I’d learned my lesson about dismissing Andrew’s pop culture entertainment suggestions earlier on when he lent me Barbarella starring Jane Fonda. I let that 1968 gem sit there on my shelf for months gathering dust bunnies until, finally, 90% motivated to put a stop to his relentless, “Have you watched it yet???” harassment, I crumbled and put it in to my DVD player.
Jeremiah Newton, who produced the documentary and narrates it, was her closest friend. After her death, he visited her mother and grabbed as much of her stuff as he could - but once he arrived home, learned that her mother had burned everything he’d left behind fearing that her current husband might find out that she had a transsexual daughter.
I felt really bad for Candy. After being a social pariah throughout her upbringing and being rejected by her transphobic father - even at the peak of her “fame,” she lived hand to mouth eating stale bread and couch surfing. I teared up over her diary entry where she wrote, "I feel like I’m living in a prison.” in reference to her body. She then named things she couldn’t do - like swimming, visiting relatives, getting a job or having an intimate relationship. But, despite the obstacles, she had the courage to be true to herself. She illustrated this beautifully in the following late diary entry:
“I will not cease to be myself for foolish people. For foolish people make harsh judgements on me. You must always be yourself, no matter what the price. It is the highest form of morality.”
|(Candy Darling on Her Deathbed, 1974)|