Dear Mattel

This is posted here because I cannot mail it. So I am going to try to hit their twitter I guess. I can make one of those right?

 

Dear Mattel and Creators of Monster High,

My legal name isn’t Kat but its the name I use in every situation where I do not have to sign my legal name. I am sure this letter will be full of awkward segways like that. I am an adult with many disabilities, autism and I have been struggling my entire life to survive. I did not have toys as a child and I never let myself open the few I picked up because I couldn’t resist the beautiful sculpture of an action figure. I frequented the toy department once I was on my own because it is a place that makes me happy. Yet I never let myself have girl toys or anything I would want to play with AND could open.

Then Monster High came about. I was drawn immediately to Ghoulia, though I have to say the only time I do not like a Ghoul is when they are so pink it hurts. Draculaura is an exception to this. There are personality issues with the cartoon but my home is full of toys. YOu see, I could afford one doll and I saved for my first Ghoulia. I was terrified to buy her because I did not know what to do with a doll. Then my state never got the dolls. I waited. I checked shelves. I hoped. I even ventured to Toys R Us before I finally gave up and got a Bratz Doll.

The lack of quality repulsed me and in frustration I nearly gave up. Then a person I helped to start their own business asked if I liked Monster High. I admitted I wanted nothing more than a nonverbal Ghoul. You see I am an autistic, and sometimes I just cannot talk. My voice is there in my mind but it is trapped between flesh and the space between existence. I can write anything down but that is not always compatible for communication. Sometimes I flail and just noise comes out. Ghoulia is very much in line with my autism experiences and for her to be a beautiful fashion doll blew my mind.

She sent me Ghoulia. It took me three months to open that box. I held it every single day. Often holding my breath and shaking with fear of opening the box. I was afraid I would break the doll. Eventually fiddling with the edge of the lid tore it and the box was open. I pulled her out, the soft silk of her hair a sensory thrill. I studied her. She was perfect. She still is I might add. I took no chances with my cats getting her and put her on a shelf. Then I fiddled some and played with her hair. I ended up playing with her for hours. I felt free, it was fun and I felt good. A gnawing depression I have dealt with my entire life abated some. There was no judging or working or trying. I simply had fun with my doll.

The next time I went to walmart I had just enough money to get the Deuce and Cleo two pack. This was mistakenly put on actual clearance, not their “we just say its clearance” that they often do so I snatched them up their first day out of the box. I was told they were new by the toy staff who I had become friends with. Then I went online to find out if other Adults collect Monster High. I met my best friend (name removed since this is being publicly posted since I know she would want that) on a forum somewhere. I was shy and did not want to talk to anyone but we connected. The ether of the internet let us find one another. She too is autistic. She asked if I wanted a Frankie that had just come out as she had two and I accepted. She sent me a giant box of things I have yet to see hit my particular shelves. New Mexico is not the fastest on the toy uptake. In awe I asked her how much I owed and we have spoken daily since. She sends me dolls often, and introduced me to a Facebook group that was more comfortable for my pacing on communication.

There I met Heather. Heather is a local woman, she has a kid and is very much a walking Operetta as far as fashion goes. I am not sure if she would want that said but she quests for the first release of Operetta still. Being as disabled as I am, I am writing this with no idea how to send it because I want to tell you and others how these two women, strangers I met online via dolls saved my life. Over and over. The family I do have is dangerous to me. Their ideological views mean I must die. I survived years of abuse as a child that put me in a wheelchair though my genetic structure would have eventually. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome has plagued me and every injury just stays with my body. I need a caregiver and due to abusive agencies and at times what I call failgivers, the thieves, the abusers, that lot, damage me. I had my entire Dawn of the Dance series stolen. Love sent me Ghoulia after that but she dances alone without the others. Their arms were ripped off and mailed back to me chewed up by a woman who did not want the actual work aspect of her job. That happens a lot, though my dolls are not usually maligned. Its something every time. Last time? All my skirts and pants.

I am writing this after a month of hell. Its not even over yet but I need to put this out there. Every day I talk to these women. This means despite being isolated I am not alone. It means that I do not face strangers in my home without feeling that i at least can talk about it later. I am a mess of agoraphobia and territory challenges, the worse my pain is the worse that my territorialness grows but I can suppress it to survive. I do every time I let a carer in. This month I have not had much care. I had an agency abandon me illegally. Their replacement abandoned me after I complained about my stolen skirts and pants pointing out I have nothing to wear and with recent mystery illnesses atop everything else I have no money for skirts. It took me three months to save for one that I never got to wear. So I play with my dolls while I call people and try to get my needs met. I am lost in paperwork that other people are responsible for.

I have not seen a carer for two weeks and I do not have local family or friends in the traditional route. I ran out of access to drink and food yesterday and I asked for help from anyone on the doll forum local to me. It is dangerous but I cannot live without liquids or food. Heather rescued me. She brought me food and drink that I am not allergic to (a seriously difficult challenge) and she also got my pain medication. It has been a month since I had it. I was dealing with everything in a mire of agony that left me wanting to die. Wanting to die does not mean you do and I am not the sort to kill myself from pain. I considered it a long time ago and decided that I would find a way to change the pain. Dolls do that for me. The myriad of color, awesome shoes, and the generosity of the people I have met? This is what makes Monster high for me. I would love my dolls anyway but the gifts from others, the rescue from my situation as much as she could manage? Without Monster HIgh I would be dead. Probably more than once.

I do not make friends easily and my medical fragility includes a compromised immune system so I rarely get to see my friends. My dolls have become a physical representation of those relationships in my home. I have not felt lonely in years. I struggle. I fight. Then I doll. Sometimes I tuck my Ghoulia into my bag and carry her with me to appointments when I am very stressed. She is not a real person but she represents Love and Heather. She represents the others I have met online.

I have been gifted nearly every Ghoulia available by my friends. I have bought personally ten dolls total but I have thirty more. I have never been much for things but Monster High is special to me. There have been moments where I am not sure what I would have done if I had not had those reminders of care. I have been in a lot of pain my entire life. Monster high eased that. I never liked Barbie, though I admit I have a few now that snuck home in my cart. I never connected to her. With Monster High I do. Barbie demands perfection. Blondness. Monster High demands individuality.

I am going to print this and mail it eventually but it was written February 6th 2014. I have no idea when I will have care again, but I know that I can ask for help and I am not all alone in my city. Monster High gave me that. The world can be a terrible place, without much joy to be had. I never got to be the kid playing with her dolls but now I get to enjoy them. I think it may be the same. Little moments of a childhood that I steal back from time. I never got to play and now I do.

I am always going to be in pain. My body is twisted from abuse and time. I have had to make hard choices to survive. That meant cutting out my family because they would kill me. It meant learning how to fight for myself because no one will do it for me. I have been homeless. I have been the battered wife. It was not until way too recently that I got to figure out how to be happy and how to have friends. These friendships will last my entire life. These friendships I would not have without my dolls have kept me alive. It is very easy to give up when you hurt, when you are on the edge of starvation. I live without a safety net. I am fragile and my body is weak. These friends of mine give me strength. My friends came with my dolls. I cannot envision my life being this difficult and me fighting so hard if i had no one to share with. I may rarely see them, never touch them, and fight often just to speak to them but I am not alone.

I know that this letter contains dark and sorrowful things. Most of my life qualifies as that. I have known happiness for four years. No life where happiness is known is unlived. I would have a single friend, who while he does not get the doll thing is the one who encouraged me to buy a doll anyway. He has cared for me and is responsible for a good portion of the dolls even though he often doesn’t seem to really get it. I would have one friend for certain without them. Now I know countless people of diverse lives, around the globe who also share in my happy moments. I do not share much when I struggle because I do not want to make them unhappy but I can when I need it. I wish I could be as generous as they have been to me. My friends give me so much without even seeming to try.

The gamble you took in releasing Monster High was big, I knew it then. I am glad it paid off and that you all took the risk. I of course still wish you would use less pink in the doll lines but I am enduring one of the worst moments of my adult life and I survived it because once upon a time… I met a Ghoul.

Yours,

Kat Fury

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