When I was rudely made homeless, I found myself not only selling things at flea markets, but buying things at flea markets. Among my treasures were the one dollar barbie dolls laying forlorn, naked, and abandoned in a pile at every street market. Every one I rescued I would promise a hot bath, clean clothes, and an honorable, spiritual job.
I related to those Barbies as each one on the pile reminded me of other throw-away women. They reminded me of how our society devalues women. It reminded me of how fragile our lives are that one minute you can be in a nice house and the next minute, you can be evicted from your own life.
The forlorn, naked and abandoned Barbies comforted me, in a twisted way, as a metaphor for my own ‘throw away’ status, at the hands of a family member who turned me to the streets quickly, mercilessly, with a suitcase of clothes left over from a mountain trip and all the possessions to my name kept behind his newly keyed-locks.
Anyone who has experienced homelessness first hand, or even near homelessness, or such betrayal at the hands of kin, has experienced trauma. So I’m sure it was the reason I would wander the flea markets feeling kinship to the abandoned Barbies in a stack. Looking at them would make me feel grateful for the clothes on my back.
During the long four months of sofa surfing and searching for an entrance back into a life – any life, I remember wanting more than anything, some privacy — so I could go bathe the barbies and make them new clothes. I wanted to restore their dignity as I needed so badly for my own to be restored. I needed to restore their faith in humanity, in family, in goodness, and in happy-ever-after endings.
It’s been three and a half years, but I finally have a sewing room. And the first thing I did was not mend the many torn hems and gowns hanging in the closet, waiting to be tended. I did not sew new bibs and veils, as are badly needed. No, for my heart and my soul, I rescued my first two barbies. I bathed them, I issued them new clothes, I gave them a robust crop to harvest, and now, they are weed-nuns. Healing themselves as they heal others.
In my journey, I learned that you can’t buy Barbie spiritual clothing and you can’t buy miniature pot plants. So what do you think? Does that harvest look like weed to you?
If we launch a spiritual doll-clothes line, every priest, monk and rabbi will have a kola in his hands. Every high priestess and every high nun (no pun intended) will have a kola in her hands. If we do that, we can’t call them Barbies. They will have to be ‘the 12-inch Metaphors’.