Where I write

Where I write

April 2, 2015

Sugar and Spice and everything is not so nice....

      Here I am, a sweet little girl dressed in pure white standing between my dear cousins who came to celebrate my first communion. Ah but all is not as it seems. Behind that innocent smile was less sugar and everything was not nice.

     Oh yes I behaved like a good girl. I was polite to adults and listened to my teachers. I didn't sit on my little brother and try to squish him. Not that often. I ate all my vegetables and behaved. I loved my parents.  I did as I was told. I never was sent to the principal's office or fought with my friends.
     Until I took out my Barbie doll and became. Well...nasty.
      My best friend Gloria said to me once as we played with our dolls in my bedroom, "you get so mean when we play Barbies." I remember thinking she was right. I did. But her comment didn't stop me. I secretly liked being bad. My Barbie was sassy and bossy and didn't want anyone to tell her what to do.  She didn't say yes. She said no. A lot. She argued. Not just with the other Barbies, or Midge or Skipper, but also with her boyfriend, Ken. He could do no right.
    My Barbie and Ken wore these same outfits to the beach.   Ken sure was a snazzy dresser. His sandals even matched his red bathing suit. And what about the peppermint stripped cover up he is wearing? Maybe I felt threatened and upset with Ken because he turned the heads of not just the women, but some of the men, at the beach, too.

   One Christmas Santa brought me the Barbie dream house and the sport's car. I was thrilled. I wouldn't let my friends drive the car. When they visited my house, I made sure they did not mess up my cardboard chair and matching ottoman or play with the stereo without my permission. It was my dream house. When I played with my Barbie, I was the one in charge. In real life, I let my friends romp all over my bedroom but when it came to my Barbie Dream House...the boundaries were drawn tight.
   At my Barbie dream house no one could tell me when to go to bed or what dress I had to wear to school. I could wear my high heels and earrings all day long and never clean my room if I didn't want to clean. I didn't have to share a thing with my pesky little brother. I could spend entire days at the beach with Ken, assuring him red was his color. Then call Midge on the phone and tell her off. And I didn't even drink wine then so I couldn't use the excuse it was the liquor talking.

  When I put my  Barbie away in her plastic case, I became my  good little girl self again. Certainly, a therapist could  analyze this and use phrases like repressed anger, and perhaps the experts would be correct. Or maybe I was just exercising an emotional muscle that I never had a chance to practice in my real good girl life. Eventually, I put away Barbie permanently and also learned to people please less and assert myself more. Took time but I thought I found the right balance.

   Until recently. I seem to have lost my filter. I worry I've become like my former neighbor Francis. She was in her 80s by the time I met her. A few months before she died the two of us were sitting and chatting near our townhomes. Another neighbor passed by, a young woman, and Francis blurted, "she's fat." I'm sure the woman heard. I felt terrible. But Francis didn't. Then Francis told me that my dog at the time, Buddy, was gay. "He likes other boy dogs," she said Which was true. But still.

    I once had a Midge doll. I cut her hair and used a mascara wand to dye it black. I think I must have been angry at someone to do this to poor Midge. I'm thinking in order to retain my friendships I might need to get dolls. Each time I want to say something that I should keep to myself such as, "why are you dating that loser?" Or, "are you really going to waste money again on that?" This is not a good way to keep friendships. Instead,  I will let the doll say all my mean thoughts just as I did when I was 10 year's old.

   But then sitting home surrounded by dolls and talking to them may not be the best idea. I'm thinking instead to pour all my opinions and biases and petty jealousies into the characters I write. Pretend when I write that I'm playing Barbies again and just let it all loose, to the fictional world rather than the real world. I'll embrace my inner nasty Barbie. As a result, I might be able to maintain a few more friendships so I'm not completely alone when my time comes.

    For those of you who don't like to write I would lend you my Midge doll but I threw her in the trash one day. Then I smiled and looked oh so sweet again.


Kirsten Buck said...

Barbie and I are the same age. I wanted a Barbie oh-so-much when I was four, but my parents got me a cheap knock-off thinking I wouldn't know or care. Fools! I still harbor resentment. They eventually got me a real Skipper doll and her Dream Room. I loved her dearly and never, ever cut her hair. I still have the fake album covers that wouldn't play on the fake record player 'cause they were just fake covers w/ no fake vinyl inside because there was no inside. And I had friends whose Inner Bitch came out along w/ their Barbies. My Skipper and I played a lot by ourselves. Mattel runs deep in our generation.


SunsetCindi said...

So do I need to be worried now that you have a 'Cindi' doll at home that you're yelling at??ha!

The beauty of being a writer is being able to channel that inner devil inside of us into those characters. and we all have it, especially us 'good girls' who are people pleasers. At least yu recognize it and keep it in check, maybe when we're 80 tho we can let loose and say whatever the #%&* we want to!

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