“OMG! Look! It has its own little stuffed animal! It’s all ready for bed and it has its own stuffed animal!” I squealed in the middle of Barnes & Noble.
Today’s “Saturday Stream of Consciousness” prompt (by Linda G. Hill) is to describe something you own over a hundred of. So what else for me but stuffed animals? I’m not ashamed. Well, maybe a little. But I still buy them anyway. I even have two little stuffed animals on my desk at work. No mental illness here, folks. Move along.
(I am thirty-two years old. So what?)
If I see something cute, I cannot resist it. It’s like it needs to be adopted by me or it will remain in the store, all by itself in the dark after closing hours, suffering deep abandonment. I reckon this is a symptom of some sort of emotional disorder. But I don’t really care.
Take my Piglet stuffed animal. When I saw the trailer for the new Winnie the Pooh movie, I said, I am not going to see the movie, but they’re going to make stuffed animals, and I am going to own that Piglet. And he’s sitting over there right now. Many people would think this behavior is bizarre and childish. Perhaps. Yet, if I were to get Piglet tattooed onto my ass, that would be just fine. Edgy in an ironic sort of way. But no–because it’s a toy, I’m just a loser.
But my reasoning is, if something makes you smile, why not? People find enjoyment in all sorts of questionable things. Why not stuffed animals? When I look at something cute, feelings of well-being spread throughout me. Yes, and I’ll even cop to hugging them.
Like every mental illness, it started with a childhood trauma. When I was in kindergarten, our teacher decided to show the movie “The Velveteen Rabbit.” Being very sensitive, I was destroyed. But my teacher felt she hadn’t finished the job, so she played it a second time. Screwing someone up for life: mission accomplished.
Unlike the ephemeral nature of living, breathing things, a stuffed animal’s cuteness is frozen in time along with its meaning and your memories. Unless you lose it or someone decides to wrest it away from you and burn it, it will not die. Real life, on the other hand, is an endless chipping away of everything and everyone you love. The things and the people you began your life with? I’d wager that a good number of them are no longer present. And I’d wager, too, that ten years from now, there will be even fewer.
It’s as though we are limping and dragging ourselves towards the finish line, fumbling with our arms full of the ones we love, but dropping them along the way. And there is no retrieving or replacing them. You will never have them back or see them again. Yes, you will fall in love, make lifelong friends, have children, but no one individual replaces the loss of another. A new loved one brings joy into our lives and we can’t believe that there was a time we didn’t know them. But there was such a time. And there’s a good chance that before your last day, the time will be no longer.
Ever since I was in a bad car accident a couple of years ago, my nightly ritual when I get into bed has been to pull up my covers, reach over to turn off my lamp, and with the click of the switch, commence worrying that I am going to die, or find one of my family members dead when I get up. But tonight, I shall sleep tight, for my friend you see pictured above will still be there in the morning, whether or not I am.