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You have to believe we are magic

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You have to believe we are magic
Nothin’ can stand in our way
You have to believe we are magic
Don’t let your aim ever stray.


My column today is about the need for people to believe in themselves and their kids. When I started to think about this idea, the lyrics from the great Olivia Newton-John’s 1982 hit ran through my mind.

Aaaah, Olivia. How kickass you looked in that black skintight outfit. How so totally awesome you were, finally going for what you really wanted and flying off in that cool car with the man of your dreams like you
did in “Grease”…

The reflection may seem a digression, but I think not, actually. The gorgeous blonde singer and actress fueled my fantasies at 12. Watching her on the big screen, I could almost believe that my more ample figure could look that good in Lycra, that I could belt my heart out and shake my hips like she did (as if my hip bones would jut out like that) in front of my whole school, and everyone would cheer as I flew off into the sky with whomever I had my eye on at the time.

You have to believe…

I am always amazed by the power that people have to rise up from whatever their circumstances and drive full-steam ahead on their mission. I watch as musicians take the stage and go completely wild with the passion of their instruments. I cheer as runners run the many miles to finish their marathons. I click “Like” on Facebook or Instagram when I see people sharing the creative things that drive them, be it cooking or dancing or singing or traveling or just spending time with family or friends. I am always so inspired by people going for what they believe in.

I woke up before 5 this morning, and I was motivated to get up, get dressed, and get to the gym. I’d caught sight of myself in the mirror before bed and was not pleased with the image. My workouts have fallen off, and I’ve gone, well, let’s just say, Olivia’s cat-suit would look different on me than it did on her. Very different. More importantly than how I look, my back recently went out and I knew that had something to do with my rather soft core.

Belief. That’s what got me up, and out, what kept me working those weight machines, and box-dancing as I like to do with that big black bag as my partner. I’ve gotten there before, to that place where I feel great and connected to my body, and healthy, and I’ll get there again. It will take discipline, and determination, and stamina, but goddamnit! I want it. I remember how good it felt. Why would I be so self-sabotaging as to not go for it! Why, ever, do I not go for what I want?

My husband and I discussed this idea over coffee, when we both returned from the gym. Why? Why wouldn’t we get up and get to the gym when it made us feel so good? What is that strange thing that kicks in that prevents us from doing our best? What is it that prevents my kids?

We have to believe we are magic…

I watch my kids, older now than I was watching Olivia do her thing, and write this song, and I know she was right. When they succeed it is because they believe in themselves, in their great power to get what they want. When they don’t — like when I don’t — it is because that sense of magic possibility eludes them. I have to remind them then, just like I have to remind myself:

We can fly.
We can soar to great heights.
We can get where we want to go,
If we try.

Thank you Olivia, for the inspiration.

Read Fearless Parenting every other Thursday on BrooklynPaper.com.
Updated 5:43 pm, July 9, 2018
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