Someone accidentally mistook the name Brandi for Barbie once.
It was embarrassing. To make matters worse, the announcer did it during a televised high school football game.
I was a halftime baton twirler who was named homecoming queen that night.
He heard wrong from the booth, I guess. Or he heard what he wanted.
A homecoming queen named Barbie. You might as well had put me on a shelf and labeled me the new Baton Barbie.
But I don't hate Barbie. I love Barbie -- always have and still do.
What I despise is how people box her in.
They say she causes eating disorders; sets unrealistic expectations; and she's spoiled and rich.
But I believe Barbie can make girls better women. (Gasp)
Do you need mouth-to-mouth from Ken?
I don't love Barbie because she's super skinny or has nice hair or has tons of clothes, a pink convertible, a mansion, a camper or even her own personal camcorder.
I love Barbie because she represents imagination and pretending and dreaming.
My two younger sisters and I would spend hours playing Barbies. We would set up houses and establish careers and take care of our families.
It was never much about how cute our Barbies were -- in fact, my youngest sister didn't often dress her doll.
It was about our Barbies teaching school; being moms; running businesses; taking trips; enjoying life; getting married; and being regular people.
We had a veterinary office, post office and a McDonalds drive-thru.
Sure, we sometimes pretended our Barbies were famous singers or actresses. Sometimes we even had our mom judge the Barbie pageant, but in the end, our Barbies were mostly being what we wanted to be.
I had a baton twirling Barbie, go figure. My middle sister had a basketball and tennis Barbie before she even played those sports. My little sister had a cheerleading and gymnastic Barbie.
I was always a single mom who adopted a child. I wasn't interested in marriage back then.
My sisters had large families of Barbies who I always visited.
Our living room was a neighborhood of Barbies in the summer. My sisters and I got along; we shared; and we were inventive.
We had plenty of accessories, but we used chairs for houses; turned tinfoil into dresses and even plastic food for furniture.
Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times wrote last year that it's time to kill off Barbie.
I say let her live.
Barbie has progressed so much in her nearly 50 years.
My mom's Barbies wore just bathing suits.
Now Barbies are astronauts, jockeys and doctors.
And if you can't find it on the shelf, use your imagination. That's the best thing about Barbie. She is what you want her to be.
Mine's a journalist.