A few years ago I read the diary of legendary Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe. While scanning the page, I came across this small passage.
“I think I am very Lonely. my mind jumps. I see myself in the mirror now, Brow furrowed. If I lean in close, I’ll see what I don’t want to know. Tension, sadness,disappointment” -Marilyn M onroe (Norma .Jean.)
Reading these words, nearly took the breathe out of my lungs. It had such a profound effect on me. When you know who Marilyn Monroe was as a public figure, this stunningly beautiful woman who seemed to just light up the screen. And then find out that behind it all was an incredibly intelligent young woman called Norma Jean. Marilyn was a elegantly sophisticated sex symbol, but Norma Jean was highly intellectual young woman, who was absolutely in love with languages, books and always felt the importance of improving her mind. You realize that how someone feels about themselves is often vastly different than how they often portray themselves to other people. When you think Marilyn Monroe, you don’t think of words like lonely, but yet these are her words. This is how she felt. simply because reading her words, was like seeing myself reflected back from the page. I remember shortly after that I wrote a response in my journal.
I understood her because I’ve stood right where she is. I know what leaning in feel like. It’s that frightening place where you attempt to keep your balance, all the while life is sometimes beating your shoulders.
You never know what barrenness feels like, until life throws you in the wilderness, and you find yourself fighting off the wolves alone. Until you come face to face with a large beast prowling around you, seeking out your destruction.
You never know what loneliness feels like, until you’ve seen darkness curl up into a heavy fog and attempt to drag you under it’s tide.
You’ll never know fear, until you’ve felt it prickle it’s way down your spine or a betrayal as deep as knowing those you loved, couldn’t love you the way you needed them too.
It’s not easy to admit struggle or need but I think it’s a must. Every single person has faced this at some point in their life and if no one has the courage to speak up and say this is who I am, this is what I’ve been through, then we never really come to understand that we aren’t really alone, we may feel like it, but there are people who have gone down the path before us, who felt the same fears, the same disconnection and they made it through. It allows us to look at the survivor and just realize that you can make it through too.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I am imperfect, I’ve made plenty of mistakes but even so, I am the better for it. Struggle has given me the ability to love with more honesty, it’s given me the voice I needed, it’s given me the power to face life head on, time and time again.
In fact it was the same need that brought me to the letters app in the first place and then meeting people that I never knew existed on this planet. I’ve had complete strangers reach out to me and just show me unbelievable amounts of compassion when I needed it. I’ve had people cheer me on and inspire me towards change and for that I’m grateful. I’ve had someone remind me of just how much I mattered and show me more love than I can ever remember getting from some family members. All of these experiences have enriched my life immensely.
The hardest thing to do is to reach out, it’s difficult to tell someone when things aren’t so easy but it’s important. Only when you reach out, will you realize just how much you are truly loved. You will often find out that friendship is as close as a simple phone call or even a handwritten message and sometimes on those rare occasions reaching out can be the difference between drowning and making it through just one more day.
PS for anyone who is going through a difficult time, don’t be afraid to open up. More often than not, it’s fear that keeps us from really finding the connections we’re craving. If you can’t say it, then write it in a letter, put words to what your emotions are. Do anything but suffer in silence. and when you do, you’ll find that those connections you’ve been craving will manifest when you least expect it. One love ❤