The Perfect Girl

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I cut open a Barbie when I was seven, peeling apart her chest cavity as she lay there smiling up at me, her vacant blue eyes offering no reproach nor encouragement. The scissors rent her body in two and I was surprised to find her empty. I asked my mother why she didn’t have a heart.

Economics. It was cheaper to build a mold with a hollow inside than to include human-like organs, especially as they were inside were no one would notice.

I was crushed. How could someone with such a vital personality be hollow? Mom explained it was my imagination that brought her to life, that I controlled who and what she was. Such control held no appeal for me, so I put my dolls away that day and focused on achieving the dreams I had enacted for my doll.

Perfect grades.

Perfect job.

Perfect house.

Perfect family.

I cook and clean, read and write, dance and sing, support and nurture, provide and improve, teach and assess, exercise and motivate, advocate and serve, invent and create, calm and soothe, build and repair, and I do it all with a smile on my face. I am as perfect as an imperfect human can be.

I wonder what my seven year old self would find if she cut my chest open. Would I lie there with a vacant stare, a smile plastered on my face as the scissors tore through sinew and bone or would I fight against the intrusion, screaming proof of my humanity even as my chest cracked open to reveal a hollow nothingness?