Goodbye, Oprah, but her efforts should continue

Goodbye, Oprah, but her efforts should continue

This week on May 25th, I said goodbye to Oprah. Anyone that knows me, understands that I am a true Oprah fan. I am an Oprah baby. The show started in 1986 and I was about 8 years old. I remember watching her show with my Mom or Grandmother. I can remember being in awe that a Black woman was leading a show. At the time, the Cosby Show was on so I had positive reinforcements, but Oprah showed that a woman, Black woman, could be in charge of her world. She opened up the possibilities. While it is sad that you are judged by your weight, I felt comfort in Oprah because she didn’t fit the normal demographic. She looked like people I knew in the African-American community. Oprah was familiar.As time went on, Oprah became the authority. She shared wisdom, intentions, and forgiveness. I found that what she mentioned on the show assisted me in understanding different aspects of my life. What set her apart was that you could tell that she was on the search to find the answers as well. It never came from a place of judgement or as if she was better than you. Whether it was Iyanla Vanzant, Dr. Phil, or Bob Greene, you could see that Oprah was drinking in the same advice that you were. You could see that she was searching for the same answers.

I have been blessed to attend four tapings of her show. The first, I was invited by my best friend. I remember it feeling surreal to be at Harpo Studios. I can remember sitting in chair in the audience waiting area and believe that I was meant to be with. I spent five years trying to get there and, magically, my best friend was able to get tickets. They called names, I remember praying that they would call my friends’ party, but I knew that they were pre-planned. But somehow, we ended up being called very early in the numbers. I raced down  the steps and through the doors, only to be stunned by the reality that I was where I was hoping to be. At that moment fate stepped in, my best friends’ mother had been re-routed to rafter seating on the other side. My bestie stepped beside me and we looked lost until a Producer approached us. We asked where should we go. She looked at us for a minute and directed us to a rafter on the right of the stage. Then, she stopped and looked at our bright colors again. She said, “actually, come with me”. We followed her and she led us past everyone to seats at the front of the stage.

I could hardly believe it. Oprah walked past me onto the stage and sat inches away from me during the broadcast. I have to admit that I was reading her teleprompter over her shoulder throughout the telecast. The show was the last episode of Oprah and Gayle traveling across country. At the end of the show, Oprah told us that she was taping for her radio show. We were allowed to ask questions. Even though I was nervous, my arm shot up in the air. She swiveled in her chair to see behind her and looked me in my eyes. I told her that I was adept at providing advice for everyone else on their problem, but I was unable to see my own. She looked at me and told me that I didn’t want to. I remember feeling anger flow through me. Who was she to tell me that I didn’t want to see my own issues. But, it didn’t take long for me to realize that she was right and tears spilled from my eyes. Oprah asked me why I was crying and I could barely answer, but it was because I understood that I didn’t want to know my own pain.

At the conclusion of show, Oprah looked me in the eyes and, silently, sympathized with me. In that moment, she saw me, she heard me and what I said mattered to her. I was able to attend the Oscar show and other shows, but I never forgot that moment. She changed my life. I began to really analyze my thoughts and understand that I was a big part of my challenges.

As this week passed, I have shed tears. Some of them, in memory of the person that sent me on my spiritual journey, but others because there is no more Oprah  Book Club. I used to have dreams of being apart of the Book Club and invited to speak about a book. I understand that it’s not as likely anymore, but I don’t doubt that I won’t be able to thank Oprah at some point. She changed my life. She told me that being a writer is something to be celebrated.

We all have a duty to carry on this legacy. Illiteracy is unacceptable. As far as Oprah, she deserves a break. But, as she says that you receive an equal reaction. I have a desire to meet and be mentored by her and I have to believe that the Universe agrees.Whether that happens or not, is not important. I hope you can create your own understanding of you and decide your own next steps. What I’ve figured out about life is that we are all nurtured and born in the dark. Once we have our own life, it’s our right and our job to find the light. If we are lucky, someone will pull us along and guide us to the light. And we will see life as it was supposed to be seen, a gift and blessing. We cry in the beginning, but if we’re fortunate, we smile in the end.