Pooh Bear (‘Pooh’) was given to me aged six weeks by my Godfather. When I was little, Pooh was so much more than a teddy; he was my friend, my all-time companion and the reason I got into trouble (a lot) I would sleep with him at night and play with him during the day.
He accompanied me everywhere and I have fond memories of being phoned by local supermarkets requesting I pick him up. Pooh has been close to the end twice – when I was staying with my brother, a housemate thought Pooh was for charity, but in seeing the state of him, Pooh ended up in the bin. When I returned the next night I was perturbed! Needless to say that I searched not one, but two bin bags for him… He has since been washed!
More dismayingly, Pooh was attacked by my puppy ten years ago, and lost his nose. Even though this made him look terrifying, I found the texture of the rips satisfying to play with and similarly I can explain almost every rip with anecdotal evidence; almost all of my life is reflected in this bear.
Pooh has been lovingly stitched by my family, and later by me. An old school shirt currently forms his nose, and Mum’s old scarf forms his left knee. He has had several ‘jackets’ and there has been a multitude of other ‘Poohs’ purchased just for their attire – I used to cut their jacket off and give it to my bear. Then I would give the former away..
As I have grown Pooh is still my most prized possession, although it’s fair to say I can no longer blame him for my misdemeanours! I still sleep with Pooh every night and he still accompanies me to other people’s houses, despite my embarrassment of needing a comfort blanket aged 20. There’s been a number of boyfriends with a number of reactions to such a threadbare bear!
For me, Pooh smells of ‘home.’ He has a safe, warm smell and this comforts me far beyond any words could. I also find myself playing with his various threads, and ‘notches’ on him, almost like a fiddle toy. I find this very therapeutic.
Of late I have experienced severe panic attacks, particularly at night. I find that I struggle to sleep without him being under my head. In an inane way I find myself sometimes taking to Pooh. If I tell Pooh my intentions for the day, I must do them, otherwise I have let myself down. This is another coping strategy I have found to work with my anxiety, but in retrospect I have been doing this since I was a little girl with Pooh.
I would love Pooh to be more durable, and less scary. It’s fair to say he won’t be a bear with a rumbly tummy for much longer if he doesn’t get some serious repairs soon. I desperately want Pooh to last for as long as possible, and I know that I will come to love his new patches! Furthermore, I find myself thinking in great depth about Pooh’s foibles, where they have originated and how this has made me a more resilient person. I have learnt to love his rips, and the stories they tell and although he is really only material, he has been strikingly salient in my own character development.
Healing Pooh has become healing for me in this respect, and despite Pooh being less scary and more durable in the long term, what this project is really bringing me is insight into areas of my life I have never before considered, which are actually proving to be more meaningful than I have previously imagined.
Picture: Angela Maddock