My parent’s king size bed was overrun with dolls, barbie clothes, stuffed animals, and miniature furniture. I created an entire house for my many dolls and their pets with pillows and dollhouse furniture. Two duffel bags filled with clothes and dolls entertained my imagination for hours. I had a very vivid imagination. Still do. One of my coping skills that gets me through very dark times. I imagine a better world and go back there when my heart and mind cannot take the pain around me. When I couldn’t reach my daughter, I used to tell her that she is the star of her own broadway show and she is often on encore. I understood her. I was and sometimes still am like her. We both had the same form of coping skills for difficult and scary times. I wasn’t escaping a difficult time back then, but I would play with my dolls for hours and hours. I would immerse myself in their stories. I even would fall asleep on one of the pillow beds for a quick nap to rejuvenate my creative mind. I can picture it like it was yesterday. Sometimes I wish it was yesterday and I could know what I know now and relive my life. But then I wouldn’t be sitting here today with my two beautiful kids or would I? No one will ever know. Now I am off subject. My creative mind wandering to another show. Sorry.
Back to my dolls. I had so many and all different kinds. Most were Barbies. The blonde, blue-eyed beauties that made us think we would all have legs that didn’t touch at the thigh or perfect 23 inch waists. And that Ken would always follow us around and want to be with us. Funny though, Barbie wasn’t my favorite doll. Darci was my favorite one. I got her one Christmas. She was different. She was a whole head taller than Barbie. She wasn’t as anatomically incorrect as Barbie was in those days. She looked like a woman who got up every morning and ran three miles then drove the kids to school before going to work. I never realized it, until one night recently when I was reflecting on these fun moments, but Darci was always the head of my doll household. Just Darci. No Ken. Not even long, dark haired shave Ken. And he was a catch for sure. No one could resist his silky long dark hair instead of a blonde plastic, feathered helmet. After years of the shave marker on his face, he eventually had stubble. I mean, come on, Malibu Ken was just a pretty boy. Darci was strong enough to not be tempted by him. She ran the house and everyone in it. She solved everyone’s problems. She believed in consequences and communication. She was my superhero. I knew then the power of a woman and what she could do on her own. I knew you didn’t need a man to make it in this world. I knew Darci could handle it. She must have had like 15 kids, not sure because I had so many Barbies then. Darci taught me that I could do it too.
After the duffels of dolls were long packed away, I still believed in what Darci stood for in my mind. I went to Europe by myself to study. I went to college far away from home by myself and graduated with honors and a semester early. I moved to New York City by myself. I never even knew my roommates until the day I moved in. I slept in a non-heated basement on a mattress under a spiral staircase. The floor shook from the nearby subway station and I could see my breath some winter mornings. I loved it. I was succeeding on my own. I even helped to support a boyfriend who got lost in grief after his father died. I was Darci. I was handling life. I was doing a pretty good job until I got this idea in my head that I should have someone who loved me. I had not had anyone love me yet and I was 30. Shouldn’t I have this? I lost my edge. I lost my focus. I lost myself in the man who promised me just that. I took Darci and put her in the duffel bag and pulled out one of the dolls that I didn’t like so much. One of the high maintenance looking ones who always played the dumb sister. Yep, that was me now. The doll that I didn’t like. Why did I give up on Darci?
I have been beating myself up for months now. Mad that I didn’t stay in Darci mode. Mad that I let this guy con me into believing his false promises of love and forever. I believed him so fast. Too fast. What happened to me? I thought that I was lost and needed something. I thought that something was a man. Why do we do this as women? Is it because when we were kids the Barbies came with Kens. I don’t remember Astronaut Barbie or Chef Barbie. I am glad that the girls of today have better examples of being strong, independent women. I created Darci into that inspiration. I don’t remember Darci and her two friends having any guy dolls to go with them. It was just the three girls. It never ceases to “stupefy” me that these dark-hearted men can take even the strongest women and turn them into a heap of pain. I have to stop beating myself up for my stupidity and naivety for believing a pathological lying, narcissistic addict that he wanted to take care of me and that he loved me. It is not my fault for wanting to see the best in someone. It is not my fault for having a big heart and loving big. It is not my fault for wanting to be loved. It is not my fault that he cannot be faithful. He is the Ken doll taking any glamorous Barbie you buy for him that day. I am the Darci doll wanting to be strong and capable to do it on my own.
The duffel bag was given to my daughter. She didn’t see the amazing qualities in Darci that I did. But Ken did lose his head forever and she had all girls left. So things went back to a balanced world in the duffel bag and in my mind’s world. I will be forever grateful for my creative mind that protects me when the toxic people try to destroy me. I will always reflect upon Darci running that king-sized household all by herself and succeeding. Thank you, Darci. I won’t forget you anymore and let some Ken kidnap me with lies and false love.
Breathe out emptiness, breathe in creativity. Breathe out worldly needs, breathe in personal growth. Breathe out stigmas, breathe in leading the way. Breathe out unrealistic expectations, breathe in self acceptance.