“We inhabit ourselves without valuing ourselves, unable to see that here, now, this very moment is sacred; but once it’s gone—its value is incontestable.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates


 Judy Garland

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be a little more gentle with each other, and a little more loving, have a little more empathy, and maybe we’d like each other a little bit more.” ~ Judy Garland, Little Girl Lost

I had never before seen the following passage by Judy Garland (1922-1969), and I must admit that I don’t remember where I found it (sorry), but I thought it so poignant that I wanted to share it with you. I must mention, though, that after doing a little digging, I realized that it is in fact not one passage, but rather a collection of Garland’s more memorable quotes.

Behind every cloud is another cloud.
I think there’s something peculiar about me that I haven’t died.

I was born at the age of twelve.

When I walk onstage you should hear my balls clank.

I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I’ve spent my entire life trying to get over it.

If I am a legend, then why am I so lonely?

I am a chemist. I know what pills I am taking!

The most nightmarish feeling in the world is suddenly to feel like throwing up in front of four thousand people.

At least one wall is shaking.

There is fat and there is bloat.

I’ve either been an enormous success or just a down-and-out failure.

I’m not drunk. I am glazed.

I want to finish this, do you mind?

~ Judy Garland

Judy Garland (Library of Congress)


I don’t claim to be a Garland aficionado, but I have always felt a great deal of empathy and sympathy for the woman who spent almost her entire life manipulated and molded by people—including her own mother—who did not necessarily care about Judy the person, Judy the woman, only Judy Garland, the bankable star.

Garland, who died at 47, suffered from a lifelong battle with self-doubt. Studio executive Louis B. Mayer, misogynist that he was, often belittled her, referring to her as his “little hunchback.” Garland, like other female stars of the time, was put on diet pills to control her weight, and then she was given sedatives so that she could sleep. Little wonder that she became drug and alcohol dependent. Her nose was reshaped in some films, and she was made to wear removable caps on her teeth.

Garland’s adult life was a series of emotional and mental breakdowns, failed relationships and marriages, and suicide attempts. Nevertheless, her acting and singing talents firmly place her among the best performers of all time.

I was never big on The Wizard of Oz, but “Over the Rainbow” holds a special place in my heart as it is one of the songs that I sang to Caitlin over and over as she slept in my arms. In spite of my fondness for “Rainbow,” one of my favorite Garland performances is her rendition of “Smile,”  from “The Judy Garland Show,” followed closely by her performance of “Ol Man River.”

My god, what a voice. Perfect and heartbreaking simultaneously.

More later. Peace.


2 thoughts on ““We inhabit ourselves without valuing ourselves, unable to see that here, now, this very moment is sacred; but once it’s gone—its value is incontestable.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

  1. When I see Mothers forcing their little girls into beauty pagents,I think of Judy Garland.From what I’ve read her mother was a tyrant. I wonder, how many of them will turn to pills and booze when they get older. How many will have self esteem issues? As you said, they see the “bankable”

    Good post.

    1. Sarah,
      Garland’s mother, from all accounts, was horrendous. Judy’s career paid the family’s bills, and then in later years, her mother gave interviews in which she trashed her daughter.

      Don’t even get me started on the whole beauty pageant thing. From such a young age, these females are taught that their looks are everything; small wonder they have self-esteem issues.


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