Almost every woman in America has been touched by Oprah at some point. Even if you didn't watch her show regularly, you heard about it, or discussed an issue she exposed, or read a book she recommended or bought one of her favorite things as a Christmas gift. My book club has a longstanding joke that we have to bring up Oprah at every meeting, and over the years, we always have.
Oprah has been especially real to those of us living in the Chicago area. I've attended a couple tapings of her talk show - the Chef Art Smith cooking demonstration and the Everybody Loves Raymond cast farewell. I even ran into her years ago at her Big Bowl Restaurant (I think she was picking up some garlic smashed potatoes.)
And of course, as an inquisitive writer/blogger/journalist who's not-so-secret passion is to make it big on the stage or screen, I want Oprah's job.
But despite all of the above, I have never felt that Oprah was a mentor or role model to me personally. Her talk show struck me as was a well-oiled, slickly produced machine with Oprah acting as the masterful ringleader of a really big show. She was larger than life, she was talking to the masses, she was distant. It was fun and exciting to be part of her wildly emoting audience, but I didn't feel any intimate connection.
But with my recent exposure to Lifeclass, I'm experiencing Oprah in a whole new way. First of all, I love the format of the show - just Oprah talking to the camera (read my complete review.) I feel connected not only to her, but to her message, and most importantly, how it relates to ME. When I was at the live taping following the Lifeclass about Letting Go of Anger with guest Iyalana Vanzant, I was blown away by the real healing that occurred in that small, stripped down studio. I could physically feel the release of old grudges and buried hurts and the sweet relief of people being able to release the burden of their anger and move on. It was magical.
So here I am, 48 years old and kind of obsessed by Oprah for the first time. I think she's helping me get over my midlife crisis.
Tonight I'm attending a second live taping following Oprah's Lifeclass. The topic for tonight is Joy Rising, and I believe Iyanla Vanzant will be Oprah's guest again. I don't know much about Iyanla Vanzant but I intend to go on Amazon and order all her books right this instant, because she was so inspiring when I saw her the first time.
Tonight's webcast will be shown on Oprah.com, her Facebook page and on the OWN cable network at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central. Look for me in the back of the audience, tweeting with my other blogger chick cohorts.