It took me several pauses and rewinds to finish watching the documentary “The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe”, which is based on the events that led to Marilyn Monroe’s death. Having read a similar biography on her life and death, which mind you took me a whole year, my gist is her beginning in life wasn’t great, but that wasn’t so much by choice. It was the design of her fate to be passed around in foster homes, abused and abandoned but at some point, in her life she took the reins of her life.
When she decided to become an actress and that to a Global award winner at it. As we all know she was the global sensation of her time and we are all enthralled by her story. While, she achieved that inspiring status, she finally let fate get the better of her when she substance abused her own life slowly into death.
When we think of her, apart from regret we feel a deep sense of pain and loss, which arise from the disbelief that a glamorous person like her who had such an effect on her viewers could actually end up taking her own life by accident or intentionally. The point here is she could have chosen to become a victor over her dark fate and left behind an example of true glory for many.
The thing about problems and suffering are that, even though they are initially personal, if you use it as an impetus to create an inspiring version of your life, you can change the narrative of your story. In that sense, your suffering has a bigger cause, it’s up to you to rise above it and motivate others and leave a legacy behind for others to follow in your lead.
There are these very stirring lines from the movie Gangubai by Karim Lala while addressing Gangubai that goes, if you can’t win for these 4000 women today, you will never win again in life.
Gangubai’s story is one of betrayal and misfortune. But after the initial pain she owns her misfortune and decides to turn it around when she decides to rule the Kamathi pura, not just for her own sake or her own glory, but for the sake of her fellow survivors of prostitution. She was chosen their leader because of her deep compassion and care for those who have endured like her. She changed the narrative of her story from a pitiful woman who suffered at the hands of prostitution and rape to one who is remembered as a victor who fought for the rights of 4000 women of Kamathi pura, equality of commercial sex workers, their off springs’ and orphans.
There are other women from history who decided to rise from their circumstances and changed the course of their lives, leaving only inspiration behind – Maya Angelou, raped at seven and temporarily mute for five years, went on to become a world famous author and activist of racism and identity.
Rani Laxmibai, famously known as the ‘Jhansi ki Rani’, lost her mother at the age of four and her husband very early in life. She was foremost at swordsmanship and horsemanship who broke the then usual patriarchal norms when she defended Jhansi against the British forces after her husband’s demise. She chose to rather die fighting than to concede her throne to the East India Company for lack of an heir. Her example of valor is still used in school texts to educate young minds.
Like them, there are many iconic women of their time, who chose a different life than the one they were destined for and thus altered their stories. They chose a different history. Their tales are one of courage, wisdom, strength, fearlessness, heroism, gallantry and thus one of being BOLD in the face of misfortune from which all of us men or women can inherit great vision. They are the real victors of yesteryears who have taught us that the purpose of our lives is what we make of it. It can be more magnanimous than the self, extending to all of society and humanity.
The renowned novelist Margaret Atwood once said “In the end we all become stories”. What version of your story then, would you like to leave behind? We may not have complete control over fate at times, but we can choose to take control of how we use our misfortune to rewrite our own history. From there it naturally flows that, we are the writers of our own stories. So, what will be your story?
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