I collect dolls. I’ve always thought about it as an action—like collecting stamps or coins or money form around the world. It was the simple exchange of pay for dolls and it surprised me more than it did my friends when I realized I had a roomful of them within the first few weeks. People would ask me why I collected dolls to which I would answer with why I like them instead. I’d describe the odd way their glassy eyes had about them. Opening and closing their eyelids is an action I never get used to. It’s a kind of thrill, I suppose. It’s like manipulating something frozen in time, something I’m not supposed to pose, but help somehow. But Darcy, they would always shoot back with their eyelids predictably suspended under a diagonal brow, why do you collect them?—I like (something not analogous whatsoever here) too, but you don’t see me (absurd action that only Hitler would do)ing them!
I think I realized why I do it in the last couple of days, the same way a novelist will discover what they’re writing about halfway through a novel. I think I collect them because they’re all children. I know that sounds worse, but it’s a way for me to freeze my own childhood. When I’m looking at a row of dolls I’ve posed, I’m not looking at the craftsmanship or the clothes; I’m looking at myself and how that doll makes me feel, how it makes me connect with something that was real, absurd, or terrifying. With dolls, I can scatter and view my experiences in 3d in a way that is painfully tangible and wholly reflective of me. I can rotate and zoom in on my concepts of innocence, my relationships, and my loneliness. It is my own personal world. It is my diary. And, though I would never admit it, it is my religion.