Laura and I recently had a funny convo about the stuffed toys we had as kids.
As Laura is a Art Psychotherapist we delved right into the theories behind why we are both still attached to our beloved stuffed toys.
Laura’s was a teddy called Sampson and mine was a Koala Bear. The big reveal was that we both definitely still have those stuffies.
I keep mine tucked away, out of sight from the other adults who occupy my living quarters. But I know my koala is there, just in case.
On several long, and lonely nights after my diagnosis, my koala bear climbed out of his tote bag in my closet, and crawled into bed with me. I held him so tightly, as though he was the only part of me that was still whole.
The idea of letting go – of a dream, of a life – felt so big, and the only way I could do it was to hold on to the vulnerable bits inside of me. To really care for the tender parts that no one else could see. And slowly, I began to release.
Sampson was gifted to me as a baby, he is a rigid fully jointed bear, not a real one for cuddling, but I did tell him all my secrets and swear he would move around the room when I was asleep. Fast-forward to now, Sampson sits proud with my school tie around his neck right bang centre on the spare bed.
Although as grown women it may feel odd to understand the need to cuddle an object from our childhood, it leads back to our first steps in self regulation, to creating a character within these stuffed toys that would always be reliable, dependable and hold our deeper most inner wishes thoughts and dreams. They have sat by our sides through the hard times, they do not judge, they are just there, our constant in an ever changing world.
In those vulnerable moments, I will pull Sampson by my side and somehow through some mere stuffing, fur, eyes and a lot of stitching, it can make those vulnerable moments feel less lonely.
Our toys are transitional objects. A theory developed by paediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. We project feelings onto them and they act as our first understanding of ‘not me objects’. They start to help us regulate our emotions outwith the needs of our mothers. The objects serve more than just emotional support but lead to play, known as the ‘intermediate space’ a development of a healthy mind.
Linus form the famous comic Peanuts, starring Snoopy carries round his blanket, known as a ‘security blanket; this is his transitional object.
At times we all need to find a time that reminds us of joy, freedom and comfort. Often this does involve grabbing something significant from your past, this could be a photo, a blanket or indeed a beloved stuffed toy.
It is a part of our human nature and natural as grown women to seek comfort and be whisked back to a different time in ever changing and shifting world.
To read more there is a great article here: Still have your childhood teddy?
When it came to choosing the art work we decided upon the wonderful work of Garbiella Barouch her work carried us of into another place, like dreaming as if we were children. The work encapsulates a world of wonderment and beauty. Please go and check out her work.