Last night, I was out with some friends, and we went to listen to Oprah speak. Yes, I did! I checked a bucket item off. “Go see Oprah”. It is very close on the list to “See the Queen” which I did when she unveiled the Oscar Peterson statue.
Y’all, I have some inspirational woman on my list. I also have Princess Anne, Christilot Hanson Boylen, and Jann Arden on there, plus some others. (Jann is checked off, I met her briefly one strange night at Cherry beach Sound waaaay back when… Long story to be told over ciders at a local pub. Seriously.)
15,000 of us (or so) sat in our seats last night, laughing, nodding, clapping and cheering through an hour and a half of her talking, sharing and explaining her vision and beliefs. She shared well-known stories about her childhood, her shows, her career. She shared philosophies, ideas, inspirations, and triumphs that have helped her get to where she is. She went over time by about half an hour (I know, we could see the time clock beside her teleprompter… Heh).
It was unbelievably inspiring. Except for the guy sitting next to me who was playing Angry Birds on his phone the whole time. Yes. He paid all that money to come see an icon of our generation speak to her experiences, and he played Angry Birds.
Money well spent, Sir.
I know some of you will roll your eyes at my enthusiasm, or shrug and say “Yeah whatever… There’s the bandwagon, jump on.” But it was inspiring, and motivating. No bandwagon needed, I gots my own two feets right here to walk that walk. Oprah may be a juggernaut of publicity, and people have negative and positive notions about her, but what she has to offer by way of experience is important for us as a society, to listen to. She has the means to effect change in this world, and has.
Folks may think she is rather too polished to be genuine, or annoyed by her constant positivity about self-improvement. They may say she’s secretly a $%#^*, or that she’s fake on stage. I may sometimes have wished for her to be less of a famous person and more of a human, in the past, watching her show. But here we were, staring down from our 300 level seats at the woman who has helped shape an entire generation with her show, inspired women for many years to get up and do something scary or change their life. Watching her, standing in her gorgeous designer sparkly dress and Mahnolo’s, I listened to her talking about peeing quietly (hilarious), cooking chicken for Stedman (We’ve all been there, madder than a wet hen when the *man* is late), and connecting to us woman to woman, human to human.
At some points I was so absorbed I forgot there was a crowd around me. Even Angry Bird dude beside me faded away.
I was completely hit in the chest with a lump of emotion when she recounted running in the rain, singing “I surrender all” at a Fat Farm (her words, not mine), listening to her thighs brush together, mourning her perceived loss of her part in The Colour Purple, Joan Rivers calling her fat and putting her on the spot, her stress of dieting, feeling lost and out of control… She let it all go, let the crazy leave her and be at peace with what would happen next.
You could’ve heard a cell phone dingle in the silence as she recounted that story. 15,000 people completely awed and still as went on to say she got the phone call from Spielberg at that moment, Spielberg telling her to not lose a pound.
*blink* Alright then. I was drawn in, and had something in my eye *ahem*.
I left with this feeling of fullness, of joy. I left feeling blessed about my own life because *%$# yeah bring it on! I left with a better understanding of how driven and ambitious this woman is, and has been to achieve what she wanted. I left with a nudge to listen to my intuition, to use my energy to help and give to others. To live every day as a gift and to love openly without regret. That we are what we put into our lives, and that we can achieve by thinking positively, reacting positively, and not giving up when the universe hands us crap. Some of the quotes and concepts that stuck with me (Shamelessly mined from tweets from last night, and my shoddy memory):
Your greatest power is to give love.
When things aren’t going the right way, you have to look at yourself first.
You are what you believe you are.
Your life is your art. You have been called.
Our lives are speaking to us all the time. When people show you who they really are, believe them. Sometimes people show you who they really are, but you don’t pay attention. You pay attention to the picture you created in your own mind.
A lot of people, especially women, spend time in other people’s energy fields. You have no control over anyone’s energy field but your own.
Do the best you can, then let it go. Release it.
You cannot hear your purpose if you let the noise of the world tell you. Be silent, listen.
When you are in a hole, don’t look at how high you have to climb to get out. Look at where to place your foot next, then next. Look where you have to place your hand, then next. Take it one step at a time.
None of this was earth shattering information. None of this was new to me. But… The way she explained her beliefs, weaving stories between concepts made me understand what they mean, not just what they say. She reminded me, she prompted me, and she wrestled it to the surface of my brain to roll over and over.
Overwhelming inspiration and motivation, isn’t it?
The best part of the evening was when my favorite CBC TV boyfriend George Strombolopoulous walked on stage, sat down with Oprah, and they had one of his patented personal, quirky conversation interviews. Not Rick Mercer, not Mansbridge, not anyone that you would expect to win this calibre of celebrity exposure… But someone who unequivocally defines my thirty-something world. I loved every moment, watching them interact, two interviewers wrestling for control of the conversation with impromptu dialogue and genuine responses, talking about mortality, Oprah being told she was pretty, and urinating in the same conversation.
Whut? Pure awesome.
I am so happy for him to have a chance to make it huge at CNN, but so utterly sad he is leaving the mothership CBC (permanently? I hope not!). George, you are one special Canadian guy. Take that identity with you when you are immersed at CNN. Represent. Seriously. News item on it – http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/09/stroumboulopoulos-comes-to-cnn-in-summer-2013/
- I loved how she put slippers on after her talk was finished, and gave her Mahnolo’s away to Sandy Sharkey, stating “I hope they are kinder to you than they were to me.” MAHNOLOS!!!! Yeep.
- She brought up Sherri, her server from breakfast at the Brookstreet, seamlessly weaving the interaction and conversation into her bigger message.
- Someone was so bold as to try to hand her a manuscript when she came on stage at the beginning, and George ran out and snagged it for her. She was gentle in her reprimanding of such a silly thing to do, which, IMHO, was extremely rude and assumptive, and dude who did that, WTF were you thinking? I am hoping it was not staged. It didn’t feel staged.
Folks have asked me if I saw protesters. None. And frankly, I think I might have been disgusted if I did, and been mean. There are bigger issues out there to worry about than what Oprah is endorsing. Go protest on the Hill over world hunger, or poverty, or war. Not about some face cream (http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/10/oprah-skin-cream-foreskin-protest_n_3053871.html) that was developed in a way you don’t agree with.
What I did see, as we walked in, and again as we walked out, was 15,000 or so people who had a chance to hear a women they have admired for so, so many years talk, empower, and bring her message out in a new way. To be inspired from that, and use that energy to maybe make this world a wee bit better for it.
I know it will help me!