On June 1, 1926, Norma Jeane Mortenson—better known as Marilyn Monroe—was born into the world.
Had she lived, she would have been 91 years old this month. Marilyn Monroe was known the world over for her beauty and her work in the film industry—and she was infamously insecure.
She became a screen goddess and fashion icon, and she died too soon, at the age of 36, from a barbiturate overdose—under circumstances deemed mysterious to this day. We can never know if she was successful at overcoming her insecurities, but we do know that her legend has endured.
In the words of Elton John’s tribute to her,
“Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did.
Goodbye Norma Jean—
Though I never knew you at all,
You had the grace to hold yourself
While those around you crawled.”
We all have insecurities. Beauty, talent, and popularity certainly didn’t cancel them out for Marilyn. But she lived her life in the way of her own choosing and continued acting despite the fears that plagued her.
Her bravery in the face of massive fears and insecurities left us with classics like “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” “Niagara,” “How to Marry a Millionaire,” “The Prince and the Showgirl,” “The Misfits,” and “Some Like it Hot.”
While known best for her comedies, Marilyn also showed equal talent in suspense films and dramas. Her work has lived longer than she has, and her words still inspire us to live bravely despite our fears and challenges.
Here are a few words of wisdom from a woman who spent her whole life trying to know herself and to be comfortable in her own skin:
>> “Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”
>> “We should all start to live before we get too old.”
>> “I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I’m 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.”
>> “When it comes down to it, I let people think what they want. And if they care enough to bother with what I do, I already know I’m better than them.”
>> “Give the girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”
>> “One of the best things that ever happened to me is that I’m a woman. That is the way all females should feel.”
>> “A woman knows by intuition or instinct, what is best for herself.”
>> “We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle.”
>> “I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful.”
>> “I am trying to find myself. Sometimes that’s not easy.”
>> “Millions of people live their entire lives without finding themselves. But it is something I must do.”
>> “Friends accept you the way you are.”
>> “If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have gotten anywhere.”
>> “I restore myself when I’m alone.”
>> “I am not a victim of emotional conflicts. I am human.”
>> “It’s often enough to be with someone. I don’t need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You’re not alone.”
>> “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
It’s amazing to think that she would have been 91 had she lived. We can wonder who she might have become had she not left the world so soon, or we can simply choose to embrace the pearls of wisdom she scattered around during her short life.
We can embrace a body positive outlook, treat sex as a natural part of humanity, maintain a sense of humor about ourselves, and stay to the path that follows our dreams no matter how ridiculous it may seem to someone else.
We didn’t know Norma Jean. We only had the façade of Marilyn, a fact she spoke about in many interviews.
Even so, her words continue to live on and to inspire us. May they be of benefit to you!
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman