Misery Barbie Loves Company
My mother has always loved delicate paper dolls and baby dolls. I, on the other hand, preferred mine with a few battle scars. As a child, I subjected my Pink & Pretty Barbie to Navy Seal-like training. Notice that Barbie isn’t plural. That’s because I so appalled my mother that she refused to buy me another. My Barbie got a GI Jane haircut, fell from cliffs, had logs fall on her, got caught in the undertow without a lifejacket, and fell into wells. When my dog chewed off the doll’s hands and feet, I knew Barbie was in for a new adventure. Her life was controlled by my imagination.
Before you call me a Barbie bully, understand that I didn’t want Barbie to die. Rather, I wanted her to MacGyver herself to safety, to climb back up the mountain, to grab onto a floating log, to fashion a rope from a Scrunci and a shoelace. I realize now that this was part of the foundation for my writing career. At the core of my writing are strong heroines, warrior women who know the words to “I Will Survive” by heart and can get themselves out of a well without the aid of Lassie or Timmy.
As I have grown older, I realized something that my lone Barbie, in her empty plastic shell, never could: You can’t have warrior strength unless you surround yourself with people who believe in you. A strong heroine needs a team in the background who cheer her on. I hope your team includes friends, a romantic hero, parents like mine who encourage me even when I’m weird or my writing needs serious help, and especially a God who is always with you and I even in the depths of that dark well.