OK, so this post is a little embarrassing, but I feel like it's time to come clean about my inability to get rid of toys and stuffed animals and dolls that have LONG been ignored and outgrown in the various toy boxes.
Instead of de-luttering and minimizing, I am ... well, for starters, I'm writing this post, because clearly I have a problem with empathy for inanimate objects.
I blame stories and movies, mainly. "Toy Story" only exacerbated my issues of feeling like toys are actually living things—especially the ones with faces: the stuffed animals; the dolls; the little miniature animals.
Perhaps the problem is that I grew up believing my toys were living things. I was a quiet kid who spent her childhood collecting snails and having tea parties with stuffed animals and toys. I spent a great deal of my youth taking every one of my beloved toys to bed with me out of fear that one (or many) of them would feel left out. I had hammocks hanging in all corners of my bedrooms keeping stuffed animals safe and sound—and together—with friends and family.
I think my mom finally got rid of all my stuffed animals when I moved out, but she certainly didn't tell me about it because had I KNOWN, I would have been LIVID. Even now I can't help but wonder where my giant stuffed unicorn went (the one with the gold horn and the matching hooves). Is she happy there? Is she happy?
I took the words I read in "Velveteen Rabbit" to heart in those days, and I guess I never really grew out of the mindset I had as a little girl. I never stopped believing that the skin horse was right about the Velveteen Rabbit (and all things) when he said:
"Real isn't how you are made ... It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real. ... It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby ... once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
Anyway, I BELIEVED this to be VERY true. I still have my most beloved "Woolfie" and "Mousie" here at the house because I loved their fur clear off and there is but one eye left between them and you could not pay me to get rid of them. They are living things to me. And while many of the toys in this house have never been loved that much, I feel the need to treat them all with the same respect. And as a result, my house is overflowing with toys we absolutely do not need anymore, ahem.
It's getting to be time to get practical and get. rid. of. some. of. this. stuff. that NO ONE in this house seems to care about but me.
Occasionally, when kids come over to play, I try to convince them/their parents to take a few toys to go, knowing that the toy will have a good home somewhere other than mine. You see, I'm not ENTIRELY crazy. I am HAPPY to part with all of the toys, so long as I am certain they will be happy where'er they land.
We recently took in a baby squirrel and I had the same feeling: So long as the squirrel was going to a shelter, I was fine with giving it up. Otherwise, forget it. We would have FOR SURE raised that baby squirrel as our own. That being said, a squirrel IS a living thing. With feelings. A stuffed horse, on the other hand ...
I recently brought up my failure-to-part-with-toys situation to another parent, hoping she would tell me that IT WAS PERFECTLY NORMAL to assume that toys had feelings, too. Turns out? She did not tell me it was normal. She told me it was weird and that she loved me, but like, I might want to look into that one ... with a professional.
Which is probably true. Especially judging how I felt watching the new trailer for Seth Rogen's "Sausage Party," which gave me full on anxiety when I attempted to eat a cucumber afterward. Like, wait. What if this cucumber ... WHAT IF IT HAS FEELINGS!?
I mean, science suggests otherwise, sure, BUT WHAT ABOUT MAGIC?
I mean, shit, you guys, I 100 percent believe in fairies. I believe all sorts of things that adults probably aren't supposed to believe. And I think a lot of that makes me a good parent—because I'm young inside. But also, in the case of our overflowing toy chests, it makes me a mess of an adult. I guess with today's post, I'm just looking for someone out there in Internetland with the same issues.