Oprah has brought stories to my living room that shake me, break me and then put me back together again by the end of an hour. She exposed hardship I would have never known about in this world and provided faith when it was needed most. Thanks to her I know a small bit about the Freedom Riders, the child rape epidemic around the world, the history of AIDS and how in the beginning some people thought you could get it from touching someone, that they may appear perfect but everybody struggles with something, to give back, to chase your dreams, that girls can run the world...
She's one of the last long standing people in media today, so there is a comfort to turning on her show knowing she will always be there on her couch showing you something new wherever you are in the world. When I first moved to Brazil besides all the Law and Order on all the time, she was syndicated on GNT in the afternoons. I didn't know anyone yet, have a job or anything to do so I would wander the neighborhood and organize my day around her show because it was my little piece of home. I could connect back to my friends at home that watched and we shared a common thread even though I was thousands of miles away.
In Chicago, our old apartment was in the west loop about 3 blocks from her studio. I used to watch the crowds gather for her shows sometimes and submit requests for tickets over and over to no avail. Its hard to imagine how that neighborhood has changed in the last few decades from meat packing to trendy, how the world as changed from big 80s pouf hair to ipads while she held court.
Tomorrow we say goodbye to a legend, a voice and a smile. You may not love her or care that she's gone from the daily routine but either way she's made an impact on your world in some facet. Be it through books, charity or important discussions that needed to be public opening the minds of the world to better understand. I dont know where else you can witness a old KKK member apologize to the black man he nearly beat to death some 50 years ago, it was the first apology that man had ever received. Or where you can witness 200 men in one room all admit to surviving childhood sexual abuse, sometimes for the first time to their wife of 20 years. Or how one little 12 year old named Mattie who spent his life in a wheelchair, worked to change the world into a better place before he left.
Oprah, here's to the millions of lives you have touched thus far, may your best days still be yet to come!
Ill leave you with some of the memorable things she said over the years:
"Turn your wounds into wisdom"
"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."
"True forgiveness is when you can say, "Thank you for that experience."
"Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not."
"You get in life what you have the courage to ask for."
"Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment"
(west loop by her studio in chicago)