Goodbye, Oprah

I’m not mad at Oprah. I just don’t need her anymore.

I can’t remember a time in my life when I was home at the right time to watch The Oprah Winfrey Show. I only had vacation and sick days to watch Oprah. And even with my sporadic viewership, I learned to love her. To listen to her words. To try to do what the Oracle told me.

And she once saved my life. But I’ll save that story for another day.

Today, I’m saying goodbye to Oprah. I haven’t seen her show in years. I missed the final episode. Suddenly a huge vacuum in space opened. Who would tell it to me straight and give me positive affirmations? Surely, I needed her for these things. But she was gone.

I am subscribed to an Oprah email list and started getting messages from Oprah’s Lifeclass. Oprah started her own university and forgot to tell me about it. I’ve been missing class. Then I took a peek, and realized that the old Oprah, the one I loved, might be gone forever.

Original Oprah

Oprah used to give advice on practical things. She was a regular person. She would admit to stealing hotel towels and eating an entire pie. Original Oprah wanted us to do the following things:

  • Stop being racists.
  • Get away from abusive relationships.
  • Protect ourselves from crime.

This was the doom and gloom Oprah. The world was a bad place with , and we had to protect ourselves.

Oprah in the Middle

The Oprah in-between wanted us to do better. Be proactive. Pick ourselves up by our bootstraps.

  • Stop overeating.
  • Take care of our personal finances.
  • Make peace with the past.
  • Run a marathon.

This wasn’t enough. Oprah wanted us to change the world.

Operation Oprah

  • Fill our days with positive self-affirmations.
  • Know about the inner workings of our bodies, talk about poop, and change our health habits.
  • Volunteer. Improve our communities.
  • Embrace gratitude and joy.

That was fine for me in the past, but now I have to move on.

Dear Oprah,

I have to say that I've enjoyed the journey. But the Oprah Lifeclass is where my journey ends. One of the lessons was “Things about aging no one ever told you.” A reminder about my impending turkey neck, age spots, wrinkles and deteriorating eye sight? Thank you, Oprah. You have now left me behind.  

These new lessons read like we’ve all reached the same point. Like we've been with you from the beginning. You’ve forgotten that some of us are surrounded by dirty diapers and still want to eat an entire  in one sitting.

You’ve forgotten that some of us are not practiced or confident enough in self-affirmations. Am I lovable, Oprah? How can I be when I don’t feel it? Goodbye, Oprah, goodbye. I will always be your friend. 


So, I have given up my Oprah habit. She will be remembered fondly for first teaching me about Cole Haan shoes (that I never purchased) and the shape and consistency of a healthy poop. For those things I am forever grateful.

Between, now and the end of the year, I will teach my own life class. It will be a class for those of us who are triumphant one day and defeated the next. Should I call it Mortal Lessons? Active Inanimacy? Distraught with Joy?

There are seven weeks until the New Year. Do you think you can make a change in your life before December 31?

Robin November 13, 2011 at 01:10 PM
Even on my vacation and sick days I never really found time for Oprah - I'm a rare breed - I never found time for TV or myself for that matter. But how could I miss her and her influence? How could anyone who took the time to catch her and all those other advice hovers have time at the end of the day to do anything with thy advice? Oh, but there is so much of it. And then I started picking up her magazine because of the book lists. Ad I read the advice - buy these cheap for me expensive for you boots, pants, lipstick, make your house pretty things - do these things with the man who we don't know - say these things to your children (who we don't have time to raise). I barely said hello (but have paid attention) - I so busy heading my own advice that I wouldn't know to say good-bye. Last year, on November 15th, I turned 45. Midlife (I plan to live to be 96). I decided that at 50 I would be healthier and happier than I was at 40. That simple? I think maybe yes. Since then lots has transpired. I didn't have to watch TV for someone to tell me about the vulnerabilities of aging, I had to watch my mother go through uterine and bladder surgery, recall the death of many from cancers and feel the aches in my own joints as I stirred each morning. 363 days in, no Oprah. A divorce, a change in approach to work, 31 pounds (goal is 50 by 50) down. I'm inclined to push the Nile and Nancy approach - Just do It - mostly by just saying "no".
Melissa O'Shields November 13, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Oprah has evolved. I feel sad that Nicki has not. I have recorded every one of "Oprah's Life Classes" and shared them with my husband and other friends. Oprah is no longer about superficial things in life. She has seen beyond that and is willing to help others to reach their spiritual growth potential by going inside themselves and becoming aware. I not only have learned invaluable lessons from her life class, I also participated in her 10 week course "New Earth" class with renown spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle a few years ago with a million other participants from around the world. It changed my life! It is obvious by Nicki's comments that she didn't even watch "Oprah's Life Class" or she would have understood the core of the lesson. I suggest to you Nicki that before you give your opinions on a topic that you first study it. "Oprah's Life Classes" are archived so it's never too late to redeem yourself. You are the one who chose to end your journey with Oprah. Some people just aren't ready!! Your closing line was that you will always be her friend, however you have shown you really don't know how to be her "true friend". LIVE & LEARN in Love & Light <3
Nicki Salcedo November 13, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Perhaps Oprah should teach a lesson in humor... :) Nicki's first class will be "Tongue-in-Cheek 101: A spiritual lesson." Joking aside, I love Oprah. Read her magazine at the doctor's office or hair dresser. But for busy moms, an hour of Oprah is 3 books we could have read with our kids, time to plant a garden, volunteer, and say a prayer for the world. Part of parenting is trusting your instincts, making mistakes, and laughing... a lot. A big part of parenting should be laughter. The world is too humorless. You know what is life changing for me? Spending time with my kids or husband or sisters or parents or good friends. But then, I know so really wonderful people in this world. I'm lucky. That's something I learned from Oprah, be grateful. What I need is not what you need. Still love ya, O! (Plus we are practically, secretly related...but I can't talk about that) :)
Pam Asberry November 13, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Wow, Nicki. You just expressed something that I have been feeling but hadn't been able to put into words. I got my final renewal notice for "O" magazine just yesterday, and felt guilty for not being willing to plunk down the $20 for renewal, but I need that money to buy groceries this week, you know? I will definitely be sharing this!
Christine Glover November 13, 2011 at 02:39 PM
I am in the Goodbye Oprah camp and have been for a LONG time. I used to watch her show all the time. Then I got into her life makeover stuff and it did help, but honestly I can't relate anymore. I am too busy dealing with a graduating teen, concerns about our finances afterward, and the spiraling cost of shampoo. Yes, maybe I am superficial, but I don't have time to affirm myself and learn how to safe small countries. I barely have time to go to the grocery store and cook healthy meals. Oh, and then there is the coupon clipping I fail to complete as well. I just don't need a wealthy preacher telling me how to live right. *shoulder shrug*
Pamela Mason November 13, 2011 at 03:19 PM
But, don't you see? Oprah is an anchor for us women -- she was there for you with what you needed when you needed it. Take what you need from her. If there's nothing right now that she has to offer you in this stage of your life, leave her alone until another time. There was a point in my life not too long ago when I clung to her for sanity, positivity, fun, beauty... when I couldn't see the window God was opening for me, she drew back the curtain that was hiding it. I needed her at that point in my life when nobody else was there to be a friend. Oprah is living her own life the way she wants to live it. And doing so, she's modeling for women that we can be brave enough to be who we truly are. At this point in your life Nicki, you're pretty full with commitments and a life brimming with love and family and fulfilling work & writing. And I hope it never changes for you. But for some of us who are caught between teenagers rolling their eyes, stepping out of the nest, and aging parents with Alzheimer's and health issues... and we're losing our work because some authority deems us too old to be relevant any longer... we need Oprah's positive affirmations and glimpses into what a future without plastic surgery holds for us. Move along.... Bet she'll be here like a good grandmother when you need her again. Some of us don't have a good grandmother anymore, or never had one in the first place ... we need Oprah.
Romily Bernard November 14, 2011 at 01:15 AM
I never got the Oprah thing. Probably never gave her a chance because I associated the poor lady with Dr. Phil and I loathe Dr. Phil. But on to more important topics: like where can I sign up for the Nicki Salcedo Self-Improvement Sessions? Seriously. I need to know.
Nicki Salcedo November 14, 2011 at 01:17 AM
A friend suggested that Oprah run for President. I think he is right. I would vote for her. Twice if I could. But Pamela, you said I have a "life brimming with love." It always looks that way from the outside. You never know what really goes on in anyone's life. To your point, for me the inverse is true. When I'm happy, I love Oprah. When I've been vomited on every day for a week, Oprah's message doesn't have much meaning for me. What about us covered in poop, and exhausted, and wanting to join the mean people? I invented a new compound word curse word this week. Sometimes we need to acknowledge and embrace the somber times. I admit, I'm in a tough place right now. I medicate myself with sarcasm. The irony? The true Oprah followers don't have room for humor or sarcasm. There, I think, highlights the great divide. Those of us who have to change dirty diapers and those of us who don't. Right now I look for inspiration from my friends and family who struggle and persevere. And you're right. I will be back to Oprah one day. I know I will always have things to learn. Maybe from different people too. But I'll still bring my sarcasm with me.
Christine Glover November 14, 2011 at 03:52 AM
ah, sarcasm.... keep it real and keep it true. I wrote a blog about acknowledging the cloud before pointing out the silver lining... and sorry about the kidlet and the poop. it's been that kind of year for me just in general. :-P
Pamela Mason November 15, 2011 at 12:44 AM
Guess what Nicki -- When you're on this end, staring at empty places at a holiday table, tiny packages under the tree and less early mornings at the soccer field ... wondering if you're about to lose another parent to another disease, wondering if your genes predispose you to the horrors you bear witness to now..., You'll be thinking of these vomit&poop days with fond nostalgia. I know, it's hard right now... I know the walls are closing in & any and everything we-sans-vomit&poop say is going to irritate and annoy you-with-vomit&poop. Nope, you're right... Oprah has no relevance to you at this hour. You need someone like Ellen DeGeneris, who can make you dance and laugh at yourself. Frankly, I need Ellen too.
Nicki Salcedo November 15, 2011 at 02:28 AM
I watch one episode of Ellen while I was on maternity leave and I laughed so hard in the first 15 minutes, I had to turn it off. It was so funny and no one told that Ellen could *dance*! Strangely enough I haven't seen another episode, so I guess I said goodbye to Ellen too. Dancing and laughing seems like a great remedy for most maladies. I love the vomit&poop days. And for the record, Pamela Mason, I look to you for inspiration. Really, you are good people.
Cynthia L. Armistead November 17, 2011 at 07:10 PM
I've been on Oprah's show, and yet I've never been an Oprah person (I will say that her guests, even nobodies like me, are treated extremely well!). I've just never been a talk show person. I was overexposed to way too much television when I was young and my mother keep the blabber box on as, I suppose, the closest thing she had to an adult companion while she was surrounded by three young children. I guess it was preferable to talking to us? I found talk shows to be out of touch with my life then and now, so why watch them? They just annoy me. I'm happier sitting here reading, and writing, for a short time while hearing the birds outside my window, the wind in the chimes on the porch, the trees rustling as they lose their leaves, and the squirrels chattering avidly. In a bit, I'll put some music on and switch to reading a book. I have an empty nest now, so no more children in the house - but the cats are talkative now and then. I might even play the piano before it's time to go pick my partner up from work! My journey has been my own, without Oprah. Friends and family members have walked parts of it with me for short times, but honestly, we each travel our own path alone if we live our own, authentic lives. We can look to teachers for advice, and Oprah is a successful one, but she just doesn't resonate for me.


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