Having being raised spending a substantial amount of time around my grandmothers I was privy to many things. See, the nature of things were different then than they are now. Kids being around their grandparents isn’t some new phenomenon, it’s more so the nature of the grandparents coupled with the direct guidance of the parents or lack their of. My generation of grandparents were the nurturers, healers, and foundations of the family. They taught you things and instilled wisdom in you through the smallest of tasks whether you knew it or not. Sometimes these lessons were forced and sometimes they were by default.

For as far back as I can remember there were just certain things that constantly got play on my family’s televisions. From Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, “The Stories”, Price Is Right, Oprah, and the evening news I had no choice but to be an old soul. I drank coffee in the mornings with my Granny and Pop, I worked in the garden, I was taught to read, speak, and cook at an early age. When I was young I watched Oprah because that’s just what we did. As I got older I’m sure I watched out of habit and partially because I was intrigued.

From as far back as I could remember; from the time I played and excelled at basketball until I became bored with it and lost focus to the time I made straight A’s and let my grades slip because I wanted to “fit in”, or maybe when I somehow managed to land the most prestigious honor of all nerdom by being selected as drum major of my high school band. I just felt like I was awesome and somehow would end up on that stage in Harpo Studios chatting it up with Oprah Winfrey. Well fast forward to my senior year in high school as I’m prepping for college and my mother becomes terminally ill. It all happened so fast and my life changed in so many ways. Long story short, I stayed to myself and didn’t leave my home much. To occupy my time I alternated between watching a DVD set from Oprah’s 20th Anniversary, JayZ’s Fade To Black, and Purple Rain.

I watched those Oprah DVDs so much and I couldn’t even explain why. What I do know is that itch of going on the Oprah show still lingered in my mind. You see I thought somewhere deep down in her spirit she would see something in me, she would heal my emotional wounds and I would get a new lease on life. It’s safe to say Oprah never came, not only did she not come but she announced that this would be her last season doing The Oprah Winfrey Show. Can you even imagine how I felt daily until the last show and I just knew my life was over. How would the world hear my voice? How could I tell my story? How was I supposed to know what to do next?

I was 25 at the time and nothing I predicted for my life came to fruition (and let’s just say I’m more than thankful…I really am) and I was stuck at 25 thinking, “what on Earth am I going to do now?” I felt like the World owed me something and I carried that on me to the point where I thought I had hit a low point in my life and all I did was habitually complain and walk around with a false sense of entitlement. I thought my life was bad and it got extremely worse.

Based on sheer common sense along with the status of my life that there had to be more. A good friend suggested a few books for me to read and my road to transformation had begun. This is around the same time Oprah was launching her network and there wasn’t much content but the structure and vision was there, much like this website. I would watch Oprah’s Lifeclass while taking notes, after I took notes I would pull out my laptop and type those notes. Then every day I would read those notes. As I was searching through files on my computer I found some of those notes the earliest dating back to October 25, 2011. From Lifeclass to Oprah’s Masterclass, and Super Soul Sunday I have become not only a student of life but well on my journey to being a master of self. My vision has been awakened to avenues I didn’t even know existed and my heart has become open to even the least likely of men.

There are those that wish to be or know you for the perceived benefits they think they could reap. However, there are those who don’t wish to know you but already feel they do. Those who are inspired by your journey and the paths you continue to blaze vehemently lighting the way wherever there may be darkness. We celebrate you and even those who don’t possibly due to lack of understanding; know that in some regard you have paved the way for so many people to dream and believe in themselves no matter their path. A woman who dared greatly and will continue to inspire for lifetimes to come.

Women who carry wisdom aren’t rare they just sometimes get drowned out by the noise. Somewhere down the line we lost our reverence for one another. We tend to criticize people while they’re alive and we’ll sing their praises from the high heavens when they’re soul has journeyed on. Your bravery to journey away from everything that we saw as the peak of your life has taught me that there are no limits to success and no matter how successful you become and irregardless of the barriers you’ve knocked down there will be naysayers. Your constant celebration of other peoples greatness inspires me to do the same. You are a vessel, which means you are walking in your purpose. How can I not cling to my purpose and seek to constantly grow my vision when I can see the goodness that comes from that. I’ve watched millions of people’s lives get changed because of that; I am one.

Everyone says they want to be free only to become a slave to thoughts and consumption of all they don’t wish to be or have. Ironically they become the very things they wish to escape or seemingly despise while obtaining nothing trying to have it “all”. By your direct teachings or lessons you provided through other masters of their craft, I have managed to turn my wounds into wisdom and I now know my purpose. Although I’ve come through a lot I know that my journey is far from over and that trials may not be the same but the potential for pain most definitely lingers. If surviving the obstacles previously placed before aren’t enough, I have a constant reminder that there is purpose in pain and this too shall pass.

Your tolerance and acceptance for others has taught me so much even just about being myself. Your platforms have touched ends of this Earth that people don’t even know exist. So even though I felt like my life ended the day you stopped The Oprah Winfrey Show, I now know you had a vision for something far greater than anyone could conceive. I turned my wounds to wisdom and now I’m turning disappointment to faith. God often tells us, “Not now.” and we internalize that as, “no”.

So no,  I won’t ever be able to be on The Oprah Winfrey Show but I have a new dream and a new vision. One justified and filled with purpose, something not coming from a victimized standpoint but something birthed with alignment and destiny. You have encouraged and virtually mentored me to live my best life, my gift to you is to become a master of life and a lover of my peers. Be the light to others that you have been for me.

Happy birthday Oprah Winfrey, you are a trailblazer, icon, and example for not only women but for us all. Keep raising the bar and thank you for your contribution to the World. I’m just trying to sit under the oaks in your backyard with a Moscow Mule having familiar conversation sharing gratitude and admiration.

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