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Category Archives: Oprah

“I surrender all” 26 on the 26th.

“I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.”

In the last couple of weeks that refrain has been replaying over and over in my head. Surrendering all. The concept of surrender “to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand”- is a lot for a person like me who thrives off power and control of their own being and destiny. I am the person that refuses to clap when the minister says “If you love the Lord clap your hands”. I refuse to submit to the authority of what feels like a Simon says style of worship.  I have finally been able to articulate why I don’t need a Savior (outside of the precious savior baby Blue Ivy) during the last half of the year. I have become more and more comfortable with the fact that while culturally I am very much a product of the Black Christian environment I was raised in, however theologically I am not and do not desire to be a Christian. In my head the blessed Savior in the song refers more to a higher power, the divine, father/mother God, the universal force, etc.

Giving it up (whatever it is) to a higher power has got to be one of the hardest things for me to do. I have been struggling with unknown aspects of my future. If I am to finish my PhD this Spring…what is next? What am I going to do? I am planner and not having a concrete plan, at times causes an unbearable and crippling anxiety to overtake my body. Singing “I surrender all” has been helpful in overcoming some of this anxiety. The power of surrender became clear to me about 2years ago while watching Oprah’s Master class. This is probably the thing that stuck out for me the most.

“God can dream a bigger dream for me, for you than you can ever dream for yourself. When you worked as hard and done as much and strived and tried and given and plead and bargained and hoped. Surrender. When you have done all that you could do and there is nothing left for you to do. Give it up. Give it up to that thing that is greater than yourself and let it then become a part of the flow.”

So for 26 I am making surrendering and letting go a major part of my life. There is no point of me trying to control my destiny and make myself sick thinking of the uncertainty. What I do know is that I have done the work. This applies to school/academia, my romantic relationships, and my relationship with others. I have done what is needed to be successful in those regards and now it’s time for me to let some things go and let God do the rest. Iyanla and Oprah had both made it clear to me that you have to do the work, you can’t expect changes if you are not actively engaged in the work. I know I am not the only one who have been watching “Iyanla, fix my life,” if you have not- you NEED TO.

I turned 26 years old on Wednesday. 26 was old a couple years ago- you know when I was 20. I am not where I thought I would be-that is neither a good or bad thing. I spent my birthday white-water rafting on the Chiriqui River in Panama. This marks the 3rd birthday and Christmas I spent solo. I really enjoy traveling alone. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. I get to spend quality time with myself and think and mediate. I get to read for pleasure! (Currently reading the newest Oprah book club selection) Do things that I really don’t have the time or energy to do when I am home or with other people.

IMG-20121226-00163IMG-20121226-00166

mean mugging

mean mugging

I smile

I smile

One of my new friends

One of my new friends

My raft group included 2 girls, their mother and her best friend. Every year their family goes someplace for Christmas. This year their group included 7 people. They have done Belize, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, etc. this got me thinking how nice it would have been to share some of these memories with the people closest to me. I was wondering would my dad done the white water rafting or how tough Jeremiah would have pretended to be.  As the rafting trip progress the idea I was previously toying with- traveling with my parents as an adult begin to really develop in my head. My parent’s anniversary is on Dec 29th. It’s been three years since I spent it with them. I guess it is THEIR anniversary….I don’t have to be there but since we are each other’s favorite people in the world- I think they would want me around. I don’t plan to spend the next Christmas, my next birthday or their next wedding anniversary without them. I am planning to rent a house in the Caribbean next year. I am learning just because I can do things alone, doesn’t mean I always have to. After spending the last two NYE with the most intense feelings of homesickness and sadness because I wasn’t home, I am looking forward to spending NYE at Watch Night service at my daddy’s church.

 

My goal for this 26th year of life is to surrender to the divine and share love. The future is bright. I got a feeling the universe has some surprises and blessings in store for me. You can count on Oprah, Blue Ivy and the Color Purple to continue to play a big part in my world.

 

~Just Tab

 

 

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Posted by on December 28, 2012 in Holidays, Learning bout Tab!, Oprah, Travel

 

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The Story of Us.

I have had two great loves in my life, two great loves that I have never physically met but have touched and influence my life innumerable ways. They are Tupac Amaru Shakur and Oprah Gail Winfrey. The significance of Tupac on my development is a story for another day, but suffice to say obsessed is a term that was often use to describe my respect for this man. My focus today is on Oprah, or more specifically The Oprah Winfrey Show.

I remember being in Mrs. Williams (very white & Greek) costume class towards the end of my 9th grade year. For some reason my spoiled, middle class Black body which attended one of the most prestigious high schools in the country and who was raised in a two parent Christian home decided that I was a revolutionary.

Although at that time I would have not used that word, I was down with the movement- whatever that said movement was. Evidence of my downness was my decision at 13 years old not to get any more perms “I do not want to be a slave to the white man’s definition of beauty,” this is what I told anyone who questioned my disdain for the lye. On this particular day in class I was “educating”, perhaps a better word would be ranting on Oprah Winfrey being a pawn of white women/society and how she is just a sellout, etc. Mrs. Williams ask me was I serious…of course I was- I was Blacker than Black. (SN: I had just read a book about the Black Panthers and I have a tendency to embody books that I read). She explained to me how significant and remarkable Oprah was to all women and especially to Black women. I was half listening because, who was this white woman trying to tell me about Oprah and who should be significant to me as a Black woman!

She must have had some impact because that summer I happen to watch Oprah, probably for the first time ever.  Let’s just say I fell in love over that summer in 2001. I had a standing date with Oprah at 4 o’clock every weekday since. I wonder how different I might have been from who I am now if some white lady didn’t take the time to call me on my B.S. and encourage me to watch Oprah. Thankful I will never have to know.

It does not take much more than a short conversation with me to know that I love Oprah perhaps just a little bit more than most people. I have raced home to watch Oprah since the day I got my own car. I brought a VCR just to record Oprah in college. I have dropped classes or didn’t take classes that interfered with Oprah. As recently as this fall in grad school, I would wake up at midnight no matter how tired I was to catch the 2nd showing of Oprah because I did not have a DVR. Thankfully, I upgraded my cable this spring so I did not have to do that this past semester. The major reason I upgraded my cable is because the package I had did not include the Oprah Winfrey Network. In undergrad I was known as the girl with all those names, with a crazy fro, or the girl obsessed with Oprah. Professors used to ask me what was on Oprah that day, knowing I watched. My parents and friends understand that between 4-5pm I was not going to answer my phone- Oprah was on. I have a hard time talking about anything without saying “There was this episode of Oprah…” this is how much she has impacted my life over the past 10 years.

With this being said I do not worship or follow Oprah blindly. She is not my savior. In my head we are equals.She calls me Tabby, I call her Oppie. There are plenty of things that she does that I do not agree with including her love for Tyler Perry. I actually disagree with her a lot but my respect for her is endless. I imagine us lying in bed reading books or debating how harmful Tyler Perry is to the Black people as our dogs sleep at our feet. With Stedman bringing us tea.

I am fiercely protective of her. You want to annoy me…tell me Oprah does not believe in God and she is the anti-Christ or that she is secretly a lesbian.  I know way too much about this woman from her bra size to her shoe size. I know more about her than my own mother.

Here are 3 ah-ha moments (of many) that I learned from watching the Oprah Winfrey Show

The quote that remains with me:

  • November 2006 I was watching the show and Oprah said:“You are not your past. You are what is possible for you. Own this truth and move forward in your life. Forgive yourself, and others will be able to forgive you.”  In my head there are so many things that I feel like I have moved on from in my past but they keep coming back because I have not them go or forgiven myself for those thing occurring. How can I expect others to forgive me when I have not forgiven myself. This quote is a great reminder that my future is not defined by my past. I own my truth. I move forward.

The book that enlightened me:

  • March 2009, Oprah did a show called “Living without labels” on the show she featured a book by Lisa Diamond titled Sexual Fluidity. The book was about the fluctuation in sexual desire specifically in women. This further help informed what I was already coming to know that sexuality is more of a continuum than a binary. Those who know me, know that I do not do labels of any kind.

The show that change my perspective:

  • August 2004, Oprah did a show on transgender children. While there was someone at my high school who was transgender. I was really did not get it or think much about. I still don’t really get it but it’s not for me to get. Watching this little boy cry about not being able to play with Barbies or wear a dress and his mother telling him he couldn’t play with them because he was a boy. She explained boys have penises, the little boy told his mother he hated his penis and wanted it to fall off. Watching this boy and his parents struggle to keep him in his “proper” gender assignment when everything inside of him was telling him that this gender did not fit the person he was, made me rethink how I looked at gender.

But enough of this. The last episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show aired May 25, 2011, 2 weeks ago. I started writing this a while ago, but I never finished. Perhaps I did not want to deal with the end of an era. The morning of May 25th, I decided not to work- I had to get prepared. I got a haircut and ran my errands. Came home, showered and picked out my outfit. I even wore a bra for this momentous occasion. I had the house to myself; I pour my glass of wine and got out my tissues. Turned off the cell phone and computer- I was ready to focus on my Oprah.

I had been rather underwhelmed with the previous 2 final episodes, so I was not sure what to expect. Oprah did not disappoint. I would give you highlights but they would probably bore you and I rather tell you what the final show meant for me.

  1. I am 24 years old. Young. Perhaps naïve and idealistic. I will give you that. However at this young age I refuse to believe that I can’t have and be whatever it is that I want to. Oprah talked to about finding your passion, the thing that lights you up. The people in my program look at me like I am crazy because I don’t want to go on the tenure track or even desire a job in the traditional manner. I want to follow my passion. I want to do whatever makes me happy. That is success for me. I am chasing passion not paper. I look at my professors and they seem miserable. There is no way in the world I want to do that. When I explain to people all that I am going to accomplish in this world and they brush me off because I am young and idealistic, I know that because my goal is to give more than I take, learn as well as educate- I am going to be ok. Oprah taught me that.
  2. The other part of the final show that I am going to keep with me is being responsible for the energy you bring with you. This could be in a relationship or any physical space. This little nugget caused me to examine the energy I was bringing into relationships both platonic and romantic. While in my head I believe that I know I am worthy of love and awesome friendships, my actions don’t indicate this. People tell me that they love me, but in head I am constantly thinking why this is not true. They only love the funny Tab, or the smart Tab or the goofy Tab. Or they just think they love me. There was a point where I would constantly ask my mother what did I have to do to for her not to love me anymore. This concept of unconditional love seemed unfathomable to me. While I can see myself loving someone unconditionally, I can’t see that love being returned unconditionally. I find myself not envisioning relationships forever, because people always leave. I don’t really envision anyone in my future, but myself. These thoughts manifest themselves into actuality and people do leave my life. This only confirms my thoughts of people not really loving me and always leaving, perpetuating this negative cycle. Oprah reminded me on the last show that I need to take responsibility for my energy. That I alone am worthy. Not funny Tab, not pretty Tab, not crazy Tab…just Tab is worthy of love. This is easier said than done, but I am now more consciously on path to embrace and know my worth.

Oprah saying goodbye

The show itself exceeded all of my expectations and was a perfect ending to The Oprah Winfrey Show. No worries, ya’ll I am not suicidal. I have been coping just fine with the end of the show. In the end what I am taking from the 10 years I spent watching her almost daily is the motivation to live my best life ever. A lot of people don’t get Oprah’s appeal, it’s not for you to get. Just know that if a lil colored girl from Kosciusko, Mississippi can achieve all that Oprah has…why can’t this little black girl from West Palm Beach achieve all her dreams and more?

~Just Tab

I apologize for the length…but this Oprah I am talking about.

 

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What I Know For Sure

As I was cleaning off an old computer and copying my files to my external hard drive. I came across a folder located on the computer filled with things I had written: poems, old blogs and random writings. Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly I wrote a lot of random things about Oprah. About particular episodes, random poems about her and just randomness. 

On May 28, 2007 I wrote this list inspired by Oprah. If you read her magazine you know that she ends ever issue with a short essay called “What I Know For Sure.” So here is the list that I wrote 4 years ago when I was 20 years old.  

What I know for sure….

That tears don’t compromise my strength

That forgiving is much harder than hating

I don’t need a man

Or woman

There is no one person I need in my life

And if there is someone I need they will never walk away

That only the love of God is unconditional

That George W. Bush doesn’t hate black people

That I am inspired daily by multiple sources to be the best

That I will miss you even if we never met

That dreams do come true

That it is a blessing and never a curse to be a black woman in America

That nothing last forever

That failure has never been an option

That you will always be in my heart

That he will never call when he says he will

That you can never place your trust in people

That white people are the best drinking partners you can have

That marriage is an overrated institution

That monogamy doesn’t equal marriage

That if anyone ever hurts you, I will make it my business to make sure their days on this earth are numbered

That I am not a feminist 

But I do have womanist thoughts and ideals

The fact that I would have sex with Oprah does not make me gay…

I am a republican we do it for the money

That broken hearts can always be mended by being around those who loved u first

No one can accept me for who I am until I first accept myself

That God sent his only son to die for me

That I look pretty damn good naked

That there is no one person we are put on the earth for

That boys lie

But girls lie better

That courage means being afraid but doing it anyway

That I prefer kisses to my thighs over kisses to my checks

I hate hand holding in public or in private

That books and the pursuit of knowledge is my Sun that allows me to grow

That I will never be the Greatest Of All Time but I will be pretty darn close

That I love my mommy and daddy

And I will do most anything for my nephews and nieces to succeed

That prayer has gotten me thus far

Faith will get me the rest of the way

That I enjoy dancing naked in my room

That I am not vain I just like the reflection of myself

That I know when someone is the real deal when I see reflections of God in them

That I have a hard time opening up and trusting people

That Terrell Owens likes black woman

That Jada and Will are swingers and given the chance I would join them

That the best is yet to come

The majority of the list I stand by. I would like to rescind the comment about being a Republican; I am not sure who I was referring to with the “you” on several entries to the list and I am surprised that even then I was not a fan of marriage. One major change is I LOVE holding hands now, I am way more affectionate in every way. I am still down with the nudity. Ask my parents and neighbors.  I find it quite sad that I still have MAJOR issues trusting people. That I continue to have a pessimistic attitude towards the relevance and importance of people and friendships. This is a problem, something I need to work on. Easier said than done.

 However, I would probably not make this type of list again. The one thing I know for sure now is that I know nothing for sure. Everything changes. One of the values of the Oprah brand is that it encourages one to look at their self, self-reflection is key to one’s growth. When I wrote this I was sure about so many things, I had my life pretty much planned. There were list of things that I did not do and would never dare to try. When ask to do anything that was on my list of no-nos I would reply “Tabitha does not do that, that ain’t my life.” Somehow life has a way of shifting everything that you know for sure. So as I face a chapter in my life without the security of knowing Oprah will be found Monday-Friday from 4-5 pm EST, I am challenging myself to reflect and embrace change in other areas of my life. There are very little things that I know for sure and I am ok with that.

Tomorrow is the final episode of The Oprah Show. Expect a post that more adequately deal with Oprah and her impact following the airing of the show.

~Just Tab

 

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Oprah-Who will make me cry now?!?!

So it’s 1:40 in the morning. I just finished watching today’s Oprah show on my DVR. The show was about this little 6 year old boy who was abused and forced to live in a closet by his parents. The story in itself is sad, the things that we as humans inflict on others…so as I am watching and of course crying for this loss of this little boy who is now 19 childhood. I am thinking who else will able to have me in tears at the disregard of humanity by society, but yet inspire me with the resilience of human spirit. 27 episodes left till no more Oprah. I know there will be a huge void in my life knowing that I won’t have her Monday-Friday for a hour. Oprah’s not dying or disappearing. I have the OWN network, which is amazing but still The Oprah Winfrey show ending marks the end of an era. At the end of the show a young woman who saw the Oprah episode when they originally profiled the little boy and the abuse in 2000, from the show she was inspired to tell a teacher about her own sexual abuse. In the show in 2000, Oprah said if you are abused tell someone. This child who was watching listened. That’s power. The impact and power that is “Oprah” constantly humbles me and inspires me to be an agent of change. If Oprah, this little black girl from Mississippi can make such a difference in the lives of so many people both directly and indirectly… Why can’t I?

I knew it was coming. I really did. But this countdown to the end makes it all too real. There is a date for the final show, for MY OPRAH’S Final show!!!! In the coming weeks expect way too many post about Oprah. I can’t afford therapy so this will have to do. Oprah’s leaving is not helping my abandonment issues AT ALL!


 
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Posted by on April 16, 2011 in cry baby, Learning bout Tab!, Oprah, Randomness, Rants

 

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Happy Birthday Oprah!!!

So if you didn’t know, I LOVE me some Oprah. Today is her 56th birthday. I decided to share a poem I wrote on her 53rd birthday…

Oprah Gail Winfrey

53 years ago today
An angel was born
As her parents look down, they didn’t know the genius that lay
The girl who will one day capture my heart as well as the world
The little black girl from Kosciusko, Mississippi,
A state riddle with racism and oppression, a state with the blood of blacks drenching the soil
Would rise to become the first Black female billionaire
Overcome rape, teenage pregnancy, and a slight weight problem.
The world celebrates with you as reach another year older
We watch anxiously to see how you will continue to astonish us.
To me you’re Oppie
To the world you are Oprah
Happy Birthday, my beautiful, talented friend.

🙂

 

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