Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lessons from a Lost Soul

This morning, I woke up before my alarm, too early to do much besides overthink and scroll around social media. I stumbled on a picture of Marilyn Monroe and one of her many quotes she is often credited for but certainly did not say. I got to reading up on celebrity misquotes and also some of her real quotables that we never seem to hear or see slapped on motivational instagram pictures ( "It's nice to be included in people's fantasies but you also like to be accepted for your own sake"). As I read Marilyn fan comments as well as those from haters, I saw just how easily it is for one person to think you are a "drug addicted whore who wouldn't be remembered if not for her suicide" and another to think you are a "shining star and forever symbol of old hollywood glamour and beauty". Not only are each of these human beings completely entitled to their feelings and opinions, but they are not really wrong.

Shes been long gone and also is long remembered for BOTH her roles as a celebrity movie star and her infamous affairs with other celebs and even presidents. While I don't think we need to really use words like "whore" no matter what our views of promiscuity is, I can see why someone is annoyed that she may be being given credit to profound and thought-provoking quotes. Above all else that the example of Marilyn implies, and above all the other implications of bringing up this topic, I could not help but project my own life and my own life experiences on this thought. And I really found myself contemplating this morning as I got up and got ready for work...

Can we really ever control other people's perceptions of us? 

I have struggled with not just my ex husband but also with my husband's ex wife, who both fixate on caring more about how they are perceived than how they act. They put so much weight in that and so much stock in the idea that if people THINK they are good they don't actually have to be good people. On the flip side of that, I have often been bad-mouthed and scapegoated by BOTH of these individuals and have worried about how the misinformation they were feeding people to villainze me would create a false perception of who I truly am to the people they choose to talk to.

After thinking about the idea of Marilyn as America's Drug-Addicted Sweetheart who may have used her body to reach fame, I wondered if any of it mattered. Was my friend Amanda correct when she told me "Anyone who will believe that bull shit isn't worth your time. Plus, trust me, people know [her] and they can tell you are a good person even if they humor [her]" ? I think she is right but I often find myself needing reminders of it. I think that the real truth of life is this:

You cannot control the character you play in someone else's narrative. You can only make sure your story is a good one.

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