I had a dream about Oprah last night. She gave me a big hug and then asked me sit on her couch and talk about my book. In my dreams I burst into tears and was all: OH MY GOODNESS, I'M SITTING ON OPRAH'S COUCH AND CRYING! I AM SUCH A CLICHE!
And then I woke up and really started crying because her show is ending next year.
Oprah's show was one of the first shows I watched after leaving our strict, fundamentalist church. I grew up without a TV. Watching Oprah was my introduction to American TV.
At first, she irked me. I was distrustful of people who expressed their emotions so openly. I thought she was weak and vain. I judged her for not being able to control her weight.
But even so, Oprah mesmerized me. I loved the way she loved. I'd always wanted the freedom to feel and to express how I felt. Oprah felt with such ease. Slowly, I began to admire her.
When we got DVR, I recorded all her shows and even when I strongly disagreed with her–I kept watching.
I had been raised to stuff, mask or hide my feelings. After leaving the church, I had a difficult time untangling my feelings because I didn't even know what my feelings were. Therapy helped me identify the difference between guilt and shame, anger and regret.
Oprah helped me have the courage to love and to speak my story.
I began to realize that the harsh, critical mindset of the abusive, controlling church where I'd been raised had almost prevented me from being able to feel. Oprah was so human, so OK with feeling the normal, human feelings.
That's when I realized that allowing myself the freedom to feel takes courage. It's a risk.
In that regard, Oprah is one brave lady. Her ability to connect with so many different people from so many different walks of life is a remarkable gift–one that is strengthened through much practice.
Perhaps every writer harbors the secret hope of having Oprah pick their book for her book club. I never dared to hope that because I never thought I'd have the courage to write the book about my fundamentalist past.
But this year I started writing my book. It's been one of the most difficult tasks I've ever undertaken. It's 8 million times harder than writing this blog!
The Oprah show will be over before I finish writing this book, but I'll never forget how much she inspired me.
And, dude. I'm totally gonna miss her show!
OK, 'fess up. Do you like Oprah, too? Why or why not?