Thursday, April 27, 2017

Elsa's Story: Chapter 4 (Disney Frozen Birthday Party Elsa by Mattel)


I promised in my last post that I'd tell you more about little Merida. Christian and I first heard about Merida from Treesa. After what happened when Christian and Nora first met, I think Treesa didn't want to take any chances. I was reading to Christian and Sven from a book of French-Canadian fairy tales that Treesa had left out when Treesa came to see us. "Sorry to interrupt Elsa, but I need to talk to Christian," Treesa said.

I looked up from the page I was reading and glanced over at Christian, wondering what this was all about. Had Christian done something that Treesa thought was naughty? I really couldn't imagine Christian misbehaving. But I knew it must be something important if Treesa was getting involved.

Christian looked as confused as I felt. But he must've realized, like I had, that whatever Treesa had to say was important, because he got up from where he was sitting and walked over to Treesa without complaining. I noticed then that Treesa didn't look angry or annoyed, like I would've expected if she'd been there to correct Christian's behavior. Instead she seemed nervous, which confused me even more. Why would talking to Christian make her nervous? Treesa's sixth-scale child dolls might find Christian a little intimidating because of his larger size, but I could see no reason why a grown human like Treesa would be anxious around Christian. Treesa took a deep breath and said, "Christian, do you remember how, when I bought you and Sven, I also bought a little doll dress?"

Warning alarms began going off inside my head even before Christian's expression changed. Christian had already told me about that dress, and about the doll it had belonged to. Christian frowned at Treesa and said, "It's ELSIE'S dress."

"I know Christian," Treesa said. She looked even more worried than she had a moment ago. Then she said, "Christian, I bought a little girl doll at the thrift store yesterday. Her name's Merida, and she's the same size as you and Nora. She didn't come with any clothes except her boots, so she needed something to wear, and I didn't have anything else that would fit her. So I gave her Elsie's dress, just for now, until I can find her something else to wear. There's a seller on Etsy who makes clothes for the Petite Princess dolls, so I should be able to buy Merida something as soon as she finds something she likes. I just wanted you to know in case I'm not there when you meet Merida."

By the time Treesa got to the end of her speech she was racing through the words, as if she was trying to finish what she had to say before Christian could interrupt her. While I'd known Christian long enough to realize that he'd been upset by what Treesa had said, I wasn't sure if Treesa could recognize the signs the way I had. Christian didn't throw a temper tantrum. He's too well mannered for that. And he didn't cry, even though he looked as if he might've wanted to. He just stood there silently for a moment, as if he was trying to come to terms with what Treesa had told him. "Ok," Christian said in a small voice. Treesa seemed somewhat relieved and said, "If you want, I can introduce you and Elsa to Merida later."

"No thank you," Christian said a little too quickly. Afterwards he must've worried that he'd been rude, because he added, "Not right now. Elsa was reading a story."

"Ok Christian," Treesa said. "Whenever you're ready, just let me know." Treesa left then. I had closed the book while Treesa was speaking, and when she left I walked over to where Christian was standing. "Christian?" I said, resting my hand on his shoulder. Christian looked up at me, and the expression on his face broke my heart. I immediately gave him a hug. "Elsa, do you think I'll EVER see Elsie and Annie again?" Christian asked. At first I didn't know how to answer. I knew how much Christian missed his old friends, and I worried that it would break his heart if I told him that the odds were he'd never see them again. But I also knew that I couldn't make him any false promises. If I raised his hopes too much, it would only hurt worse when he realized the things he was hoping for weren't going to happen. "I don't know, Christian," I said finally.

Christian hugged me back even tighter, as if he was afraid I might disappear too. Sven came over and nosed Christian's side. Christian looked over at Sven, then up at me. "Elsa," Christian said, "could you finish reading the story? I want to hear what happens to Prince Philidor and Princess Irena."

"Of course," I said. I sat down and opened the book to where we'd left off. Christian sat close beside me, with Sven close beside him. I'm sure we would've made an interesting picture to any doll passing by who didn't already know us: me leaning over a book with an out of scale little boy doll and a plastic baby reindeer by my side. But we were a family, and I hoped we would stay that way for a very long time.

When Christian, Sven and I did meet Merida it wasn't Treesa who introduced us. It was Merida herself. She came careening into our lives one afternoon in early summer of last year. Christian, Sven and I had planned to do some cloud watching, and we were headed towards Treesa's bedroom window when an unfamiliar voice called, "Look out!"

I turned my head to see what was going on just as a small plastic ball sailed past me and bounced off one of Sven's antlers. Sven wasn't hurt, but all three of us were startled. Then a little girl doll I didn't know raced up to us. The first thing I noticed about her was her thick, curly red hair. The second thing I noticed was that she was holding a Barbie sized tennis racket.


"Sorry," the little girl doll said. "Nora missed the ball. She was supposed to hit it back." The little girl doll looked me over, then said, "I'm Merida. What's your name?"

"My name is Elsa," I said. "This is Christian, and this is Sven." I gestured towards each of them as I introduced them. Merida looked them over too, then she asked Christian, "Do you play sports?"

At first I don't think Christian knew how to react. Merida's arrival and her question were so unexpected. "I play ball with Sven sometimes," Christian blurted out in surprise.

"Great, now we can play in teams!" Merida said. Just then Nora caught up with Merida. However, when Nora saw me and my family she hung back. At the time Nora was still a little uncomfortable around Christian and Sven. It was when Nora came into view that I first noticed that the dress Merida wore was identical to Nora's.

Merida noticed that I was looking at something behind her and turned around. When she saw Nora, Merida said, "Nora, guess what. I met another doll our size and he has a pet cow that plays ball! Now all four of us can play together!"

I'd never seen Christian look so angry before. He gave Merida a stormy look and said, "Sven's NOT a COW, he's a REINDEER. And he's not a PET, he's my FRIEND."

Merida seemed stunned by Christian's reaction. "Sorry," Merida said, sounding genuinely apologetic. "Don't be mad. I never saw a reindeer before. I thought reindeers lived at the North Pole with Santa Claus."

Christian's expression was still a little sour, but he seemed to be thinking over what Merida had said. "Ok," Christian said, only slightly grudgingly. He seemed to have decided that he should at least give Merida a chance.

Merida smiled. "Great," she said. "Now we can play. Come on Nora," Merida called. "We need a racket for Christian." Merida was gone a moment later, leaving Nora to hurry after her.

For a moment Christian didn't move. He looked as if he was going over the last few minutes in his head, trying to figure out what had just happened. Then Christian looked over at me. "Elsa," he said, "do you think Merida would be sad if I didn't play with her?"

It was obvious from Christian's voice that he wanted to do the right thing, but that he wasn't sure what was 'the right thing' in this situation. To be honest, I wasn't sure what the right thing to do was either. I knew it was important that Christian give Merida a chance. On the other hand, I could understand why Christian might not want to play with Merida right this second. For one thing, Christian had promised to go cloud watching with me today, and Christian hated going back on his promises. For another thing, Merida hadn't actually asked Christian if he would like to play with her and Nora. She'd just assumed that Christian would go along with whatever she wanted.

Before I could say anything, Merida and Nora came back with an extra Barbie tennis racket. "Here," Merida said, holding the racket out to Christian. Christian looked at the racket hesitantly. Then he looked at Merida. "Would it be ok if me and Sven played with you and Nora later?" Christian asked. He quickly added, "I promised Elsa we'd go cloud watching."

"Oh...ok," Merida said. Christian must've heard the disappointment in Merida's voice, because his expression changed. It was obvious to me that Merida's reaction had made Christian feel guilty, so in an effort to raise everyone's spirits I asked Merida, "Would you and Nora like to go cloud watching with us?"

Nora still looked cautious, but there was something in her expression that made me think she might be interested. However, Merida didn't look at all enthusiastic. "I don't like cloud watching," she said. "You have to sit still the whole time. That's no fun." Merida turned then, and started walking away. "Come on Nora," she said. Nora didn't follow right away. Instead she took one last glance at me and my family before she turned and hurried after Merida. I wondered what Nora was thinking in that moment. Was she considering accepting my invitation, and if so what had changed her mind? Was she still too uncomfortable around Christian and Sven to stay? Or did she not want Merida to feel abandoned.

Merida never looked back to see if Nora was following her. It seemed to me that Merida just assumed that Nora would come, the same way she'd assumed that Christian would be willing to play with her and Nora, regardless of whether or not he already had plans for the afternoon. As Christian and I sat on the windowsill, picking out shapes in the clouds, I noticed that Christian seemed distracted and I wondered if he still felt guilty for not playing with Merida and Nora. Christian did, after all, know what it was like to have difficulty finding playmates. I can still remember the look in his eyes, not long after we first met, when he told me that Treesa's sixth-scale child dolls didn't often play with him and Sven.

(I'm going to have to stop here for the time being. There's more to the story, but Treesa gets nervous if the posts are too long. I'll post the rest just as soon as I can.
Love From Elsa)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Doll Diversity, Fantasy Hair Colors, And Finding A Reroot That Won't Break My Budget?

Hello again friends and visitors. This is Treesa. As anyone who frequents this blog can tell you, I've been drawn to dolls with 'fantasy hair colors' ever since I bought Dandelion used at a flea market. Lucky for me, Mattel seems to be making a lot more of these dolls lately. The newer Fashionistas series has featured a number of dolls with 'fantasy hair colors', and Mattel's various 'fairy' lines have also shown a lot more variety in terms of hair color. Granted most of these 'fairy' dolls have non-removable, molded clothing pieces, but I've found ways to work around that in some cases.

A bigger problem I'm having is that a large percentage of these 'fantasy hair color' dolls are Caucasian. I'd really like to have more diversity in my 'fantasy hair color' doll collection, but it seems to be harder to find an African American or an Asian or a Hispanic doll with a 'fantasy hair color'. This is particularly true for the various 'fairy' lines, although Mattel does seem to be including more diverse skin tones and head molds in these lines lately.

Still, in this age of online shopping, I wondered how difficult it would be to find dolls of other ethnicities who'd been rerooted with 'fantasy hair colors', and how much money I would have to save up to buy one. Now I've never bought a custom doll before, except for a vintage Francie who'd been rerooted with pink hair.


But I found her at the thrift store so I don't think she really counts. The most I've ever paid for a Barbie doll was $40.00 plus tax, and that was for a new in box collector doll that I bought retail years ago. So $40.00 or less became my baseline price. I realized of course that it was probably unrealistic to expect to find a custom, rerooted doll for $40.00. But I needed a place to start, and I thought it wouldn't hurt to look. Besides, I could always go up from $40.00 later. This post will go over what I learned in my initial search.

My first stop was ebay. As a starting point I typed "Barbie doll reroot" into the search box and adjusted the settings on the sidebar to "US only". I live in the United States, and at this stage I didn't want to have to worry about international shipping or customs or anything like that. Then I sorted my search results using "Price + Shipping: lowest first". After scrolling past all the listings for doll hair and nude Barbie dolls waiting for their makeovers I finally came across something that looked interesting.

A seller named eblake seemed to have exactly what I was looking for, ethnically diverse dolls rerooted in various 'fantasy hair colors'. Not only that but the prices were unbelievable, starting out at just $13.50 plus shipping for a rerooted, DRESSED doll. However as I studied the listings more closely, I discovered what I think is the seller's secret to keeping costs down. Nearly every one of the seller's dolls included the word "Ponytail", or the abbreviation "PT", in the listings. As the seller clearly explains at the bottom of every listing, this term means that the dolls are, to use the seller's exact words, "rooted like the original Barbies and have hair all along the outside hair line and the scalp is bald". Now the dolls do look lovely. Some of them look downright gorgeous. But because of the way they were rerooted the hair can't be restyled. Now I'm not much of a hairstylist, but I'd still like to have the option.

After I finished scrolling through the dolls eblake had listed, the next likely hit came from a seller named kaylinasboutique2010. A lovely nude doll, with a pink shade of hair that was described in the listing as a "cranberry blend", was posted at $40.00 plus shipping. The seller had some other rerooted dolls for sale, but their price tags were higher at $65.00 plus shipping.

I still wanted to research my other options, so my second stop was etsy. Once again I typed "Barbie doll reroot" into the search box and set the filter for "shop location: United States". I was a little surprised by how few results I got. There were more listings for "packs" or "hanks" or "wefts" of doll hair than there were for completed dolls. RetroDollsUS did have a lovely reproduction Barbie that had been rerooted with a beautiful blend of blue and blue-green for $60.00. But that wasn't what I was looking for and I'm not the type to spend more than $25.00 on an impulse purchase. There's a reason I buy most of my dolls at the thrift store. Well, actually there's more than one reason, but cost is a big factor.

Thinking my search terms may have been too specific I tried typing in "Barbie reroot" (which gave me pretty much the same results), and "doll reroot" (which brought up a flood of Monster High and Blythe custom dolls). At any rate, I think I found out what I wanted to know, which was how much would a rerooted doll cost me. The answer is, more than I can justify spending without doing some budgeting in advance. I'm thinking if I can put a little money aside each month, I might save up enough to try my search again sometime. Or I might just wait and see what new dolls Mattel comes out with. Like I said before, Mattel seems to be branching out lately in terms of doll hair colors.

Signed, Treesa

Update: Look who I found at Walmart.

 
She's a Barbie Dreamtopia Sweetville Fairy doll. At least she was before I removed her wings and redressed her. Isn't her skin tone lovely? My camera doesn't do her justice. And that hair, it reminds me of cotton candy.

The trick to redressing these 'fairy' dolls is to keep in mind that their body shape is basically a belly button body, but the chest is usually a little larger thanks to the raised details on the dolls' molded bodices. So in general these dolls can wear pants and skirts designed for the belly button body, but when it comes to shirts it helps if they're either made of stretchy fabric or from the pre-belly button body time frame when Barbie's chest was slightly larger.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Golda's Story (Golden Dream Barbie)


Have you ever had to 'reinvent yourself'? For humans, 'reinventing yourself' means deciding to change something about yourself to change how other humans see you. For dolls, it's sort of the reverse. Our owners decide who we're going to be in whatever game they're playing, and for a while at least we become whatever they imagine. You could say that being a doll is all about 'reinventing yourself'.

There are exceptions of course. Collector dolls, because they're made for display and not play, usually don't need to be as adaptable as playline dolls. But even playline dolls can have more set roles, depending on what kind of play they were designed for. I'm a playline doll, and like a lot of playline dolls I was made to take advantage of popular trends. In my case, I was made so children could get a taste of a lifestyle that was popular back when I was new.

I left the factory in the early 1980s. Dallas was one of the highest rated shows on television and being gorgeous, rich and successful was 'in'. I guess some things haven't changed that much since then.

With my 'billion dollar look', to quote the words that were printed on my box, I was made to live a glamorous life. Even my accessories were described on my box as 'glamorous'. And for a while my life played out exactly the way my designers had pictured it. My first owner imagined me driving around town in a fancy car, shopping at the most fashionable places, and attending grand gala parties in the evenings.

What I didn't know then was that it couldn't last forever. My first owner had to grow up sometime. And even though I was at the height of fashion when I was first made, I ended up hopelessly outdated as time passed and trends changed. Not only that, but my long-term future was basically sabotaged from the start thanks to one design decision. I was made with Mattel's trademarked 'Quick Curl' hair. Tiny wires were rooted into my head along with my regular hair to help the hair hold a curl when it was styled. The problem is that the wire doesn't hold up well over time, and 'Quick Curl' hair usually becomes very matted and difficult to work with as it ages.

I was certainly a mess when Treesa found me at the thrift store. To be honest, I have no idea why Treesa bought me in the first place. Maybe she didn't realize I had 'Quick Curl' hair. Maybe she wanted me because I was a 1980s doll still dressed in part of my original outfit. Treesa collects other 1980s toys. Maybe Treesa just felt sorry for me. Or maybe she saw past what I looked like and saw something worthwhile in me.

Whatever made Treesa decide to bring me home, she quickly got to work trying to make me look presentable. But she realized early on that my hair was basically a lost cause. The tangled mess of wires couldn't really be combed out. They could sort of be molded into a general shape, but that was about all. And a reroot wasn't an option, because Treesa has no rerooting experience. Someone else might've decided to throw me away. But Treesa's mind works a little differently than any other human I've met. Instead of trying to turn me back into what I looked like before Treesa helped me 'reinvent myself' by tying a colorful scarf around my hair and dressing me in a Disney Hunchback Of Notre Dame Esmeralda fashion.

Treesa named me Golda, a play off my factory name 'Golden Dream' and a reference to the musical Fiddler On The Roof. My new gypsy/peasant look was so different from the over-the-top glamour of the 1980s that it took some getting used to. But at least I wasn't alone. This past Halloween, Treesa did a photo shoot where I met Tara for the first time.

Tara

Tara started out as a western themed Barbie friend, but Treesa had bought her second-hand and dressed her in an Esmeralda fashion the way she'd redressed me. It was nice meeting another doll who was also adjusting to having a completely different look, and who seemed to have a lot of the same feelings I did about 'reinventing' herself. Tara seemed happy to meet me too, and we became very good friends. I think Tara might've been my first real friend. My first owner didn't have many other dolls and living with her was like living in my own personal, but imaginary, 'Beverly Hills' bubble.

Sometimes I still miss the glitz and glamour of my old life. But having friends like Tara helps to make up for that. Besides, I know there's a lot more to who I am than what I wear. Just because I don't dress in metallic gold anymore doesn't mean I'm not still a 'superstar'. Every doll is unique and valuable to the people, and dolls, who know and love them. There must've been hundreds, maybe millions, of dolls that were made to look just like me.  But in Treesa's heart, and in the hearts of my doll friends, I can never be replaced or forgotten. And in my heart, I feel the same way about them. Because friends like that are worth their weight in gold.

Champagne Wishes And Golden Dreams, Golda

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Redress Success featuring Mariette (blue haired Barbie Fairy-ettes doll)

 
Hello friends and visitors. This is Treesa, here to share my recent 'Redress Success' with all of you. I've redressed dolls with molded clothing elements before (Michaela, Abby and Maddy) but this fashion forward former fairy is only about 5 inches tall. The clothing pieces I used came from various grab bags that I bought at the thrift store, so I have no idea what doll or dolls these pieces were originally made for.

I know the 'look' I created for Mariette is probably a far cry from being stylish or trendy, but I still like the way she turned out. I'm especially pleased with how well her new top and the 'apron' I tied over her factory issue skirt match the color of her hair accessory.

I named her Mariette because I wanted a name that ended in 'et' or 'ette', since she's a Fairy-ettes doll, and because the rich blue color of her hair made me think of water, which caused words like aquatic and maritime to run through my head. I also have a red haired Fairy-ettes doll that I named Juliette, but her redress is still a work in progress.

Well, I guess that's it for this post. Hopefully one of my dolls will have a real post up soon. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by.

Signed, Treesa

Friday, January 27, 2017

Kaley's Story (unidentified tanned blond Barbie)


What's up blogosphere? I'm Kaley. That's what Treesa calls me anyway. Treesa's my second owner. My first owner didn't call me anything, but she was a way more ambitious doll hair stylist than Treesa. My first owner wasn't afraid to try out different hairdos on me. I had my share of hair don'ts when I lived with her, but if she didn't like the way something looked she'd just take it out and start over. I guess that's why my hair's so fried. But if my first owner hadn't been so hair crazy, I wouldn't have ended up with Treesa.

Treesa said she noticed me at that thrift store because of my hairstyle. Let's face it, blond Barbies are a dime a dozen. But when Treesa first saw me, my hair was still in the fancy braid my first owner left it in. She had started out by braiding the front on one side, then she'd sort of worked the hair around into a large braid at the back. Treesa liked it, so she bought me. But when she got me home she realized just how frizzy my hair was. And I had a bad case of split ends. Treesa wanted to save my braid. But there were just too many stray ends sticking out so she ended up having to undo it and didn't know how to put it back in again. Maybe if she'd taken a picture of what my hair looked like before it would've helped, but Treesa didn't think of that.

Treesa named me Kaley because I reminded her of actress Kaley Cuoco. I'm not sure why I reminded her of Kaley Cuoco. I asked Treesa about it, but she's not sure why I reminded her of Kaley Cuoco either. Treesa was going to name me Penny, after Kaley Cuoco's character from The Big Bang Theory. Treesa's mom likes that show. Then Treesa remembered she already has a Penny Brite doll named Penny.

I'm ok with Kaley though. At least it's a real name and not something Treesa made up. A lot of Treesa's dolls have names that don't really sound like names. At least Dandelion has an excuse. Her name came from the factory, not Treesa.

It's alright here. It's crowded, and a little messy. Treesa has a little trouble keeping things organized because let's face it, she just has too much stuff. But it's still better than that thrift store. Actually, crowded and messy makes it sound a lot like that thrift store. But at least there's enough doll clothes here to go around. A lot of the dolls at that thrift store were nude. Awkward!

So, I guess that's it. Sorry, my life's kind of boring right now. But if I get into any crazy adventures I'll let you know.

Kaley

Monday, January 16, 2017

Raven's Story: Third Installment (Silken Flame Barbie reproduction, brunette)


(I apologize for the delay in posting this. I will be continuing my story from the point where I left off. Thank you for your patience.)

I was still walking at this point, my eyes cast down, too lost in my thoughts to really pay attention to where I was going. Considering the size of Treesa's collection, I suppose it was inevitable that I collided with another doll. "I'm so sorry," I apologized out of common courtesy before I'd even looked up to see who I'd collided with. When I did look up I saw that the doll in question had long black hair, an 'Asian' style head mold, and an outfit that had obviously been pieced together. 'A common playline doll,' I thought out of habit.

But the doll's voice was soft and pleasant as she spoke to me. First she pardoned me for my role in the collision. Then she looked at me for a moment and said, "I don't think we've met before. Do you have a name?"

"Raven," I told her.

"My name is Nokia," she said.

Nokia

Despite my long held opinions regarding 'common' playline dolls, even I had to admit that Nokia seemed polite and composed as well as friendly. When Dandelion had initially arrived in her first and my second owner's collection she had been, in my opinion, a little too eager in her attempts to make friends. I understood that she was a young doll, just out of her box, experiencing the larger world for the first time. But still, there was such a thing as decorum. Dandelion's idea of 'personal space' also hadn't been quite the same as mine.

Just then, Nokia and I both heard a male doll's voice calling Nokia's name from across the room. Nokia smiled as she turned her head towards the voice. I followed her gaze and saw a dark haired male doll dressed in casual clothes. He crossed the room to where we stood and spoke to Nokia.

"Sorry," he said with a smile. "I guess I still have trouble keeping up with you sometimes." Nokia laughed. Her laughter wasn't like the tittering giggles I've heard come from some female dolls, the sound of which has always irritated me. Nor was it like the loud, snorting laughter that I've always thought was so unladylike coming from a female doll. Nokia's laugh had a delightful, musical sound to it, a sound that I knew I'd never be able to replicate. They say that practice makes perfect, and I've never been one to laugh often.

The male doll's eyes seemed to sparkle when he heard Nokia laugh. Then Nokia turned back to me. "Raven, I'd like you to meet Jimmy," she said.

Jimmy

The male doll, Jimmy, extended his hand and said, "Nice to meet you, Raven." I shook his hand once, politely, then let go. This must've seemed odd to Jimmy because he looked slightly puzzled afterwards. Perhaps he wasn't used to such a formal handshake. I've known many dolls who are much more vigorous when it comes to shaking hands. Then Jimmy shrugged and turned his attention back to Nokia.

"Did you find the book you wanted?" he asked. Nokia shook her head. "No, I didn't see it in the bookcase," she said. "But it might be on Treesa's bed. It is one of her favorites."

Jimmy smiled and said, "Do you want me to climb up there and check?" Then I saw a hint of mischief in his eyes before he added, "Or maybe we should both climb up. If the book's not there we could borrow one of Treesa's blankets and just sit for a while, maybe catch up with some of the 18 inchers." 
Nokia laughed again. "It's too warm inside to be cuddling under blankets," she said. Then after glancing in my direction she added, "And I was already talking to someone."

Jimmy looked embarrassed, as if he'd forgotten I was there. Then he quickly apologized. "Sorry for butting in," he said. Jimmy then turned back to Nokia and added, "I'll go look for the book. That'll give you and Raven time to talk."

"You could join us," Nokia suggested. She turned and asked me, "Do you mind if Jimmy stays?"

The fact that Nokia was considerate enough to let me make the final decision bolstered my positive opinion of her. I felt it was only right to try and be gracious in return, despite the fact that Jimmy hadn't made quite as good of a first impression as Nokia had. Jimmy wasn't the type of doll I typically would have chosen to be friends with. There seemed to be a 'laid back' aspect to Jimmy's personality that I normally would have associated with carelessness. However it was obvious to me that Jimmy and Nokia were very close, and I didn't want to upset Nokia by slighting her friend. So I answered Nokia's question with a shake of my head.
Jimmy looked bemused and asked, "Is that 'no, I can't stay' or 'no, you don't mind'?"
"I don't mind if you stay," I said. I had to admit I was rather curious about Jimmy's and Nokia's relationship, in spite of myself. I wondered how long they had been together to build up the kind of rapport that they obviously had. I also wondered why they would attempt to befriend me when they knew absolutely nothing about me.

Nokia first asked if I had been there long. I explained that Treesa had had me stored in a box for quite a long time. Both Nokia and Jimmy were very sympathetic to my situation. They talked about their time confined in a storage crate, and how it had led to their close relationship. Despite some sappy moments, Nokia and Jimmy were mostly able to stick to the facts when sharing their story with me. They didn't constantly interrupt each other either. Nokia agreed to let Jimmy tell the story, and when he had finished he asked, "Did I miss anything?" Only then did Nokia add a few details that she felt were important.

It puzzled me at first that Nokia would agree to Jimmy's offer to tell their story, in a way deferring to him when earlier on it had seemed to me that Jimmy was the one deferring to Nokia's wishes. That's when I realized that Jimmy and Nokia shared something truly special, an equal balance of power in their relationship. Neither one felt the need to constantly be in charge, to 'wear the pants' in the relationship as they say. And both of them were willing to compromise in order to make each other happy.

I learned a lot that day. I learned about Jimmy and Nokia's past, but I also learned a valuable lesson about life in general. I learned that if I gave other dolls a chance, regardless of whether they were common or collectable, I might be pleasantly surprised. Since that day I've met many other dolls, from many different backgrounds, and I've done my best to be more inclusive, more accepting. I would like to say that I've been completely reformed, and that my previously snobbish behavior is now all in the past. Unfortunately, one and a half decades of ingrained beliefs are difficult to overcome all at once, and sometimes it's been a struggle not to give in to my old ways of thinking. (The words 'common playline doll' still pass through my mind more frequently than I'd like to admit.) But I've learned a saying that has helped me to hold my tongue when I feel the urge to criticize or 'instruct' others: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. I try to think of this phrase before I speak, and to ask myself how the doll I'm speaking to would react to my words. Would they be grateful for my input, or would they think I was being unkind? I've also apologized to a number of dolls for my previous behavior, including Dandelion, though I doubt a simple apology will ever be enough to change Dandelion's opinion of me.

I'd like to thank you for reading my contribution to Treesa's blogging project. I'd also like to apologize for the combined length of these posts. When I first sat down to write, I didn't realize I would have quite this much to say.

Quote The Raven