A friend gave me a magnet that reads: Barbie wants to be ME. It's pink, of course, and yes, there's a heart on it. I thought it hysterically funny. Still do. But I don't believe it. Friends have said (some even publicly, in comments made on blog posts) that Barbie has nothin' on me (aside perhaps from the nifty convertible, the padded resume, and the height), but I don't see it.
What I see: a short, overweight, glasses-wearing middle-aged woman who is also--when she's not spending insane amounts of money to keep from looking 50--going gray.
I read a story the other day (by the fabulous Jo Pilecki, one of my workshop writers and a newly-minted Amherst Writers & Artists workshop leader) about a woman who bought a special mirror that made her look thin. Of course it would be wonderful to own such a thing, but what if the mirror on the wall reflected who we really are? If we could see ourselves as others see us?
Probably I would avert my eyes--just as I do whenever I stand before the bathroom mirror in the dark, for fear that what I will see there will be as hideous as the vengeful Bloody Mary, whose spirit can be summoned by the triple invocation of her name. For fear that I could never un-see how others see me. (Short, overweight, glasses-wearing, middle-aged, going gray, bossy, self-righteous, judgmental...)
But what if the magic mirror showed me the good things I don't see: wit, humor, kindness, generosity, intelligence, tolerance, talent. Would I then believe that Barbie wants to be me?
Actually, you know what? Who cares who Barbie wants to be. Who does Barbara want to be?