Growing up, my favorite cousin and I had a HUGE collection of Barbie dolls and all the goodies to go with it. It took us years to build the collection and we would take turns keeping them in each of our houses, one year at my place, and one year at hers. And come summer holidays, we would spend hours, every day playing dress up with our dolls, creating elaborate stories, and having the time of our lives.
Even back then I had the biggest crush on her shoes. Even before the red sole took over social media, even before Carrie Bradshaw, we had Barbie and her shoes. Back then Barbie had ONLY heels, and skipper, ken, and the babies had flat shoes. Barbie was all about the glamour. And we LOVED it.
Which is why even now, when I see so much hate or negativity about this particular toy, I just don’t get it. As kids we had around 50 dolls, and countless pairs of shoes, hair brushes, clothes, tiaras, bangles, briefcases, handbags, sunglasses, everything. Now the Barbie doll has changed to be more of an everyday woman, well I still love it. I think a part of me will always love this doll.
One summer our whole collection got stolen. We have no idea who took it, but the whole set just vanished, and whoever took it was careless enough to leave a few remnants – one shoe, one hairbrush and some other little trinket – we searched the whole house inside and out, from basement to the attic, from the library to my cousin’s parents room, we were hysterical, we spent an entire summer day searching, only to end up in tears about the fact that our beloved collection had indeed been stolen, and we couldn’t do anything about it. We were probably 10 years old at the time, and someone, some cruel horrible person, had stolen our dolls. That was literally my first big life lesson about this world. That it doesn’t matter even if you’re just a child, there are people awful enough to do this kind of shit (and way worse, but that’s for another time). Our summer holidays weren’t the same anymore. It made us not want to collect anything anymore for the fear of feeling such heartbreak. A part of my childhood died that day.
But that’s not what this post is about. Growing up we played dress up with these larger-than-life dolls, and aspired to be just like her. Barbie let us believe we could be ANYTHING we wanted, a lawyer or an astronaut, a journalist, a teacher or even a princess. Anything we dreamed of, we could be. And when sky was the limit, little me dreamed of being Barbie, with her glossy long hair, and colorful clothes for every occasion, and accessories to match. I dreamed of being her.
Needless to say, when I first started working I started my shoe collection – heels if I’m being specific – and I wear them every chance I get. And a few times when I’ve been out and about doing my routine things, little girls aged about 5-7 have come running up to me just to tell me that I look like Barbie and run away before I can even thank them. Not knowing that they’ve made my day (probably even my whole week). At times like these, the little girl whose heart was brutally broken because someone stole all her dolls, rejoices because no one can steal something that is part of you.
Sometimes, our childhood dreams do come true. And if we’re really really lucky, others can see it too.