Has anyone else out there ever felt mad at Santa for not existing? Sometimes I do. I remember feeling hopeful, as a child, that if I were good I would be rewarded by Santa. That he was paying attention to me, even if nobody else was. That all my effort at trying to behave wouldn’t be for nothing. Somehow, at least once a year, I would be remembered and celebrated as special, and I would get a present that would be THE VERY THING that would bring joy to my heart and laughter to my days, and I would be happy.
When I found out Santa didn’t exist, at first I just shrugged. I’d known, somehow, that he probably didn’t exist all along. The story was too good to be true. The promises were too perfect. My reality was so very sad compared to that. Nothing in my life was happy. Nobody noticed anything good I did. I got punished very severely for being “bad”, even though in my case bad really meant just doing things that are extremely normal for children to do, like forgetting to do a chore because I was playing, or getting into a fight with my brother because we were bored, or making noise.
So I hoped that somehow, someone knew I was really TRYING as hard as I could to be good. I hoped I would get credit for the times I didn’t fight, or make noise, or forget a chore. I hoped somehow life would balance out and eventually be fair.
As an adult I came to accept the unfairness of life. Letting go of the need for things to balance out, recognizing that sometimes shit just happens, good stuff to bad people and bad stuff to good people and random stuff to random people all willy-nilly. There is no ultimate arbiter of justice. Life just goes along, and we all try to make it as fair as we can, but in the end sometimes life just ISN’T fair. There’s nothing to do but acknowledge that it is so, and get along with whatever you DO have power to affect.
But sometimes, I will admit, I do still feel cheated. I was promised justice. All the movies, books, my friends and family said that if I believed long enough, wished hard enough, and kept on being super-good that sooner or later I’d see that things DO balance out. I wish they hadn’t promised me that. I wouldn’t feel so resentful now if they hadn’t lied to me like that. I wish I had been taught from my earliest time that although we do our best to be fair, fairness is a human construct and only humans can affect it. We can’t control the weather, or random circumstances, or even other people. We have the power and responsibility to work on what WE have within our reach, but the rest we need to just hope for the best, let go the expectation that it WILL be good, and accept and deal with whatever comes.
I felt similar disillusionment when I learned the truth about the tooth fairy, vampires, witches, genies, all sorts of magic and fairy stories, and fantasy lands and creatures of all kinds. I wanted so badly for them all to be true! I wanted so badly one day to escape my life and find myself in a fantasy novel, maybe find a magic tollbooth mysteriously delivered to my bedroom, and portal myself to a world where magic really worked and not have to face a world where every one of those fantasy stories that emphatically assured me that it was the REAL TRUTH—REALLY! was nothing but a big, fat lie.
Liar, liar, pants on fire. The whole world’s bottoms are ablaze with all the lies we tell to children. I suppose most kids don’t take it as seriously or as hard as me. But sometimes I still resent that you honestly can’t believe anything anyone tells you. People lie. And that’s the truth. 4 months ago