Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Marilyn and Me

On Facebook, there has been this rising trend of incredibly random personality tests... If you have an active newsfeed, you've undoubtedly fallen into the trap of taking at least one or two of them out of innocent curiosity. Who doesn't want to know what cooking spice, flower or famous princess most accurately represents their personality...

A friend of mine sent me one, the other day, that selects a classic film actress for you based on your answers to some rather flippant questions... She was super excited because she got Lauren Bacall... and me, it in the divine wisdom that is the world wide web, I got Marilyn Monroe. I was shocked and a bit appalled... if you know me, you know that I am NOT a Marilyn type of girl. So I did what any sensible person would do... I took the test again... and the result was still the same: You Are Marilyn Monroe... What?! I resisted the urge to try a round three and chalked it up to a faulty question/answer combination. But it did get me to thinking... Why was I so aghast at being compared to Marilyn Monroe?

It's not that I don't like her... in fact, it's quite the opposite. I enjoy most of her movies. I think she was quite delightful as an actress and a lot of fun to watch. She was definitely dynamic on screen and was so much more talented than people usually give her credit for. Beautiful girls in Hollywood are a dime a dozen, you have to be more than a pretty face to make it in the industry. Marilyn knew how to wield the power of those curvy hips to make a life for herself... we all use what was given us to make our way in the world, why not her?

If anything, I think she was subjected to the culture of her day. She was treated as nothing more than an object to be possessed. She was surrounded by cruel men and even crueler women. We are not easy on our own sex and are quick to abandon girls we don't feel like measure up to our ever changing standards. Perhaps if Marilyn had had a good group of Sex and the City girlfriends, her life might have ended up a little bit differently.

Maybe it's because I find Marilyn almost impossible to relate to. A woman that legendary is even hard to imagine as flesh and blood. Her tragic death and notorious life make it even harder to see past the glitz and glamour to the heart of the woman within. Because after all, she was a real live, living, breathing, feeling woman. She fell in and out of love, struggled with her body image, had a complicated family life and was preyed upon by men in power. Those are things I've dealt with personally, so maybe Marilyn isn't such a reach for me in the end... at least on an emotional level...

I wish I could have known Marilyn in those moments when she was alone looking in the mirror. What did she think when she ran her fingers through her dyed hair and make-up caked lips? She wasn't happy, her final days alive are evidence of that. So when beauty, fame and wealth aren't enough... what does it take to have a joyous heart? What was missing in her life to make the next day worth facing?

See... I over-think EVERYTHING! A simple little personality test and I'm sitting here musing over what it takes to push past suicidal thoughts. Not that I'm considering suicide! But we all have those moments when the darkness creeps in and takes over... when life has become nothing more than a walking shadow. We are going through the motions but not able to feel beyond involuntary breath. Marilyn is proof that even the most decorated of lives can be hollow and empty.

I guess that I don't mind being compared to Marilyn after all... not the Magazine cover, platinum Marilyn Monroe... but the Norma Jean child within... the vulnerable, heart broken woman beneath the Hollywood mask. Because at the end of the day, every girl just wants to be loved for who she really is, especially if the love comes from her own heart.

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