Book Review: Maureen McCormick (“Marcia Brady’s”) Here’s the Story
All of them had hair of gold … but this one was Callie-style BOLD! Let’s admit it, Marcia Brady, the oldest daughter from the national sensation of a 70s sitcom, The Brady Bunch, seemed perfect. She was beautiful, thin, smart, loved. On the screen she was perfect. But, Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady, was not that girl at all. Yet, we all have a ‘Marcia’ version of ourselves that we try to stick and glue together and put out for the world to see, when we’re really not that girl, or boy, at all.
When I heard Maureen McCormick had written one powerhouse of a book, Here’s the Story, I was eager to pick it up. While I’m sure we all can imagine the typical child-star story where the he or she falls prey to the pressures of Hollywood and caves into the crevice that only an addiction can cause, Maureen’s story revealed so much more of that. Her internal struggle to hide the things she believed were utterly wrong, bad, and filthy about her with a smile so bright and a grip so tight spoke far more loudly to my recovery than I imagined it would.
I wanted to share her story here with you as I believe many of us can relate to this same struggle: hiding shame with perfection.
While Maureen admits to being bulimic at times, using it as a coping mechanism for stress and inner turmoil, the overall theme of her book is about the mechanism she used—for years and years, her whole life basically—to hide her true self. It was even more heartbreaking. But I wanted to share her story here with you as I believe many of us can relate to this same struggle: hiding shame with perfection.
Often an eating disorder does not take root as the result of some emotional trauma or deadly desire to become thin. More often it simply becomes an insanely powerful habit that we cultivate to help us get through our shitty, “I hate myself today,” days. However, once it develops — the shame of knowing we have this problem, that we are that messed-up, gross person that no one should truly know or befriend or love — the shame takes on its own life-force and guides us daily.
I was shocked to learn this is exactly what happened to Maureen.
Sadly for Maureen, however, her eating disorder was not the only thing she had to hide. She had to hide her raging cocaine addiction, the shame of which was worse. She also had to hide her fear she had inherited syphilis and impending insanity from her mother, the shame of which was unbearable. Any time Maureen felt her stone-cold grip, her perfect steel exterior, start to loosen, allowing the slightest human touch to penetrate, she would grab the reigns in utter desperation and yank even harder to hold it all together. In this brutally honest memoir, she readily admits that holding on that tight, to everything, all the time, often caused her to lose it entirely. Maureen will tell you how she raged and screamed and panicked for years, treating her poor body as the sponge for all of her fury and fear.
This may sound really strange, but I think knowing that someone we all worshipped as much as Marcia Brady can be just as messed up as we sometimes see ourselves helps pull the curtain. It helps us realize we’re all human.
Here’s the Story is an enthralling, eye-opening piece that I’m sure took Maureen years to build enough courage to share, but I’m so grateful and glad she did. This may sound really strange, but I think knowing that someone we all worshipped as much as Marcia Brady can be just as messed up as we sometimes see ourselves helps pull the curtain. It helps us realize we’re all human. We all have fears, shame, and imperfections. And, we all do really stupid (sometimes dangerous) stuff to hide them. Maureen just had to learn the hard way (as many of us do) that our fury and fear can finally be doused by just opening up and talking about it.
Disorders feed in the dark and die in the light. If you haven’t yet, let Maureen inspire you, to open up and share your story, too.
Thank you for sharing your story, Maureen, to heal and help others.