If you have seen me on Facebook or photos I’ve posted, you’ll notice a penguin and giraffe in many of my pictures. I’ll give you one guess as to their names. That’s right! Liz and Patrick. It all started innocent enough. Less than a year after I started writing Falling, my husband and I were at Sea World and came across one of the gift shops there. It was a Build-A-Bear type place and they had a penguin and giraffe. I bought a basketball outfit for Patrick, but they didn’t have any clothes I liked for Liz. So, you can guess how those first pictures looked. One dressed, the other was not.
What’s funny is, for me, I can see them “age” in a sense. Obviously, they don’t grow up or put on weight, but the do look different – more worn, fur less fluffy. The very early pictures look different to me than the more current ones. It’s like any stuffed animal or doll you’ve had, you’d be able to identify yours in a pile of identical ones because of its “personality”. I notice how different they are all the time from the ones hanging in the store – and not just because the ones in the store aren’t stuffed yet.
They’ve traveled all over the place with me. When I first got them, I thought, “It’s be kind of cool to take pictures of them in places that Liz and Patrick have been in the book.” Places like Disneyland. And let’s face it, Disneyland is a place for you to be silly or goofy. People buy crazy hats and giant Mickey hands or shoes and wear them – publicly. Carrying around stuffed animals isn’t all that odd. People looked at me and my husband as I had him pose my stuffed penguin and giraffe before I took the picture. But they always thought it was cool or cute. Once, when I brought them to Disneyland (yes, you can infer from that that I have brought them there many times), they were dressed in Celtics uniforms. I had several people ask where I got it.
But that’s Disneyland. What about else where? Like the nation’s capital? When you are on a business trip with university professors that you don’t know and don’t know you? You bring them tethered together (underneath their clothes so it doesn’t show in the picture) and hold them up with one hand and take the picture with the other. Keep in mind, this is a very difficult thing to do. Not only am I trying to balance two stuffed animals in one hand, but I’m short and therefore have short arms. So it’s tough to get some sort of background in the shot and not just their cute faces. But I did.
And you know what I took to heart? That I didn’t really care what others thought. In general, I don’t. But far too often we are afraid to do something that might seem silly. What do I care if I seem silly to some passerby? They don’t know me. They don’t know my resume. They don’t know that I do have lots of people that respect in me various fields. I’ve worked hard to build a name of myself. A good reputation. This doesn’t hurt anyone. In fact, most people (who either say something directly to me or I overhear) do think it’s cool or cute. And if they think negatively, I don’t care. It’s not for them anyway.
Here are a few pictures from their summer adventures…