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.


RigheSonore said...

lol! Thanks for the visit! My blog's about ad's soundtracks. I'm sorry you cannot undesrtand Italian but there's always time! :)
I should wright something in English.
have a nice day!

RigheSonore said...

hemm sorry I mean "write" :P

the Constantly Dramatic One said...

Hey you were Pluto?!!!!!!!! In Disneyland LA? Circa 1997? OMG! Did I hugged you?

I'm all excited now....=D

Peter Varvel said...

RigheSonore, thank you!

TCDO, the last time I was Pluto was literally twenty years ago, in 1988.
Er, um, you were barely just born . . .

Quin Browne said...

i swear my kids hugged you, since you were pluto when we were there...

Louise Larsen said...

Awww! When did you work at Dland? I wonder if you ever hugged Juliet when she was little, there. (You'd never get to hug Anna Lily, she was entirely freaked out by people in animal suits.)

Were you there (as a fuzzy hugger) in the last 10 years?

I bet you were so sweet and made so, so many kids happy. I'll bet you were some kids "make a wish" moment -- Don't you think that's amazing? I do.

Aritul said...

Hmm, I never considered that some of those children who hugged Disney characters could be starved for affection.