Jem, Rejection, and Marie the Fun Killer

Does anyone else have memories that you are absolutely positively sure happened, but no one else knows what you are talking about?

Wonderful. Glad to know I’m not alone.

I was originally a “military brat”. My dad was in the Navy. That’s how he met my mom in the Philippines. I was born in Hawaii. We moved to Japan when I was 2 (or 3?). My dad’s naval career ended before I started Kindergarten, and we’ve been in Nashville ever since.

Obviously, I have essentially no memories of this time in my life. I vaguely remember the kids that lived next door when we lived in Japan (Chester and a pretty Korean girl). I remember watching lots of Jem and dancing around the living room in the most ridiculous fashion. I remember when my parents told us we were moving to Tennessee and I thought that meant we’d be living on a farm and that I’d get a cowboy hat.

But I do have one very distinct memory:
We were in the middle of a move. I’m guessing it’s the one where we’re leaving Japan. We were in a hotel, and there were 4 little girls playing in the hallway together. Everyone had their dolls out and looked like they were having a grand time.

I loved dolls. Loved them. Until an embarrassingly old age. So when I saw these girls, I was sure that we would get along swimmingly. I went and got my suitcase of toys and came out to join them. I didn’t wait for an invitation, because they had dolls and I had dolls so, really, it was like the universe was orchestrating this play date, right?

I couldn’t wait to show them what kinds of dolls I had. Jem and Kimber and Aja and a pink guitar stage for them to all sing on. These girls were going to flip when they saw what I was bringing to the table.

I lug all of my stuff out and sit down next to them ready to be truly outrageous with my new friends.

And they look at me.

Then at my dolls.

And they each get up and leave. In silence. No one says a word. Marie got there. And the fun died.

My mom swears this never happened. She can’t think of when or where I could have possibly experienced such a thing. But it “happened” 26 years ago, and I can still feel the ache in my stomach and the tears burning in my eyes every time I think about it. (Like, I’m biting my tongue right now as I write so that Mark doesn’t start the Great Inquisition to find out why I’m crying.)

Now I am sure that it’s no surprise to anyone that has read my blog longer than a second that I have a healthy imagination. So I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if, when I get to heaven and ask God if I can see which room in hell He put those mini-mean girls in, God says, “Marie, you made that up. And you barely escaped hell yourself. So pipe down.”

But still. That feeling. That feeling of being so excited about something that you could quite literally burst. That feeling that “duh” of course everyone will get it, love it, and appreciate it. That feeling that you might have found your people in this big, scary world.

And then to be met with silence. Or rejection. Or criticism.


It’s physically painful to be rejected.

Then I spent most of my life trying to avoid that feeling. The more people I get to know, the more I think we all do whatever we can to avoid it. Just in different ways.

I’ve worked through most of this. And even though rejection or criticism still might make me throw up, I know cognitively that it isn’t going to kill me. That everything is going to be ok. Really. (If you want a great book to read on the subject I highly recommend Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Changed my life. And also the Bible.)

But there is one area of my life where that memory of rejection still haunts me. Where I feel like if I share this passion and excitement about something (like the dolls), I’ll be met with silence or eye rolls or being told I’m an idiot or a fraud or weird to care.

Even if the girls in the hallway were a figment of my imagination, I’m not sure that I can actually survive putting myself out there for the whole world to reject…

Anyone else have something they are afraid to do because the rest of us might call you stupid? Can we jump in the water together?

7 thoughts on “Jem, Rejection, and Marie the Fun Killer

  1. Secret Agent CT says:

    Marie! I had the Pink star shaped stage with the plastic “lighting” rig. I had Jem (with her pink funky shaped guitar) and Kimber. I also had this pink plastic “boombox” that played a song that they sang. lol I totally would have had a great time playing dolls with you! I can’t believe those girls just up and left you. Crazy…

    PS. That pic of you as a child is too cute. I am so glad to see that you are wearing a necklace. 😉

  2. I LOVED Jem, and when I talk about it now, oh how it dates me and makes me feel old! I will definitely check out that book. Sadly some of the mean girls grow up to be mean women. It always sucks, at any age, when you work really hard at something and think it is brilliant, only to have people turn their noses up at it. I just keep pushing on!

  3. ecarreto says:

    Ugh, I deal with this feeling almost every single time I find myself in a social setting. It doesn’t even make sense cause I’m an awesome person to be friends with (lol). I really don’t know what it is. The felling of impending rejection just totally paralyzes me.

    I just recently learned that the community we moved into has a quilting club. I am dying to join, yet I am afraid of not belonging there. This doesn’t even sound rational. Nevermind. :-/

  4. Tiffany says:

    Ahh! I saved my money up for Jem…with the flashing earrangs yalllll…..

  5. Marie says:

    I love that Jem was a part of every little girl’s life. Hannah Montana had nothing on Jem!

  6. […] McKinney-Oates Cereal « Jem, Rejection, and Marie the Fun Killer […]

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