February 13, 2013

This I Believe

I Believe in Fairies

“Do you believe? Oh please, please believe! If you believe, wherever you are, clap your hands and she’ll hear you!”

For those of you who don’t know, that’s a line from the musical Peter Pan. Perhaps you’re more familiar with the original text as quoted in “Finding Neverland”: “Do you believe in fairies? Say quick that you believe! If you believe, clap your hands!”

No matter how you word it, I clap because I believe in fairies. Why? Because I believe that good yields good, which is how fairies came to be, according to the book: “When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy.”

That’s another reason why I believe in fairies: I believe in the power of laughter. I’ve lost track of the number of times our editor-in-chief has made a snarky comment that left me laughing hysterically, unable to conduct whatever meeting I happen to be leading. Or, in the middle of writing an essay, I’ll remember something funny that happened in class and start laughing like crazy. Normally I don’t like being distracted from things like that, but I don’t mind distracting myself with laughter because it always makes me feel better. Even if I’m not particularly sad to begin with, even a few seconds of laughter will brighten my outlook.

“Now wait a minute!” I hear you cry. “This is supposed to be about believing in fairies, not laughter! Everyone cheers up when they laugh! Are you saying that you believe in fairies just because a movie told you they came from laughter?”

No, I’m not! Contrary to what some of my friends think, I don’t believe everything I see in the movies. Don’t get me started on the historical inaccuracies in either “Pocahontas” movie. (Yes, Disney made two. No, you should NOT see the second one.) It’s more than Mary Martin and Johnny Depp that makes me believe in fairies. I believe that all people enter the world with the potential to make it better. We simply need to work at it quite a bit. It’s sort of like one of the teachings of kabbalah (Jewish mysticism)—a certain spirit was shattered when the world was created, and it’s humankind’s job to put it back together. To me, fairies represent the sense we have as children that anything’s possible. When we stop believing in fairies, that part of us dies. Just as Tinkerbell recuperates when believed in, so does our potential growth when we believe in ourselves.

So, to put it simply, I believe in fairies because I believe that something comes from us that, if nurtured and given faith, will make things better in the world. Unfortunately, too many fairies have died because faith in one’s potential is very easy to give up. I ask you to not let your fairy die. The world needs it now, and so do you.