When I Meet Oprah

I will scream, cry, forget my name, thank Jesus, ask her to be my Godmother, then ask her if we could sit down one-on-one for some tea – in that EXACT order! I, like everyone and their mother, watched the Oprah Winfrey Show and now subsequent programming on OWN. I wanted Iyanla to make me put my hand on my head and breathe while she called me beloved. I ask people, “Well how’s that working for you,” just like Dr. Phil. I wanted Andre to do my hair. You get the point. Oprah is my Mary Tyler Moore (ugly cry and all!) True Oprah fans will know what I’m talking about!

Yes, it was important for me as a child to have a woman of my hue, with hair that was my texture commanding the world’s attention.

But it’s not her money and certainly not her fame that captivates me, it’s her footsteps. The way in which she confidently bucks the trends, steps into taking risks, her confident stride as she seemingly dominates with her every move while balancing such enormous responsibility; all while creating deep groves that those walking behind her can settle into. It’s the way in which she owns her story, admits to her mistakes and corrects her course while everyone is watching. Our tea would be about Oprah’s lessons, Oprah the businesswoman, Oprah the brand and how she turned her calling into a career.

One of the highlights of 2014 was getting the distinct honor of moderating a conversation with Soledad O’Brien. I’m similarly in awe of how she set herself apart in a sea of on air personalities, solidified her real estate in making documentaries and turned her employer into a client. As Beyoncé would say…Bow Down.

Soledad

Soledad O’Brien and I


When I asked author, playwright, poet and all around bad a&$ Pearl Cleage what was next in a career that’s already incredibly successful, she told me all she ever wanted to do was to write. It signaled that the bliss was in the act of writing and sharing the stories and not necessarily the accolades. Through her diary entries shared in her memoir, Things I Should Have Told My Daughter Cleage reveals how she moved everything out of her way for her dream. She quit her job and got a divorce among other things. The unsanitized accounts detail the difficulties and loneliness of the decision. But it also shows how through the turmoil things ultimately fell in place. She often defined the process as searching for her “freedom.”

Pearl Cleage

Pearl Cleage and I


I’m captivated by strong “free” women (as Cleage would say) especially women of color, who have been “leaning in” generations before the term was even popular. They’re calling the shots and living life on their own terms. Am I embodying the characteristics that I admire in those women? Unfortunately the answer is sort of but not really.

I’ve had a gut check in recent months with numerous confirmations saying that I must step it up!

What was once scary, is now ordinary and mundane. My Pastor, Pete Wilson, reminded the congregation that growth doesn’t happen in comfortable places. So in addition to working out consistently and eating healthy I’m adding doing things that terrify me to the top of my list of 2015 goals, resolutions, declarations, whatever you want to call them. I’m basically signing myself up for failure, disappointment but quite possibly complete and utter triumph! It’s like taking liquid cod liver oil. It’s good for you but you have to hold your nose and cringe while it’s going down. Now that I’ve said it out loud I HAVE to do it!

Here’s hoping it’s not too painful! Here’s to making dreams a reality! Here’s to having tea, one-on-one, with Oprah Winfrey one day!

 

Who do you admire? What are your resolutions?

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