- Mental Health»
- Mental Health Self-Help
My Santa Never Showed Up
The History of My Invisible Red Coat
Please, don't let the title misguide you into some wrong expectations about this article. You are not about to read anything like some poignant story about a lonely boy's life in a broken family, twice seriously sick on lungs from malnutrition - so unimportant that even Santa wouldn't bother as much as disturbing the dust in his chimney.
No, that would be too sad, and I was quite resolute to write something cheerful even before I started the laptop this morning. So, let's see how my jolly spirit can make the story veer away from sadness not intended by the title, and catch that boy in his early teens when he happily and wisely decided to stop looking up that chimney in vain. With a divine and unshakable resolve to be his own Santa from that day on, he reached the age of 71 never taking the "red coat" off.
No Self-Pity in a Happy Heart
While everyone else, from those young to those young at heart had to wait for that one season of the year to enjoy the gifts of love, attention, and all that the fat dude in red coat symbolized, the young man of our story - well, disguise is obviously not working - I celebrated life every single day.
With no wild parties, just with my romantic heart turning everything with everyone in it into an intimate Shangri-La, as if with a Midas touch of something in my soul that I must have been born with. That "something", the mystery of which I am still trying to decode was intuitively rejecting self-pity.
As I was seeing people everywhere so wrapped up in their problems - some big, but most of them petty - how could I have a heart to expect them to yank themselves out of their soap operas to play something like Santa for me.
A Bohemian in a Red Coat
Yeah, my heart was too busy romanticizing my life as to be bothered by grudges and feeling victimized; but no matter how much I loved them, that love could not erase the impressions of all that silliness in their self-inflicted emotional tormenting.
Talking about silly, I was not an exempt from having my own share, even though. like Frank Sinatra would sing it - "I did it my way". Boy, did I ever do my share while living a life of a young bohemian, amateur philosopher, adventurer, drifter, thief of a farmer's chicken, nightly climber on that one kilometre high mountain at the edge of my city, and midnight visitor to the city cemetery - sitting on a bench and contemplating about life.
Sometimes on a cold winter day I would skip school, and with a good book I would end up in an old inn of the historical part of the town. It felt so cozy sitting in a corner, sipping on hot cooked wine with a cinnamon stick dipped in and reading.
Well, if I left anything out, trust me, that was for my eyes only. But, what can I say - silly or not, it somehow blended just fine into the joy of a carefree unfolding into my own Santa.
No Clear Line between Crazy and Divine
The smell of old books was like an opiate to me - and still is. It was so good to be young - and still is.
In those years nothing seemed impossible. I bought a tiny illustrated book on yoga, and not long after I could bend backwards and touch my heels with the back of my head. Out of a crazy challenge, I would bite into the top board of the kitchen table, and supporting its legs only with my finger tips lift the table by my teeth.
I would eat a whole lemon like an apple, and after taking a hot shower pick up handfuls of snow from the outside ledge of the bathroom window and rub my whole body. It was a feeling like I could walk through the walls those days. Well, it's not yoga these days anymore, but qigong and Small Universe meditation, along with so many other things that I picked up over the decades.
Time could not erase from my nostrils that aroma of the old books and their treasures impregnating my forever young and forever learning mind.
With a Small but Chosen Audience Around
If you would ask about that, now already ancient Soap Opera theatre, it's still around, busy as ever, with more or less the same human repertoire. In this meantime of half a century having past, I moved some 7,000 kilometres west, only to find the replica of the same theatre - only western style.
Just like I have insisted through all these decades on wearing my invisible red coat of Santa's attire, the actors on that stage have kept their colorful costumes of jesters and alike fools, sad clowns, soldiers, and mothers-in-law (for those more dramatic scenes) - no red coats though.
When I am not busy sprinkling my intimate world with daisies and stars, I may be caught as sitting in the back row of that theatre - not with a bag of popcorns, but a box of Kleenexes. Around me in the dark are sitting some personages of culture that I admire, some alive, some ghosts.
In a unison of empathizing sentiment we shake our heads, we may laugh, sob for a moment, or even quietly swear in those scenes of the leaders of the nations giving their inauguration oaths. Then we all leave, knowing that the show will never be over.
Monologs, Not Dialogs
As I am leaving that theatre to devote my mind to some more pleasant thoughts that my red coat inspires, it's hard to shake off all that noise of the monologs of that stage. For, they certainly are only monologs, not dialogs, even though the participants are facing each other.
Yup, they are just talking to themselves, self-absorbed in their drama, while the other person is patiently waiting for their turn to do the same - talk to themselves, because no one is really listening to anybody. If they were, they might start understanding each other. They don't.
The one pretending to listen is only aware of their own reactions to those words - interesting, boring, funny, disturbing, stupid, whatever. They are not thinking what those words mean to the person saying them.
I've Got No Time to Wait for a Mercy
Oh, this red coat is so comfortable. Others seem to like it too, some say it suits my "warm eyes and smile". The basket with goodies is always full, actually so full that they are overflowing onto the others that I touch in my life.
Now, not that I like playing anybody's Santa, they have their own that they pretend to believe in, and most of them are anyway busy praying and hoping for their goodies to come to them.
Praying and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. All until waiting has become a sort of an addiction and a purpose to itself, and it simply feels good enough to wait, especially by being wrapped in some rituals.
Now, just like my Santa never showed up, neither does their Dude. The only difference being that I am not waiting, I took it upon myself to be my Santa, my Dude, and my Chief of Elders - all in one behind this red coat pulsating with my huge and happy heart.
That Incessant Inner Yapping
In my personal space presenting my own celestial branch-off there are no subordinate entities, only chiefs. Who cares what in me executes my intentions, I only know that I don't have to beg, or persuade, or bribe with chemicals, or coerce anything or anybody in me to do it.
Basically I don't talk much to myself. Hey, did you ever think why people can't find some peace? They keep that damn chat with themselves, so who could have any peace for all that mental noise.
Most of it stems from inner conflicts. Fragmented by opposite tendencies, they don't even know what they want out of life. Once it's material goodies, another time they say "Money can't buy happiness", so they ask a guru what to think and feel, only to replace guru with a dozen of vitamins and other supplements. Their list of wishes is a long list of impossibles, because for each one they would have to do something - for which they just "don't have energy".
Yet Loving Them All
Indeed, in that ancient Soap Opera theatre all participants' life inventory is a sum total of various "lacks", not possessions. They seem to be so fixated on what's wrong, what's missing, what-if, with all negative assortment of emotions imaginable, and they seem to be inventing some new ones all the time, according to the growing volume of psychotherapy textbooks.
And yet, do I love them just the same? One big YES, they are a part of the rosy panorama of my Shangri-La, which wouldn't be complete without them. From time to time, you may even catch me jump on that stage and join them clowning around like a court jester, pretending to give the play some brighter tone.
Well, all until I start feeling silly enough to put back on my red coat and without saying a dramatic "good-bye" sneak out through the back door. Having seen enough of that human farce since my young age, I understand, and maybe some of you will as well - why I realized long time ago that there is not another red coat on that stage.
Just like I thought, and sure enough - my Santa never showed up.