Oprah is mad at herself.
According to an article in the January issue of O provided early to the Associated Press, she wrote:
“I’m mad at myself. I’m embarrassed. I can’t believe that after all these years, all the things I know how to do, I’m still talking about my weight. I look at my thinner self and think, ‘How did I let this happen again?’”
I mean, really, it's OPRAH! It's been a big year for O, she won an election for goodness sakes. I am a long-time, avid follower. I own her DVDs. I bought a subscription to her magazine even though she's the only one on the cover (ever.). I saw the Color Purple and, although it's a talent I typically reserve for nights where I've indulged in the 'bubbly', I can recite many of the lines from memory with the *perfect* accent. LOL!
I tried Dr. Oz's Green Drink. I went on the Debt Diet. And to take it even further I have a picture of Oprah, as a little black girl from Mississippi, sandwiched in back of the Moleskine where I write my daily affirmations. I looked just like her when I was 5. When folks were jocking Sarah Palin because of what she allegedly did 'for women everywhere', I went and read Oprah's Live Your Best Life because Sarah Palin didn't do squat for me, a little black girl from Houston...
If anybody has the right to be critical of Oprah, it's me. I am so vested in Oprah's success, because deep down inside it dictates my own. I don't like it, but that's the way it works. Personally, I stopped grading her and started just started supporting her ages ago. It was easier that way. Simply put, she won me over in a major way.
However, I for one, am glad to see that Oprah is mad at herself. While it is difficult to feel sympathy for someone who earns a 9-figure income in times like these, I can't help but acknowledge that Oprah moves markets. Penelope says I should pay attention to her movements. So I did. And as a result, I sympathize.
Sure, some will argue that her very public battle to be 'thin' will send a bad message. Those people are short-sighted. This is about something much bigger. This about learning how to focus your emotions to the right place.
From this moment on, many women will be learn that it's okay to be angry at themselves. Sometimes, it's your fault. Most times, it's your fault! This, my friends, is a great thing.
Here's what you can take away from O:
1. Anything worth achieving is worth focusing on DAILY--Weight, like many vices, does not just sneak up on you. You don't just wake up and have 30 extra pounds. It is accumulated pound by pound. Not noticing it, or refusing to acknowledge it, before pound #30 is the same problem that plagues people who have trouble saving money. It represents the inability to appreciate baby steps; the refusal to see that very few things in life 'just happen'.
Success in anything is the result of daily, deliberate, incremental steps. I'm convinced that a heightened sensitivity to the way your actions effect the universe is something that comes with age. And watching Oprah at 60 years of age, I'm also convinced that a heightened sensitivity to the way your actions effect the universe is no easy feat; even if you have a billion dollar brand that creates movements.
2. Fear is very, very real--When people say they aren't scared of anything, I'm almost positive they don't know themselves well enough. Oprah says her fear of her thyroid condition kept her from working out. Even with all of her fame and all of her access to the best of any and everything, Oprah stood afraid literally paralyzed by her fear. Anchoring awareness in your fear will inevitably help you in the long run. I'm telling you, it's worth confronting the notion of 'success' to ask: what am I really afraid of?
3. Transparency is a dish best served early--When you have an active group of followers, it's important to be honest with your struggles and keep us updated before the shit hits the proverbial fan. If we're a part of your tribe, when you win, we should all win. And on the flip-side, when you're struggling, we should know why you've been trippin' lately.
All through life we are praised for being first, but in this context, we're often criticized; labeled as attention-seekers. There really isn't really a short-term benefit to being the first to be brutally honest. I believe that it is this expectation of reward, and the later disappointment, that thwarts people from being candid. Real, candid honesty requires a trust in karma and goodwill. At the end of the day, you have to just 'know' that we'll still be here when you come out of it. Those that aren't, just aren't. Those that are, should be cherished.
4. Keep it simple--I love the way she chose to say it. First, it's in print (my chosen medium). By not speaking it (her chosen medium), she is allowing her tone, intent and state of mind to be dictated by the reader. That's a raw position to be in. Then, she just said it. "I'm mad at myself." Point blank. Man Down. 10-4, Over.
Those 4 words carry more weight than anything else. The absence of cliches and calculated fillers like, "it's just that..." and "maybe because of..." made her message resonate with me. Right on, girl. If you can't get mad at yourself, you can forget getting better. The way I see it, someone needs to be disappointed when you fail to practice what you preach, and usually, it ain't gonna to be the choir...
Marinate on that.
So I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from The Color Purple, and I suppose I stand corrected: if anybody has the right to be critical of Oprah, it's Oprah:
Shug: More than anything God love admiration.
Celie: You saying God is vain?
Shug: No, not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it