Rosie O’Donnell was a guest on the Dr. Oz show a few days back, and I came upon the interview by accident. (Don’t watch Oz so much since he moved to the 4pm time slot…too many exposed organs at a time when I am working on dinner). I remembered, after just a few short minutes, what it is that I love about her and why I miss the Rosie show from years ago. She is brutally honest. Being genuine on t.v., or in life for that matter, is a gift and a risk, but she goes there so easily.
She speaks very openly about subjects that are mostly taboo, even today in this progressive culture. She talks often about childhood sexual abuse, and how it affected her self image, her weight issues and her almost palpable fear of attraction/rejection. She even talked about the safety of being overweight, how it makes you less vulnerable to advances, and even how having a very large belly prevents you from seeing your own genitals. Who addresses things like this ??? Amazing, almost shocking candor.
One of the most inspired things she mentioned was about how she never wrote this particular chapter of her life, since she didn’t expect to be alive at age 50. She lost her mother to breast cancer at age 39, and always assumed she would have the same diagnosis. This stopped me in my tracks. I can so relate to the feeling. While it didn’t happen quite so young to her, my mother died of cancer at age 53. My grandmother, of cardiac arrest at age 57. The year of my 49th birthday, I decided to go back to work. I think it was out of fear. Maybe, if I took on a new purpose now that my kids were about to graduate high school and move on, I could survive my 50’s decade. I’m not even sure at the time that I realized why I was doing so. The inner dialogue had something to do with the Empty Nest Syndrome, and also the economic reality of paying for 2 separate college educations; but in reality, I was cheating death. And it seemed to work for me. I just turned 60 in December of 2011. Time to write a new chapter. Thanks, Rosie.