birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Barbie Happy Ever After

When I was little, you name it, it had a wedding. My Barbies. My stuffed animals. My Polly Pockets.

I'm sure my mother and father were worried.

Especially when the boy in preschool kissed me.

I used to play upstairs for hours in my imaginary world. My mom says she would always say my name and I'd say, "I here, Momma!"

Then she'd find me surrounded by a neighborhood of little plastic dolls.

I used to love dreaming up vacations and trips and happily ever afters. So it's probably stumped my whole family that I'm not married. In some ways, I think I set up this whole life for myself. I thought I'd be engaged by 24, married by 25, first kid no later than 27. Now I'm 28 and I laugh at all of that. What was I thinking? I had no idea about bills and jobs and life.

But at the same time, I love all those hours I spent playing. I love that Barbie commercial where it's the little girl standing in front of the class talking about the brain and then you realize it's the little girl playing with her Barbie dolls. That was me.

The question starts off with "What happens when girls are free to believe they can be anything?" I remember in preschool I wanted to be a ballerina. I'm not sure why. I hated tights and tutus and frilly dresses. By the time I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be a sports reporter. I was set on it. And it's what I became. But I got there because of all the dreaming I did.

The commercial captures real people responding to a girl imagining everything she might one day become. It's about imagining the possibilites.

I think today my possibilites that I imagine aren't as grand. I don't think I can become a ballerina (I still don't like tights.) but I haven't stopped dreaming and I think it's helped me in so many parts of my life, like in running. I imagined that I could run a half marathon and when I completed that I imagined running a full.

When I was little, I imagined all sorts of things: that the cakes I made in my easy bake oven were award-winning, that the face on the Nickelodeon TV screen actually could hear me and that Steve from Blue's Clues could see me dancing along. And writing this now has made me wonder, when do we do it? When do we lose our idea that our possibilities are endless?

Now that I'm grown up, all of my friends are having weddings. But in a way, I guess I'm still that little girl. I attend them and I'm happy for them and no, Mom, I'm not saying I never want them - but I feel like I'm still in the beginning of discovering my possibilities. I'd love to have someone join me on my journey, but I'm also okay just testing out some of those endless possibilities.

This Is Fun

Joy always wins