For myself, of course. To get in touch with my inner child. Or is that my inner J.A.P? (Jewish Australian Princess.) Either way, turns out that finding a red-haired Barbie is not that easy, especially if you’re not interested in some kind of two hundred dollar vintage Bob Fosse creation, still in its original packaging, which likely features Liza Minnelli’s signature on the butt. Fun, but not useful for my highly specialized purposes.
I do not need an untouchable doll in a box, as too often I feel like I am one. That is, without Barbie’s waistline, that lucky bitch. I wonder why Mattel never came up with Anorexic Barbie- she comes with a Barbie townhouse without a kitchen. In case she actually eats, let Barbie enjoy her very own special Bedazzled Purging Station, complete with breath mints so Ken will never be the wiser. If you think I’m exaggerating it’s not by much, looking around on eBay I actually found Barbie Princess Charm School Royal Bed & Bath Play Set. Charm School?
So what is the purpose of a thirty-eight year old woman who has two school age boy children buying herself a Barbie, I hear you cry? Why, to play with. That’s right, if I want to sit around and play Barbies for the fifteen motherfucking minutes I have to my motherfucking self every G-damn day, to hang out with my neglected, bedraggled, starving inner child, I shall do that. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.
You see according to my calculations, everything started going wrong for me at about seven years of age, or at least that was when the doubts, fears and anxieties that had been flowing out daily through tears, crystallized and hardened into a small black ball, that ironically resembled the copious amounts of hash I would smoke in my teenage years. I was probably smoking that ball, to try and distract me from the one inside, and like an errant, black snowball it has rolled on, collecting tumbleweeds, dust and negativity over the years, until it flattened my inner little Susanna into a fleshy pancake. And while that pancake lacked Barbie’s waistline, she seemed to have been blessed with Barbie’s emotional range.
Think about it, does Barbie look like she’s in touch with her feelings? She can’t even stand on her heels, she’s always smiling and her vagina is a plastic divot, how likely is she to have a deep understanding of her own needs, sexual or otherwise? I’m sure she has had a whale of a time dry humping Ken’s plastic mound in the dream-house, but I don’t think that counts. I’m talking about connection, people. Spirit. Soul. The kind that cannot be achieved by purchasing plastic-heeled shoes.
In an effort to contact that little girl who sat so contentedly for hours brushing my doll’s hair (I only had one Barbie, we were Russian immigrants after all) wrapping handkerchiefs around her body to create haute couture, and having her be a combination dentist, journalist and movie star, I am becoming that little girl again. At this time, my Barbie already has a “Gucci Original” handcrafted over the weekend by chopping up one of those bags they give you for your purse if you spend enough on it. (“A bag for a bag- vhat a vonderful country zhis America,” I hear my ancestors exclaim.) The best thing about being head atelier for Barbie: you can tape the fabric directly to her boobs and she doesn’t mind. Or she doesn’t seem to, you can’t really tell by her expression…
Yet through this rather inexpressive female Tin Man (“I wish I had feelings…”) I am finding something that has been lost in the onslaught of life. Who has time to let that little child inside pee, or rest, or eat? I was partly raised by my grandmother, a woman whose motto was “Hurry Up…” That’s all I ever heard her say, Bistro Bistro Bistro “QUICKLY, QUICKLY…” as if everything was an emergency requiring immediate attention. And this is how I treat that little girl inside, driving her so hard that she had to crash a dream car to get my attention. (Sure it wasn’t pink, but that’s no excuse.)
Over the weekend, as my children and husband watched mystified as I made Barbie’s dress, I apologized for always telling them to “Hurry up.” I promised that I would never again be irritated if any of them (including the one with the biggest bladder) had to stop and pee, rest or eat. I do not want to be that whipping jockey, constantly inducing heart-racing panic in my family, always rushing to some unreachable destination. I am committed that the race end with me.
These simple things we do for ourselves to recover what has been lost cannot be overestimated. I believe that we ignore these children inside at our peril, as they are powerful and will crash through our lives and have their impish way with us when we least expect it. By the way, I also bid on and won a three story Barbie townhouse with elevator, it will be coming to my door any day now. I may not be Malibu Barbie, but I am having a great day.