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?

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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