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Hello from the Dollhouse: An Introduction

By Nik Shultz

Hello esteemed patrons of The River!

I come to you at what I would generously like to call the beginning of the semester, though it is the third week, to introduce myself as The River’s spring editor of this strange and unpredictable year.

My name is Nik, and much like a new action figure or doll, I come with a bulleted list of facts about me:

  • A Creative Writing Major! Comes with notebooks you can open and write in!
  • Nonbinary and Queer! Kids deserve dolls that represent them!
  • Now Featuring an ADHD Diagnosis!

This last part is kind of important because getting an ADHD diagnosis a little less than a year ago, was a pivotal point in my journey of identity and self-understanding. College is a strange sort of place, between childhood and the “The Real World” we’ve been told to prepare for all our lives, where many of us find ourselves living away from our parents and the social ecosystems we grew up in for the first time. It’s a petri dish for not only growing and creating intentional identity, and as part of that, an opportunity to examine what our childhood environments created previously.

The current pandemic brings another perspective to this, with the isolation and limitation of social spheres. Being at home during the initial shutdown and shelter in place, could almost be likened to being in a dollhouse, alone with my mother, father, and brother, confined to a set space and set furnishings.  

The pandemic and the ADHD diagnosis combined in a drive to find comfort in objects of the past and to accept my needs as a neurodivergent person. All of which culminated in renewed interest in toys and dolls, specifically Barbie dolls.

So this semester I want to blog about toys and picture books and childhood comfort objects from the perspective of early adulthood, and what growing up really means. I hope you’ll enjoy joining me on this journey, if you choose to!

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