Published October 19, 2011, in MSUM’s, The Advocate
Attributing human traits and characteristics to inanimate objects, such as thinking a house misses you when you’re gone on a trip, is the act of personification, an act I commit on a regular basis.
I have once again been reminded of my affinity for personifying things through the pieces I have written for my creative writing class. Whether it’s about a painting of a poodle or a maple leaf, I relate to them. If a stuffed animal falls off my bed in the middle of the night (yes, I still have stuffed animals), I have to get up and tuck it back in and kiss it goodnight.
I am not a crazy cat lady (I’m allergic to cats). I am an overly empathetic friend of the soulless — an advocate for the feelings of the objectified.
Thinking of my abnormalities, I started wondering if there are people who must be admitted to hospitals due to them empathizing with their food too much to eat any of it or if there are people who feel for grass so excessively they refuse to mow their yard and let it grow past the rooftops.
Though I couldn’t find any legitimate conditions relating to personification obsessions online, I did find one site that scared even Feir herself.
On experienceproject.com, the site boasts to have 11,966,657 experiences members can relate to and write about. More “experiences” are added every day. You can post anonymously and it’s free! What more could an eccentric person ask for?
Under the experience titled “I Personify My Stuffed Animals,” the headline states, “This group is for people who personify their stuffed animals. We welcome all and hope you feel at home here!”
In a note titled “Stuffed Audience,” a woman between the ages of 26 and 30 said, “I like to practice speeches in front of my stuffed animals. I arrange them so they are like an audience. They give me their full attention and even make me feel nervous!” This site was beginning to make me feel more uncomfortable than at home.
Posted on the same group website, a woman in her late 30s wrote, “I have a stuffed cat named Fatty. I used to give him a voice and me and my boyfriend would make him do dances. ‘He’ was very good! He likes music from the fifties, especially ‘Bo Diddles.’ He has a great fear of the washing machine.”
Clearly, there are humans more inclined than I am to personify stuffed animals, plants and almost everything else in existence. However, maybe I’m kidding myself. Perhaps the only difference between them and me is that I don’t write posts about Lumpie, my brown stuffed bear, and how I used to put on plays with my Beanie Babies for my parents at the tender age of 6.
However, that was Meghan in 1996, and this is now. Don’t admit me to the mental hospital quite yet, please and thank you. As long as I am allowed to empathize with inanimate objects, I’ll be fine. Oh, and remember: Your teddy bear misses you.
BY MEGHAN FEIR