For the past three days I found myself rushing home to make sure that I caught the last 3 episodes of the Oprah Winfrey Show. For the entire time since she made the announcement that this year would be her last year, I made every effort to see her shows, including the behind the scenes footage of the show and Master Class. (To be clear I have been watching Oprah since I was a little girl –constantly.)
I, who am not a big fan of change ( more so because growing up my life was so inconsistent and change was constant) had to take the year to say goodbye to her, this constant presence in my life ( through her show that is) for so long. While people who were suppose to protect me didn’t, when friends betrayed me or I betrayed them, when I fell in and out of love — Oprah was my constant.
Now, let me just say, this is not an “Oprah is God” thing. I recognise her for who she is, a human being that is flawed like all of us. What I do believe though is that she tapped into being amazing like all of us can do…but few ever do it. She shared so much of herself, especially her vulnerability.
Why I love her, why I like her, is so multi-layered. This is first time I am even putting my feelings into words. Let me just say this: I have been abused as a child physically and emotionally and often I felt as if no one loved me and understood me, but when I read a book about Oprah’s life at 13 years old and saw her face, that looked a lot like mine, I continued to have hope. I believed that there was a better even when people told me that there wasn’t and that I wasn’t worthy of it. I beleived even when I didn’t know that there was a name for it but I was hopeful that there was a better.
With all that said, I have never sent a letter, an email, or a tweet and I am not sure why. My sister always thought that to be ridiculous. My family knows how much I value her and never quite understood why I never made it up to Chicago. While writing this (like seriously, I just figured this out!) I realized that maybe, maybe I was afraid that if I even uttered my true feelings that it would in some way cheapen it. Also, I now understand that she is another great teacher that the universe has sent us like others, just to let us know how worthy we are. I adore Oprah like I adore Rilke, Whitman, Maria Shriver, Malcolm X and so many more people. However, for her to be “a colored girl from the back woods of Mississippi” as she often puts it, moved around and not often loved as a child, and for me, a little girl growing up in Jamaica, moved around often feeling unwanted and separate, reading about someone whose story seemed a lot like mine for the first time… nothing can be compared to that feeling. (Since then I’ve read about other people’s lives and saw how we all connect that we ALL just want to be loved and we declare that need in so many ways.)
With all this emotion occuring in this moment, I wanted to make my OWN proclamation and acknowledge the difference that Oprah Winfrey has made in my life. I am not sure if I will write her or if she will ever see this but I know she knows it — that there are people out there that love her so much that she may never meet…