Last night my roommates and I did a play on our rotational movie night called Goathouse Presents. Instead of just sharing a movie with the others, we decided to make a theme of all nostalgic kid's movies (We called it Kids Presents. Get it? Like kids as in children but also baby goats?...a baby goat is called a kid... like a human- Nevermind, it was funny). I brought to the table my favorite childhood movie (A movie my mom called "my babysitter" because she could just rewind it all day and know that I'd be glued to the TV, entranced.), the classic 1971 film, Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
If you haven't seen the movie, it takes place during 1940's England during the bombings of London. A trio of children are moved away from the city into the country home of Miss Price (played by Angela Lansbury) who just happens to be an apprentice witch. They use a travelling bed, powered by a magical bedknob, to carry them all over the world. Miss Price hopes to use her powers to aid in the war effort and, inadvertently, teaches the children the importance of imagination and trusting the power inside themselves.
Now, one of the songs in this movie (Yes, there are songs. It's a Disney movie. They are very good, often overlooked songs. You should look them up. Go ahead. Get on Youtube. RIght? Portobello Road is so freakin' good!) is called The Age of Not Believing. Miss Price sings it about the oldest child, Charlie, as he scoffs about the possibility of a magically teleporting bed. What a little douche, right? Angela sings:
When you rush around in hopeless circles,
searching everywhere for something true,
you're at the Age of Not Believing
when all the make believe is through.
Although I loved this song growing up, it basically bitch slapped me last night. My inner-monologue was, "Holy fuckballs, this is me literally right now. This is what I do. I'm freakin' Charlie! I hated that snot-nosed punk growing up and I turned into him! Angela would be so disappointed in me..." and then that trailed into a whole thing about how Angela and I would be best friends if we hung out. Which isn't important to this particular blog post.
When did this happen? When did I stop believing in everything?
As I child, I had a Harry Potter music box that I would never open when anyone was in my room. When I wanted to get it out, I'd barricade my door (there was no lock, much to my later-teenage chagrin), and pull the music box down from the lopsided shelf next to my closet. I'd open it up and, as Hedwig's Theme would play, I'd pull my magical artifacts out of the box. This included a burnt out light bulb from a broken lava lamp, the rusted key to my garage sale wardrobe, some polished stones from a roadside stand, and, most importantly, a brass bell with a unicorn-shaped handle. I'd lay all the items out around me as I sat on my bed and, as soon as the music box stopped playing, I'd ring the bell. This formed the barrier between me and the rest of the world. This is where I could use my magic powers without anyone catching me. In that circle of relics, I became a witch, a spellcaster, or at least, I became safe.
Now, I know that this all sounds like just a bunch of hocus pocus (bonus points for anyone that gets that reference). But, after my run-in with a singing Lansbury last night, I couldn't think of the moment that I stopped believing in those relics. When did I give up on the bulb, the bell?
Many people give up all their childhood quirks like believing they had magical powers. But, upon thinking about it, I realized that I still practice many of the "spells" I used to perform to keep my world intact. I get incredibly uncomfortable touching the paint lines of a parking lot. I lift my foot if I'm in the passenger seat of a car and I notice we're passing a telephone pole. And, if someone marks my skin with a pen (or, heaven forbid, a marker) I'll instantly go into a panic. Why did these tics get ingrained into my mind when the belief of my own power disappeared?
So, as I woke up this morning I made a promise to myself to find the magic again. I don't know where I'll find it, whether in a twig, in a line of a book, or in my own thumbnail. But, I don't want to live like a Charlie. Instead, I want to feel as he did as he rushed across the room and leapt onto the bed at the last second as the technicolor lights flashed around him. I don't want to miss out on the plot of the movie.
I also want you to do the same. Yeah, you didn't expect homework did ya, Punk? If you think that you've become a Charlie too, go out this week and find something with magic surging through it. Maybe it's that pen at your work desk that seems to write differently then all the others. Maybe it's that quarter in your car cup-holder that seems to return no matter how many times you put it in your pocket. Maybe it's the front door of your apartment that creates a barrier between you and the rest of the world.
There is magic ingrained in the world around us. In the bells, in the bulbs, in the bedknobs. You just need to believe in something, even if that something is just yourself, to find it.