Friday, February 19, 2016

Confessions of a Black-Doll-A-Holic


Black doll enthusiast is how I usually label myself as a collector, but I will openly admit that I am truly a black-doll-a-holic.   My name is Debbie Garrett and I love black dolls.  They say the first step to recovery from an addiction is acceptance.   I have accepted the fact that my love for black dolls is intense.  I won't call it an obsession but it's bordering on that.


Seated in a sea of dolls in this cartoonized photo from 2006

What is it about dolls that has me so enthused?  The fact that I did not own them as a child is not reason enough for me to desire them as much as I do.  Black dolls are affirmations of black beauty when accurately created to represent the people they portray, is another reason I purchase dolls that are aesthetically appealing to me.  Filling a void and the affirmations of black beauty they provide are the three main reasons I have collected black dolls in all shapes, forms, fashions, media, and complexion hues for the past two and a half decades.

Additional confessions:
  • I spend too much money on dolls.
  • My doll room is crammed packed and I am literally running out of space.
  • I'd rather buy a doll than anything else.
  • I realized the extent of my problem when I recently bid $5700 for a doll (by mistake, the bid was supposed to be $57.00).  I saw the error before I pressed the submit bid button, but knew no one would bid as high.  The auction ended at almost $200 because someone else wanted the doll as badly.  I won the auction, but was graciously allowed by the seller to cancel with no questions asked.  Lesson learned.   Me to self:  Are you crazy?  Don't ever do that!  It's not worth it!  There's another one out there for far less and did you really need that one? Answer to self:  Absolutely not!

In addition to the last confession above, at the end of 2015, after evaluating the total amount of dolls purchased during those 12 months, and looking back on prior years and noting the excessive amounts of dolls purchased in those years confirms the importance of making a conscious effort to control spending.  I can and will admire dolls from afar more than I have done in the past.  For this reason I have established the following goals:
  • I will not add additional dolls to my mental wish list.
  • I will delete most of my saved eBay searches.  Let's face it, I have a couple of hard-to-find dolls in saved searches that I don't want to miss if they show up.  (Don't judge.  I'm taking baby steps here.)
  • I really will not repeat past purchasing behavior. 
  • I will focus on finding new homes for the less desired dolls.
  • I will organize the doll room and 
  • I will reconnect with long forgotten dolls in the process of completing the previous goal and
  • I will enjoy what I have and while doing that I'll blog about it.  So don't think I am abandoning the blog because I am not.  
  • Any additional doll purchases will be well thought out and not impulse buys.  
  • I will try to limit doll purchases to no more than two per month or less.  Seriously.  I will.  I said try.
  • I need a running start for this one:  In April, I will go 21 days without purchasing a doll. (I stopped to scratch my right shoulder with my left hand as I typed this, and as I proofed this post, at this point I scratched the inside of my right leg with my left hand.)  Is that why drug addicts are always scratching themselves?  Well they say you can beat a habit if you can do without it for 21 days, or is that 30 days?  Hmmm... well, 21 is my plan and I'm sticking to it.
I must give myself credit for being more conservative with my 2016 spending thus far.  For January I have four entries on my doll inventory spreadsheet.  Two of the entries are for dolls purchased in 2015 that did not arrive until 2016, so these don't count as 2016 purchases.  One entry is for two separate thrift store doll finds for a total of four dolls (three were purchased during one visit and one during another).  These are counted as two purchases.  There is only one entry for February with no additional plans to purchase dolls this month.

Patting myself on the back:  This past weekend I stopped in Big Lots to see if they had printer paper. They did.  After picking up a package, I found myself walking toward the toy section.  I was on the doll aisle before I realized it and said to myself.  "Get out of here!  You don't need a doll!"  So I paid for my two items, the paper and a package of  $1 facial wipes that was left at the counter by another shopper.

I can do this.  I am finally determined.  It's in writing, so I have to follow through for the sake of not adding to an already overpopulation of black dolls.

The question, "What's it all about?" brought the first few lyrics of the song written by Burt Bacharach for Dionne Warrick to my head:   "What's It All About Alfie?"

What's it all about, Alfie
Is it just for the moment we live
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind, and if...

In the video below, listen as Warrick sings this beautiful song, released in 1967 when I was 12 and still playing with my family of all white dolls.




What are your doll-collecting confessions?  Share them in a comment or just share some words of encouragement for me, please.  Trust me; I will need all the encouragement I can get.


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26 comments:

  1. yes the 12 step program in most of my doll groups consists of building steps and using them to display dolls...

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    1. Cute, but there won't be any doll displaying steps built here.

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  2. I know exactly where you are coming from! I am also trying to pull back on my doll purchases. I really bought a LOT of dolls in 2014 and 2015. I am hoping to control this better this year. One thing I have made a commitment to is re-homing dolls that I have in the "extras" boxes -- you know, dolls I bought to get their clothing or for body swaps. But mostly, I need to reel in my spending!

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    1. That's what I need to do and plan to do as well, Phyllis: reel in the spending.

      Even though only a few weeks have passed, it feels quite liberating not having purchased a doll in a while.

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  3. I cut back on my spending also. These blogs and Doll boards are so enabling!. I'm trying my best not to start collecting Integrity or Tonner dolls even though I am loving them. I love their clothes also. I want there to be just one or two dolls and be able to find affordable clothes! Instead you have to buy dolls for clothes. I personally don't want to purchase naked dolls. I am trying to be happy just looking at pictures. It's hard but I keep telling myself I haven't gotten rid of nor enjoyed much of what I have. My daughter has played with some and she has the accessories all over the place. I need to sort them out and I cringe at the thought everytime I attempt to start.

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    1. Anytime we are around a group or another individual who shares our passion, it is easy to be enabled. The news of a new doll or images of older dolls that may still be accessible can be quite tempting. Staying focused and enjoying what we have will help. I have so many dolls that if I reconnected with a doll a day, I'd be in the reconnection phase for several years.

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  4. I wish you luck. I am scratching as I type! Hahahaha!

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    1. You have me chuckling to myself! That is too funny.

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  5. I know you can do it. I'm working on the same. I had a few years in there that were a blur of buying. Now I'm selling. The extras are going. It will take a little time but I'm up for the task. I'm paying for the last of my 2015 pre-orders and working on resisting 2016 goodies. Seriously, it can be done and I'm doing it as well.

    Rule #1 Don't sell anything you know you'll be buying back, lol.

    Anika :O)

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    1. Thanks, Anika for the words of encouragement. I applaud you in your dedicated efforts to release dolls to new homes, take care of preorders, and not be tempted by new goodies. I know it can be done. I just have to keep my eyes on the prize: Appreciating what I have; realizing I do not need every new doll on the market; that many times vintage dolls come with issues; and the need to create much needed space if I too release dolls to new homes, even if it is at a loss.

      I will be certain to follow rule #1.

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  6. All the best to you Debbie! You can do it.
    Arlette

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  7. Best wishes, Debbie! This is a very well written and thought out plan. You can do it! I think most of us know just how you feel. :)

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    1. Thank you, too, Farrah, for the words of encouragement.

      At some points or several in our collecting lives, I agree that most of us have been in the same predicament, realizing the need to reel in the spending, either indefinitely or to at least curtail it. I have said it before, gone on doll-buying hiatuses before, but I don't think I was ever as serious as I am now. As I wrote previously in another comment, the absence of new dolls coming actually feels liberating.

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  8. I am on the cut back on spending path also . My thought was if I sell a doll that money goes to the doll fund. Not much in the fund! I have cut back on buying dolls but having trouble finding dolls to sell. Fingers crossed for you Debbie!

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    1. Thanks for the well wishes DeMari.

      I like your plan!

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  9. I have faith you can do it and I know it going to be hard to stay on track. My motivator this year is my dentist and a box that still hasn't been unpacked, lol. I have to purchase other things instead so it forces me to really consider if I really desire the doll(s). I haven't purchased any new ones as of yet.

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    1. Good for you, Brini! It helps to have motivators to make any plan a success. My motivation is I really have no more space.

      Thank you for the vote of confidence!


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  10. I am cheering you on Debbie for actually putting things in prospective. I need to do the same thing, but have not written anything down. I was on no doll shopping in January and made it through. I had a couple of exclusions and they were the Made to Move dolls and to actually pay for 2015 preorders. You can do it and I will continue to follow your progress.

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    1. Thanks for cheering me on, GG. I've been busying myself with a special project that I am involved in and also working on several doll restorations. This has kept me busy. There are several others here in need of attention that I will be busy with for a while. Posts about these are planned. So please do stay tuned... my progress will include completing these to-do things that have been kept on an indefinite back burner.

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  11. I am supporting your goals for you new patterns of purchasing in 2016. I have convince myself that I am only buying dolls around my birthday and Christmas and not the rest of the year. It fails since I would missed the dolls and actions figures from January to October, but I have cut back and waited for sales. Writing it down will always help you stay on track. Good Luck.

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    1. Thank you MDW. I hope you can continue on your quest to reduce spending as well.

      The plans and desires I record in writing usually become a reality. I will remain focused.

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  12. LOL, my Hey, It's Muff business cards say that I'm a "Doll and Craft Enthusiast." We know what we are.

    Through an unfortunate series of events, I have not been to the thrift store since April 2015 nor purchased a doll since July 2015. It has been difficult and sometimes depressing but I needed to save money more than I needed a doll fix. Stay strong!

    You are an infrequent but great crafter. Turning to crafting for your dolls might help you as it has helped me.

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    1. Wow, Muff. I am sorry for whatever unfortunate events led you to go what sounds like "cold turkey" from doll acquisitions. That is what I fear and hope never happens, but I know I need to prepare for the time when zero doll buying takes place. It's inevitable.

      I have been doing other doll-related things and have lots of others to do that do not include buying, which will help lead me toward my ultimate goal of control and gaining more space.

      Thanks for the encouragement.

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  13. I can tell you from experience, that the people reading this post, will hold you to your word, throughout the year. Last year was the first time I put an annual doll limit in place. It worked like a charm. I have one in place this year, too, but it's not as stringent. Sewing for Dasia has kept me so busy, that I don't browse the dolly boards like I used to. It helps keep the enabling in check. I haven't been doing much with Flickr; I didn't join Barbiecollector club, or the WClub. I also decided that all doll purchases have to be funded from Etsy sales. I can't dip into my personal account. That helps quite a bit.

    Good luck! I think you will find that even if you don't hit your mark completely, you will see a huge difference, just having the mark in place.

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    1. Thanks Vanessa. It seemed as though it would be difficult at first, but it really isn't because my main goal is to decrease the clutter in my doll room and I can't effectively do that by continuing to buy dolls. I also have so many projects that can keep me busy and keep my mind off wanting to purchase additional dolls. So far so good and I think it will only get better as time progresses. It's amazing what you can accomplish once you put your mind to it.

      Having the little travel doll here with me has kept me focused on her as well. After she leaves, I might just choose another small doll side-kick to take with me and do special things for as I have done for Janet.

      Congratulations to you on accomplishing your goal of limiting doll purchases last year. With one year behind you, this one will be a breeze.

      :-)

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!