How I Learned The Truth About Santa Claus.

When I was younger, my main ambition in life was to own a dog.

Unfortunately, my parents were reluctant to buy one because they both worked long hours and thought that looking after a dog would be impractical.

When I was seven, I decided to take matters into my own hands and actively wrote to Santa asking for a dog.

At the time, I thought that I was being really crafty .

I thought that I had devised a cunning plan to outwit my parents by going behind their backs in order to obtain what they had previously denied me.6 As a child, I had a very intense and vivid imagination and invested heavily in fantasies and delusions.

As a result, I had complete faith in Santa’s ability to provide, not only free 24-hour delivery of a live animal, but also a complimentary kennel construction and installation service.

I was therefore slightly disappointed when all that I received on Christmas Day was a DVD of Disney’s ‘101 Dalmatians’.

At this point, any sensible child would have learned to monitor their expectations and set their sights a bit lower.

Not me.

In fact, the following year, I decided to up the ante.1The prospect of having a magical flying unicorn excited me – not only would it be an efficient mode of transport but it could also act as a symbol of my inherent coolness which I could use to improve my social status on the playground.

Christmas day arrived and I rushed downstairs, only to find a distinctly non-unicorn sized package waiting for me under the tree.

Attached to the package was the following note:2Inside the package was a ‘My Little Pony’.

I’m not going to lie – the ‘My Little Pony’ was a MASSIVE downgrade from a magical flying unicorn.

I told my Dad that I ‘ho-ho-hoped Santa was very disappointed with himself’ but apparently this was ‘slightly out of tune with the spirit of Christmas’ so I brushed the hair of my ‘My Little Pony’ and tried very hard to look as if look like the process of doing so filled me with festive merriment.

Over the course of the following year, I discovered the Harry Potter books.

My favourite Harry Potter book was ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban’, mostly because I was borderline obsessed with Buckbeak the Hippogriff.

As a far as I was concerned, a hippogriff was a cooler, edgier version of a magical flying unicorn.

I decided that I wanted to go to Hogwarts and buy Buckbeak off Hagrid.

My dad once told me that if you want to get anywhere in life you have to learn to work your contacts so, that year, I wrote a letter to Santa asking him for a letter to Hogwarts.3At the time, I thought that relying on a fictional character to help me escape into a fictional world was a completely legitimate, logistically-sound plan.

However, on Christmas day, I was once again disappointed when I received a copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ along with a note that explained that all I needed to go to Hogwarts was my ‘imagination’.

By this point, I was getting quite frustrated with Santa.

However, despite repeated disappointments over the course of several years, I still fervently believed that he was real.

In fact, my brother, who was two years younger than me, discovered the truth about Santa before I did.
4Evidently, I thought that Santa was having some sort of confidence crisis and that my pep talk would provide him with the self-esteem boost to cement his place in concrete reality.

I was quite upset when I didn’t receive a reply.

I saw it as a personal rejection.

After all, I had made the effort to write a letter to Santa and, even if  he wasn’t real, the least he could do was write back to me to confirm his lack of existence.

I obviously couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that this lack of existence may have somewhat impaired his ability to reply to me – in fact, in order for him to reply to me he would have had to sent me a message from an alternate fictional dimension, something that would have essentially involved defying the laws of existence.

Nowadays, I have a better understanding of the boundaries between fiction and reality.

That being said, a small part of me still kind of believes Santa Claus is real.

However, I know that if he does exist, he is probably struggling to update his business model in order to remain competitive in an overly saturated, technologically-advanced modern market.

christmas-delivery.pngIf you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I’m Trying to Get My Life in Gear But I Keep Releasing the Clutch Too Quickly and Stalling.

I turn 23 in a couple of weeks and, although I physically resemble an adult, I often feel much younger on the inside.

As a result, I am always looking around for things to confirm my status as an official grown-up in the hope that I will eventually be able to convince my inner self that I actually I am one.

In his iconic song ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, Bob Dylan asks the question ‘How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?’

Whilst I do not know the exact answer to Bob’s question and have no ambitions of becoming a man, I imagine that the whole process of becoming an adult would be a lot quicker if you just drove there instead.

So, last year, I decided to learn how to drive.

Driving lessons are quite expensive so I decided to try and accelerate the learning process by asking my mum to help me practice in between them.

I thought that my mum would be a good candidate for the job because she had previously taught me to ride a bike as a child.

However, for some reason, she seemed reluctant to resume her role as instructor.

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(N.B. – My mum did make me wear a helmet, I just forgot to draw it. I thought I’d mention that just in case any of you were concerned for my safety – although I think my decision to ride down a steep hill with complete faith in my legs’ ability to act as an effective breaking system proves that no amount of protective gear would have prevented me from being a danger to myself…)

My mum is a very cautious driver with a high regard for motoring safety.

14 (3)_LI141As a result, the prospect of giving me complete control of a moving vehicle made her incredibly anxious.

In an attempt to ease her nerves, I decided to demonstrate my ability to control the car by driving at 10 mph around a suburban cul-de-sac.

However, by the way my mum was reacting, I may as well have been trying to set a world speed record on the salt flats of Utah.

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When I first started driving with my mum, I was initially quite calm.

I had taken nine driving lessons with a qualified instructor and was confident in my ability to control the car.

I didn’t think there was anything to worry about.

However, my mum’s anxiety was so high in relation to mine that it began to diffuse along a concentration gradient until the panic was evenly spread between us and we were both infused with the same sense of impending doom.

11_LI12_LI13910In order to diffuse some of the tension, I decided to put some calming music on but its effect was limited by the sounds of my mum having a panic attack over the soundtrack at regular intervals.

In the end, it was a bit like an episode James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke except, instead of a celebrity singing their iconic hits, there was just my mum periodically shouting ‘easy on the clutch’ and ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ over the Relax and Unwind playlist on Spotify.

Driving can be a stressful experience all round.

In everyday life, the majority of people tend to be quite considerate and respectful towards other people.

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However, when driving, our tolerance for others drastically decreases.

Any sense of social convention rapidly disintegrates, something which is magnified by the fact that the car itself provides a physical barrier behind which the driver is able to conceal their identity.

This allows drivers to feel comfortable expressing what would otherwise be a socially inappropriate level of rage with the same sense of anonymity as an internet troll.

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Many people try to make the experience of driving less stressful by investing in a Sat Nav to help them navigate.

Like most technology, a Sat Nav is the best thing ever until it stops working properly, at which point it immediately becomes the worst thing in existence.

Normally, a Sat Nav will give you precise directions to help you get to your destination in the fastest time possible.

However, occasionally the GPS system will malfunction and it will start instructing you to complete manoeuvres that the physical set up of the road renders impossible.

When this happens, it is easy to become frustrated.

In contrast, the Sat Nav’s voice remains completely calm and serene, blissfully ignorant of your own increasing levels of irritation.

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If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. I often have profound thoughts on important, life-affirming subjects such as dogs, social awkwardness and scary animals that freak me out.

For more drawings, you can also follow me on Instagram.

The Main Thing I Learned From My Time As A Teenager Is That It Is Quite Hard Being A Teenager.

Writing was very important to me when I was a teenager.

During this period, my main creative niche was moody, self-obsessed fiction.

However, I would occasionally stray into other formats.

At one point, for example, I wrote a letter to JK Rowling explaining why I possessed the perfect personal attributes to be her assistant but I think it must have gotten lost in the post because I never received a reply.

I also wrote in a diary on a regular basis.

I was reading through one of my diaries the other day when I came across a series of entries which I feel prove that, even at the tender age of 14, I was in possession of the emotional maturity and sensitivity that all good writers need to create complex and compelling characters.

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A mere day after meeting Luke, it became obvious I was contemplating taking the relationship to the next level:

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However, five days later, I discovered something that would change my perception of Luke forever:

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It was a devastating blow that altered my world view on a fundamental level:

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I think that I was experiencing emotional anguish because I felt very anguished and emotional.

I listened to Britney Spears’ ‘Everytime’ quite a lot – and by ‘quite a lot’ I mean at a rate of around 30 times per day.

Thankfully, it wasn’t long before I learned to channel my angst into healthy outlets, such as physical activity:

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My teenage years were quite a disorientating time for me.

I was very confused and unsure of myself.

Every little thing that happened to me seemed incredibly dramatic and the world frequently felt like it was on the verge of ending.

Before I was a teenager, life was very simple.

My mind operated in a very logical and consistent manner.

If I had a problem, for instance, I would go to my parents for advice.

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Once I progressed into the teenage phase, I found that I was worrying about things great deal more than I had done as a child.

However, I also suddenly experienced an intense desire to keep my issues to myself.

As a result, I existed in a near-constant state of contradiction.

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I no longer actively sought out my parents’ advice.

In fact, more often than not, I found myself vehemently disagreeing with them.

This was completely irrational.

I was fully aware of the fact that my parents possessed over 30 years more life experience than me but this failed to prevent me from operating under the assumption that everything they suggested was automatically and intrinsically wrong and not applicable to me in any aspect.

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(N.B. – I am a little bit unsure as to what my dad is doing in this picture. I initially intended to draw him sitting there, looking a little bit concerned about my understanding of the calorific content of chicken in relation to that of dessert but then I drew his eyes wrong and, instead of looking at me, he appears to be staring dubiously at the unappetising piece of broccoli on the end of his fork. I also experienced a few issues whilst drawing his fork hand. I originally wanted to provide him with the nice sturdy grip that most people use when handling items of cutlery but, due to my lack of artistic talent, this was not possible. Unfortunately, his hand is instead slightly mangled and strongly resembles the fork itself… sorry Dad.)

When I was a teenager, I felt like I was the only person who had ever experienced what it was like to be a teenager.

I suspect that this was one of the reasons why I had difficulty apprehending my parents’ advice.

I was unable visualise them as teenagers and therefore found it hard to believe that they could understand what I was going through.

I think I just presumed that they had skipped puberty altogether – as if, by some weird flux in in the space time continuum, they had spontaneously progressed directly from childhood to adulthood.

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‘But I Was A Sheep Last Year…’ – The Plight of Every Curly-Haired Child During Nativity Season

When I was in Year 1, I wanted to play the baby Jesus in the school nativity.

However, there were several fundamental problems that impeded this desire.

There was, for example, the slight issue that I looked nothing like a newborn baby boy.

This was due to the fact that I was a five year old girl.

Nevertheless, when the cast list was put up in the assembly hall, I crowded around it along with my fellow classmates, wholeheartedly expecting to see the following words imprinted before me:

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As a result, I was somewhat taken aback when I was greeted with:

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It was hard not to feel dejected, especially when it was consequentially revealed that a plastic doll from Toys R Us had been cast in the role of Jesus instead.

Nevertheless, I knew that the majority of successful actresses had to play some undesirable parts before they hit the big time and so accepted the decision with reasonable levels of grace and dignity.

However, I was a curly-haired and somewhat introverted child and, over the course of several years, a trend started to emerge with regards to the roles I was given in the nativity each year:

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After my fourth consecutive outing as a sheep, my mum tried to console me in an attempt to reinstate my damaged sense of self-worth.

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Despite her efforts, I became increasingly bitter and began making subtle attempts to sabotage the play.

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My subversive actions evidently had an impact.

In 2003, I was finally cast in a different role:

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At the time, the opportunity to play the backside of a donkey seemed momentous.

The fact that I had been upgraded to a slightly larger barnyard animal seemed like a significant step in my acting career.

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However, like most humans under the age of ten, I was not particularly patient as a child.

This lack of patience was particularly evident during the Christmas period.

When my mum first decided to have children, I imagine that some deluded part of her envisioned the family Christmas as a refined and civilised affair, like it was in Downton Abbey times.

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However, the building excitement of the festive season severely compromised my ability to do things at the appropriate time.

This tendency began to manifest itself right at the beginning of December when my mum would hand me an advent calender.

The proper use of an advent calendar relies heavily upon the idea of self-control, a notion which my 8-year-old mind struggled to apprehend at most times of the year.

During the Christmas period, it was a concept that no longer existed on my personal cognitive spectrum.

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Halfway through December, my mum would buy a Christmas tree and me and my brother were allowed to decorate it.

The process would start off relatively placidly with each of us placing decorations carefully on the branches.

However, it was not long before it became apparent that there was a significant discrepancy in each of our individual creative visions.

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The situation rapidly began to deteriorate.

What had started off as a nice sibling bonding session soon became a savage competition as to who could place the most decorations on the tree in the shortest period of time.

It was not long before we exhausted our mum’s supply of relevant, Christmas-based decorations.

In desperation, we began throwing any item in the immediate vicinity onto the tree in what I can only guess was a crazed attempt to claim it as our territory.

In the end, our tree had a slightly different aesthetic than that which is usually adopted in most other households.

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