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
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
Audience Q&A: How Do You Find the Courage to Follow Your Purpose?
During a live taping in St. Louis, an audience member asks how to push past fear to find your purpose. Find out why Bishop T.D. Jakes says baby steps and resisting your fear will help you live the life you've dreamed about.
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
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.
Long time no blog huh? Well, it has been a busy week for me and I have neglected my blog for far too long! What has it been, like 3 days? Well I am back with a Do It Yo’self project that should take most people about an hour to complete. However I am special and it took me a heck of a lot longer because I was distracted by the Lifetime Movie Network, wine, and a few miscalculations.
Little known fact, I was the art teacher for an after-school program when I was in college. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Helping kids explore their creativity was such a beautiful thing to witness. They taught me that you don’t have to be skilled in sketching or watercolors to make your very own masterpiece. All it takes is the willingness to allow yourself the freedom to experiment with different materials, and to not be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t turn out the way you envisioned it.
This project was very personal to me. It combines my love of music, as well as some personal issues I’ve been struggling with over the last few months. As I write this I am struggling with just how in depth I should be about what drove me to make these choices, because it was very complex and I know you love me, but who wants to read this all night?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a fan of Fleetwood Mac. It probably has a lot to do with my mother who exposed me to all types of music at a young age. I remember being a little girl spinning around in my living room while singing along with Stevie Nicks (especially her solo hit Stand Back).
Their 1977 album Rumors is probably the album that has influenced me the most. Every song on that record speaks to me on levels I didn’t quite understand when I was younger but now, as an adult it is crystal clear to me why I fell in love with these songs and lyrics. Songs like Landslide, Songbird, and Don't Stop. Second Hand News and Never Going Back Again break my heart every time I listen to them.
Rumors was my first love. It taught me everything I needed to know about relationships, with your friends, family, and loved ones when they’re good, and especially when they go bad.
One day I was listening to “Go Your Own Way” and I don’t know if I can explain it to you, but I was moved to express myself through those lyrics, and I didn’t know how. These words stood out to me:
Loving you isn’t the right thing to do
How can I ever change things that I feel?
If I could baby I’d give you my world
How can I, when you won’t take it from me?
At the moment I was living those lyrics. If you’ve ever been in a place where you felt like no matter what you did, the object of your affection wasn’t open to or willing to allow you access into their world, then you know how I felt listening to this song. If there is someone standing between you and what you really want, in life and all it would take for you to achieve your goal is for them to listen to you and let you do your thing, you know how I felt listening to this song. If you’ve ever tried over and over again to tell a dear friend that their reckless behavior, and poor decision making was only making their life more complicated than it needed to be, guess what? You know, how I felt, listening to this song.
You can go your own way
You can call it another lonely day
I needed a way to tell this to a few people in my life, but how? I can’t sing or play an instrument like Lindsay Buckingham. I for damn sure didn’t have the courage to say it to these people who were blocking me from my happiness at the time, especially when some of us weren’t even on speaking terms.
So I thought of another way to express myself through these lyrics. I chose a way that would remind me each and every day that even though I want to have a certain type of relationship with some of my friends, family members and associates, I am not in control of what they do or how they see me, so I made this.
I took a map and detailed the places I’ve been, where I want to go, and the people who have helped or hindered me in the process.
All it took was a map, alphabet stickers from a craft store and a frame. Easy right?
At first I was all worried about the alignment, and spacing, of the words and letters. Then I realized, like real life and relationships, it is far from perfect. Nothing is ever aligned exactly the way we want them to be when it comes to the people we care about. So instead of letting the ruler guide me, I went my own way.
Thanks to my good friend Zach for helping me find my way and the courage to do so.