Friday, February 24, 2012

Barbie doll

I woke up this morning actually looking forward to doing things, Second Life.  Another corner turned, soon hopefully turning enough to get back to where I was, energy-wise, before this cold/flu decked me.  

Yesterday and the day before I noticed spring skies outside my windows. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but the skies looked different than winter ones.   Blue, for one, with well-defined puffy white clouds.   Sunset Wednesday, the clear robin's egg blue was tinged with pale pink.   Maybe it's the pastels that make me think "spring skies."   I went out yesterday, the first time since this illness struck, and it was good to feel the sun, gentle cool breeze however briefly.   I didn't see flowers, but I wasn't looking either, late February would be outrageously early for this part of New England.

This morning it's back to grey winter skies, and even ten minutes of large, fluffy snowflakes, a brief reminder of winter, leaving no long-term traces.

I don't want to spend a lot of time writing here today, or thinking about what to write.   I want to rush into Second Life and work on old and new projects and homework.  while I have energy to do that, cause who knows how long the energy will last, I've been crashing mentally and emotionally by 5pm recently.  I *should* spend real world time on real life projects.  I'm going to that week-long institute again in June and I really need to get my head back into the family history research game to take full advantage of it, not to mention getting myself prepared for productive visits to state archives going and returning.  One of the objectives for this blog seems to be working...getting my head more into real life by spending more time there even if it's just writing the blog...I've started thinking about my family research again, mulling it over in my brain, thinking of how I might keep it more manageable, next step is to get started, better start soon it's almost March.

After getting up, I did my Second Life errands with coffee and bread-and-jam ( I remember Frances, do you? ).   Errands mean hitting boards at favorite stores.  Prizes are given if enough hit the boards.  My regular boards include a few clothing stores, more for full perm building related prizes of textures, sounds, animations, templates, etc.  And then I remembered that one of my stores sent out a notice  yesterday about new group gifts...I was too tired to go yesterday, but went this morning, collecting both female and male gifts as I usually do, because women are so lucky, and can wear lots of male clothing and still be feminine, if somewhat eccentric, which is fine with me.   and then I noticed a display of men's shirts.  It is an Italian store, these shirts appeared interesting, artistic, unique to me and I immediately thought of my friend, and wondered if he'd like one, would he wear it, if so, which one would he like, etc, etc, etc.

This is an example of what I mean when I say I'm a different woman in Second Life.   I hate shopping real life, especially malls.   I feel so much pressure to buy, don't know why, but I do.  Book and fabric stores are the exception, because I love handling the merchandise.  I have a really hard time making a purchasing decision in a store, it can be next to impossible...making a choice.  The idea of window shopping...looking at stuff...as a pleasurable pastime -- one of the "curious" passions women are supposed to have, but not me.   Discussing the relative merits and weaknesses...omg why is this interesting to anyone?  Objectively, I guess I can sort of see it, but for others, not me.  whatever floats your boat.

It's like when my family moved to Baltimore County 1960 the summer before I entered sixth grade. Two neighborhood girls came to say "hi" and ask me to play with them.  Barbies.  yes, Barbies.  I remember staring at them, thinking "what am I going to do?  is this what I'm expected to do here?  to fit in?"  

I don't know if I had ever played with dolls seriously.  I don't remember doing that.  I had a Barbie, one of the 1960s original, black pony tail with the black-and-white striped bathing suit and heels.   She also had handmade clothing sewn by my Grandma, a green-blue plaid square dance dress.  I had a knitting spool where I could do the equivalent of finger weave tube dresses for her.  But I don't remember playing much with Barbie.  I remember playing outside, roaming neighborhoods on my bike, roller skates, and on foot through forests, grassy telephone right-of-ways offering hidden connecting highways.  having special hiding places in trees, bramble-fortresses, street games like spud, or hide-and-seek, or capture the flag, or building snow forts, saucer sledding down steep interstate-exit-exchange-under-construction hills.

Inside, I remember board games, card games, reading, reading, reading, playing doctor with my best friend D., reading, reading, reading, creating a school and teaching my brother, assigning homework math problems I had created, reading, reading reading.   I must have done arts and crafts, because one of my most treasured books "Make It Book" is totally worn and in pieces, and so many pages look familiar, but I don't remember making that stuff now.  So maybe I did play with dolls and just don't remember.

What I do know is that when those two very nice and welcoming neighbor girls offered to play Barbies with me when I was ten-almost-eleven, that was not part of my self-concept....a girl who played Barbies.  that was not "me."  I probably did play with them that afternoon, but my neighborhood playmates were the boys, and we played street games in the alley behind the row-houses, played capture-the-flag in firefly-lit summer evenings, snow-fort wars in winter where I remember being "caught" around the chest by a boy older, bigger than me and thinking 'mmm...I like how that feels'   [huge smile]

I somehow maintained this type of play until the next time we moved, fall of my ninth grade year.  I remember thinking after that move that that was the end of that...no more roaming with the guys (I wonder if there were other gals, there could have been, I'm sure, but my sense is that I was hanging out 'with the boys').   It was a real loss.   I remember how I felt.   Future friends continued to include platonic guys, I never felt comfortable with the "typical" expectations for girls, or what I thought those were.  like playing with Barbies.   or shopping.

Now, when I think of that, I wonder.  as a mother of two daughters.  as an adult who's worked extensively with young women ages ten through eighteen.   I really wonder.  My experience, the things I remember thinking about, how I saw myself, ages 11-14 ... it seems so different than what I've observed in others.   Is it because the times are sooooo different?  That would be an easy answer, somehow I doubt it...human nature doesn't change that much, that quickly.   I bet there were plenty of 1960s young women when I was growing up basically indistinguishable from the one's I've known in the 1990s and 2000s.   I suspect that it's more likely that, for whatever reasons, I had developed a concept of what it meant to be "me" that was at odds with the more "normal" female stereotype.

And yet, with all that history, the facts are these about the Second Life me:

I dress to please a man.
I spend lindens on my appearance and clothing in an effort to please a man.
I spend time thinking about my appearance and clothing to please a man.

Before meeting this man, I didn't do any of the above things...it wouldn't have occurred to me.  It would have seemed weak, insecure, self-effacing.  Real life, too, in most ways.

And, now, having met him, it's all ok.  More than ok.  I like...love...it...him.

There's more, but this is enough to make my humiliating point.

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