Last night, while looking for a photo of my beloved Marilyn for my Facebook wall, I came upon this grim snapshot taken hours after her death. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am not the type to look up such things. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid them. That said, the picture of the beautiful young woman laying dead in a bare and messy room struck me deeply. Not because she is my favorite screen actress and someone who has had such a huge influence on my life (likely because of our similarities), but because it hit the most secret and vulnerable spot inside of me.
I understood her completely.
Had I not had the love and support of so many amazing friends and mentors (and, of course, my grandfather) that could have very well been me. As a teen, I often worried it would be. When one walks through the world feeling like they have nothing to offer and nowhere to go, it’s hard to hold onto the hope of tomorrow.
Though the world saw her one way, as a beautiful woman who “had it all”, she lived in a personal hell of insecurity and fear of rejection and confessed that she was “generally miserable” most of the time. There is a very deep and unsettling pain that comes along with being rejected by the two people who made you and to spend your life looking for a safe place where you can be who you are–flaws and all–and not be told to pack up and leave. Unless you have known it, you cannot fully understand it. You can, however, be kind enough to try.
The truth is that this kind of hurt can overwhelm every aspect of ones life. There are those who are lucky enough to find ways to manage it (often with the help of a good therapist) and others who just don’t have the strength or energy. Some turn to drugs and alcohol, others to sex or other addictions. Some just look for an out. It was very hard for me to look at someone who came from the same place as I did and felt many of the same feelings I have felt in my life who just let those feelings engulf her.
I post this very personal post as a way to remind us all not to make assumptions about those around us or to make the lives of others harder by reacting negatively to those assumptions (comments about someone being “too much” or treating others in a callous or uncaring way). We truly never know what someone else is going through and if we cannot heal or encourage with our words, it’s best we say nothing at all.
I apologize for the grim post but I feel it is important– especially with children killing themselves as a result of bullying and feeling like they have nowhere to turn.
Be kind. Show Love.
Know that you are an irreplaceable part of this world and you are loved, even when you don’t feel it. Reach out.
Never give up.