Find Your Chim Chims: A Beanie Baby Metaphor
Updated: Aug 6
Everyone, meet Chim Chim. For any Beanie Baby enthusiasts, you may know that this monkey's name isn't actually Chim Chim, but instead, "Bongo".
However, as a three year old child, I thought that Bongo seemed like a violent name (I pictured him being smacked repeatedly and beaten into the ground like an actual little monkey-drum) and decided to call him Chim Chim after the pet chimpanzee on Speed Racer. I loved the show at the time, and Chim Chim was my favorite character (because he was, well, a cartoon monkey).
Beanie Babies were launched in 1993 when I was just one. I suppose it took me another two years to recognize/find out that they existed, but during a hot Florida night in October, my family stumbled across a display in a gift shop. We were on vacation, and my parents were looking to buy me a souvenir. I was drawn to this new kind of "stuffed" animal, arranged in rows and towers on a table. I specifically remember seeing about 20 Chim Chims, all in a row. I viewed them, looking for the one that spoke to me the most. Reaching into the middle of the pile, I claimed what was mine.
Chim Chim has been thrown up on. He has traveled to multiple states, France, and Ireland. One time, I accidentally tore a hole in his back (where he was a bit warn out from the uh, throw-up incident), busting his little Beanie Baby guts all over the floor. I was horrified. First of all, because the little white plastic balls were not beans, so I felt like I had been lied to. Secondly, I naturally thought that he was a goner. I watched, my eyes stained with tears as my mom sewed up his tiny monkey back after stuffing the small beads back in. "Does it hurt him?" I asked.
After a move to a new high school, college, and two apartments since graduating, Chim Chim has been through a lot. He currently sits perched at the corner of my dresser, right next to my bed (that way both he and my framed picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar can watch over me as I sleep).
Last night, stress from work and other small anxieties were keeping me awake, although I felt so very exhausted. I couldn't sleep, and tossed and turned throughout the night. I flopped over, noticing Chim Chim in the moonlight, his black, glossy eyes gazing out the window. I stood up, careful not to trip in the dark, and grabbed him. I then laid on my back, placing him on my chest. I sighed, realizing that he was almost 22 years old.
Since his introduction to my family, I have received two mini Chim Chim beanie babies, two other replacement "Bongo" Beanie Babies, and two large Chim Chim Beanie Babies (one is in a laying-down on his stomach position with a green ribbon around his neck...it was a weird choice by TY in my opinion). I treasured them all, the grand evolution of Chim Chim, but always liked mine best.
I've talked before about how I hold on to a lot of things. Some physical, some not. As I've been trying to get better at throwing things away, or donating what I can, I am often asking myself "Is this worth holding onto?" For me, Chim Chim has always been worth it. But what about some of this other stuff?
Why do I keep Chim Chim? He is a memory, or multiple memories really, and was a gift from my parents. Chim Chim has gotten me through many sick or sad nights both in my childhood and teen years. Now, he is nostalgic, and a comfort to me. I couldn't imagine NOT having him anymore. So I suppose for things that you fight to keep, they should be on the Chim Chim level. Do they make you happy? Are you better because of them?
I constantly go back to my problem with letting go of negative thoughts. Whether impulsive thoughts, worries after simple conversations with coworkers, or memories of embarrassing things that happened to me in middle school. Whenever its quiet, and there is nothing else moving around me, my brain always seems to play the fun game of "Remember when?" or my other favorite "So what does ______ mean?"
Of course, there are positive thoughts. Feelings of confidence. Ideas and plans. Thinking of a pleasant memory or a laugh had with friends. These thoughts are my Chim Chims. The others? Simply the throw-up that needs washed away.
I stated a few weeks ago that I was going to focus on really "letting go" in 2017. It's only been a few days in, and it's hard. It's a constant battle to forgive, forget, or simply just not care if so and so is being mean to me for no reason and I have no idea what I did but it's consuming me from the inside. These feelings aren't my Chim Chims. I don't need them.
Find your Chim Chims, and hold onto them. They'll travel with you, cry with you, and help you sleep at night when nothing else helps. If something isn't worth holding onto, then wash it away. I'll be working on a lot of mental cleaning in the upcoming weeks, and it won't always be easy.
Your people, your passions, your favorite things, your ideas, your fond memories--they're all your Chim Chims. Work on collecting more. Whether they're small, similar to what you already have, or strangely positioned with a green bow. There is always room for more Chim Chims. But the throw-up? No one needs that.