I've been thinking about Hana Soah lately, about what makes her different from her sis LeeLee. Sometimes I look at LeeLee and I think I'm looking at Hana only with different colored eyes and "makeup" on. She was basically made from the same mold after all (with a few alterations). Other times I clearly see them as two very individual spirits. When I ordered Hana, I had absolultely no inkling what I got myself into. I saw an incredibly beautiful doll and just knew I had to have her.
And I was so shocked when she arrived. She was absolutely exquisite! She also scared me to death.
Did you know that BJDs are made of resin and are therefore quite heavy? That was one unexpected feature. So there I'd be, carefully holding her and peering into her face when suddenly, she'd flop forward at the speed of light and narrowly miss splitting my forehead wide open. I'd gasp, my knees would momentarily turn to jelly and suddenly she just seem to weigh 25 lbs and I'm terrified of dropping her. Her fingers just seem so delicately formed and I was afraid of breaking them. I was afraid of marring her face, afraid of accidentially ripping out those long eyelashes, afraid that I'd end up too afraid to touch
her, nevermind play
And then one day her hand just fell off.
I saw something spin to the ground and leaned over to take a look. IT WAS A HAND! I looked at Hana--HER HAND WAS MISSING! I immediately burst into hysterical tears and started flapping my hands around and my head rapidly filled with blood. I posted four hysterical pleas for help--one on the Den of Angels, one on Zone of Zen, one on the now defunct BJD forum, and one on the Rainman Yahoo Group. Then I rapidly flipped through all four sites over and over again waiting for someone to reply. It seems like a lot of time passed, but in reality, a
ccording to the log data, only 11 minutes passed before the first person told me what to do. But by then, I had already fixed Hana's hand. I ran around my apartment looking for something to reach up into Hana's arm to snag and bring the elastic out. I grabbed tweezers, crochet hooks, and a hemostat. I pulled the elastic out--and if you know anything about ball jointed doll stringing, you'd know that ya gotta pull really, really hard!--held it with my teeth, and quickly rehooked her hand, all while whimpering like the kid on Sixth Sense
. My heart was racing, my breathing labored, and I...NEVER...WANTED...TO...TOUCH...HANA...AGAIN. So, I quickly undressed her and put her back into her packing box and shoved her up on a high shelf. And just cried. I just keep leaking for hours afterwards. I leaked while thanking people for responding to my SOS. I leaked while emailing a couple of friends about my disasterous evening with my new doll. I leaked while settling in bed to go to sleep. If you asked me, I couldn't have told you what upset me more-- her hand falling off (of a brand new $690 doll!) or my sudden revulsion for her.
After being talked off the balcony a few days later, I took Hana back out of her box and carefully examined her. I was overwhelmed with the sudden knowledge that I knew absolutely NOTHING about BJDs. I didn't know how they were constructed, I didn't know how they were strung, I didn't know how to change the eyes, I didn't know diddly. I thought about how irresponsible it was for me to buy something I knew nothing about. I didn't know how to take care of a BJD. I knew that maintenance was inevitable, but I didn't do my homework before buying Hana. And I knew that if I were to keep Hana, I'd have to get past the BJD learning curve. And so I started collecting information and started putting together a first aid kit: chopsticks, shoelaces, superglue, epoxy, Mr. Clean Eraser, extra sets of hands... Even though I still loved Hana, I was having some serious buyer's regrets. The joy of ownership has been smothered, and I no longer knew what to think of her.
During a photoshoot in City Park a couple of weeks later, Hana's hand fell off again. This time, I tsk-tsked, brought her over to the blanket, opened up my first aid kit and got to work. I wasn't frightened as I was before, but I was annoyed. I brought her back to the tree to continue with the photographs, and the hand fell off again. This time I discovered that the s-hook screw was stripped from her hand. There was nothing to be done and I was completely repulsed by her and yelled at my friend that I was going to sell her because I didn't WANT her anymore. She tried to reason with me, tried to get me to just chill, but I was so determined to adverstise her for sale on the boards as soon as I got to my computer. By the time we packed it up and Margaret dropped me off at home, I was too exhausted to go through the dial-up motions. So I sat Hana on a bench and took a picture of her without her hand. Her wig had slipped forward a bit, which had the unsettling effect of making her look very sad and upset. It was almost as if she was real and I had hurt her feelings...