Self-Edited

Do you ever see or read about an interview with a celebrity where the journalist has been given a list of topics that are out of bounds?

There was the famous interview in 1999 where Woody Allen accused Michael Parkinson of a ‘morbid interest’ in his private life after Parkinson asked Allen about his affair with his stepdaughter Soon-Yi. Allen tried to get the interview edited afterwards and made quite the song and dance about it. Apparently, he had asked Michael Parkinson not to go there before the interview but Parky went there anyway.

I can understand that a lot of celebrities with spicy private lives must get sick of being asked that question. Bill Clinton must have become really sick of fielding questions about the stain on Monica Lewinsky’s dress. Camilla Parker Bowles must avoid questions about Princess Diana like the plague. And you just know that if anyone even whispers the word gerbils to Richard Gere that he just turns on his heel and runs.

I get that. It must be really annoying when every journalist you meet appears to have more interest in that little indiscretion from 1985 involving the cross-dressing pharmacist than in your brand spanking new movie. That would annoy me too. The problem is that journalists are people too; and some people just can’t let things go.

You all know of the problems I’ve had with my parents and how I felt that after Christmas we could begin to move forward. I recently had a conversation with my father where in the spirit of being open and honest and moving towards the light, I mentioned I was feeling a little stressed about certain things in my life. This is the rant that ensued from my father which I am calling – I Am Telling You This For Your Own Good.

Consequently, I took several steps back. Many steps.

So I have decided that I need to make like a celebrity and have a list of topics that are out of bounds when conversing with my family. They include my husband, my finances and that unfortunate incident with the pineapple (only joking….)

When I talk to them I am going to imagine I am a well-known celebrity sitting with my publicist who looks like a nightclub bouncer, dodging inappropriate questions flung at me like rotten tomatoes from the press gallery.

It’s unfortunate – I am of a naturally open disposition, but I think a list of Don’t Go Theres is how I will keep things civil and hold on to my sanity.

Sometimes self-editing is the only way to go.

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36 thoughts on “Self-Edited

  1. Oh Selma–family sh#t is so tough. I don’t know what to say so I will just think the biggest hug I can muster your way.

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  2. Hi Selma,
    It’s just like the old saying of never talk about politics or religion in certain circumstances. It’s really sad when we would like to say something but can’t, sometimes it is just not worth it if you know an argument is the only answer you are going to get. 😦

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    1. That is so true, Mags. I have a few friends with different political viewpoints to mine and we all agreed long ago not to talk about politics. It works really well because we just talk about our lives. Another issue I have with my family is with regard to religion. My sister recently became a born-again Christian and spends all her time trying to convert me. It is very frustrating because I’ve asked her not to discuss religion with me but she just won’t stop. I wish she would consider my position. It would make life a lot easier.

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  3. For some reason, I thought of Parky’s interview with Muhammad Ali; the only answer The Greatest would vouchsafe was ‘Read my book!’

    We’ve had such rules in my family for ages … probably the first such no-go area was my father’s participation in the Spanish Civil War, he’ll feign deafness at the very mention of Spain.

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    1. I saw that interview with Ali too. The worst one of all though, was the Meg Ryan interview. Now that was painful to watch. Ouch!

      I think it’s good to have those rules. People have their opinions and beliefs and are entitled to them. The best way to not fight is to steer clear of certain topics. I just want a quiet life.

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  4. :o( it’s difficult … and seems so unfair to have to do it, but sometimes it really is best ‘not to go there’ … you can always say whatever you like here though Selma :o) x

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    1. You’re right, Deborah. I do have carte blanche here, which is good. I just don’t see the point of constantly digging up old bones of contention. It doesn’t achieve anything. Letting go is a great thing…..

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    1. How did you know I was twirling my hair? Hahaha. I quite like imagining i’m a celebrity. Puts a spring in my step although I find I am using ‘like’ a lot in sentences. 😆

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  5. I suspect your list is a very good idea…of course someone will always want to go there….but the trip and get quite lonely if no one else wants to ride. 🙂

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    1. There is always someone who wants to go there, isn’t there? I am determined they will have a lonely trip from now on because I am sick of the drama. No more drama for me!!!

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  6. You’re already a celebrity Selma 🙂 Great idea having a list of no go things (I think I need to do the same thing with my family). It is very hard to ‘change the record’ but it is possible to shift well worn dynamics and worth the effort for family.

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    1. Hahahaaa. You too, Gabe. Plus you have a family member who can walk on water. LOL. I think it is possible to shift the old worn out dynamics but it takes a lot of positive reinforcement. I’ll get there in the end. I hope….

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  7. Yes. Good plan. Absolutely. There are a number of topics I don’t bother addressing with my family anymore, and it’s proved to be a very positive thing. If families only knew how much their comments can stick with one. I do try to remember that.
    In the meantime, don’t act like Billy Bob Thornton (AKA “Huge Princess”) did on the radio show “Q” when the host mentioned the [forbidden topic] previous acting career, okay? I’m still cringing.

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    1. I didn’t hear that interview with Billy Bob but I can imagine how it went. Going off on a tangent here but have you heard about all his phobias? Apparently his main one is a fear of antique furniture. That would be a hard one to come to grips with 😯

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  8. Hmmm I don’t have any off topics with me but there are a few incidents that I do not like talking about. Infact there are some things which only a handful of people know and I don’t like telling them to others. So that’s one way of not discussing those things rite?

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    1. Oh definitely. I always aim to respect the wishes of someone who has ‘no-go’ topics. What’s the point of upsetting them? It’s very easy to find something else to talk about.

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  9. The iniquitous “don’t-go-there” subjects – have to agree to disagree on some things but it doesn’t always make for comfortable get togethers – hope you can find some de-stress solutions soon, Selma

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    1. That’s true, Bluebee. The get-togethers can be awkward (or nonexistent.) It’s hard when old and difficult subjects are constantly rehashed. Let them go, I say. Let them go.

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  10. i’m with you on this selma, with certain people, you face a barrage if you try to talk about your feelings – this to me is what makes the concept of family – but its twisted when you cant just say “i’m worried”(or upset r unhappy or whatever) without someone jumping on your case for whatever mistake they think you made by drawing their related conclusions to it. its like the reach with the feeling is completely submerged, ignored, and there you are feeling it and then instead of saying something appropriate, like “gee i’m sorry you feel that way”(followed by a hug) you get this judgmental lecture about something completely unrelated to the moment you are there trying to express something. so it ends up generating the “step back” response. and it burns the bridge. so sad….but your “I’m telling you this for your own good” poster is too funny! 😉

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    1. You uinderstand the situation so well, Tipota. I am so glad you do. I was beginning to think I was imagining it or something. Sometimes all you need is a hug – you don’t need an in-depth analysis of your worries or stresses, just a level of empathy. Thank you for putting it into words for me!

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  11. Good luck with this, Selma! Set your boundaries and hold your ground. It’s difficult (my mother always tries to find ways around the don’t-go-there zones), but sometimes necessary in order to maintain your sanity. xoxo

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    1. I’ve got to do it to hold onto my sanity, Kate. I can’t deal with the rehashing of old disagreements any more. It’s not good. Editing and deleting is the only way to go!

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  12. I get it , I really do and yet I found myself doing exactly what your talking about with the monsterinlaw. In my case though, all it would take for me to drop it forever is an apology, which I will never get.

    I feel bad that I couldn’t let it go but I can’t. So maybe shes right in never wanting to see me again, all I do is bring up bad shit that she doesn’t want to admit to…and yet a simple I’m sorry is all it would take for me to never bring it up again.

    I don’t know Selma, family shit is a real freakin drag sometimes.

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    1. It’s hard to let it go, Cathy. I completely understand. Some people just can’t say sorry and never will. That is very hard to deal with. I will often say sorry just so I can move forward even if I feel I wasn’t really in the wrong. But from the other person’s point of view I was in the wrong so maybe that’s enough of a reason to apologise. You are so right – it IS a total motherfreaking drag!!!

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  13. That’s a great idea Selma … family is definitely a place where we discover people ‘that can’t let things go’.

    Go you famous thing! 😀

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  14. I guess self-editing is self-preservation. As sad as it is that you feel the need to do it, I think you are empowering yourself with this list. You are saying to yourself, that you don’t need or want their opinion on those topics because you are your own person and you won’t allow them to hurt you in that way any more. I have found that when I started to share emotions with one friend, she pulled back and said things and hurt me a lot in the process. I know it is something that she can’t do with anyone – even her partner, which saddens me even more. I now find myself self-editing when I speak to her. I have come to realise that she can be a friend on only certain levels to people. By self-editing, I remind myself that there are those precious people who are worthy and respectful of our inner thoughts. Sending you empowering hugs!

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    1. You sum everything up perfectly with this phrase, Lucent – “By self-editing, I remind myself that there are those precious people who are worthy and respectful of our inner thoughts.” There are people with whom we can be honest and open who would never judge us. They are gems in this world. Thanks for reminding me of that!

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  15. HI Sel,
    I would like to be your surrogate father. I promise to support you no matter what and never offer unsolicited advice. This is how I try to relate to my other kids.
    Of my four, two regularly ring me for advice on things like how deal with a cranky three year old to what is wrong with my tomatoes? One employs me to make things and the fourth is probably waiting for me to cark it and leave him the few buck my ex wives did not manage to gouge.
    They have made monumental mistakes as I have, particularly in our choice of partners but I have never given an opinion on theirs (I have plenty of opinions on my own). All we can ever do after making an honest mistake is to make the best of it, negotiate a new deal or get out with the resolution (usually broken) to never do that again!
    Luckily we can choose our friends and you have some wonderful friends!

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    1. What an excellent comment, Stafford. I do so value your insights. You are far too young to be my Dad but you could be my much more sensible and wise brother. That would be excellent. Thank you for your perspective. It has really helped.

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  16. It’s a shame that you can’t be 100% open with your family – but I think you are making the right choice by sticking with basic topics and steering clear of the hot-button issues.

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    1. If ever a line from a movie applied to my Dad it’s – ‘You can’t handle the truth!’ because he really can’t. It’s a shame because I think it’s hard to have the relationship you could have if honesty and openness aren’t on the table. Sadly, in this case avoiding certain subjects is the only option right now.

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