Last week a new member was introduced to the Herbert family and to the Ippie framily. His name is Wippy and his coming out party has been a while in the making. While some spend their days before their coming out party living in a closet, Wippy spent his time of waiting living in a drawer. And now a little back story…
In January of 2012 Christiana and I took a trip to New York city to celebrate her 28th birthday. She wanted to so something more than just go out to dinner or have a little gathering. She wanted to do something special. My storytelling and writing career had just recently begun even though I didn’t know it yet. I had started this blog just a few months earlier while on a trip to Paris. My confidence as a writer had begun to grow as I found new and exciting things to write about and trips were the perfect content creator for a new blogger. I was all too willing sign on for the adventures in NYC.
On day two of our trip to NYC, Christiana had devised a secret plan to surprise me and take me to the original FAO Schwartz toy store. You know the one from the movie BIG where Tom Hanks dances on the giant piano keyboard. It wasn’t the dancing on the keyboard that enticed me so much about the visit. It was the fact that my Dad took me to that store once a year every summer from the time I was about 7 years old right up until I stopped wanting to go when I grew up to the ripe old age of teenager. Many years after being a teenager my sentiments have gone back in the other direction. Funny how later in life as you grow up more, you are less interested in being a grown up and a lot more interested in re-awakening your inner child. My inner child was delighted to go back to a store I didn’t even know existed anymore. In fact I wrote a a blog about that visit over four years ago. If you like you can check it out here for more of that old story.
While we were on that visit in 2012 we came across a display rack with a collection of stuffed toys called Ugly Dolls. I had never seen nor heard of anything like these creatures and frankly I found them, well, rather ugly! Christiana became enthralled with a particular green guy named Pointy Max. I could tell she wanted to buy him, but I managed to talk her out of wasting her money on another stuffed toy that we didn’t need. She dejectedly went off to find the ladies room as she fell right into my little trap.
While she was in the ladies room, I dashed back to the display, grabbed Pointy Max and ran to the checkout. I purchased Pointy Max, crumbled him up into a tight ball and jammed him into the interior zipper pocket of my Northface jacket hoping that Christiana would not notice the unusual bulge. Later that night, after dinner at the famous ABC Kitchen, I left Pointy Max on the bed for her to find. She was delighted! Thus began the the Herbert family journey with what is now a collection of Ugly Dolls that have become parts of various important chapters in our lives.
Next along in the line of uglies came Uppy for our first Christmas in our new apartment. Over the next couple of years Handsome Panther and Crowdy joined the crew. Eventually the first female Ugly Doll joined the family in the likes of Suddy. And then came the all important addition of Mover, who helped me lead Christiana on her scavenger hunt to find me at the the Art Institute on the afternoon I proposed to her. Ugly dolls have traveled with us to Jamaica, Ireland and conferences across the United States. Pointy Max himself has been photographed at the Eiffel Tower, the Guinness Storehouse, the Golden Gate bridge and the Alamo to name only a few places. It’s been quite a journey.
Last year before our return trip to Paris, I sought out a new addition to the family. I went to a great store in Chicago called Rotofugi which carries unique collectible toys. I instantly found the guy I was looking for. It was a purple Ugly Doll that had the words “Peace” and “Love” embroidered on his chest in rainbow colors in the middle of a white heart. His name was Wippy. I took him home and packed Wippy into my suitcase to take him to Paris and surprise Christiana with her new friend. Interestingly, the timing never seemed right to give him to her. We were in Paris as part of a pilgrimage to spread my dear friend Richard’s ashes at the Chartres Cathedral. The magnitude and the spirituality of the journey left Wippy in the suitcase for the entire trip. When we got home from the trip I put Wippy into the drawer in my dresser where I keep all my junk. I buried him under a stack of old cards and the vestment Richard wore while he officiated our wedding ceremony. There Wippy remained for months.
Then in July of 2015 we were preparing to travel to Ventura for the Infinite Possibilities conference and we were scheduled to present on the main stage as the Hay House cameras filmed for Mike Dooley’s on line certification program. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to let Wippy out of the drawer so once again I packed him in my suitcase and took him along. The weekend was perfect. He would have fit right in, but I got so busy working the conference that I forgot to take him out and give him to Christiana. Once again he returned home and went into the drawer.
Then as we prepared for our Ireland trip in September of 2015, Wippy began to get restless. He longed to travel again. He had grown quite accustomed to suitcases so when he saw me packing and getting ready he filed a request to travel along to the land of fairies and Goddesses and Guinness. Sure enough I packed Wippy into the suitcase with the intention of pulling him out at some point and surprising Christiana while in Ireland. Once again the energy never seemed right. As we visited sacred site after sacred site and dealt with our own energetic transformations and managed our first ever group tour, Wippy just stayed safely in his suitcase which had quickly become his second favorite place to the drawer back home. When the Ireland trip was over he was all to happy to go back into his drawer at home and live there for as long as needed to process the energy of being near passage tombs that dated back to the time of the Giza pyramids and fairy trees that carried the hopes and dreams of countless souls.
The Infinite Possibilities conference in San Antonio in January of 2016 would have been the perfect coming out party for Wippy. He would have been able to meet up with so many Ippies – for those out of the loop an Ippie is someone who has been to an IP conference. The only little problem is I forgot to bring him. I had some serious explaining to do when we returned home to find him none to happy to be left in his drawer. It was all for the best though. It was all part of the master plan even though I had nothing to do with the planning.
Although both Christiana and I thought we were done traveling for a while after a last minute junket to Georgia on the last weekend of January, apparently we were both wrong. Shortly after our time in Georgia, Christiana felt a calling to go to Bend, Oregon and do some work with a dear friend named Wendy Isaac. I felt a calling to go into nature by myself and I was being drawn to the Rocky Mountains for skiing, writing and yoga. As soon as we booked our separate reservations I heard a knocking on the drawer so to speak. Wippy made it very clear that he expected to travel to Bend, Oregon with Christiana and surprise her when she opened her suitcase. And so the plan was formed.
On the night before I left for Colorado and the Rockies, I brought Christiana’s suitcase up from the storage locker for her own adventure. She was leaving the day after me so if I put Wippy in her suitcase with a note she would find him as she packed for her own trip and then he could make yet another adventure. Sure enough Wippy was found later that night and on the next day he traveled to Bend, Oregon marking his fourth trip in less than a year. On the trip Wippy finally met his brother Pointy Max who was along for the the ride like he always is. He also met a few Ippies at a group lunch on the day of his arrival. Wippy may have even inspired his own spinoff line as his image was seen in a photo by the San Antonio IP crew family in a private chat window we maintain. Since then there has been some serious discussion about a line of Ippie Dolls.
So a journey that began a little under a year ago has finally led to Wippy’s coming out party – he’s officially out of the drawer. He joins a good size crew of fellow adventures including the ones mentioned above as well as Angry Bear, Teddy Bear, the Hippo and the hippo, Woodstock and Bobby Bear and the minions Dave and Bob.
Some would say it’s a bit ridiculous that Herberts have managed to amass such a collection of stuffed lovables? To those I would offer this. I spent too many years of my life living in a drawer of fear worried about what people would think of me if I acted like my real self. As I’ve grown older in the last couple of years I’ve grown wise enough to understand that my only path to true bliss includes me embracing my inner child, the same one I tried to grow out of as a young teenager and for many years thereafter.
I am so grateful and blessed to share the journey with a partner who inspires me to be silly, who builds me up to be vulnerable and who awakens my inner child. What are the chances that a surprise trip to FAO Schwartz a little over four years ago and the purchase of a little stuffed, green guy could have had such an effect? I’d say the chances are 100%. The Universe is always conspiring in our favor when we let it. So here’s to living the balance of this lifetime surrendering to the joy without attachment to the results. In doing so I feel so free. Here’s to stepping out of the drawer of fear and finding the journeys I was meant to travel. I’ll travel them all with uglies and teddies and hippos and minions, and most importantly with my little red haired girl who teaches this Charlie Brown about unconditional love everyday of his life.
I’ve been Wippified!