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What Barbie Represents to Me

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

This may be part of why I’ve avoided the movie even though I know, rationally, the message is completely different than the one I began internalizing at 4 years old.


I recorded myself reading the post I wrote about body image and it is nearly 10-minutes long so I was trying to figure out how I could sum things up a little more succinctly... enter poetry.


There is something so cathartic to me about telling a story in rhythmic way... I'm sure it has something to do with my brain's constant desire for patterns, but that's a thread to pull at on another day.


For now, a piece about desperately trying to understand myself and how I fit into the world around me until I realized that I no longer want to fit.


[Content warning: body image, gender, white supremacy]

 

The first thing I remember consciously;

My legs looked nothing like my Barbie.

Her calves nearly touched; strong but shapely…

My clumsy logs didn’t do that… maybe that’s wrong with me

Is this body, and what they see, why I feel so incomplete?...

Questions that haunt every memory


Next, covering the bump on my nose, dreaming of surgery;

How can I satisfy expectations publicly,

While blending in and not being perceived,

But also appreciated, listened to, and taken seriously?

Maybe that’s where I’ll find the answers I need;

The sense of existential safety I so desperately seek

to who I am and why I always feel alienated, not “unique”.


Dress “like a girl”, try on gender conformity;

Maybe then they’ll like me.

Face too flat, tone of voice too dry and empty…

All that masked femininity;

They still rejected me.


Trade it in for dark humor and clothes “too baggy”.

Maybe I could be one of the dudes; everyone's buddy…

Find my place being crude and funny.

All that masked masculinity;

They still hurt me


Maybe respect IS in embracing femininity…

And what if shrinking to disappear could lead me to safety?

Manipulating my body as reciprocated energy;

Maybe self-worth IS in being part of a “we”…

All that internalized misogyny;

They still used me.


Go to school and get the degrees…

Service above self; dedicate and contribute to society -

Maybe that’s where I’ll find acceptance and solidarity.

All that selfless productivity;

They still had it out for me.


“Make loving yourself the priority” -

I’ll “fix” my mindset and physical body

Because obviously I manifested being unhappy and lonely.

Mind the binaries; label to avoid the bad and unhealthy…

All that societally-driven toxic positivity;

Unknowingly supporting the patriarchy and white supremacy….

A mirror of things I can’t unsee…

Fuck them all because I can’t love THIS me

Tear it all down, uncovering shadows’ hidden transparencies…

I found authenticity behind rejection sensitivity;

Learning about trauma, audhd, and my body.

Empowered with information that explains a life of existential misery;

Finally realizing why I can’t control if they hate and invalidate me.


Whether they choose to misunderstand loudly or quietly,

I’ll keep minding my business - enjoying this sense internal safety

Through feeling and healing my soul; finding purpose in community.

You're free to think what you want, but keep it to yourself; I'm busy

Unmasking, healing trauma, and working collectively

to manage my invisible disabilities.

 

Stay regulated,

Shauna

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