Ok, so this post has nothing to do with weight loss, my journey or the fact that I would kill someone right now for a Big Mac combo at McDonald’s with an Orange Drink (which they discontinued in Canada – RIDICULOUS). Since there is only one season left (Season 25) of one of the best shows on television, this is going to be all about my love and adoration for the one and only, Oprah Winfrey. Some of you may find this weird, but I feel the need to share because for once, Oprah could be watching ME.
My Favourite Picture of Oprah of all Time!
Let’s start from the beginning. I started watching Oprah when I was very young, when I was about 12 years old in Grade 7. The year was 1989 and I was mesmerized with the countless stories on adopted folks like me finding their “real family” on her show. Certainly not people my age at the time, but people who yearned for the same sense of belonging and peace that I had hoped for myself. As I watched the magical reunions, I secretly hoped (I was too embarrassed to tell anyone I was adopted back then) that one day I would be on the show and she would find my birth family and they would see how great I really was. They would hug me, kiss me, tell me how pretty they thought I was and that they regretted giving me away. Without telling a soul, I wrote my first of many letters to Oprah back in 1992, asking that she help me find my family. It was amazing to me how much emotion came from writing those letters, but I was too terrified to send them because I thought a. What are the chances? and b. Was I really ready to do that? Besides, how would my letter stand out from the thousands that she received on a daily basis? I decided to keep them to myself, and not send them as a result of fear of the unknown. I continued to write letters to Oprah at different times in my life. When I was kicked out of my house at 18, I wrote a letter to Oprah. When I was following her “Make the Connection” plan and lost 30lbs in 2006, I wrote a letter to Oprah. When I got into College, I wrote a letter to Oprah. When I saw a girl on the show who was supporting herself (like me), going to college (like me), doing it all on her own with the odds stacked against her (like me) – I wrote a letter to Oprah. Are you sensing the pattern? After seeing Good Will Hunting (the best movie of all time) in 1997, which left me speechless for hours by the way – I wrote a letter to Oprah, to thank Ben Affleck and Matt Damon for writing such a lovely, touching and moving portrayal of what seemed to be the only thing I had ever seen that I could truly identify with (minus the whole genius thing – math has never been my strong suit). This most magnificent movie/screenplay gave me a very strong message, that the situation I was in actually may not really be my fault. That the years of emotional turmoil, mind games and physical abuse were not necessarily all my fault. What a relevation! I had to share this with the woman I looked up to most, Oprah. Again, all of these letters, I was too afraid to send. Afraid for what, who knows, but afraid nonetheless. Below is one of my favourite scenes from the best movie of all time, which rendered me literally speechless – probably the first and only time that will ever happen. Grab some kleenex or do yourself a favour and watch the whole movie if you haven’t seen it, it is incredible.
More recently, with the wonders of the technology particularly the internet – I have been able to write letters to her show that reach her in seconds. There is a section on her website titled “Be On The Show” and I have written and actually sent many letters expressing my love, adoration and sincerest gratitude for the Fabulous “O” and the impact she has had on my life. I have explained my trials and tribulations, my successes, dreams of meeting her, being on the show to see her in person, heartaches, passions, the most important moments in my life and of course those who have helped me become who I am, including her. The one problem I have found, is that I am limited to only 2000 characters (not words) per entry. If you are a regular reader of this blog (thank you!) then you probably have realized that I am a little wordy so once I have written the letter I end up having to edit it to make it fit which ends up minimizing the passion and emotion expressed in the original. I figured, why not write the full version here and post it on her Facebook page and hope that this blog entry grabs her attention and that she finally can understand and hear what she means to me. I have tried to get tickets to the show, I have tried to be on the show, I even tried to get on her Friday’s Live show in NYC with Mariah Carey by sharing my passion for both of them and what it would mean to me to no avail. I have let her know I am not looking to meet any celebrity (other than her I guess), I am not asking for a role in a movie, I am not asking for her to pay my bills or buy me a house. The one thing I have asked for was pretty simple, and I live vicariously through those who get what I hope for and it sometimes brings me to tears (on those emotional days). The most recent letter I sent was for the “Ultimate O Viewer” where I tried to explain in less than 2000 characters why I deserve the title of The Ultimate Viewer. I know the Fabulous “O” has many faithful and adoring viewers across the world I just wish I could say the right words that stand out and give me the opportunity to live my Ultimate dream. There was one time I received a response from the show because they noticed I was a viewer from outside the US and wanted some feedback about my country, and of course, I happily obliged.
With the final season upon us, it is almost like a last chance to make this dream come true so here is my Love Letter to Oprah in way more than 2000 characters and if you feel the need to read it, comment and or show support, please do – I will try sending the link to this blog entry to her Facebook & Twitter page today and hope again that before the end of her final season, my dream of thanking her in person becomes a reality!
For as long as I can remember you have been an integral part of my life. It may sound funny, since you have no idea of who I am, where I am from or what I represent. You should know that you have had an incredible impact on my life and I feel it necessary to share my gratitude and tell you why. For the past 20 years, I have been a dedicated and loyal viewer where I have learned much of what I know today, from you. Everyday, I have referred to you in my own mind as a mother figure. You have given me hope, courage, strength and determination to “know better and to do better”. You have taught me to love myself, believe in myself and frankly, you were what I needed when everything felt like it was crumbling and falling apart around me. In dark times, you provided me the ability to find my inner strength, you gave me someone I could look up to and helped me believe that anything was possible. You helped me keep going, even when I felt there was nothing left in me to give.
To say I have had a tough life, is an understatement. When I look back at my not so wonderful past, I am proud of the determination and strength it has taken to get to where I am today. I am amazed at myself at such a young age I was able to overcome many obstacles along the way including emotional and physical abuse. I have written you many letters through the years and many of those remain unsent. Letters asking for your help to find my birth family, letters to let you know that I was kicked out of my home and on my own not sure of what to do; Letters letting you know that I chose hard work over welfare to graduate high school and that I was accepted into college and then graduated – all on my own. Letters sharing with you how the people in my life who surrounded me and carried me forward like angels, literally saved my life. Letters letting you know I found my birth mother, then my birth father, that I found my half-sister and finally felt that the emptiness inside (which I never truly understood) was gone. Letting you know that my questions about who I was, what I was meant for and where I was going were answered. I wrote to you after watching Good Will Hunting because I wanted to let Ben Affleck and Matt Damon know that the brilliant screenplay they wrote helped me heal like nothing else ever had nor has, still to this day.
More recently, I have written to your show online via the “Be On The Show” section for a few reasons but I never seem to get the words just right. With the 2000 character maximum it is challenging for someone as wordy as me, but again with my determination here I am again. How can I honestly put how I feel and what you have done for me in less? These more recent letters are requesting the chance to thank you in person. To let you know that for years, even now, it brings me to tears (okay, I am sobbing) imagining coming to your show, telling you my story and having you hug me so I can finally feel emancipated from my past. The Emancipation of FiFi perhaps. You have said on your show many, many times through the years that you need to forgive to free yourself from the pain in order to move forward but that just isn’t working for me. I truly believe that in my heart, hugging you would make me feel that everything that has happened is done and that I can finally move on and that it will all be ok. This may sound ridiculously sad to you, but I am speaking from my heart and showing immense vulnerability by posting this on my Phat to Fit to Fabulous (my journey to win my battle with weight) blog for many to read – but it is worth it if all of the challenges from my past lead me to actually making my half-life long dream of meeting you come true.
I missed you in September here at the Toronto International Film Festival when Precious was screened – the closest I would have ever come to you and Mariah Carey at the same time and it saddened me greatly as I was in Montreal. I entered to win tickets to attend the Friday Live show with Mariah in Central Park the following week, but again, my words didn’t come out right and perhaps it just wasn’t my time. I also wrote to you a few weeks ago to become the “Ultimate O Viewer”. I am reminded of you when it came to your role of Sofia in the movie The Colour Purple. Up until that time, you had wanted nothing more than that role, it was utterly the most important thing in your life up to that point. I remember you telling your viewers, at the very moment you decided to “Let Go and Let God”, the phone rang and it was Steven Spielberg making your dream come true. The opportunity to be on your show is my role of Sofia and I honestly feel it would change my life. Now, I am going to try my best to “Let Go and Let God” as we are upon your final season, and maybe now, after all these years, it will become reality.
There was an episode of your show years ago where a woman named Joni Jacques was lucky enough to purchase a pair of your shoes at a charity auction. Although they were a bit too big for her, whenever she was feeling sad or lonely, she said she would take them out and stand in them so she could feel what it was like to “stand in your shoes”. This gave her hope and comfort. Her story brought tears to your eyes and of course mine too, even now as I think of it. Oprah, that is the effect you have on your audience: you are a beacon of hope and embodiment of what is possible. You are the epitome of what hard work and determination leads to. You are a self-made woman and I respect all that you have done for yourself and of course the way you continue to give back. What I hope for is to know what it feels like to look you in the eye and tell you with as much warmth and sincerity, with thanks to you, I am still standing. I am here. I am strong. You have helped me become the woman I am today and I long to show my utmost gratitude for helping me continue to survive.
If I do not get the chance to tell you in person, please know from the bottom of my heart, I love you Oprah. You are an incredible woman who has raised me, inspired me, taught me and helped me more than you can imagine. If I can be so bold to speak for all of your viewers, fans and other “daughters”, THANK YOU for everything you have done for us and we look forward to your next chapter.
Here’s hoping these words are the right ones.
With everlasting gratitude,