I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.
~ Marilyn Monroe
So we're doing this one, eh?
I blame Goodreads and their quote list. For the love.
Though this quote is almost always associated with Marilyn Monroe, including on this list, I have looked and looked and looked for some type of source for it to come up empty handed. In fact, I've found more than a few sites questioning whether she ever said it in the first place.
Let the debate rage on, my friends.
In the past few years, I have used this quote a couple times. I'll be the first to admit it.
I feel like I need to qualify my personal usage, though, before I can write what I really think about it. I used it at times when I was somewhere near the bottom of my personal hole. When I was angry and sad and pissed off at the world. When I was pissed off at specific people. It has a very stubborn dismissiveness to it, this demand of taking her as she was.
There have been times when it was absolutely true for me, this quote. When it spoke to my soul and gave me a reason to pick myself up one more time. I've been in some awfully dark places. On all those trips to hell and back, I was far from a pleasant person to be around.
I am grateful to the people who stuck by my side in those moments. They certainly deserve me at my best.
Having said that...no one (well, maybe a few people) should have had to put up with me at my worst.
Now that we've cleared all that up, let's talk about the quote itself. I'll assume for the purposes of this post that she did indeed say these infamous words.
Marilyn Monroe was a kind of a hot mess, let's just be honest. She was gorgeous and talented, yes, but in her personal life, she was all over the map. She lost three pregnancies, and was under the care of psychotherapists for years. She was married and divorced three times and made a habit of intruding in the marriages of other people. She sang the sexiest version of Happy Birthday ever in the history of time to the President on camera. Can you even imagine someone doing that in 2014? I mean, seriously...just picture the firestorm that would ignite in this day and age.
Her death is still a mystery and the real truth is that we'll most likely never know the real truth. The official cause of death was an overdose on barbiturates, considered a probable, but unconfirmed suicide. She lived fast, she played hard, she partied like a rock star. Literally.
She was a sex symbol. Men wanted her. Women wanted to be her. Some women still want to be her...or at least the parts of her that were beautiful and desired and didn't have anything to do with lost babies, ruined marriages, ended affairs, drugs and the couches of psychiatrists.
I don't just see the good though, I see it all. I'm a full disclosure kind of gal.
She was misunderstood. Very misunderstood.
Unfortunately, so is this quote.
Used primarily by women, myself included, as a declaration of beauty and strength, it isn't actually. It's more an admission of this:
Clearly, I'm a train wreck...but you need to totally
put up with all my crazy because I'm still awesome.
That's how I used it.
Dead on accurate. Doesn't mean it's a good thing.
Think about it for a second. Would you feel differently about this quote if it was said by a man who ruined his own marriages, intruded on the marriages of others, then ended up dead of a likely overdose? If you would, then you have to ask yourself why. Is it less cringe worthy because of who she was?
In doing background research for this one, I came across a post a fellow blogger wrote about it a while back where he makes the arguments both that she wasn't really someone to emulate and that if a man said what she did it would be unacceptable. Incidentally, if you aren't following Chopper Papa, you should be. He was one of the first bloggers I started reading on a regular basis and I love his perspective.
I also tend to agree with him.
I know that who I was when I loved this quote wasn't a very nice version of me at all. I was indeed a train wreck. I was trying to justify the way I was acting. I excused the way I treated other people, explained it away.
I don't do that anymore.
When I hurt other people now, I own it. I stare long and hard in the mirror, run a twenty minute dialogue with myself in the shower, apologize and swear to myself it won't happen again. Or I at least make a genuine effort that it doesn't happen again. If it does, I apologize. Again.
I don't think for one second that anyone should have to put up with me when I'm a complete nightmare just because I can be fantastic on a good day.
I sure do love the people who've seen that side of me and stuck around, though. They're keepers, for sure. xo