Last year I blogged about Bambi:
That remains my favorite piece I have ever written. From a series of small events and interactions, I am very pleased that I connected the dots and tied together several themes central to my personal growth and philosophy which I hope will speak to others.
Little did I know that my tale would take a surprising turn.
In what I consider an incredible stroke of good fortune as well as a colossal example of poor memory on my part (to which I am, for better or worse, somewhat accustomed), Bambi was found.
When I originally wrote the story, I was quite sad with respect to what I thought was the permanent loss of my treasured stuffed animal. For all I knew, he was stranded on the Island of Misfit Toys.
It wasn’t because I truly needed to have it, but because I have in my possession so few artifacts from my youth. Bambi simply struck a certain chord, as in Lost Innocence. I am most definitely not overly sentimental, and I am generally indifferent to material things, but that ancient fossil of a plaything symbolizes what Sentimental Nostalgia I do harbor.
When I happened to tell my ex about the blog, she calmly explained Bambi was with me all along. I had completely forgotten that years ago my mom (may she rest in peace) had mailed Bambi to me in a box of old, personal belongings I had left behind in my childhood home. Naturally, Bambi had ended up in a box in a closet.
I was absolutely floored, moved to the point of joyful tears that I had not actually suffered the loss of which my mind had convinced me occurred. It felt exactly like discovering a long-time friend presumed missing or dead had been returned to life.
I admit I have to laugh at myself the way this sounds, all this to-do about a silly stuffed animal. However, as is often the case, this is not about the thing itself, but what it represents to me.
The image of a toy deer I found on the internet and used in the original blog post was not too far off. Following is a current picture of Bambi:
Another odd twist is that, seemingly making a complete liar out of me and destroying my entire premise that Bambi was broken, my dear mother had at some point sewn up his compound fracture! Note the patch on the right front “elbow”. I don’t know if I ever knew about that, but I probably did and again entirely blotted it out from my pathetic memory; I won’t even try to understand why I did that.
I felt a strange sense of, I don’t know, almost disappointment about the successful surgery to Bambi. Don’t fix people, geez, that’s the point! But no, I quickly recovered and was simply grateful to have the deer back in good condition. (In my defense, the full truth is that Bambi defiantly retains and overcomes at least two significant injuries, thus vindicating my assertion that he is damaged, but not beyond hope: the front right lower leg is still crippled, and his neck is weak and wobbly. He remains stoic and pain tolerant.)
In another A-Ha Moment, I discovered that Bambi symbolizes even more than I previously realized. In a way, I am Bambi.
Last year, at least in my mind, Bambi was lost and in shambles. Simultaneously, I was most definitely torn apart yet recovering. Bambi sat in a box, a medical tent, for years and years and somehow emerged healthy. Meanwhile, I have spent the better part of the past two years in my box of an apartment, convalescing and growing stronger every day. Today, the deer is safe and sound, and I feel healed, whole, and Closer to Fine.
With the help of wonderful friends and family, and through patience and self-awareness, I have persisted and endured in my journey without constantly trying to fix myself, but rather giving myself space and time. I am joyful that one small reward came to me in the form of an unassuming, beloved toy which has taught an important lesson about myself.