Sifting Fragments

Marilyn Monroe’s Favourite Photo of Herself.

Marilyn Monroe was an actress who the camera loved when photographers took shots of her. She had this quality of appearing vulnerable, child-like, femme fatale, and a siren when she appeared on the silver screen, or was photographed. She had an incandescant beauty that one could find in an eighteenth century painting. She was also a very complex, and intelligent woman who loved to read and write poetry. Reading her poetry from Fragments by Marilyn Monroe was a lot like meeting a kindred spirit.

Excerpts of Marilyn’s Poems

Fear of giving me the lines new

maybe won’t be able to learn them

maybe I’ll make mistakes

people will either think I’m no good or

laugh or belittle me or think I can’t act.

Women look stern and critical-

unfriendly and cold in general

afraid director won’t think I’m any good.

remembering when I couldn’t do a god

damn thing.

then trying to build myself up with the

fact that I have done things right that

were even good and have had moments

that were excellent but the bad is heavier

to carry around and feel have no confidence

depressed mad

The anxiety that Marilyn expresses here is something that I can relate to personally. When I was working as a teacher my efforts at times felt like they were never good enough. Perfectionism is a negative thinking pattern that often comes along with anxiety. This is something when you start to work on does begin to bring you a sense of peace. When I left the teaching profession, I had experienced a lot of negative reinforcement either from lack of employment opportunies to even disrespectful treatment by colleagues. Two lessons that I have learned from my experiences are: that my value is not determined by how others treat me, and how you think about yourself has a very big impact on how you allow others to treat you.

feel what I feel

within myself-that is trying to

become aware of it

also what I feel in others

not being ashamed of my

feelings, thoughts-or ideas

realize the thing that

they are-

The innate feeling of shame or fear surrounding our thoughts, feelings and ideas is something that survivors wrangle with as they begin the journey to healing. Marilyn Monroe was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and there is some suggestion that as a young adult she was also sexually assaulted while staying at a rooming house. One of the first things that I had to learn as my healing began was to trust my feelings without judging them. I read in Marilyn’s poem of her courage to not be ashamed of her thoughts, feelings, or ideas. Knowing her life experiences I was inspired to read this.

I can and will help

myself and work on

things analytically no

matter how painful-if I

forget things (the unconscious

wants to

forget-I will only try to remember)


my body is my body

every part of it.

Marilyn began to study method acting at the Actor’s Studio in New York in the spring of 1955. Method acting requires the actor to undergo psychoanalysis, so they can use their life experiences to enrich their portrayal of a character. She was devoted to her craft, and worked very hard during her life to prepare herself to perform much more serious acting roles. Her desire was so strong to perfect her craft as an actor that she was willing to work very hard. Her devotion to her craft was one way that she was empowering herself.

I can draw parallel to my own life with how hard I have been devoting myself to therapy and spirituality, because recovery gives me my power back. I really could relate to the line: “my body is my body/ every part of it.” Survivors experience a disconnect between our body, mind and spirit as a result of the trauma that we have experienced. Healing is how we accept ourselves, and bring those pieces back to a sense of wholeness. It has taken me a long time to find those missing pieces. Now that they are here I am beginning the process of integrating them back together.

Marilyn Monroe was an astonishing, beautiful, sensitive and intelligent woman. It has been a pleasure getting to know her through reading Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe. All of the poems I have posted above and the facts about her life are from the book. It may actually become a part of my personal library as I find her to be a fascinating woman. It was a pleasure getting to know her through her writing.


(c) 2012 Amanda Wilson, poems excerpted from Fragments by Marilyn Monroe

Amanda Daoust


2 thoughts on “Sifting Fragments

  1. No, I haven’t seen it yet. It is on my list of films that I would love to view about her. She really was a very interesting woman. Her poetry, and her inner life were only known to a small circle of friends and her husbands. The public until recently only knew her as the dumb yet lovable blond of her films. I think that she was seeking to be respected by the studios, which is why she was trying to so to become a better actress.

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