Saturday, May 14, 2011

What I have learned from Oprah

So this is Oprah's last season. I think she has another week of shows and then an era will end. 25 years of Oprah Winfrey Shows. I have watched her for years. Sometimes she gets on my nerves, sometimes she says just the right thing and sometimes she puts something out there that sticks with me.

In the last few years, with the invention of the DVR, I have watched just about every show. I tape them all and watch them little by little. I find her shows make for interesting conversation in our house. For example, I was watching a show about men who were married but were actually gay. Trevor walked in the door and I said "are you gay? because if you are tell me now". He loves that. When I ask him a particularly ridiculous question, he will say "Have you been watching Oprah?"

Last night we were watching Oprah's show on her most memorable guests. That got me thinking about what I have learned from Oprah. Just off the top of my head, these are things that have stuck with me.

1. "Don't go to the second location". This made one of Oprah's most memorable and it is my #1. In 1991, she did a show on how to protect yourself. She had a police sergeant on and she asked him what his number one tip was. I will never forget this. He was sitting on the stage and as he started talking, he stood up and walked down towards the audience, as if he was about to say the most important thing he has ever said, and said "Rule number one—and frankly, it's probably, in my opinion, the most important: Never allow them to take you anywhere else. Never,"because crime scene number two is going to be isolated, you won't choose it, you'll be the focus of the crime." It gives me chills to read that now. Luckily, I have never had to use this advice, but I think about it all the time. Its better to fight and take the chance that you'll get away than be taken to another place where you will surely not survive (or something will happen that will make you wish you didn't survive).

2. Everyone knows that Oprah has struggled with her weight. There are two things that stick out to me about this. The first was when she was doing some diet that said she couldn't eat after 7 pm. Jerry Seinfield was a guest on her show and the night before, he and his wife had asked Oprah to go to dinner and she said no because it was after 7. Then, I read her story about her show with Cher and Tina Turner. She said that she felt so badly about how she looked that she didn't want to stand next to either of them. She didn't enjoy that show at all. Both of these stories made me feel very sad and made me think about my life and my body image. How sad to miss out on these amazing, once in a life time experiences because of her relationship with food and her feelings about her weight. I don't want to miss out on anything and sometimes have to remember this lesson.

3. Another Oprah has taught me is the amazing depths of sorrow and grief that people can feel and how some people are able to dig out of that and others just sit in a pool of their own sadness. There are four shows that I vividly remember. One was a man who had left his car running the garage and his wife and two dogs died from carbon monoxide poisoning. I remember that I was on the treadmill at the gym watching this and it was so heart wrenching that I got off and went home. The other was a husband and wife who's 4 year old daughter was killed in an accident by a drunk driver. They were coming home from a wedding, in the back of a limo, and were hit head on by a drunk driver. The little girl was decapitated and to listen to her mother talk about that? Holy shit, how do you ever get over that. The mom talked about how they were stuck in their sorrow and they can't relate to anyone anymore because they can't talk about life with others when nothing will ever be as bad as that and nothing will ever make it better. Then, a family who's three children died in a car accident and how several years later, they had triples on the same day that their other children had died. And perhaps the worst of all of them was the man from New England, who's wife and two daughters were murdered by two men who broke into their house. God willing, I will never have to deal with any of these kinds of things. The lesson these stories taught me was that life can change in an instant and horrific things can happen to anyone.

I asked Trevor what he learned from Oprah and he said it wasn't what he learned from Oprah but what Oprah means in the grand scheme of things...You have either succeeded or totally screwed up if you are on Oprah. Good point. What will be the gauge for that now?!

I will be sad to see the show end, I do enjoy watching. I think she did a good job of using her power for good and even the times when she didn't, she realized it and did better next time. I wonder what her last show will be....Wouldn't it be awesome if it was her wedding?!! I think her last show should be her and Stedman tying the knot! That would be the way to go out.

Thanks for the lessons Oprah. I wish your OWN network was on basic cable because I'm not going to pay for a channel full of people who were great on your show once a month who will now have an hour long daily show to fill.

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