Okay, okay. I know her name is buzzing in the air. I am somewhat now sympathetic to diehard sports fans and their annual bitchfest about "fairweather fans". It hits home because Oprah has been mah GIRL since day one. Now, everyone is hopping on the Oprah bandwagon after her epic Golden Globes speech. I remember not too long ago (ahem, 2017), I would bring up Oprah in conversation and get eye rolls. She became bigger than herself: pop culture fodder, a meme of "You get a car!". I'm ecstatic that she is front and center of many conversations, but mixing her up into the realm of politics HAS GOT TO STOP. Let's chat about my obsession and let's talk out this political nonsense.
First, Oprah is like religion to me. Everyday from my elementary school days through my senior year, I would promptly get off the school bus, grab a snack, and tune into NBC at 4pm sharp. Her shows felt like home, and even thinking about them now, I can feel the familiarity and comfort, and also the undeniable connection to my mother while watching. When my mom wasn't at work, we watched together, and it became a platform for my mom to teach me her personal views about womanhood, about racism, about human rights, and about how her mind worked. I learned about my mom as a woman, not just a mother during those times. It also allowed me to create my own views about the world around me. I began to cultivate my own roadmap to navigate the complexities of being a woman, and how to best serve the world with my own unique talents. Powerful stuff, huh?
When my three friends asked me to join them to go to the Oprah Show in 2006, my heart about fell out of my butt. The idea of being in that studio, in the same room as HER--EEEEEEEEEK! The staff hand selects where you will sit, and of course, they put us in the very. last. row. As we waited for the other audience members to take their seats, a staff member pointed to me and one of my friends and directed us to follow him. He brought us to the VERY FRONT ROW, in the center, and explained that we were "seat fillers." This show was a hodgepodge of topics, and three guests would be appearing: Caesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer), Nate Berkus (Designer Extraordinaire), and Anastasia of Beverly Hills (The EyeBrow Kween). Our job was simply to keep Caesar and Nate's seats nice and warm until their segments were over. After they were finished, we were booted back to the nosebleeds. Fine by me!
You guys--when they told us to stand and cheer because OPRAHHHHHHH was on her way to the stage, I freaked! I was so surprised by my own spastic response--I was trembling like a leaf and the tears just started flowing. Yep, I was THAT girl. I remember every single second of her walking out onto the stage. She was glowing. Her voice was raspy and quiet. She was calm and her warm smile extended to every single audience member. I felt like I could die a happy life in that moment. I don't even remember the segments or how long I sat warming Caesar's seat--it is all a blur. This seems a bit extra, right? I totally understand. All I can try to explain is: my Oprah obsession is REAL.
As a teacher, when my students found out my name was Courtney (because Mrs. Reece is good enough for a few months), so many of them would say: "You don't look like a 'Courtney'." I would wholeheartedly agree and say, "I know. In my soul, my name is Oprah." Just another little anecdote to solidify the obsession.
So, back to present day: Oprah's speech at the Golden Globes was amazeballs. To me though, it was not even nearly what she is capable of. This woman has successfully created schools in South Africa, has her own foundation (the Oprah Winfrey Foundation) and supports over 23 charities, created the Leadership Academy for Girls, made reading cool again with her Book Club that helped propel countless books to best-seller status. She is one of the most successful self-made women with a net worth of $3.2 billion.
...And she's doing it all on her own terms. She has said that she created her own network, OWN, in order to have a platform for her work on Super Soul Sundays. She wanted to interview WHO she wanted on the TOPIC that she wanted. Over the 25 years of The Oprah Show, she interviewed thousands of people from all walks of life, and even more showed up every single day as audience members. Time and time again, regardless of the topic, she came across the same universal lessons. The same wants and desires for humans. She tapped into the essence of spirituality. And in that way, she became a student and a teacher. She has transcended her ego, has learned what the laws of spirituality are, has experienced the miracles of the Universe, and is now teaching them to all who are willing to listen. Were you shocked that her message at the Golden Globes moved so many people? I'm not. Her light shone through her and was reflected in everyone else. That's some pretty miraculous shit right there!
So, will she--SHOULD she--even consider a career in politics? One hundred percent--NO. Would it be amazing to see a world where Oprah ruled? Hell yes! But the political arena can be seedy, dark, and repulsively unauthentic. It is also an arena that many people with huge hearts and great intentions have dedicated their lives to. Many of these people have a lifetime of knowledge and experience in the field. I know the immediate gut reaction I have when someone tells me that ANYONE can be a teacher. I'm sure there are many good-hearted, educated politicians, who excel at their craft, who find it disheartening that we collectively think anyone can do their job. This is not the platform for Oprah to make change. If you look around, she is already doing so without the title of "President" next to her name. Furthermore, I think it's a lesson to all of us--your power doesn't come from a title. You can make the change you want from wherever you are seated. You are not a victim of the world around you--powerless and being led down a dark road by those who hold control. YOU control your reality. So, I'm good with us all hopping on the Oprah bandwagon--but let's not make this about her running for office. This is about being strong, standing up for what we believe in, and using a touch of Oprah's confidence and magic to make some massive changes. I know I can’t sit this one out--I have two little girls who need to be taught the same things my mom taught me while we watched The Oprah Show, and then to put those ideas into action.
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