantasy literature, I’ve realized the reason why sci-fi/fantasy geeks are often social outcasts. When life is terrible, you want to see a different world, one where your ambitions can make you queen, a traveling adventurer, a starship captain, or a fireball-throwing mage. Anything would be better than this world where you’re bullied, ignored, mocked by the opposite sex, and frowned at by your family. The beautiful people – the popular people – have no need of this magic. They don’t see anything wrong with the world they live in. Why would they need to leave it?

Even if we don’t ever expect it to really happen, many of us nurse a hope that if we open the right underused door or get lost down the right road, we’ll find that portal to the future, the past, or another world entirely.

I am an adult now. I have the confidence at 32 that I never thought I would have at 16. I am quite happy. And yet, I still find myself looking for the magical messages behind the planes. Some habits are hard to break.