Comfort Plug | Teen Ink

Comfort Plug

November 17, 2022
By adriannawebster030 BRONZE, Concord, Vermont
adriannawebster030 BRONZE, Concord, Vermont
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

"Don’t lose it, either,” my stepdad says. “It has a dalmatian on it, that increases its value.” He smiles and hands me a folded-up blanket. I take it. It’s fuzzy, sort of like the comfortable spikey fuzzy. I am four years old, so I have no concept of whether I should thank him and be appreciative. So I just take the blanket and run off. That was sort of the start of it.

Every time I walk into my room, I see that blanket. I see the black spots, the firehose, the fire. It’s all so chaotic, like a fire erupting around it. But somehow, it creates a little corner in my life where I can just lie there and have a blank mind; I can be who I want to be without my thoughts screaming back at me. 

When I go through my day, my head is constantly talking. It talks about the people around me, the events happening, and the senses that occur. It talks about its opinions, its feelings, and its mood. Sometimes I search for things for it to just. shut. up. I’ve tried meditation, focusing on my breathing, counting to 10, and even calming music. It’s like the entire world around me is moving at a normal pace and I’m here running a marathon, out of breath. I mean, when I think about my heart beating, it starts beating faster and faster until I can’t feel it anymore. I think about the bones inside my body and my stomach starts churning. I think about everything that I know will upset me, but I can’t control it. It’s my mind trying to block me out of my consciousness. 

Ever since I got into high school, I’ve tried to find ways to stop my mind from talking all the time. I had come to the conclusion that it was hopeless. It was hopeless in my first class, hopeless during lunch, hopeless during practice, and hopeless on the car ride home. It was hopeless up until the moment I stepped into my room every day. Hopeless until I scan my eyes toward that stupid, stupid blanket. I would drop my bag and trust all my weight on the bed. Then, I would just lie there, the blanket in hand. The feeling of it in my grip and the feeling of all the energy I had used throughout the day seeping through my mattress was all I would long for. Then, I would fall asleep, the minute I got home. My mind isn’t thinking about the hours of homework I need to get done, not the grades that are falling faster than can be picked up, not my mother whose yelling is louder than Gandolf’s ‘you shall not pass.’  My mind is now focused on myself, and what I need. My feet are stretched out, my arms are wrapped around my fire blanket, and my eyes, heavy, are closed. Before I doze off, I think of every part of my body. I let my toes, calves, thighs, stomach, chest, shoulders, face, and head all relax. Damn. How could a blanket calm me so much? 

When my stepdad gave me my fire blanket, I didn’t have any recollection of what I should do. So I just ran off. I ran into my room and started playing with it, putting all the stuffed animals I own onto it and carrying it around the house like Santa's sack. I treated it as sort of like an experiment, to make sure I’d actually like this blanket and that it would be worth my time. It definitely was, as I’ve slept with that blanket every night for as long as I can remember. Everything between the points of me receiving it and now is a blur. But I can only assume that it’s been through a child’s life. Through road trips, show-and-tells, arguments, and mental breakdowns. It’s all there, whether I want it to be or not. 

Sometimes my mind goes to a darker place about the blanket though. I wonder if it’s actually supposed to be meaningful, or if my stepdad just picked it up from his closet floor and needed someone to give it to. I mean, it didn’t take him that long to be a fraud stepdad until he disappeared. So I wonder, is this blanket that its stitches are barely keeping a part really worth it? Or should I just turn to a normal-person comfort plug? Some people find comfort in their families, their bedrooms, or their pets. If I were to just turn to my Dad or my dog for my main source of comfort, would it be worth it? 

Of course it wouldn’t. You see, I come home to the blanket every single day. My Dad and dog? I only get to see them on the weekends. My point is, no matter how stupid, silly, or embarrassing you think your comfort plug might be, it’s always going to be there. It roots from your childhood and doesn’t stop growing until you’re old and can’t walk. It keeps growing until it sits in the same casket as you. It keeps growing until all is grown; your dignity, your mind, your confidence. It grows beside you and holds another version of you that nobody else can see. So whenever I’m feeling on edge, like my mind is talking too much or I’m going too fast, I like to take my fire blanket off my bed corner and let go of reality for just a couple of hours. So no matter where you get your spikey, fuzzy feeling of comfort, how you feel before it, and how you feel after it, it’s always going to be there. No one can tell you whether it's acceptable or not, because as a 17-year-old with a 4-year-old child's blanket, it still feels as meaningful as it did that first day. That’s the thing about a comfort plug. It stays.

The author's comments:

This is a personal narrative I wrote about my childhood blanket. It describes how the blanket has molded me as a person. This narrative was written as an assignment for my Contemporary Communications class. My teacher said I should publish it and suggested I send it through TeenInk. 

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