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

trophy

content warning: misogyny, body horror

when i close my eyes, i am a sugarsweet barbie girl. i am rainbows, and sunshine, and fresh-baked cookies. your morning toast buttered just right.

i am a waist the size of a thimble. i am smooth legs, and clear skin. all the things i want so desperately… and just wasn’t made for, in the end.

so honey, come on. just put down the dress already. and shut your fucking mouth. because maybe it makes you happy. but no one loves a happy girl. so smile for the camera, and use nice language. let it happen. watch from far, far away.

and if you were made in his image, you’re not doing a very good job of it, are you? you slob, you idiot, you lazy little bitch. with your chubby cheeks. and your frizzy hair. you know smart girls don’t wear lipstick.

so i’m your little child prodigy. so i am quiet, and obedient, and just. like. you. i’m your perfect little pretty girl, with her makeup done just right. i’m your future bride. i’m your housewife-in-training, just looking for the right guy…

and so i let the hyenas descend. i let them eat me alive. put their hands on my shoulders, and their expectations on my back. i let them cackle, as they sew up my mouth and mount me, like a trophy on the wall.

and i stay quiet. but i see it all.


Sometimes, I feel like I’ve spent my whole life being told, by someone or other, that what I am is just… not quite good enough.

Sometimes, that person is myself, to be honest. Sometimes, it’s quiet, and confusing–and I don’t realize that anything is wrong until I find myself cycling through this stupid logic, again and again, and again.

I just hate the way I don’t feel safe in my own skin sometimes, you know? I hate how when I look at what to wear in the morning, I’m already shooting myself down–because if I show more than an inch of skin, I have to brace myself for the possibility that someone might hurt me, in some way or other because of it. And I have to accept those consequences. I don’t think, logically, those things are likely to happen–it’s never happened before. But I’m so terrified of them, almost instinctively. It gets paralyzing after a while. I’m constantly five steps ahead, thinking through everything I say through the lens of if someone could use it to hurt me, or make me feel like nothing. Like I’m not safe in my own skin.

But everyone has a different opinion, on what kind of girl I should be. Their put-together fashion girl, with her makeup and clothes. Or their busy schoolgirl, too focused to care about her appearance, fixated on her career. Empowered, but only when it won’t make anyone uncomfortable, and constantly ready to be whoever else you need at a moment’s notice. Or their housewife, who makes dinner, who has kids at a sensible age, and stays at home. Who folds your sheets, and smiles sweetly.

But why can’t I be all of those things? Why can’t I like clothes, and makeup, and work hard, and also bake cookies? Why do I have to constantly jump between these stupid, impossible expectations, remaking myself into something palatable to the people around me. Why can’t we just… be what we want to? Period, regardless of gender–without having to constantly conform to someone’s vision of what is right and okay.

Because it’s messed up. And exhausting. And it makes me angry.

I don’t know where that started–and I don’t know where it ends.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what to say, any more than you do. But… I guess, if my younger self were to read this, I’d tell her, as cheesy as it sounds, that your happiness and well-being is worth far more than the satisfaction of anyone around you. No one gets to make you in their image.

Since this post deals with some heavy content, I’m linking some international resources. Hang in there, and… try your best to take care of yourself.

little red

don’t come crying home to me when you realize that old threats don’t work like they used to.

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