marilyn

honey, you make depression look gorgeous

cut it like tulle, and make a skirt of your misery

and you smile so wide as tears stream down your cheeks

you make me want to buy it from a department store

and wear it like it’s yours

you make self-loathing look sexy

because i’ve spent my whole life learning

how to ignore my own suffering

and trust me when i say a little discomfort won’t stop me from working efficiently

which is not a compliment

but i still glow with pride as you give it to me

you carry the archetypes on your weary back

you do it perfectly

iron out your blemishes and mistakes

with makeup i can’t afford

but they say inner confidence is really what matters above all

and that’s probably why i always look like an awkward seventh-grader when i smile for the camera

but god, you’re fearless

you’re bright, and brilliant

like a barbie doll

clean-white teeth

and an hourglass waist

i bet you have it all

but i’m pretty sure

if i reach out and touch your arm

you will burst like a bubble

you will rot with the dirt

with your bottle blond hair

and your sunbeam smile

honey, i’m sorry

’cause you deserved better

’cause you should have lived

should have been happy and sad

and messy and confused

i’m sorry it’s normal

for girls to feel this lonely

and beat-up

and used

but i hope you sleep well

wherever you are

and you lay in bed for as long as you like

and eat really nice food to your heart’s content

and feel all right, for a while

i hope i’m not a tragedy

a horror story

or a cautionary tale

i hope we get our happy endings

i hope true love prevails

i hope there’s something up ahead

other than disappointment and misery

marilyn, i hope you’re happy


So, we had to research iconic historical photographs to recreate for my photography class from the 1900s, and one of the things my teacher suggested doing was finding celebrity photos we could attempt to very poorly recreate. I didn’t end up actually doing it, but in a last-ditch effort to find something in the exact right time period, I went on an hour long tangent on, like, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe and before I knew it I had read their entire biographies, and, I don’t know, maybe I’m being a cliche here, but it was really sad! The world is really sad! It felt so unfair that these people’s lies, people who were so good at looking so happy had been through so much, and that their lives often ended in tragedy. And call me a sap, but I just feel like these people deserved better–I feel like so many people deserve better. I think one of the worst feelings in the world is watching a loved one suffer and not being able to stop it, only able to try and offer help.

I don’t really know much about Marilyn Monroe–and although her name is in the title, I didn’t really write it about her. I more intended to use the vague idea of her to frame the romanticization of mental illness, and discuss tragedu–and it worked really well as a framing device, so I ran with it. (Actual people who know about this person, I am so sorry, if I’m being horrible please let me know–I honestly considered not posting this for a few weeks, and I’m still on the fence about it honestly.)

Lots of love,

Lorna

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