I have been a toy collector pretty much my entire life. Now of course I was raised a boy in a boys world where the coolest toys were target, you know at males. But I also had three sisters who each had various toys I coveted or desired to interact with in some form or fashion growing up. I’ve talked extensively about my overwhelming desire to have a Rainbow Brite, and that day is coming. Up until recently I hadn’t put a lot of thought into whether or not I would consider seeking out additional stereotypical girl toys or not. The easiest ones to put on my list of possibilities were Easy Bake Oven, the aforementioned Rainbow Brite, and various female superheroes from the Marvel and DC comics line.
This time I decided while shopping for a specific Barbie accessory my 10-year-old niece told me in no uncertain terms was necessary for her continued affection, I would take the plunge. It has always been the type of thing that I know I shouldn’t care what other people think. So pushing past that here goes.
I did it. I bought my very first Barbie. Not one I stole or borrowed and never returned from one of mys sisters but my very own. Now I have had mixed feelings about how much I wanted to pursue this whole Stephanie thing. You know as a recent convert to the Catholic faith and being raised fundamentalist Baptist I always felt I was dabbling in a world I was forbidden to enjoy. That being said, I want to keep religion out of this and concentrate on the elation I felt walking out of that toy store with the doll in my shopping cart legally bought and paid for. I want to say I celebrated by dancing to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” on the drive from the store, but alas I felt Debbie Gibson’s “Anything is Possible” was more appropriate to how I was feeling at that moment. On the way to the store I was scrambling to find my CD with Stacy Q’s “2 of Hearts” but I was not successful.
It didn’t take long for the emotions to rush in once the doll was firmly sitting in it’s place in my toy collection. Unlike the bulk of the action figures that are kept in a special display case in my storage shed, Barbie joined me and my kitty Chloe in the bedroom. She has a special spot laying on my pillow next to where my cat sleeps.
I don’t want it to come off as creepy. I’ve begun the process of transitioning into my truer self and as such I will be making room for some things that will provide some relief from the daily stress of being, me. Buying a Barbie, or rather adding the doll to my life was a major step for me. I am getting ever closer to the point where I stop apologizing for or explaining my feelings and just accept myself as is. This has been an incredible journey to get to this point. Buying make up and learning how to do mascara was a big hurdle already. Yet none of the things I have done for Stephanie are as meaningful to me as walking, confidently, into the toy aisle and placing that doll into my cart. I decided I have every right to have whatever interests I desire and I am not going to worry about what others think.
Since adding the doll to my collection I have taken small steps towards my own bliss. It will be a while longer before I can break down and buy a Rainbow Brite doll, no matter how much my heart aches to own her, too. For now, I will happily settle for purchasing outfits and accessories for my newest collectible. I am a toy collector, and Barbie is, first and foremost, a toy.