When I heard Oprah would be speaking in Ottawa I jumped at the opportunity to attend. Since I was child, I have idolized Oprah for fighting to get what she wanted and for her fearlessness when it came to rejecting something she didn’t believe in. I remember the admiration I felt when Oprah decided she would use her media platform for good and would no longer produce confrontational television. I recall the public doubt surrounding a talk show that didn’t air people’s dirty laundry and the pride I felt when the result was a successful show that was on top for the entire twenty-five years it was on air.
Last night’s Oprah in Ottawa event did not disappoint. Oprah filled me and the close to 15,000 other attendees with hope, inspiration and renewed our faith in ourselves and in one another. Hanging on to her every word, Oprah reminded the audience that we are all here because we have something to give. There were many light bulb moments for me throughout the two hour event and the many “uh huhs” I could hear throughout the evening tell me I am not the only one who had these moments.
By sharing with us her personal stories of struggle and triumph, Oprah made the audience see that anything is possible if you truly believe in the greater good. She reminded us that there are some things we cannot control, but that it’s important to just, “Do it. Do your best. Let it go.”
Oprah’s wisdom and advice was complimented by her sense of humour. Laughter filled Scotiabank Place when Oprah shared a story of how she tries to pee quietly in public, “Flush fast and pee hard!” and then there was the moment she wiggled a bit when talking about conception – reminding us that we are all here simply because a sperm met an egg.
And to not disappoint her fans who know her for her generosity, Oprah gave one audience member the pair of high heel shoes she was tired of wearing and told us about the hard working waitress that served her breakfast that morning and how she gave the waitress tickets to the show since she could not afford to buy them herself.
Whether it’s through her generosity or her words, Oprah reaches out to everybody. I attended the show with my mom, who has endured many personal and health-related challenges throughout her life. Even though she too has always been an Oprah fan, my mom was hesitant to spend the money on the tickets; however at the end of the evening she was so inspired by Oprah’s positivity and encouragement that she was disappointed when the show ended saying she would spend more money if it meant Oprah would keep talking. Needless to say we would both spend the money again to see Oprah live.
I leave you with the below poem by Derek Walcott, which was one of the final things Oprah shared and I think it sums up the evening well:
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.