OPRAH pt. 1

Monday, October 22, 2012

This week is going to be unlike any other in my blogging history.  I'm taking on a FULL week of writing, with a NEW post every single day, totally devoted to one topic:  Oprah.

Now, before you close your web browser (wait!) or write me off for good (hold on!) keep reading (I promise, there's a method to the madness!)    Here's the scoop:  this weekend I went to a pretty crazy yet completely inviting conference in LA called "O YOU!" that The Oprah Magazine held to showcase their top speakers/writers/life-changers featuring the likes of Gayle King, Suze Orman, Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura Berman, Peter Walsh, Iyanla Vanzant, and of course, the queen of talk herself, Oprah Winfrey.

I'm gonna break this down nice and easy for you so you can quickly decide for yourself whether you'll stick with me through this week or quit rolling your eyes any time soon.

Why did I go?
I realize that many of you might not like Oprah at all.  I realize many of you might be offended at the idea of her, what she stands for, who she votes for, or what you may have heard her (or someone on her show) say in the past.  I realize that some of you might think she is just fluff and a billionaire completely out of touch with the real world.  Fair enough, we are all entitled to our opinions.

However, no matter what you think of her, you can not deny the fact that Oprah (and the other speakers endorsed by her) influence millions.  Think about that for a second.  What she says, believes, teaches, passes on, challenges, or promotes has incredible power in our culture and in societies all over the world.  If that's not something to stop and notice, I don't know what is.  She is a living legend and an icon, no doubt.  She and her fellow influencers have altered history and changed the lives of millions, many of which are women.

I'll put it out there right now:  I like Oprah.  Obviously, this comes as no surprise since it would have been an unbearable feat to go to something so "pro-Oprah"had I been smug about her.  I grew up watching her, and from my earliest memories I can recall sitting at the kitchen table helping my mother fold laundry and watching Oprah at 3pm nearly every day.  My mom and I would bond through the years to come, always watching Oprah and taking in her latest interviews, makeovers, revelations, and advice.  As I moved out of the house, went to college, got married, had babies, I could always turn on Oprah in the afternoon and feel like I was that small country girl just folding laundry and wondering what glimpse into culture I would get that day.  It might sound silly, but it became quite sentimental in my routine, and I'll admit I shed more than one tear when Oprah aired her final show back in May 2011.

I had always wanted the chance to go see Oprah's show in Chicago, and never did.  So, when I was flipping through the pages of O Magazine a few months back and saw the ad for O YOU! coming to the Los Angeles Convention Center...well, I wasn't going to let this opportunity slip through my fingers.  1) A day all to myself with no kids 2) A day full of lectures, advice, tips, self-help, life-improvement, and motivation 3) A chance to see Oprah speak live.  I figured, if nothing else, I could squeeze out a good blog or two out of the experience...so, here we are...and I've got a lot more than that in store for you all.

What's in store?
I won't say that O YOU! changed my life.  It didn't.  But, it did change my perspective on a lot of things and opened my eyes to some truths that I never expected.  Above all, (and if this doesn't hook you into reading through the week, I don't know what will) it brought me closer to Jesus...but, not at all in the way you might think.  That is to say, Oprah did not bring me closer to Jesus.  Jesus brought me closer to Jesus, but you'll have to wait until the end of the week to find out how.

I was glad I attended O YOU! by myself.  It was daunting at first (How many freeways to the LACC?) and a little inconvenient at times (Excuse me, would you hold my seat while I run to the restroom to breast pump?) but, it gave me the chance to completely soak up all the information I was given, interpret it for myself, and totally analyze it within my discretion.  But, I wish for sake of discussion that all of you could have been there too, just so we could be on the same page when it comes to my final evaluation.  So...here's the best I can do...

Over the next three days, I'm going to break down the entire day for you.  Being a writer, I purposefully took intricate notes of every session I was in, and want to give you as best a rundown of these lectures as I can recreate.  Granted, they won't be verbatim.  Granted, I'm a Christian and a mother and in my early thirties, so you'll be getting my perspective of what was important to me through what I heard them speak about, nothing more.  I'll be including the official O YOU! program's bio of each speaker, so that those of you who might be unfamiliar with the person can get a little context of who that person is or why we should even care.

I want to give you context, background, the gist of their talk, and a short synopsis of what I took away from their session.  I do not necessarily (read that again if you must) endorse, agree with, or support everything that they talk about.  Nor do I necessarily disagree with it all.  This is why I'll be giving my own "take away" after each.  I'll be covering two speakers per day, so there is bound to be a topic of interest to you somewhere in that mix, I promise.

Then what?
If you're as good at math as I am (haha) then you realize that leaves one more day in this 5-part series.  On Friday (and you're not gonna wanna miss this) I'm getting freaking real with you about all this.  I'm not just talking about "Did I end up liking Oprah or not?" or "Was I glad I went?"  No, no, no.  I'm talking about why it matters to us as humans, as women, as Christians when 5,000 women stand up crying and shouting and worshipping  when it has nothing to do with Jesus.  Or doesn't it?

On Friday I'll be rolling out the truth behind why I think it makes a difference to stop and take notice at influencers like Oprah, and how that can affect our own spiritual life for better or for worse.  And finally, I'll be examining the culture of these insane Oprah-fanatics and telling you a couple of scary get-out-of-my-way-lady tales when someone comes between a fan and her Oprah.  Yikes.

I hope you stick with me this week.  It's gonna be unique, surprising, and hopefully make you think through some preconceptions you might already be wrestling with.  I encourage you to read through the  entire week to understand and appreciate everything I have in store for Friday.  I can't promise you it will be "worth it", but it will probably make a lot more sense and keep you from leaving some confusing comment on my blog that you'll have to regret later.  Or maybe not.

Ok, kids, it's gonna get a little crazy in here.  Are you ready?  I mean, are you READY?  Get pumped...here it comes....

1 comment:

  1. Ok Emily, I don't usually read blogs, but I will make an exception this week. I am excited to learn more...


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