Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Dollhouse Project

Time to start over: I spray painted the whole thing white!

Now here is a childhood favorite. I checked this book out over and over again as a girl. It completely inspired me. I tried to make the projects, but usually ended up giving up in frustration. I did not quite have the skills. But now I do!

I've been working on redoing and redecorating a dollhouse. Now this feels a bit indulgent. And yet it also feels important. It may be a part of reconnecting with that little girl inside of me that got squashed when I had to grow up way too fast because of abuse. Whatever. I feel compelled to do it, it's summer so the kids are home and I can't concentrate on serious writing anyway, so I'm going with it. Theoretically my daughter will do it with me, though she's more likely to watch Minecraft videos or do something sporty and athletic with her Dad.

When my daughter was small, I bought a dollhouse kit--ostensibly for her to play with someday, but really because I always wanted a dollhouse as a girl and never had one. I built it and painted it and bought furniture, and she's used it with lego and playmobil people and even her hamster. A few months ago I mentioned I'd like to redo the dollhouse and she said, Yah--it's too much like a grown up house.

She's right, it is. All dark colors, all formal, all proper. I've collected pictures of dollhouses on Pinterest that are bright and happy and fun, and this was not one of those. Once I got it built I bought furniture and decorated it how I thought a dollhouse should look--not in way that would invite the playful spirit of a child. Kind of like I lived much of my childhood life the way I thought I should be, not free to simply be a child. (Obviously this thought could be taken too far--I certainly don't advocate raising hooligans with no idea how to behave or think about others. That is not what I mean.)

So I'm going to empty it and spray paint the whole thing white. And start over.

Here are some fabrics my daughter and I picked out today. I gravitated toward reds and blues, she toward yellows and oranges and greens. We'll include them all.

This is fun. It feels frivolous--yet it feels important.

Because like I posted a few weeks ago, Creativity is important. Creativity makes meaning.

And that little girl who got squashed out along the way: She is important. She has a voice, ideas, opinions. She rarely shares them. She's used to being quiet. Used to trying to be as small and unseen as possible. Used to holding all the hurt in. She's just barely coming back to the land of the living now. I try and tell her it's safe, but she doesn't believe me. She knows what I've really valued: Keeping quiet. Fitting in. Holding the pain away. And also, I'm the one that kept shoved her firmly out for so many years.

There was little room in my childhood to be small and vulnerable. I had to be strong, and tough. That's how I made it through.

But now the danger is very much over. I don't have to be so harsh and strong--at least not most of the time. These qualities have dominated my person for so long I don't know how to be any other way, I'm having to learn it from scratch. Learn it like a little child would.

Just like Jesus told us to: Unless we become like little children (in some ways, at least), we will never see the Kingdom of God.