What Are Comfort Objects and Why Are They Relevant?
I’ve had a teddy bear since I was a baby. I’m pretty sure that he came from my grandparents but I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have him. His name is Cuddles.
When I went off to college, I was sure that I could leave Cuddles behind; functioning adults don’t usually have teddy bears. But after a few weeks, I realized I was uncomfortable without my teddy bear next to me. It’s not so much the feeling of holding him, but just a comfort that he is there. It is so incredibly calming that next to me lies a bear who’s been through it all with me. So why do I feel so awkward that I still have my teddy? How many other people still have their “security blanket” in college or through adulthood?
According to Merriam-Webster, in the ’20s, a “security blanket” was literally a blanket fastened by clips to the sides of the bed that would hold a child in place if he or she was restless or tried to move. The term as it is used today was coined by Linus in a Peanuts cartoon, circa 1954. Although it was not officially said in the cartoon, fans latched on to the idea of a security blanket, which was carried throughout childhood, as a means of comfort. This was important because it familiarized the idea of comforting anxiety with an otherwise meaningless object.
When asking my friends and peers, I realized that I was far from the only one with a comfort object or security blanket. Mostly everyone had something they kept with them from childhood. For most it was a blanket or stuffed animal, but others even had old t-shirts and toys they held to feel comfort. I realized it wasn’t out of the ordinary that I brought Cuddles with me to college.
You see, to me, Cuddles is a reminder of better times. As I mentioned before, my grandparents most likely gifted him to me at a young age. When I hold Cuddles, I am reminded of who they once were, dancing around on that barroom floor to the fifth Patsy Cline song of the night. I can recall the joy on my parent’s faces when my sisters and I sang together and how happy I was when my aunt and uncle came to visit. I can hold him and forget the stresses of everyday life for a minute.
I don’t think that comfort objects or security blankets are bad by any means. If something makes you feel better and gives you comfort when you need it, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be a part of your life. Personally, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to need Cuddles. It might be something that stays with me for the majority of my life, or I might decide one day that I can leave him in my childhood home with the rest of my forgotten keepsakes.
But as of right now I can tell you that when I move to Florida in January (for the Disney College Program), Cuddles will be among the blankets and clothes, just waiting for the next big adventure.