My recent obsession regarding my collecting bug has been toys. I have over 300 toys from more than two dozen toy lines currently. Nearly half of all my figures are Transformers or other transforming robots i.e. Power Rangers, Gobots etc. Why do I collect toys?
It all started when I was 18 years old. I walked into a comic book shop and saw an assortment of Transformers action figures behind the glass case tucked away where they were safe. Overwhelmed with nostalgia for my toys from years past I bought a couple. My first two I picked up at that time was a G1 Dinobot named Snarl and a G1 Deluxe Insecticon called Ransack. I no longer have either of those figures as a result of me selling off my entire collection in 2004 to fund a move to Kansas plus using some of the funds to launch my defunct record studio at the time. It was a terrible life decision but I had to do it at the time.
The reason I was waxing nostalgic for toys at 18 was complicated. I was a dork. I didn’t date much but when I did I often date girls way too young for me. This was partially because my interests remained in the things typically associated with 12-year-old girls. I was branded a pedophile despite never doing anything not even holding hands with any of them when our ages prevented us from doing so. I was in a weird forbidden relationship with a girl under 16 at the time so there was a small part of me that saw buying a toy from my childhood in front of her as a way to demonstrate I was harmless. Granted I had no sex drive but you can’t tell people that when you are 18 they freak out nonetheless.
The reason I tell that story is because I was arrested for taking her across state lines. I was charged with kidnapping. I had her and my younger sister both with me at the time. It was an instance where they had tricked me. I was driving my car around town playing music as I did because it was a small town with nothing to do. I spotted my sister and her friend, my then underage girlfriend, at the park. I asked what they were doing. They said school was out for the day and asked if I would drive them to the mall for a day of fun and shopping. I said sure because why not I had nothing else to do.
I wasn’t chasing the young girl. My interest was because of how much of a loser I was. Nobody ever expressed liking towards me. When she confessed to having a crush on me I caved and asked her out. I told her it couldn’t be physical only letters and occasionally hanging out playing video games. She agreed, I got arrested and was explained why everything we did was wrong. Fortunately I never did anything illegal and her parents knowing me from church dropped the charges. I promptly ended things with her and moved on. I resolved to never date a girl or made friends with an underage girl again.
The reason I was so nostalgic for my toys that day was because it had only been two years before I took all my toys, comic books and trading cards from my childhood and destroyed them because another girl broke up with me. I was 16 at that time. I was missing the things from my past. I had spent the following two years sinking my earned income into music equipment, car audio stuff and my computer. That put me in a weird place where I was cut off from the best parts of my past. Thus nostalgia took over. After dusting myself off from the threat of jail time for being so stupid I threw myself into my toys for the next few years. Until I sold them all.
During that time I was so obsessed I was engaging in all kinds of side hustles to make as much money as I could in order to acquire more toys. I was even trading car audio and computer stuff with people as well as video games to get more Transformers toys. At that time I stuck exclusively to Transformers branded toys. In 2019 I started collecting toys again only this time I opened myself to any and everything I wanted.
Toy collecting has always been tied to all the major milestones in my life. As a kid my toys were my best friends. As a teenager and into my early 20’s they were a way to meet girls. As an adult they remain a way for me to fill my empty life with things that bring me small amounts of joy from time to time. I never matured out of the 14-15 year old girl range. Despite being 39 now I still have the same interests at heart as a teenage girl. I often find myself in quite a dorky mood as I try to hold onto the good feelings from my youth. I never wanted to become and adult. I cling to the best parts of my childhood because it makes me feel younger than I really am. I have even been told I look many years younger than I am so I figured in a way they are like my own personal fountain of youth.
My current girlfriend is age appropriate as have been all mine since that incident. I had to learn some harsh lessons in life by confronting some dark accusations. It was not a place I would recommend anyone find themselves in. I was that naive I didn’t think anything of it. Like I said I wasn’t motivated by sexual desires so I thought that made it okay. I was wrong. Today my toys are a reminder of who I am not who I was. I hold onto the best parts because the worst is in the past where it belongs.