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With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90  days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.

09 December 2014

Holiday Strategies -- Stuffy Santa Claus Magic

(Second in a series of posts about holiday spirit and life itself. For all of us living with chronic pain, mental health issues, grief, less-than-functional families, and other unjoyous realities.)

My mother tells me I wouldn't say what I wanted for Christmas the year I was three. When I finally asked for a gift other than the "canny and ba'gums" that comprised my entire list, they tore through stores in a frantic search. It was late in December and what I wanted was inexplicably hard to find. They kept looking until Dad finally found it on Christmas Eve and brought it triumphantly home.

My"stuffy" Santa Claus.

He sat atop a cardboard chimney, in up to the waist with his fat red arms and black-mittened hands spread wide like he wanted a hug. He said "Ho ho ho," when I turned the handle on his back. I loved everything about him: the red felt suit, white fur lining, plastic black belt with its little gold buckle, hard-rubber head with its wavy white beard and open-mouthed smile. He was magic.



This must be the moment that came to define Christmas and holiday joy for me: a girl of three who really, really wants only one thing and ... there it is.



We go through life wanting to recreate the magic, don't we? Each with our own Stuffy Santa Claus moment. It happened once and will never, can never, happen again yet drives us into hopes and desires for years. That's poignant, isn't it? But it's a simple truth, and this blog is about life and pain and the reality that we must learn to deal with in order for our spirits to be free of our expectations and graspings.

If we don't recognize long-ago magic for what it is, we go into the holiday season looking for what will not be. And so we're vaguely frustrated, or we crash around trying to make things "perfect," or we try to get others to make the magic happen for us. We miss what's plain old good, the things that make for peace inside us.

What's your Stuffy Santa Claus moment?


Thank you for reading my blog. You can comment below or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.



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