I spent my childhood playing with Barbies. Me and my sister would pick out our favorite to be the main character (fight over the new pretty ones), pick out their families, set up the furniture for the house and then typically plan some sort of party or gathering. We would sit in silence and I would play out the storylines in my head. It was set up so that once everything was perfect, each doll had the perfect room, the perfect closet, the perfect love interest, and the perfect children set up for later. Repeat for each doll until the family is established. Pick out a runner up Barbie to the best friend and make sure she has a boyfriend Ken doll. But not the cute ones, those are for main girl.
A typical storyline would go like this: My main character would be a Riley or Chloe or something with a cool name that no one else would have, she would never have to be first name and last initial. She would be dressed in jeans with heels and a simple top like a white tank or maybe a tie dye shirt ironically. My favorite doll I had tried to shave off her fake eyelashes with my moms razor, which in the process removed some of the paint from her eye and eyebrow, giving her the tragic backstory of “shark attack Barbie”. The narrative would begin post accident— she had overcome so much and opened her own bakery at the beach. She would be cool girl. Cool girl is desired by all the Ken dolls and all the Barbies want to be her because she is tragically beautiful and doesn’t care about anything. Except her bakery, her future Kelly’s (kids), her simple yet perfect closet, her house set up with matching plates, her yellow slugbug and who her future husband will be. But really gives off the, “I don’t care about anything” vibe. It’s at this point we can start her story— different Ken’s with frat boy name like Alex or Thad. They are used to getting what they want and are rich. Naturally they fall in love with main girl and learn to surf. And live happily ever after. And THEN we can throw a party where the best friend and all my sisters dolls can come. Oh and main girls new daughter can come. She’s a perfect toddler with freckles and matching shoes. The End.
Alternative story line: everything is the same except this time we grab a different doll, that’s flawless but not blonde and she carries a laptop and magazines to her chic job that had a desk and she is rich. Same everything else. The End.
Am I living my dream lives? I am alive. Barbie was controlled by me and she was living her dream life. My basic needs are all met. I have home, a man who loves me, a precious dog, great friends, and money. Yet I often feel lost or confused that my life isn’t what I set Barbies up to be. I spent and still spend so much time trying to make my life look perfect. Rearranging my furniture. Reorganized my wardrobe. Buy new clothes. Treat people like they are a part of my storyline. Build my life where I am in full control and I am the main character.
I find self worth in how I’m perceived. I spend my time and money on lies. New jeans and eyeliner can change my life. If don’t like the way my body or skin looks in what I own— I should buy a new top. I should buy new makeup. I should dye my hair. I should get fake lashes. I should spend hundreds of dollars to FEEL good. If I’m unhappy with my life, I need a new look and with it a new perspective and attitude.
Reflection: I’m scaring myself. It’s as if I think I am a mix of a perfect god and a worthless ogre. No wonder I often feel broken and tired. I need to develop a confidence that says I am in control of my life and am the main character, but with that I should feel a peace and satisfaction so that I can spend my life encouraging others and loving them. My error in thinking is that once everything is perfect, then I can finally start living, or in Barbie world, throw the party. That thought unpacked is: if I feel that may life is brag worthy, I want to show it off, make people want to be me and that in my celebrity I can be kind to others. Because they are less then me.
Today I will practice: “life is beautifully imperfect, the moments are now, and everyone around you is the main character.”
Today I will try to heal my own expectations.