Which is very unlike a stuffed shirt, by the way… 😛
Tonight, I snuggled up with several feather pillows and my extra-large white bear that was given to me by my paternal grandparents when I was probably only single-digits years old, and watched Frozen, while sitting (or lying) on my bed. And it was delightful. I don’t know why people let go of stuffed animals and piles of pillows in their adulthood. Even in college, I had several stuffed animals with me at school.
The year I lived in an apartment with a friend of mine (still campus housing, but an apartment, nonetheless), we had full sized beds as part of the furnishings. A different friend was staying the night, and, as we were getting into bed to go to sleep, she thought it was hilarious yet adorably wonderful that I had stuffed animals in my bed, their having clearly been my nighttime snuggle buddies so far that year. She, delighted, declared it like “a jungle!”, and snapped a photo of me snuggling in with the animals. Of course, I made total room for her in the bed, and it wasn’t crowded for us or anything. But, when I didn’t have physical company in my bed, I preferred having stuffed company to being on my own with the sheets.
To this day, I like to feel that something is around me when I sleep. When I get to sleep in a bed with a person, some small piece of me has to touch that person, in order for me to sleep fully at ease. When there isn’t a person, I just like having contact with something presence-marking. These days, that typically means a stuffed dog strewn across my thighs, and my arms casually relaxed across my rib cage, creating just enough pressure for comfort and subconscious reassurance… Perhaps it was because I grew up with siblings always around, older than I, and so I always wanted to sleep in their beds with them…, because they were my older siblings and I loved them and looked up to them. And then, when they weren’t around, I ended up sharing the bed with my mom or my dad, depending on in whose house I was staying that night. (Apparently, I wasn’t supposed to stay in my dad’s bed, because of the divorce stuff, but, with my active history of terrible nightmares as a child, I voluntarily would creep down to his bedroom and sneak onto the side of the California king. Sometimes he noticed before morning, but I made enough of a fuss about not wanting to be alone upstairs, and he was half asleep, anyway, so he let it go. Naturally, my mom was annoyed at this, so I kind of just stopped telling her about it. It wasn’t even an every night thing, either, but, when I needed it, I needed it, you know? And then it was just habit and comforting, even when I didn’t need it anymore.)
By the time it really didn’t bother me so much to sleep on my own, and the nightmares had mostly subsided, my sisters moved into my dad’s house. And, just as part of spending time together, I ended up often sleeping in the one sister’s bed, and then always sleeping in the other’s, once she moved in, too. We always had a habit of talking after the lights were out, kind of just chatting about anything or nothing – whatever we wanted or needed that night. It wasn’t usually for very long – maybe five or ten minutes at most – but it was always something I loved, and something I didn’t want to miss out on having by sleeping elsewhere. There were even the occasions where we all three shared a bed together… those were really great memories for me. I was literally surrounded by love for me.
Perhaps that’s really why I want stuffed animals in my bed, or pillows, or the touch of someone…, because that is one of the strongest memories I have of being loved and wanted and appreciated and cared for… surrounded by love as I went to sleep at night.
Ha… I’m noticing now how, even at dance events, when we occasionally have crammed three grown people into a queen sized bed, I’ve been totally okay and comfortable with it, and even delighted about it. The physical presence represents so strongly for me the experience of love, of being loved. I guess that all goes back to growing as a baby in the womb, huh? We turn to the fetal position in times of extreme need for love and help… that feeling of being held all around by a safe, loving, omnipotent source of life. So…, yeah… I’m beginning to think that stuffed animals are more than okay and acceptable – they’re actually a really good idea. They can help to provide the comfort that we can’t seem to provide on our own, when no one else is physically – or emotionally – around us…