Wow. It’s really over.
Yesterday I wrote about my deep gratitude and sadness over the end of the Oprah show. I just finished watching her final episode. What I realized is that any of us who watched her show took our own lessons away. For me, in this last episode, I realized that what Oprah taught me was how to cry. As silly as that sounds, through my adolescence and even into my early adulthood, if you asked me, “When was the last time you cried?”, I would have had to rack my brain. I genuinely would have been able to say in some cases, “It’s been years.”
As I’ve grown up and allowed a variety of teaching tools to impact me, Oprah certainly included, I learned that it’s okay to cry. More so, that it can be more than okay at times, and actually good for you. 5 or 10 years ago, I would not have understood that. Rather, I would have called you weak, over-emotional, or ‘girly’ if you cried.
So, to shed a tear or two on many occasions during Oprah’s last season and to embrace those (and even admit to some of the more embarrassing ones like during the JK Rowling interview), I was able to reflect on my own growth and the safe space I felt the show provided for me. And to watch the final episode today, and to cry (more than a tear or two) as Oprah walked off the stage for the very last time, this long journey I’ve taken with myself occurred to me.
Why am I sharing this quite personal and potentially embarrassing lesson? Because if I’ve learned anything from being an avid viewer, it’s that we are most powerful when we’re true to our real selves. The walls and facades I used to put up and allowed myself to break down would be counter-acted if I did, in fact, feel shame for admitting to this place of growth for myself. If we as a community have learned anything from Oprah’s legacy, it’s to be as much ourselves as we can be, and to share that with your sphere of influence in hopes of validating and perhaps teaching others. With no pretenses other than that, that’s why I started this forum, the Betwixter. I wanted a space where Quarter-lifers could gather and feel community around things we face that perhaps our younger and older counterparts do not. So, here’s to the continuation of that, as well as to each of our own personal growth stories, Oprah-influenced or otherwise.