Totems and Ice Breakers

Image: Sarah Wagner

Image: Sarah Wagner

Last year, around my birthday, the family and I went to the Steel City Comic Convention and, among other things, I came home with a TARDIS. I love my TARDIS. I’ve worn it very nearly every time I’ve gone out since that day. Some people think it’s silly but those tend to be the people who think I ought to grow up and do something with myself (because writing books doesn’t count) and I discount their opinion pretty easily.

The TARDIS is many things to me. It’s sentimental for all the hours spent watching with my mom and all the hours spent watching with my kids. It is a symbol of hope – all things are possible if you are clever enough. It is something of a calming fidget when I get anxious or nervous – something solid I can hold on to and play with, there is comfort in its weight and very presence for me. The interesting thing is that I haven’t had a big panic attack since I started wearing it. I’m not saying that has anything to do with the TARDIS but, at this point, I don’t want to jinx myself by not wearing it.

What I was not expecting was that my totem would also be an ice breaker. More often then not, someone comments on it when I’m out. I love Doctor Who as much for it’s broad audience as anything – people of every age, race, gender, and socioeconomic status know what my pretty blue box really is. Today it was the woman behind the counter at the grocery store who informed me she’s been watching since before I was born. She watched with her mom the same way I watched with mine. I don’t really people well – I struggle with social interactions and find them to be rather clumsy most of the time – but not when it’s about something like the Doctor – then it’s very easy to say hello and find a snippet of meaningful conversation to boot.

For some, it’s just a weird thing, a childish thing even, but for some of us, it is so much more. It’s almost a secret handshake in a symbol, and I’ve yet to meet a Whovian who didn’t greet it with kindness.

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Filed under Anxiety, Geek, Life

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