Catherine: Hey guys. I meant to write this post over the holidays, because that’s when this story takes place but guess what – I didn’t.
So – here it is now.
When I was about 8 or 9, I got a bright pink matching long-sleeved Barbie shirt and Barbie pants from a friend for my birthday. They were pajamas, but I didn’t understand that – I thought it was an outfit. My birthday was in March, but I so revered this outfit that I SAVED IT UNTIL THE FOLLOWING DECEMBER – Christmas Eve, to be exact. I wanted to debut the shit out of this because it was FIERCE.
Growing up, I didn’t have my own bedroom, I shared a room with my brothers that had no door, so I would have to change in the bathroom. On this particular Christmas Eve, once my entire family had arrived for dinner, I went into the bathroom to make my move. For the first time in my life, I also locked the door – I thought this was suuuuuper grown up. I put on my Barbie ensemble and was ready to greet the family, expecting nothing if not an obscene amount of praise. But. I couldn’t unlock the door.
The lock, you see, was a weird turnkey thingy, and I couldn’t get it to work. It wasn’t until people started to need to use the (only) bathroom that I had to sort of explain, um… I can’t open the door… It was horrifying. I thought I was going to be in there FOREVER. My family was coaching me, trying to explain, “Just turn it to the left, and lift it a little.” Nothing. I was crying. I was going to die, alone, in a bathroom, in my Barbie outfit that I now HATED. Finally, after probably 45 minutes, I was free, having unlocked the door successfully moments before my dad was going to unscrew the doorknob. But I was also humiliated. I had since changed out of my Barbie outfit, so I emerged in what I had been wearing before. I got a plate of food, and too embarassed to talk to anyone, I took it into the bathroom where I shut the door (I didn’t lock it, of course) and ate alone. I remember looking at the discarded pink ensemble with SO MUCH HATE and no, I never wore it again.
This was the first in a string of being locked in bathrooms moment in my life – another memorable one was locking myself in a bathroom in Lithuania and giving myself a full-blown panic attack. So. Now I always test a lock before I lock it to see how it works. Like, I still do that. Y’all, I got problems.
Jana: Oh lil Cath. Poor lil Cath.
I wish you still had the Barbie outfit. Did it have Barbie’s face on it? Or was it a million little Barbies in a pattern that covered all the cloth? I just wish I knew, for some reason. Either way, I’m delighted to picture you sitting on a toilet, face over your plate of food, refusing to leave the bathroom. And I’m happy to report that, just a few miles away, I was probably doing something similar right at that very moment, unaware that parallel me (you) existed.