Today’s my Oprah-versary! If you don’t get down with Lady O you might want to tap out right now because this post is all about my experience on Lifeclass one year ago.
Remember how I wrote an entry about going to see Oprah’sLifeclass then I fell off the blogosphere? It is because I couldn’t find the words to express what the experience was like.
Since I was a little girl Oprah was my person. Not an idol or role model, she was my person. That person who I thought truly got me and embodied the values, dreams and passions that fed my soul. Yes I had passion and an interest in my soul at an early age. Don’t believe me? Ask my momma.
I never had the guts to even attempt to be on her show. I would sit back and watch all the Favorite Things episodes and the Live Your Best Life shows from my couch wishing I was there to witness and participate in the work that was being done there.
I call it work because lives were changed on that show. People worked through their issues in front of millions in hope of moving forward and getting through the emotional mental and sometimes physical gunk of life. I’ve been working on me so hard and for so long I think I deserve a W-2!
I didn’t think I was worthy. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I thought I wasn’t worthy to be in her presence, it was more like, “Why me? I’m not that special. My story isn’t that interesting.” So I sat back for 25 seasons and never sent one letter or email to get on the show (until the final season when all I wanted was a ticket to the grand finale.)
Over the last 15 years, life has been indescribable. Not all bad, but the struggle was REAL. Failed relationships (romantic, platonic, professional and family,) financial issues, health issues and insecurities played a major role in my inability to live my best life.
On the flip side, my career was taking off, I bought a home, I had a wonderful circle of friends and the most important person in my life, my mother was always a phone call away. Things were back and forth, up and down all over the place and bittersweet.
It took a while but I finally got on the path to feeling “worthy.” I began to travel, I went on trips and vacations with loved ones. I cultivated meaningful and healthy relationships. But while everything seemed to be all good on the outside, I was hiding a HUGE secret. I was miserable. I was depressed. I was pissed off because I finally knew my worth yet I wasn’t living a life that was worthy of me! I know it sounds confusing, but it’s my truth.
I was so afraid of confessing my feelings because I didn’t think anyone would get it. My job is to be funny and upbeat 5 hours a day 5 days a week. Being a Debbie Downer was not an option so I put on my happy mask and cracked jokes. I ignored the aches of my heart and soldiered on with my day to day.
|Dewaynia getting the coveted tickets!|
Fast forward to March 2012. Oprah’s Lifeclass went on tour and I scored tickets with my sister-friend Dewaynia. You can read all about that here. When I learned about the topic “Living your life on purpose,” I was beyond excited. I knew something was off and I knew something was missing but I didn’t know how to express it or pursue it.
I want to go through and give you all a play by play of the trip, the outfit and the entire show but I know y’all have stuff to do so I’m going to get to the good.
|Like my outfit?|
The show was 2 hours long and for 90 minutes various people stood up and spoke on how they found the courage to let go of their pasts to pursue their dreams. I started to feel a certain kind of way.
Why was it so easy for everyone else to pop up and tell Oprah about how they quit their jobs, let go of fear to find their purpose. Sorry I got bills, I don’t have a financial back up plan. I wanted to know how to get my happy!
So during a commercial break I looked at my friend Dewaynia and I said, “I’m not feeling this. I am not getting the answers I need.” It wasn’t that TD Jakes and the other guests weren’t effective, it was just that I needed some specifics. So while Oprah sat on stage getting her hair and makeup retouched, I stood up and said “I have a question!”
What the what? Why did I do that? What if I ticked off Oprah by yelling at her? I was frozen with fear and hope and the same time. As soon as the words escaped my lips, Oprah replied “You in the pretty yellow dress, we will come to you after commercial.”
Huh? That’s all it took? I’ve been waiting 25 years to talk to you and now I’m about to be on TV after standing up during commercial break? Me? One in a thousand? Lifeclass got real. A guy with a microphone came my way, a stage hand made me step up on a wooden box (I’m kinda short) and I stood there waiting for my moment. Then this happened:
Did y’all just see that? Me talking to Oprah and TD Jakes? Crying on national television and telling the world that I needed more and that I was afraid? I’ve had people ask me why I was crying and if it was because I was talking to Oprah. No, that wasn’t it. I cried when I met her at Sweetie Pie’s the day before.
These were tears of relief and hope. I wanted to share my secret and I wanted help! Just like Ricky Bobby said. “Help me Oprah Wini-frey!” Side note, if you haven't seen this video PLEASE watch Dewaynia's retelling of "The Day We Met Oprah"
I asked that question and I zoned out. I heard their replies but I wasn’t really capable of processing the words. I had just confessed on national television that I was afraid to pursue my dreams and my heart’s desire. Deidre “I got this” James unedited and on Front Street.
I haven’t watched this clip in its entirety until today. The truth hurts! What is wrong with me and why can’t I ask for what I want? The one thing I took from that moment was Rev. T.D. Jakes saying “Resist your fear and your faith will get bigger. You either resist your fear or give up your destiny.”
So here we are, one year later. Did I do it? Did I resist my fears? YES I DID!
See, I learned your purpose isn’t always your paycheck. I was conflicted because I loved my job but something was missing. Who am I kidding, it wasn’t something, I knew exactly what it was! So I applied for a volunteer position with an organization that made my heart sing. I was accepted into their program and for the next 6 months I lived a life that brought me so much joy and purpose that if I never do anything else, I would be ok because I made so many connections and I made a difference in my community.
Yes I’m funny, but honey, don’t think I can’t run the world. I put it down and I was successful. I didn’t do it alone, my friends and family helped tremendously and I would not have made it through that time without them.
It was scary and I took many risks and I loved every second of it. It was something I did for me. It had nothing to do with my career, my friends or anything else. I took a chance and it paid off big time. Those super close to me know the details of my journey and that’s how it should be. I resisted my fear and my faith carried me through one of the most trying and rewarding times of my life.
Now don’t think that I’m done. Nope, I’m not even close. I’m not done fighting those fears. When something or someone is important to you, you have to face your fears and deal with it. Maybe you’re afraid to pursue a hobby like dancing, or maybe you’re afraid to tell someone you love them. Whatever it is, resist that fear! It is a prison and I refuse to live that Shawshank life.
So thank you Oprah, TD Jakes and especially Dewaynia. I’m done with fear and I will live in my truth as often as I can for as long as I can. I’m fearless. I’m a fighter and I have faith and that makes me unstoppable. When I forget it that I am all those things, I have an awesome circle of loved ones who remind me that I got this! We all have it in us, and we are WORTHY. Don’t waste any time thinking you’re not.
Until next time!