Goodbye Norma Jeane, Hello Dyna Gwen
I can remember when I discovered Marilyn Monroe; Mid90s (circa 8th grade). The TV Guide had an ad for porcelain collector plates—the decorative kind that you hang on the wall—with some old time blonde actress on each one. It was the first time I saw Marilyn Monroe. I noticed right away that we shared that signature beauty mark on our faces and widow's peak hairline. Strange. Reading on through the sales squib for these plates, I learned that Marilyn was born as Norma Jeane Baker on June 1. Weird. That’s my birthday, too. And so, my obsession with Marilyn became official.
It was only a few years later that I learned Marilyn had been sexually abused as a child. Fascinating. #Metoo. My first Marilyn Monroe poster purchase was at the University of Illinois in Champagne; I was 15. It wasn’t long before my walls were decorated with huge custom-framed Marilyn Monroe photograph prints. I’ve collected and sold a bunch of Marilyn memorabilia: movies, books, Franklin Mint dolls, ornaments, stamps, you name it. Those framed photos have been on the walls of my apartments/condo/house through my entire adult life. We’re talking 25 years, people.
I’ve done my fair share of reading about Marilyn and also own her book, Fragments, which is a compilation of her poetic writings. Yes, America’s sex symbol was a poet at heart, my friends. Wait, so am I!! I’ve had an affinity for writing and reciting poems since elementary school. Marilyn was misunderstood and struggled in adulthood from unresolved childhood trauma. I mean, could we get any more alike? It’s a lonely feeling when you suffer from PTSD.
Interestingly, I’m not so sure I ever really idolized Marilyn Monroe, but there was something that kept me drawn to her; I think it was the fact that she was crying on the inside, smiling on the outside, and I knew just how that felt. It’s been comforting having her with me along the way, but I think it’s time to set her free. More like, set myself free; bring new energy into my space that breathes life instead of sorrow. I recently read that Megan Fox removed her Marilyn Monroe tattoo because she didn’t want to attract the negative energy of Marilyn’s troubled life. I get that. Last October, I even went so far as to rid my body of diamonds, including my wedding ring. I no longer want a piece of the earth from an industry that exploits people for money and kills children. Ironic. Marilyn WAS diamonds (and fur!), but I am evolving as a person and don't identify with those things anymore. When Nicole Kidman sang Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend in Moulin Rouge, I was so pumped! In fact, I was a summer camp counselor, and my girls were stuck having to learn moves to this song for the big show on the last day of camp! If I could take that back...
Anyway, I still choose to see “Marilyn, the poet” and “Marilyn, the trauma warrior” who thought that if she just stuck with acting and giving herself to men, she would be validated. She was fighting her trauma everyday, and I truly believe she wanted to heal. I wish she had the chance to heal. I have that chance. When 2020 rolled around, I had already decided it was time to redefine but it’s happening naturally through trauma therapy. I have found comfort in poetry and created my poetic self under a pen name. Thank you for always being there for me, Marilyn. Even in death, you have taught me so much. Goodbye, Norma Jeane. Hello, Dyna Gwen.
Circa 2003, I had written a poem in Marilyn's honor for a creative writing class in college.
Check out my social media channels to read it!