Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Starved for Affection
Cheryl has had me thinking about my days as a Disney Character (well, that, and getting back in touch with so many of my Disney friends on facebook). Her responses and kind comments show that she really understands what that job was all about, and what it meant to me.
She should have been a Disney Character.
"Don't you get hot in those things," people used to ask me, "especially during the summer?"
Well, yeah, of course it was hot. But the work was so enjoyable and interesting, that it almost didn't matter. I loved being mobbed as Pluto and feeling like a celebrity, trying to accommodate as many photos and autograph requests as possible.
And the hugs. I got so many hugs, from children and adults. One of the things I first became aware of while working in costume was how much children were able to communicate in a single hug. This particular body language became painfully obvious in quite a few clingy children. Even through all of the costume's thick padding and fur, I could feel the desperation in their little bodies, how starved they were for reassurance and physical affection.
I was that child, even at 19-years-old, still. I was sad for the children I met who were probably not getting enough hugs at home. I was sad for them because I was still sad for the boy-I-used-to-be that never got enough hugs, either.
When do we outgrow our Inner Children? Maybe never. And I am okay with that. I hope I can cherish my Inner Child for as long as I live, and continue to actively love him and reassure him.
I feel lucky to have spent as much time as I did in the Character Department.