Comfort items can be trinkets, clothing, blankets, really anything item that can bring comfort or assurance. My comfort items have changed over the years and I also have comfort items for different scenarios.
When I am feeling overwhelmed, lost, and/or alone, I often put on my Dad’s high school football sweater. I also used to carry a polished red stone that fit perfectly in the palm of my hand so that when I got too anxious or nervous I could simply put my hand into a fist and the pressure would help calm me down. My most recent comfort item is a “Lucas the Spider” stuffed animal (short-film animation character) that I usually travel and sometimes sleep with. He is perfectly sized because when I get nervous I can place my hand on his “belly” and wrap his legs around my hand; I not only get the slight sensation of someone holding my hand, but his texture is also really soothing.
However, openly traveling with my stuffed spider is something that I struggle with because my brain still thinks that it’s childish to travel with a stuffed animal. When talking with my best friend Rose, she explained that he is something small that brings me comfort and since I don’t need him to do everything, I shouldn’t worry or criticize my actions. Additionally, while traveling home from a road trip last week, I saw another adult traveling with a stuffed animal, but hers was a stuffed Stitch (Lilo and Stitch), and I was surprised at how much comfort I felt seeing someone else carry a stuffed animal for comfort. And honestly, it shouldn’t be that weird; a stuffed animal is not much different than a traditional or travel pillow, they’re pretty much the same components, just composed differently.
I still struggle to accept that I function differently than many of my friends and family. However, I hope that as I become more aware of others like me I will become more comfortable with and judge myself (and others less). And maybe, through sharing my thoughts and experiences, I can bring some comfort to others just as the woman traveling with a stuffed Stitch brought me.
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