Oprah’s Final Message

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I will never forget the day that I was interviewing for a summer position at a local YMCA.

The two girls who were interviewing me were ‘camp leaders’, maybe a few years older than I was. I don’t know why, but I instantly got a bad vibe from them; they were harshly looking me up and down and judging me from the first moment I walked into the room. ‘Nice highlights’, one of them quipped with a smirk.

I tried to ignore my bad gut feeling and just give the best interview that I could.

One of the many interview questions they asked me was, ‘Who is a role model to you?’

I said, Oprah was one of my biggest role models.

The two girls proceeded to burst out laughing, trying desperately to stifle their laughter like a group of 14 year old girls would do in high school.

‘OPRAH!?’, one of them mocked, rolling her eyes.

Yup, they were ‘mean girls’, just as my gut had told me.

I was not only embarrassed by their unprofessional response, but I was angry. I wanted to stand up and walk out of the interview, not looking back. Instead, I carried on with the interview trying to ignore their cattiness, just waiting for it to be over.

A few days later, I got a call offering me a YMCA position. I quickly turned it down with satisfaction.

While I don’t regret turning down the position (I eventually found another summer job working for great people), I regret not sticking up for myself in the interview. I was quite young- only about 18 at the time- and I felt intimidated by the interview environment and the older girls, not feeling like I had the option of calling them out for their rude behaviour.

Only later did I realize that I always have the option to stand up for what I believe in, I just didn’t know it at the time.

Oprah has remained a role model in my life, regardless of whether that is ‘cool’ or not. Oprah’s last show was everything I could have asked for and more. Did you catch it? I loved that it wasn’t about a huge giveaway or ‘things’, but simply the life lessons that Oprah has learned over the past 25 years. The theme of the show was to remind us all of the power we have to change our own lives. I don’t think she could have gone out with a bigger bang.

On our real ‘job’ in life:

"What I knew for sure from this experience with you is that we are all called. Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Every time we have seen a person on this stage who is a success in their life, they spoke of the job, and they spoke of the juice that they receive from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing. We saw it in the volunteers who rocked abandoned babies in Atlanta. We saw it with those lovely pie ladies from Cape Cod making those delicious potpies. … We saw it every time Tina Turner, Celine, Bocelli or Lady Gaga lit up the stage with their passion. Because that is what a calling is. It lights you up and it lets you know that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. And that is what I want for all of you and hope that you will take from this show. To live from the heart of yourself. You have to make a living; I understand that. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world." ~Oprah

A universal desire:

"I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation. If I could reach through this television and sit on your sofa or sit on a stool in your kitchen right now, I would tell you that every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?’ ~Oprah

Powerful stuff! You can read the full transcript and watch a video clip on the Oprah website.

Did you catch the final show? Is this Oprah’s final goodbye to television, or will she be back?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

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kari June 15, 2011

angela, thank you for sharing so much of yourself through this blog. it’s very brave of you to share your experiences – good and bad – with all of us so that we may learn how to eat and live a better life. i was inspired by your take on oprah’s last show and thank you for adding your own anecdote, rather than just posting the information verbatim. it’s a reminder to all of us that we have choices each and every day to live better – be better to ourselves and to others through our thoughts, words, and actions – and that we don’t have to be oprah to accomplish this.
you rule.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 15, 2011

Thanks Kari!

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Olivia May 29, 2011

I loved this post, especially about standing up for yourself and knowing you can do it. I couldn’t find a way to contact you via email so I also wanted to let you know I tried your vegan french toast recipe and loved it! I re-posted it on my blog (I am trying 365 vegan recipes within a year to provide food for children in South Africa) and have linked you of course! Thanks for sharing and for your great blog :)

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Sarah May 28, 2011

I loved her last episode and that last line you mentioned about whether people see us, whether what we say means anything to others. That was the moment I started to cry. I struggled for years with feeling unnoticed and invalidated. And because I felt invisible for so many years growing up, I used my eating disorder as my coping mechanism. Through recovery, I now know that I have the power to make a difference in people’s lives, I make it possible for people to listen to me, to see the real me. That is why I love being a teacher; because my words matter to someone. I am learning now that I need to stand up for myself and be proud of the person I’ve become. Thanks for sharing your story, I also think Oprah is a great role model!!

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Megan May 27, 2011

I just want to say that I just LOVE the message of this email! Angela, thank you for OSG! I’ve followed your blog for quite a while, and it’s served such a bigger role for me than just a fun place to find healthy recipes. Your honesty has helped me to admit to myself that I’ve struggled with disordered eating to for over 10 years. I’ve felt so much embarrassment and shame to even think about admitting to myself that I currently struggle with binge eating. I’m so SICK! of the destructive cycle and I’m finally realizing I need to do something to change now. I’ve never admitted this in ‘public’ before and your blog has helped me come to this point.

Thank you for your honesty – I hope it always continues! I hope one day I can be as open as you. Your experiences are helping me understand that I can make the LIFESTYLE changes necessary to end this vicious cycle. It’s so nice to know there’s support out there… THANK YOU!

~ Megan :)

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Megan May 27, 2011

I agree with you, her final show couldn’t have been more well done. I’ve always admired her as a role model and at a young age, she was what I wanted to be when I grew up. I received the same smirks and laughs that you did when mentioning her name, but for me, it wasn’t about being a talk show host. How could you not look up to someone who does so much to bring out self worth and satisfaction in life?

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Amber K May 27, 2011

I’m not a huge fan, but I am impressed with what she decided to do for her last show. I may not have watched it, but I know she has inspired many to live their lives to the fullest.

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Katherine: Unemployed May 27, 2011

I saw the finale and thought her words were beautiful (and actually am thinking about using ‘Oprah’ as my job interview answer; no shame!)

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Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes May 27, 2011

Oh I love Oprah, such an inspirational lady in all that she hads achieved!

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chantal May 27, 2011

Honestly I think the people who did not like her finale show, are missing the point!!! I felt like she was giving us a huge hug. She is truly amazing and is an a testement of what we can do.
If people would really try to be like this (treat people the way we want to be treated, validate and listen) what a wonderful world it would be!!!!! I was raised with a drug addict, violent father listening to my mom and Oprah has taught me that IT DOESN’T DEFINE ME I am a compassionate good person. They helped me heal my childhood wounds. Reading your website is helping me with my food issues. THANKYOU

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Kath May 27, 2011

I’m a huge fan of Oprah too. And I wanted to let you know Angela, that you’re an inspiration to me as well! Every day you publish these delicious and healthy recipes, which I love trying out (really, I’m just cooking ‘oh she glows’ these days!) and I totally share your positive outlook on life. Thanks!

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Ilene May 26, 2011

I am absolutely in love with Oprah. She has graced my television screen for years, and seeing her close her show for the last time brought tears to my eyes. Oprah is such an inspiration, and her words and experiences have resonated with me in my own life. I love the quotes you put – she is SO quotable! This won’t be the last we’ll see of her, no doubt.

:)

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Karen May 26, 2011

Oh my darling Angela…don’t you worry one bit about THEN – just know you’re in your truth NOW and right where you should be NOW – that’s what counts, baby! :D I just love you so much for citing that quote you ended with…yeah Mama Oprah made me cry with that one. And OH MY GOSH, what Carri said, that one too…we are enough.

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Diane Seals May 26, 2011

I liked your Oprah story!
She has inspired me over the years and I have followed much of her advice to try to live my best life.
I am also very inspired by your website. It is wonderful to see someone brave enough to follow thier calling…I am still struggling and keep putting one foot in front of the other each day. Keep up the great work!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 27, 2011

Thanks Diane!

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Kath May 26, 2011

I love Oprah and always list her as a role model to me too.

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Sue in Canada May 26, 2011

Yes I watched it. I have it on the DVR…and I won’t erase it, I want to rewatch it many times. I thought it a truly fitting farewell for such an amazing woman. I really loved Oprah….and I loved the last three shows. :-)

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carri z. May 26, 2011

the show was perfect.

my favorite line?

“you. are. enough.”

we all are.

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cathy May 26, 2011

i, too, admire oprah, angela.
she is an example of perseverance, overcoming adversity, and using power in a positive way. i’ve never watched her show regularly, but she’s always been a part of late afternoon tv, since i was 16 – a fixture in the entertainment world.
i got together with my BFF tonight and we were going to watch our PVRd final oprah…but we started talking and 90 minutes later, the show was still unwatched. but we both needed the friendship connection tonight – i think oprah would understand!

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Richelle May 26, 2011

I saw the show and loved her message as well. I feel like I’m on my way to doing something I’m passionate about!

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