Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keeper of the Key

Yesterday afternoon, my daughter and I watched “Barbie’s Diaries” together. In the story, Barbie, a teenager, dreams of being part of the popular crowd, but neither her beauty, nor her many talents, seem enough to buy her a ticket in.

She gets a glimpse of celebrity life when she briefly dates Todd, one of the popular boys in school, but inadvertently she steps on the wrong toes – those of Raquelle, Todd’s ex-girlfriend and the most popular, vicious girl in school.

When Todd chooses to ask Raquelle to the formal dance instead than Barbie, Barbie accepts her defeat as something to be expected. Her friends take her to the mall to get her mind off the failed relationship, and while they are browsing in a store, a mysterious shopkeeper gives Barbie and her friends charm bracelets as a gift. The one Barbie selects comes with a diary, and she is instructed by the shopkeeper to write her innermost thoughts into it if she wants to see them come true.

Barbie skeptically follows the shopkeeper’s direction, still expecting nothing to change; she asks for true love, and just a few days later a mysterious admirer begins to leave romantic notes in her locker; she wishes for popularity, and soon everything seems to fall into place – the popular kids begin asking her to hang out, her band is scheduled to play at the formal, and the boy of her dreams pays her attention!

The downside is that when the tide turns in favor of her wishes, Barbie no longer has time for her two friends, Tia and Courtney, and for Kevin, a boy who has a mad crush on her but is too shy to let her know of his feelings.

Shortly before her performance at the formal is about to start, Barbie loses her magic bracelet and her confidence instantly plummets. She is convinced that without the bracelet she won’t be able to play, even if during rehearsals she and her friends were great, so she announces that she won’t be going. Kevin breaks a piece of guitar string and ties it around Barbie’s wrist; she smiles at him gratefully, but tells him that a silly piece of metal can’t make her a different person. That’s when reality finally hits her – the charm bracelet wasn’t responsible for changing her life and attitude, she had done it all on her own once she felt something outside of her was sustaining her through the change. In many ways, the bracelet was magical, because owning it had pushed her to write in the diary, and by unraveling her thoughts she had allowed her true self to come out. Those gifts were always there, but until then she never had enough confidence to use them.

As the story draws to an end, Barbie finds out that her secret admirer is her faithful friend Kevin, and she realizes that Todd is not that special after all; in her mind, he was a key to the door of popularity, but now that she can enter on her own merit, she suddenly sees him for who he is – a shallow kid she has nothing in common with.

Each one of us has special gifts we keep locked up in a secret chamber until someone or something reminds us we are the ones who hold the key to unlock them and bring them out of hiding. Our gifts might be different than those of others, but that fact alone makes them special and unique, and we should be proud of sharing them with others.

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