Fluffy Friends: The Untold Companions and Comforts of Childhood
Along her limbs, the connecting stitches hang loose and remnants of the past repairs remind my hands of the many lives she has lived. I was gifted her when I was a newborn and she has been my most constant companion ever since.
Sitting tenderly on the top of my bed, against the pillows, is a bunny rabbit. Conveniently on theme, her name is Bunny. Bunny’s body sinks limply against the deep green comforter. Noticeably, her left eye has been stitched on three times and her once bright pink fur is now a coarse greyish blush. Along her limbs, the connecting stitches hang loose and remnants of the past repairs remind my hands of the many lives she has lived. I was gifted her when I was a newborn and she has been my most constant companion ever since.
Growing up, whenever I was distressed my parents would assure me that since “Bunny was always with me,” nothing could hurt me. She would protect me from the hair-raising monsters, the night terrors or the unshakeable illnesses that kept me from sleeping. Her fur would catch my tears as I begged and pleaded with the walls to fix my problems or dissolve my tragedies.
Distinct memories of doomed fights with my parents or the aftermath of broken hearts are always associated with Bunny. I recall almost shrinking in stature as I wept unbearably into Bunny, cradling her tightly. Despite this she would wait at my beck and call — ready for my next explosion or joyous rupture. If there was no one else in the world left, I knew she would be there with me.
Flocculent friends of all forms and arrangements are the untold companions, therapists and scapegoats of our childhood. They see you weep, and they are there through the happy times too. They get thrown around, discarded, personified and temporarily forgotten. They are an unbreakable beacon of comfort. Even when they are tucked into boxes or flung under beds, they are a tangible symbol of the growing pains of getting older.
Soon I realised that I was not alone. Many of us have a comfort item like Bunny. My friends had special blankets or their own fluffy friend. I realised this is more than childhood nostalgia or a case of “Peter Pan Syndrome”.
Some keep theirs at the top of a shelf looking over them, whilst others keep them on their bed, steadfastly guarding their pillows. I am the latter. I see no need to disconnect from this part of my childhood when all she has done was serve me well. Even though she is now part of the decor, her memory and her impact still ring true.
The concept of stuffed animals and comfort items are an embodiment of our inherent desire for comfort, safety and companionship. As we navigate the changing ages and moving from one life stage to another, these companions serve as a source of security. Before the age of 13, my family moved 6 different times. Everytime, the first thing I did to acclimate to my new space was save a spot for Bunny. Bunny, and our fluffy friends, take on a sort of “transitional object” role which allows us a sense of security and sameness. They are a steadfast boast during the tempest of life.
More powerfully, they allow us to connect with and console our inner child. A way of giving the turbulence of our past a soft embrace. Our fluffy friends have bared witness to it all, despite our disconnection from past traumas and triumphs. And their response is the same every time. They have dutifully caught every tear, they have smiled as you squealed in joy and they have braced the confusing ordeal of adolescence.
Without knowing it, these objects are a symbol of the past and all that we have overcome. But now our fluffy friends are torn and tattered, bruised and broken, loved and lost. They might even stay around long enough to comfort another generation.
I turn 21 this year and I have no intention of disregarding Bunny. Her stitches stand for my stitches, as I repair my troubles and soothe my fears. Her faded fur stands for my growth as I shed and change the faces I show the world. Her stature stands for my experiences, as I navigate the swirling storm of existence.