In Her Shell
Sunday, August 19, 2007
When Mattel finally came out with a different-looking Barbie (besides Skipper, Midge, and Ken, always minor players), Roni and I were ecstatic.

Her name was Miko, but we called her Michelle. Her name was Michelle regardless of the setting, storyline, or the day we were playing. The other Barbies were interchangeable, but Michelle was always Michelle.

Her personality was also constant: the calm, big-sister figure to whom all the other Barbies went for advice. I admired Michelle, as much as it is possible to admire an 11 inch piece of plastic upon which you have projected your issues. I wanted to be that girl--the calm one, the one everyone else relied upon.

And I managed to create that for myself, as I became a teenager. I loved giving advice, and revelled in what I perceived to be its measured wisdom. Even though I had never had a boyfriend, I could counsel my friends on love. Having kind parents, I commented on tales of abuse. My seat on the outside afforded me a safety that they did not have. They had the experiences, and I reviewed them.

Over years I felt the weight of this role. Michelle was long discarded at the bottom of a box in the attic, and I existed under a pile of my friends' worries. I internalized them, but being undigestable, they travelled around with me in my belly. Slowly, I crawled out from underneath.

At first it felt like a terrible detachment, and it still does, sometimes. In recent years I've revelled in my self-centeredness in much the same way that I used to love my selflessness. It was a protective measure, but sometimes I wonder whether too much was left behind.
Is this why we're friends? Cuz we both gave too much in our youths and went on to be the suns in our own universes everyone else revolved around? or more correctly, the suns in our own universes no one else bothered with because they were too busy being suns in their own universes?

if it helps, i still rely on you. you may not know it, but i do. :)
Heh. I love your description--"...because they were too busy being suns in their own universes." Kind of reminds me of that Buffy episode when she stops Jonathan from killing himself. Which is also why we're friends. Not that either of us had to stop the other from killing herself (even though Bwebs thought different) but because you can appreciate my Buffy references. Thanks chica.
I would love to know this feeling of freedom you describe but I can never get those twist ties off that keep me in the box. Please take on my case.
Where were you when I was about 12? I could have used you. Oh well, can I use you now?
Dale: I will help you with those twist ties as soon as I figure out a way to get this box open without cutting myself.

CP: You can use me anytime! I'm actually not as heartless as I try to pretend to be.
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