Pandora’s Dollhouse (Trigger Warning)

I recently learned I have to play as an adult. There is a drive to create with in me that has always been there, and I think this is my inner child trying to escape. In the last month, which on some levels feels like more than a life time and on others barely any time at all, I have begun to play. I have also focused on eating twice a day at least, and without much preamble I can say I have only missed a few days and i still ate at least once on those days, instead of once or not at all.

I did not expect the effects of my discovery of play to be so drastic. I am a bit more emotional than I would like to be right now between hormonal fluctuations and pain, but those aren’t the only things responsible for my feelings being unleashed. I have found my innerchild locked away was not alone at all, but held on to happiness, sorrow, and joy in even greater potency. I have always been prone to passion, yet my passion feels less like a struggle now and more freeing. My creativity is sneaking out, even when my brain is so fogged over by hormones and pain I cannot think, and I am drowning in ideas.

For the first time in my life it is not terrifying to have too much thought and not enough to do about it on my mind. I am trying to pace myself but I want to race to the finish line of every idea NOW. I am thinking back to that moment at the end of November when I went and got that first Doll. She’s not a very good doll and I have mentioned before I am never buying Bratz again, but my Bratz doll was one I didn’t know if I wanted. I was paralyzed with a fear that I would pick the wrong doll. I was afraid too that I wouldn’t really want to play like my brain kept whispering.The moment I opened her packing, my hands shaking so much so that my carer did most of the unboxing, my heart racing and my mouth dry with terror over the unseen phantoms of wasted money and poverty I found something else.It seems I opened Pandora’s Dollhouse, and it was not full of unimagined horrors, but it was full of pleasure.

I have been playing every day, for the most part. Somedays I have been too tired to do more than eat and stare blankly at people while they try to communicate with the hormonal cement that was once my brain, before I pass out into sleep grateful to escape the confused body. Each day I flesh out older ideas, come up with new ones. Some days this includes my cutting doll hair or fine tuning their appearances in other ways. I am saving up to buy brushes so I can repaint faces, so I can recreate and change what these dolls are. I am making them my own.

I understand now the hairless barbies, I understand why I have hidden from Pink. Pink symbolizing feminine, that forbidden thing that I never quite meshed with. I understand why the idea of toys makes me cry in terror. I was unworthy for my entire life of these plastic idols of perfection, too imperfect to even get to pretend without punishment to be somewhere else doing something else. My brain became the attic where ideas were hidden away so that they could not be destroyed and I stopped being a child so quickly to survive it. I remember crying night after night after I decided to never play again. It hurt. This was my first brush with insomnia that I can recall, based on thinking. Not on pain of the body but of the mind.

I can pull up the experience as if it was now, just as when I imagine things I can overlay them on reality. I laid in bed listening to my siblings breathing as they slept, looking at the toys. I had been yelled at for ideas. I can’t quite recall the idea but it included Barbie not wanting Ken. My sister’s barbies. She had rejected Ken because he was not her ideal mate. I remember reminding myself that it was bad to say no. That I was a disobedient daughter and I had to get better at saying yes all the time so I didn’t go to hell. A hell I fear not because I was there. I grew up in hell.

My mind became a dystopian wasteland and I lost my love of pink and girly that night. I put it so far down so I could be a good person. My adoration of black and death is in part rebellion, for those things too had to be locked away. It was easier to lock pink down because the color has never tasted right or settled right on my brain, but most pastel shades of anything are adverse to my perceptions. I like rich colors, they feel better. When I touch them they feel alive. When I see them,t aste them, smell them. There is something more than a hint of a bitter flavor. I associate pastels with death. I tried to hide from joy because I associated joy with playing.

I wonder little now why by the time I started school I was already too weird for others. I was not just Autistic but I was a four year old who did not play. I did not understand that I technically played with my neighbor. That was different. Boy Toys were just as forbidden but they did not get me into trouble at the house. I think merely because my parents presumed my brother played. With in two years I did not play. I would read books, because most books did not get me into trouble. I would watch TV, if allowed. I would try to stay with in the boundaries.

This feeds my love of science fiction too. The struggle in the original series of V is about people who try to conform and fail, on one level. The original had depth of history behind it and many layers but it was the person unable to conform that was quickly persecuted for being a scientist. I failed to perform. I failed to adapt a way to play and not fear hell. So I built myself a mental hole and crawled in it. This was of course out of more than a dearth of play, but the abuse that inspired that lack of play.

I opened the first doll, and I have stuck to my rule. I am about to face the big challenge on my rule about unopened toys. Tomorrow I go to the comic book store for the last time. I go only once a year minimum and a maximum of six times. This is it. The end day. I face my action figures, that I must unbox. I feel afraid again.

My toys scare me. I know that by playing with them I am subverting parental messages. I am also struggling against a life time of training myself to not think. I am horrified by how much energy I have expended turning my brain off. I do this often before bed, I find ways to melt my thoughts so I can just go to sleep. I am not sure I am accurate on my reasonings now, I have always presumed that was due to physical pain. I am considering trying to not melt my brain sometime. I am considering a lot of things.

There is no closing Pandora’s Dollhouse. Inside of this dollhouse the seeds of creation live. Each child is given seeds to plant in their minds, and those that let them grow or have minds that are weedy such as in my case, can grow up to be creative and brilliant. They can do anything because they learned how to create worlds with in worlds as children. Pandora’s box has been demonized but what if the hope left inside was just a child’s toy? A small bit of creation?

Give your children toys and love, and they will change our world. It is not technology that is the root of progress but the teddy bear, the doll, the basketball, and the stories from the playground. Giving a child a toy is the equivalent of giving a scientist an unlimited budget for their works, it is the same as curing cancer, it is in fact what could have lead to the idea for the cure in the first place. A child’s toy is merely the key to training the brain on problem solving and for breaking down boundaries.

I now have toys marketed to girls and boys, and the only thing that could make them better? If they were just sold, no previous gender applications involved. Imagine a world where anyone can have a doll and that is awesome and wonderful?

Oh, and one more thing. My favorite toy isn’t one of the Monster High Dolls (at least Until Ghoulia Is Mine). It’s a Barbie named Becky who is the school photographer, has almost normal human proportions, and uses a wheelchair. One thing is for certain, unlike most houses in the world, Pandora’s Dollhouse is always accessible.

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1 Comment

  1. hey i have some repainting/re-rooting/etc supplies that i could send you. i found myself without the guts to learn repainting right now, and someone should have them before the paints get too old. i know you don’t know me to give your address to, but at least 2 people at autistics.org can vouch for me, or maybe you have a PO box or something?


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