Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Marvelous Ms. Murphy

My girl, Brittany Murphy, died of a heart attack today at the age of 32.

She was in the movie "Uptown Girls." This was the movie that convinced me to move to New York. I was lost at the time. More than I am now. And after watching the movie, I wanted to move to the big city and start my life anew in an apartment so small that it had a Murphy bed and you could fry eggs while standing in the shower. Just like Brittany. The premise had a sense of adventure. I tell people this story when they ask me why I came to New York. I am here because I saw a movie in which Brittany Murphy picked up the pieces of her life and started again. And she did this in New York. They almost never believe me. I supposed sometimes the truth seems improbable.

In films she had an open, vulnerable, and sweet energy. She was a girl who had a lot of trouble growing up. She could be bad. She could be colossally irresponsible. She was funny. She was bratty. She was goofy. She was needy. She was ridiculous. She was a mess. She made bad choices. She found herself in humiliating and painful situations but emerged from them shining and triumphant. She learned things the hard way but she learned them well. She was resilient. She was strong. Stronger than even she could imagine. She was the girl who took a fall, got back up and rejoined the fray. And she came out of each struggle with a greater confidence, wisdom and dignity. She was the girl who knew when to tough it out and knew when to call it quits. Her characters were often lost, but when they found themselves, they found amazing determination and strength to go with that sweet cream puff demeanor. She could love. She could forgive. She could face her demons and take responsibility for her life. And in the end prevail.

I've been there. Sometimes it feels like I still live there.

Her process was worth watching. It gave me hope in my own life. In my own process of being and becoming. It gives me hope.

I don't know who she was in real life. But I will miss her onscreen.

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