When I was a young girl I collected Barbies, and other trademarked dolls, usually representing a movie or television character, like Princess Leia, all three Charlie’s Angels, or Cher. I had boxes of clothing for them, a bright pink jeep and a lemon yellow motor home, and the ultimate “dream house” which had cut out holes in the roof for my hands to reach in, but no stairs or doors to any of the rooms. I had a few “men“, too, Ken with his “real” looking hair and smooth “boy mound“, and Han Solo who had painted on hair, and the outlines of a muscular frame, but still no “boy parts“.
Those men were all sexless and the women made-up in impossible curves and permanent, high heel posturing, forever standing on tiny tip-toed feet that would never hold up those unrealistic proportions. These dolls were supposed to reflect life, to be something to aspire to, some kind of ideal for young girls, but what kind of dream life were they instructing us to strive towards?
The boy next door used to come over and play dolls with me. He always chose the motor home to be his “home“, always chose Han Solo, and two out of three of the Angels to ride along with him. I took the dark haired, discarded Angel, and the floppy-haired Ken, changing his name and giving him a guitar to hold. I would take the “Dream house“, spending an hour setting up the rooms, sorting through clothing and tiny table settings, while my neighbor friend sped off down the hardwood hallway, and sometimes out our backdoor, going “four-wheeling” in the overgrown lawn.
Once my house was complete, once my character’s life seemed set-up and ready to go I would feel the inevitable let down. Though I was great at coming up with stories and scenarios, I felt worn out, tired, and restless. I would abandon the rock star and his brunette wife in their house of dreams and follow my friend outside, saying “hey, you want to play something else?”, and we would move on, starting again on something new. The joy for me was in the beginning, the readying for whatever we were about to do, the first moves on the board, the initial doling out of roles.
My follow-through sucked even then.
My first day fever lit me up through my adolescence. The first day of school jitters were the ones that got my heart racing, all those clean sheets of paper, too hot sweaters for a Southern California September, and new plastic smell of three-ring binders. My goals were all shiny and new, full of good intentions and determination. That fever would infect me into adulthood, all those number 1’s on the calendar feeling like a new chance, to lose weight, to work on that novel, to pay attention more, to do better, to be better, to change. All those first kisses and swear to God promises of love, the “I do’s” that would turn into “I don’t’s” when the “new car smell” wore off, when the house was set-up and the reality of living in it set in.
Maybe I should have chose the house on wheels so I could keep on moving.
The proverbial “they” say it is my fear of failure that keeps me from staying the course, my fear of abandonment and of being wrong. “They” say it is part of my anxieties, my survivor scars, to want to keep moving, to keep changing, to keep hiding inside the starting over. I get the itch, sometimes three years in, sometimes three months, sometimes three days, and when it comes I cannot control it. I lie in bed, sleepless, my skin on fire. I itch and itch until I bleed, until the pale turns to pink, blood pooling under my nails, every exposed part of me bee stung sore. I try to ignore it, close my eyes and make it all turn dark and numb, wrapping the blanket around me like a cocoon, like a tomb, but I can’t contain it, the desire to start something all over again.
Hiding behind the blanket doesn’t make this monster go away.
Maybe that is the appeal of writing for me. The empty screen or blank sheets a canvas to scrawl a number 1 on, to create a new “dream” life on, to pen my next escape without actually leaving. It is me calling out into the yard that I want to play something else, the me that wants to put on another itchy sweater paired up with a shiny character lunchbox and ready myself for notes and tests and some kind of success, the me who looks into another set of eyes and thinks, yes, this one, this is the one.
I suppose that is why I started this blog in the first place, a created space that seconds as my escape hatch, my start over steam engine, my forever first day to fill up a “dream” self in. The girl with the itch to change waving from the words, sending her regards to her “real” life, painting girls with their feet flat on the ground and waist lines that are sometimes indistinct to curves that make sense, and boys and girls who have all their parts that they use, and don’t use, at their own volition, all the pretty and the ugly and the in-between right there, right now.
This is the me I’m writing today, though I may want to be someone else tomorrow.
Apply Some Pressure :: Maximo Park