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One week from today, the Oprah Winfrey show will end and for me, one of my greatest teachers will move on from the life changing classroom she created 25 years ago.

I can feel myself crying a little more each day, as I watch the countdown. I can feel the build up of an avalanche of tears I am certain will come. You see the Oprah show is not just a show to me. The truth is, the Oprah Winfrey show raised me.

I was about 17-18 years old when I started watching. I was physically and sexually abused all of my life by that time. I was a teen mom, lost, confused and broken. I didn’t have many thoughts or opinions of my own. I was never allowed to. I was not conscious to my life, to my abilities, to what I could do in this world.  I did not receive love, encouragement, or guidance from my primary caregiver, my mother.

I was not held or witnessed in compassion, no one ever looked me in the eyes and explained the way of things, no one ever held my hand when I fell and let me know everything was going to be okay.  No one spoke to me, really. There is something about that absence of mirror and human exchange that leaves such a hole in one’s development of self, person, persona.  I walked around those early adult years, often feeling nothing at all, or a deep emptiness which nothing could fill.  I felt like an empty shell and always on the outside looking in.

Then one day, there she was, (insert harp music here) a woman named Oprah Winfrey, talking to ME? Yes, she was talking to me, awakening within me the self, I wasn’t even aware was missing at the time.  And everyday at 4pm, I awakened from what seemed like a deep sleep. Truths and lessons reached from the tube penetrating the shell, right into the heart of me.  Of course not every show did that, but enough did.  And each time I watched, I received a life lesson of some sort. A lesson about life, about being a mother, about being a survivor, about racism, about my own power and most of all about telling the truth.  I learned that speaking one’s truth was extremely important and perhaps one of the greatest gifts a woman/man can give themselves. 

The Oprah show elevated my consciousness, made me more aware of my humanity and the sacredness of my life. It made me more aware of myself and the impact of my words and deeds. It made me realize the power of walking on this earth and the influence one can have on the world.  It made me believe in the possibility of my own greatness.  

It was as if slowly I was awakening, and given the exact lessons I needed at each stage of my life. When I needed to hear about spirit and having a divine connection, it was there. When I needed lessons about mothering, it was there.  When I needed to face what was done to me as a child, it was there. Oprah’s confession of having been raped and molested as well the stories of other women like me, allowed me to honor my truth. I learned that I was not alone and that it wasn’t my fault. I really didn’t know that till then. Truly.

I also learned how to think for myself. I learned how to honor my own inner voice. I learned that love is kind and anything that came under the guise of love and felt painful and awful, probably wasn’t love.  I learned that it was okay to cry, laugh and even be angry.  Oprah was real. Real with her feelings on the grand stage of television and if she could reveal herself, then I could too.  I had never seen anyone do that before, not in life, not on t.v. 

I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without the Oprah Winfrey Show. I don’t think I would have gone to college, received a BA, a Masters, a Life Coaching Certification, created my sites for survivors, started my own business, wrote my memoir and all that will come. Because the truth is more than anything, the Oprah Winfrey show, made me believe in myself and in all that is possible through me. She was Mother, holding and cradling me in her arms, letting me know it was all going to be okay, letting me know I was loved and precious and safe. And that if I learned to listen to my own voice, anything was possible.

With great love and gratitude.