“Being a sex symbol is a heavy load to carry, especially when one is tired, hurt and bewildered.”—–Marilyn Monroe
Who isn’t familiar with the iconic Marilyn Monroe? She was a beautiful Hollywood star that men and women alike adored. In my early twenties I, too, was fascinated by her. I bought books about her and collected her movies and any other knick-knack with her picture on it. Had she just been beautiful, she may have been boring to me but there was this vulnerability about her that others in her life seemed to try to kill and, in doing so, ended up killing her because the two just could not be separated.
This particular quote of hers oozes with this vulnerability. In it, she was expressing the difficulty in doing her job, playing her role, and being human at the same time. I wonder how many women (and men too) in the sex industry can relate? Often when people are up on a stage you are seeing a performance, not a person. Often, they are using a different name to distance themselves from…themselves, so they can better play their role for their audience. All the attention “they” get—the compliments, the admiration—is not felt as authentic because their character is not the real them. And what happens when, as Marilyn stated, they are tired or hurt or bewildered? Their feelings get pushed aside because it would hurt their performance. This unhealthy practice is done so often as a sacrifice to their performance that it reinforces the notion that in their performance is where their value lies. It is a silent, subtle, downward spiral.
This denial of one’s vulnerability (self) goes beyond those carrying the heavy load of being a sex symbol. This issue touches everyone, everywhere, everyday: the mom sacrificing herself for her children, the spouse sacrificing for their beloved, the employee sacrificing for their job, the father sacrificing for his family. We all define ourselves so often by what we do instead of who we are. We are more than our job, our status, our habits, or even our addictions. We are all children of the Most High God. We are all benefactors of the ultimate sacrifice made on the cross. We are all deeply loved, apart from what we do, “especially when…tired, hurt and bewildered.”
Family, let the only label, duty, task, or descriptive we sacrifice for be put on us by the One who made us. Let all the others flow from that real place and when we become aware of a load we are carrying that is too heavy for us, let us learn how to hand it over to the one who made this promise to us in Matthew 11:30: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”