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Growing up with Barbie

This video couldn't be more true.

I'm an only child, and growing up, while I had playmates in my mom, titas, and lolas, I was also mostly left to entertain myself. Which wasn't at all sad or lonely. That's just how things were, and it was the only reality I knew, loved and appreciated. I was the typical little girl: I had lots of toys, mostly dolls. And I had a lot of Barbies (and Polly Pockets), which my parents always gave to me as rewards for good work in school or for other special occasions. Each time, I'd make sure to pick a doll that represented something new: a doctor, a teacher, a gymnast, a swimmer, an astronaut, a nurse, etc. And with each doll, I would conjure a lifetime of back stories, and a whole universe of possibilities. I'd make up their names, their family histories, and write down their dialogues. I'd invent catch-phrases and plot twists. I was always so into character, I'd sometimes have notebooks just to take note of the stories I had in every "timeline." I'd make sure each Barbie was different, so that each time I'd play with them, I get to "live" a different life.

Maybe that explains why my imagination ran wild as a kid, and why I eventually found myself being so drawn to reading and writing. I loved finding these stories in each toy, the same way that I loved telling them. It brought me places. You can say what you want about Barbies (and most "girly" dolls for that matter) - that they're fake, that they're not real, that they give girls a wrong sense of self. But I have to disagree; at least in my case, that wasn't what happened. My Barbies opened up a world of possibilities for me. There were Barbies for everything - and that translated to an endless road of opportunities. In my head, as a kid, if Barbie could be a scientist, I could be a scientist too! If she can fly a plane, I could also fly a plane! If she chooses to not marry Ken, she can not marry Ken. It was simple. Barbie had choices. That meant I had too.

I'm turning 24 soon, and practically a lifetime away from the simple afternoons of just playing with dolls. But I will always remember that feeling: of believing that there is always a chance at something great, of knowing that there are versions of me I could still chase after.

Of allowing yourself to imagine everything you could one day become.