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Today in My History

2000:  Living Through History
2001:  Starting a Movement
2002: 
Another Year, Another Rant
2003: 
Forty Years Ago
2004: 
Making a List, Checking It Twice
2005
Oh, the Pressure!
2006: Doin' the Puppy Mash Again
2007: "A"!!


IN MY OPINION
A Tuna Christmas
(feature article)

Books Read in 2008
 
Updated: 9/10
"Hannah's Dream" 


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IT'S NOT MY FAULT!

22 November 2008

I'm having a hard time with Rosie O'Donnell.  I've always liked her.  I enjoyed her daily show when she had it, I watched The View when she was on and found I totally lost interest when she left.   She's big and brash and bold and loud and outspoken and it seems that people either like her or hate her.  I've always been in agreement with most of her political views. I share her love of movies and theatre, and her awe of celebrities, I love her love of children and animals and have supported her "theatre kids" charity.  And it doesn't hurt that she's built more like me than most women you see on TV. So I like her.

I was pleased to see that she has a variety show coming up next week.  Who better to present Broadway talent in a kind of show that we haven't seen in a very long time.  I could easy see Rosie O'Donnell becoming the next Ed Sullivan, though I don't know if the world is ready to embrace that kind of show on a regular basis again.  But a one time only show should be fun.

So when I read that she was going to be a guest on the Conan O'Brian show last night, I stayed up to watch it.  He ran a clip from The View, where Barbara Walters was expressing great anger at comments that apparently O'Donnell has made which she (Walters) found negative toward The View.   Walters' fury was plainly visible, though, being a professional she worked to make it seem dispassionate.

O'Brien questioned O'Donnell about it, O'Donnell gave her impression and the interview went on.

I was sitting there with my stomach churning.

You see, I was realizing that I was watching two people I admired (O'Donnell and Walters) in a major feud and I was feeling emotionallyfrantic that I couldn't do anything to make it better.

That may sound silly but as I sat here analyzing how I was feeling, and how silly it was, I thought about where those feelings came from.

Tension was big around our house when I was growing up.  Ironically, I don't remember hearing fights between my parents (though I know there were lots).  I remember one doozy but I can't remember any others.   But I remember the constant tension.  Sitting at the dinner table hoping the phone wouldn't ring because it would always ruin dinner.  my father felt that if the phone rang at 6 or at 8, whenever we were at the table, that it was an intrusion on our privacy--unless it was his mother calling--and he would blame US for the call and lapse into one of his famous silences.  I remember the silences that were so loud you wanted to wear ear plugs.  He wasn't speaking to anybody and you didn't know why--but you always knew it had to have been your fault.

I remember his nervous breakdown, which intensified the silences.  I remember him sitting in a completely dark room, the only thing visible the glow from the tip of his cigarette.  It was a small house and there was nowhere to go because you didn't dare go into the living room.

Ned often takes me to task for talking about my father and tells me I should let it go.  Well, I have, pretty much.   I'm not really angry with him any more, but I can't deny what the lifelong effect of growing up under his temper has done to me.  All those years of feeling that whatever the problem was it was my fault sits with me even today.  (I really am sorry that my sister isn't still living.  I'd love to know if she, as an adult, still bears the same kind of scars.  Her personality was so different from mine,   She was the strong one, and she butted heads with our father often, so I don't know if it would have affected her the same way.  I was the wimp.)

The lingering effect on me is that I can't deal with anger or tension in anyone.  Whenever there is a tense situation, I'm aware that I'm standing in the room, frantically thinking of something funny to say that will break the tension.  Because I know that somehow--even if the tension is between people I barely know, that it's MY fault that they are having difficulties.  I guess I have a reputation for being a funny person and it comes out of trying to diffuse a potentially uncomfortable situation.

Now logic tells me that this is crazy, but logic doesn't rule our emotions.  The 65 year old intelligent Bev sat here knowing that there was nothing I did to cause the tenion between Barbara Walters and Rosie O'Donnell, neither of whom I have met, but the 10 year old Bev felt that it was my job to try to make it better.

As I sat here thinking about all that, it made me wonder if I did this to my kids too.  Do they feel they need to make things all right all the time?  Do they feel that it's their responsibility to solve all the problems of the world?  I remember that Paul, even as a young child, would cry if there was a crisis reported on television because he felt that somehow it was his fault.   That was the reason that we thought he had killed himself, because of the shootings at Columbine.

It's too bad that when we are raising our kids we don't realize that things we do, that might not even involve them can affect how they behave for the rest of their lives.

On the off chance that Rosie O'Donnell and/or Barbara Walters are reading this journal entry, c'mon, guys.  Can't you just get along?  Please?  I'll feel so much less guilty if you'd just kiss and make up!

PHOTO OF THE DAY

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