Thursday, December 25, 2014

may this dress help you to believe . . .

Believe in magic, wonder, song, Christmas, joy, love, PEACE.  
Believe in what your heart needs.

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! 
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. 
What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 
― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Below is the beloved editorial printed in 1897, 
addressed to an 8 year old girl named Virginia 
answering her question, "Is there a Santa Claus?" 
I have always felt an affinity to this story, 
not only because for as many years as I remember,
during this holiday season I was reminded by many who heard my name,
"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."
(When I was younger it made me feel extra special! 
and i believe in Santa, believed with all my heart!!)

This year this belief is just as strong but in a more non-obvious way.  

With the many transitions in my life in recent years this time of year can churn up a plethora of different emotions.  I am not the full out Christmas cheerleader that I was when my girls were younger.  Now the holidays are more about negotiating schedules and  financial uncertainty, which can make me appear a bit of a Grinch (the earlier Grinch before his epiphany). 
But I am not, I just am a bit wary of all the trappings of the season . . .

Even as the Christmas cheerleader I would steer the celebrations toward less material and commercial endeavors. This year I staged my own personal boycott of shopping, not stepping into the mall or most any stores (except the grocery stores) during the month of December.  And when I did need to enter a shop I suddenly had the overwhelming urge to buy all these things in the towering displays to show my loved ones how much a care?!?!?  

It is not that I don't love to give gifts and shower the ones I love with treasures and treats, but I feel as though the stress that accompanies the gift giving during this part of the year is unhealthy and truly warps the entire season.  

As I drove around this month I could literally feel the tension radiating from the many cars dashing here and there.

People looked drained and distant.  It reminded me of the time I was at a family reunion in late June at Disney World, that's in Florida!! It was HOT!! I had a baby and a toddler who didn't like loud noises or anythings larger than life, which is basically everything Disney.  

As I helped my girls navigate the bounding life sized cartoon characters and random explosion of noise or water, I was removed from the Disney experience myself, more of the observer.  
What I witnessed has stayed with me ever since and has informed my life and even my art.  

I watched hundreds of families wander the park in an almost zombie state, looking hot and miserable, with the expensive, battery operated spray bottle fans aimed at their faces. I observed children whining and crying from the heat and the parents snapping at them to be happy because they were at Disney World!!  I was standing in a sea of miserable people who were standing in long lines, eating questionable foods because that is what one does when one is in Disney and you enjoy it!!! G.D.I!!

It was one of those wake-up moments where I felt that people were just doing what they thought was what they are 'supposed to do' even though their bodies and psyche is telling them that they are HOT, tired and miserable!! 
But then again a trip to Disney is so expensive that maybe there is no place for one to listen to their inner voices?!?!?

This is a main message behind most of my art, especially my dress project.  I hope  to encourage the viewer to just stop and think about what they are doing, seeing, hearing feeling and/or saying. 

 Is it what they really feel??
 or is it what the media is telling them they need to feel, 
or what a partner or friend feels or 
what society expects one to act or feel.  

I really don't want to tell them what to think, though I do have my own opinions and such, but I really just want people to reconnect with what and how they feel and think and believe!! 
I wish to ignite curiosity, unearth doubts and generate a mass of new questions and opinions.  

I believe in the power and magic thinking for one's self, 
of constantly questioning, searching and learning!! 

I believe in always aiming beyond your comfort zone,
especially the comfort zone of what we feel we 'must do',  
the comfort zone of the mindlessness of just following the crowd . . . 

So back to Christmas and Santa Claus . . . 

My wish for all,
 is that we can release ourselves from
the 'must-do's' and panic riddled gift buying and focus on 
what each of us personally feel are 
the wonders of this magical season!!

For me it is the joys of 
family and friends, togetherness, real communication, 
peace, mother nature, music and MAGIC!!! 

I believe in Santa Claus because Santa is magic
with his flying reindeer and his ability to cover the world in one night!! 

So today I wish for you a day full of 
wonders, love, joy & peace, 
a very Magic Christmas!!! 

On Sept. 21, 1897, The New York Sun published what was to become the most widely read letter to a newspaper. It was sent by 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who lived with her parents in Manhattan. Below is the full text of that letter and the reply by Sun editorial writer Francis Pharcellus Church.

Dear Editor, 
I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.”
Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon
115 W. 95th St.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10 thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

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