You Are No Longer Missing

By Rachel Hoffman
   Last month I received the following email from a friend out there who had read my article about the 8-year-old Barbie collector Simon and saw my video on Facebook chatting with him about his passion for doll collecting. I responded and I wanted to share this message with all of my friends of the Antique Doll Collector.    “Dear Rachel, I just watched the Barbie video with your friend Bradley yesterday, and a while back I saw the video with that sweet little boy Simon, and I cried like a baby. I’m sure you get this all the time, but I wanted to share my story with you. I was that little boy a long time ago – I’m transgender. I remember being that boy that everyone made fun of cause I loved Barbies so much and no one understood. It’s just been the last 20 years I have got into other dolls. I live for dolls now. I have about 2000 dolls in my collection right now maybe more. I want you to know what you do matters, and it makes my heart so happy that I’m not the only person that feels this way about dolls. Keep up the work cause you make me love dolls even more than I thought I could! From, L.”
Dear L,
   I think we all know what it feels like to be misunderstood, judged, or made to feel like something we are passionate about is somehow ‘wrong’ when compared to what society thinks is ‘normal.’ I want to remind you that whatever you are going through, your story, your voice, your experiences – they matter. They mattered then when you were a little child, and they matter at this moment. You have a lot of friends out there who love and support you.
   Together we are proving that heart and hope still matter. And we can be different and pursue different things and even support one another. It takes a lot of courage to live an authentic life. Your legacy is not how you please society. It’s the memories we make, the meaningful connections we have made with each other, and the positive impact we have on the world.
   The world needs you and your unique-ness. If you have ever felt lost in your journey, like you don’t belong, or felt like you shouldn’t take up space; this community we have created here means this: You are no longer missing. We have all found each other. Keep following your dreams and never give up on your dolls. Love, Rachel
   Rachel Hoffman is an Accredited Doll Appraiser with the International Society of Appraisers, President of Denver’s Antique Row Association, and Co-Owner of Turn of the Century Antiques in Denver, Colorado.

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