There’s something awfully strange with the world when anything having to do with Married… with Children causes me to have a warm feeling in my heart. I was surprised this morning, then, when I saw a picture of the reunited cast of the series attending the occasion of actress Katey Sagal receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and thought to myself, “Aw, look, the family is back together!” I was even more surprised at the following quote from Sagal, as she said something that resonated deeply with me:
“When I was a kid, my parents used to always tell me I was too much, in a loving way. I felt everything very deeply, I took everything very personally.”
Sagal went on to say that acting provided the perfect outlet for her overactive emotions. I’m glad she found something to do with “all of that,” as she called it, because I sure haven’t figured out how to deal with over-processing information yet. I’ve always said I could never work in sales because I would take every rejection too personally. It’s a line that’s usually good for a laugh or two, but I’m deadly serious when I say it. Sometimes I just feel like a raw nerve, unable to shrug off anything in a normal way.
I’m the general manager at the non-commercial radio station I work for, and we’ve been holding our annual on-air fund-raiser this week. To be honest, it’s not going so well this year, which really shouldn’t surprise me much, since it didn’t go particularly well last year … or the year before … or the year before that. I always start these events out with a great sense of optimism, but by about the midway point each year I start to hear that familiar voice in my head: “This is bombing … and it’s all your fault.”
The fund-raiser, though, seems to be the tip of the iceberg this week. I mentioned in Tuesday’s post that I’ve been reading a book on improving self-esteem, and it’s making me face all kinds of behaviors in myself I didn’t even realize I had. It will be good in the end, but it’s jarring in the present. My oldest daughter is having some mysterious health ailments this week, and she may have even had a panic attack or two worrying about it (Like father, like daughter, I guess.). My wife is pregnant and tired, and we’re in that early stage of pregnancy where I’m not sure what to do about that. And I feel as if I’m drowning in old sins and temptations I can’t shake.
“And it’s all … your … fault.”
Believe it or not, I actually have more days than I used to when I don’t blame myself for everything. But when I do have one, whoo-hoo, boy, do I really have one. The worst thing is I know deep down some of this stuff is my fault. I hurt some people. I’ve held some people back. I let my weaknesses rule me. There no way around some facts. At the same time, though, am I really responsible for someone else’s health problems or other people’s decisions to give or not give money? On a day like today, the answer is a resounding … yes.
There’s a famous scene in the movie Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams keeps telling Matt Damon over and over and over again, “It’s not your fault.” In typical movie fashion, Damon breaks down and starts to accept what Williams is saying, but if I were in that scene it would tack an additional two hours onto the movie. I always like to think of myself as a realist, and the realist in me says it most definitely is my fault, no matter how many times you tell me it isn’t.
I don’t have any real point to this post. I can’t offer any sage-like advice on how to defeat these feelings. I’m just having a not-so-good week, and I needed to write about it. I feel as if I need to apologize to so many people, but I’m not entirely sure I did anything to apologize for in half the cases. I may figure it out eventually on a good day … but I won’t on one of those days…