I had various security objects until I was about eight. Then they got thrown out. When I went to university I began accepting that I was still a little boy and got myself a new teddy bear. He came everywhere with me until I washed him and he got mouldy. Oh dear. I got myself a new bear to replace him and he did sterling service as a security object.
Then for Christmas in 2004 I was given Butter. He was given to me by my partner, now my daddy, so was the first security object I’d been given by someone who loved and cared for me since I re-embraced being little. That meant a lot to me and I have a very strong attachment to Butter. Even when my partner is not about I can cuddle Butter and know that I’m important to someone and they want me to be happy and feel loved. I go to sleep cuddling Butter and, most of the time, when I wake up I’m still clutching him tightly to me. He soothes me whenever I cuddle him.
One of the hardest things I ever had to do was get him re-stuffed a couple of months back. He’d had me laying on him, squeezing him and washing him so many times he’d got quite saggy. The person I know who is most skilled at sewing is my ‘real life’ mother. I suppose it is a bit strange when you are, chronologically at least, middle-aged to ask your mother to repair your security object. I posted him to her, with a note written in green crayon saying, “Please be careful with Butter”, and for two nights I had to sleep with back-up bears. I am so attached to Butter, he is so symbolic of my powerful bond with my partner, that it was really difficult to be separated from him. He looked great when he came back, though, and I was so happy to have him.
I fly abroad reasonably regularly and I can assure you that being well-dressed and carrying a cuddly bear gets you quite a lot of propositions. It’s true you also get asked if you are a nervous flier, but just looking confused and saying “No, why do you ask?” tends sell Butter as a brilliant travelling companion.When I last flew to Australia four of the cabin crew gave me their numbers in case I wanted to meet up when I got there. I also got a trip to the cockpit and took some pictures of Butter on the dashboard. When my bag has been opened at security a few times I’ve been told off for keeping Butter cooped up in a bag and told how much the security people think he’s cute. My reply, “Well, you would like him; he is a security object after all!”
Unfortunately, I’ve spent a bit of time in hospital in recent years but Butter has always been a hit with the nurses and definitely makes them warm to me. Last time I was in, and I was in a rather poor state alas, one nurse would give Butter and me together a goodnight hug before she turned the lights off. She was off work the night before I left and asked me another nurse to take a picture of her, Butter and me so she could remember how nice it all was. Lovely!
One doctor did a funny thing when I went for some endoscopic surgery on my stomach. Butter was at the end of my trolley. The surgeon said, “If that teddy bear is going to be in here he needs to be properly attired. Put a mask on him, nurse!” The nurses all laughed and one tied a green surgical around Butter’s face; I felt more relaxed. He’s often made me feel much more at ease in all sorts of nasty hospital situations; the medical staff realise that and so don’t mind him being around.
Butter is with me all the time, even if he does stay in my bag when I’m out and about. My friends have got used to him coming out and getting hugged at the end of wine tastings – it’s only my female friends who want to hug him too. He’s a great support all the time and I’m so pleased, both as an adult and a little boy, to have such a wonderful symbol that I’m loved and I love back.