In 1986 I was 14 years old. Oprah Winfrey came on network television where I lived and ruled the airwaves for an hour each day. For the next 25 years, if I had access to television on a weekday at 4:00, Oprah was a part of my daily consumption.
I was impressed by her ability to explore topics with people she agreed with and people she didn’t. She didn’t approach with the judgement I had always found binding. She taught me alternative perspectives which felt more acceptable to my soul than what I had known before.
My parents were fearful, which made them judgmental and overprotective. I was impressed by how Oprah treated everyone with the same level of grace. Even if she didn’t agree with a guest, she would simply tell them so, and lead an open discussion. She gave respect to the lives she touched. This was how I wanted to move through society, with grace and dignity, creating change for myself and those around me. She created an open environment where dialogue revealed truth and challenged status quo.
I saw profound layers of beauty in her, especially as she revealed her own scars and tragic experiences. I learned empathy from Oprah’s story, from a different perspective than the fearful ways of my parents. She taught me how to suspend judgement and listen with sincerity.
To her I was an unknown viewer. She cared enough about humanity to broadcast light into my home and my life.
I have always loved my mother who gave me life. Her name was Idonna. I cared for her from the moment I was born, learning empathy from her collapses caused by pain on so many levels. Her faithfulness to the patriarchy that had her on her knees daily showed me what not to accept in my own life.
Oprah showed me what I wanted. She told me that I was worthy, that I had a voice, that I mattered. She was the first person to tell me these things. She is still ruling media, and I can find her daily messages anytime I need help finding my way through the day.
Soon after our 45th president was elected, a therapist we had just hired asked me who I would want instead.
“Oprah Winfrey,” I said emphatically while a spark shot through my core and lit up my eyes.
“Why her?” he asked.
“Because if what we want is an inexperienced celebrity, it should be a queen who built her life from nothing into an empire, overcoming every obstacle and transcending anything she chooses to.” I told a few of my fellow therapists about my personal desire to elect Oprah. Then I let it go.
Until now. This week #Oprahforpresident became a collective idea. Thank divine intelligence we have sparkles of hope again.
Oprah Winfrey has already transcended whatever she chose to, and made it better as a whole. She made media better after being told she wasn’t fit for it. She holds entire generations to higher standards by shining her light and spreading her messages that we are enough, we are worthy, and we can rise above everything.
Dear Oprah, as you once again transcend into another kind of leader, may it be what you want. May you be supported in all of your wildest dreams, as you have supported me in mine. You are worthy, you have a beautiful voice, and you matter more than you can possibly know. Thank you for being my matriarch, my guide, my friend. May you reap what you’ve sewn times infinity.