[Editor’s note: Every Wednesday, New York City’s own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose, or — no surprise here — a party. Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]
You are my inspiration, and all I wanted for Christmas this year was you and your party attitude all wrapped up and put under the tree. But you weren’t there! Are you Santa Claus?
Be My Gift
Dear Be My Gift,
All I really am is a symbolic expression of the good moods and attitudes that most of us want to have. That’s how Andrew W.K. started — as a way to get cheered up. It was a way to focus on being the type of person my team thought would be the nicest, and strongest, and most fun. It started as a way to focus on all the best parts of life, and a way to stay close to those joyful feelings.
This is very similar to Santa Claus. Santa Claus was actually what I wanted to be when I grew up. He’s always been my personal inspiration, my idol, and my role model. When I tried to imagine a really cool person, it was always based on Santa. His entire existence was centered around creating joy. He didn’t just spread joy or give joy, he actually was joy. Santa Claus is the physical and spiritual manifestation of goodness — it’s bound up in his personality and is an inseparable part of his very nature. I always figured if I had to be like someone, why not try to be like that? But maybe I could party with people all year long — and instead of making toys, I would make parties.
As most of us realize, someone like Santa does not necessarily exist in the same way as other beings exist. He exists because of us — because you and I believe in him, and in what he represents. He is the spirit of selflessness and joyful generosity — and when we believe in him, we believe in our own ability to be selfless and generous. In this way, we are Santa Claus. The symbol of Santa is there to remind us of the best feelings and values we already possess — to remind us that the spirit of joyful friendliness is more real and important than any other physical gifts, and that we must never forget the urgent need for this spirit in the world around us. The greatest gift we can give is the gift of ourselves to others.
In this way, I hope you realize you already possess everything I could ever really offer you. You already have all the same qualities inside. You already have me. You basically are me, and it is you who’s making me inspiring to yourself. And you end up inspiring me too — you make me want to be what you see me as, and be the best I can be for you — it’s a perpetual inspiration machine and we bring out the best in each other.
So let’s all continue to look around us for inspiration and motivation and sources of joy, but also realize that those feelings aren’t locked away in some other person or accomplishment outside of us — the feelings of inspiration we get from others are coming from within us.
More:Ask Andrew W.K.