What A Blogger Can Learn From Oprah

I wasn’t planning to blog about Oprah today. I’m sitting here watching her after, admittedly, not really tuning in regularly for many years now. Although, she’s been a force and inspiration in my life for a long while. I grew up with her, it seems. Not always on my TV, but always a presence… on billboards, in commercials (remember those “Oprah’s On!” ones?). Really, there aren’t many who can say they haven’t been impacted ย by her in at least some small way.

I fell head over heels under her inspirational trance, though, in high school. I actually used to rush home on days I didn’t have a practice or rehearsal so I could watch. At that age, I dreamed of becoming her. Come on, who didn’t? Iย saw bits of who I wanted to be in her, from her passion for speaking to her charitable spirit. I went on to get my degree in broadcast journalism, and be sure I was most certainly inspired to do so, in part, because of Oprah.

Of course, I did not grow up to be Oprah… at least I haven’t yet. I don’t even technically use that degree I worked so hard to earn. I’m a stay at home mom who writes a blog in between avoiding dishes and making messes with my kids and husband.

That doesn’t mean I’m not sitting here, crying like a baby that this is her last regularly scheduled appearance on my TV, or that my daughter won’t know what it’s like to grow up with such a positive female influence on her TV every day- a powerful woman woven into her culture so deeply that she actually has an official term named after how her influence can impact a global economy, the Oprah Effect.

No, I didn’t expect to blog about Oprah today, but I found myself at nap time with a quiet house and a laptop near me just as her show started. And then she started to speak… and I just started typing everything out.

Because, once again, she is speaking to me. She is speaking about me. And, maybe more than any other moment in my life, she is inspiring me.

“Each one of you have your own platform.”

No, I’m not a TV show host. I’m not even on your nightly newscast as I used to dream so hard, so passionately of doing. I have a relatively small platform here, but it’s one I’m incredibly grateful for, one I try to grow and tend to each and every day. The people who comment, lurk, email, tweet, talk to me on Facebook or find me in grocery stores and introduce themselves, you are all important to me and teach me more than I could ever learn on my own. You validate me, and I hope, in the best way I can, I validate you.

“When you learn better, you do better.”

I’m not saying I’m proud of every word I’ve typed on here or other places online. There are posts I’ve considered erasing, but then I know that wouldn’t be honest. You can’t erase your history, but you can learn from it, and you can hope that others will forgive you and watch you grow.

“You are responsible for your life… You are responsible for the energy you create for yourself and responsible for the energy you create for others.”

If Oprah were a blogger, she wouldn’t need to create drama for page views. If Oprah were a blogger, she’d bring up the other bloggers around her, not cut them down. She’d shower them in praise and support. She wouldn’t be perfect, but she’d grow, evolve and learn from her mistakes. She wouldn’t let trolls take over her space with negativity, she would be a positive force to be inspired by. She would always look both inside herself, and out to the world to challenge the norm and spark genuine conversation. No one would care if she was a “mommy” or not.

“There is a difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness.”

“We often block our own blessings because we don’t feel… worthy enough.”

For years, I’ve struggled with the emotions this blogging bit can stir up, knowing there are always people out there, lurking, waiting to pounce on something I’ve said or done, looking for ways to cut me down. Criticism is hard to take. But, on the other hand, sometimes it’s even harder to receive praise. When people tell me I’m doing something good here, that what I write (despite the grammar slips and run on sentences) is good, I laugh them off.

Oh, this old thing? It’s just a silly blog.

No, it’s more. It’s me. It’s nearly every piece of me. What started as my inane ramblings about charting and BABIES and OMG cervical mucus! has splintered and grown into an entire tree of who I’m all about. Some of my branches are bigger than others, some are budding and new. It’s taking off in directions I never dreamed, and I’m finding I’m surrounded by a whole forest of trees growing up all around me. I am not alone in this parenting thing, in this blogging thing, or in this blogging about parenting thing. And that is awesome. I’m ready to feel worthy of the opportunities and praise this place and my hours of work that go into it brings, and I want every single one of my friends in this space to feel the same way. Please.

“You, alone, are enough.”

“What are the whispers in your life and will you hear it? Your life is speaking to you. What is it saying?”

I’m still trying to figure that out, but as I’ve said on here before, I feel at peace and happy with my path in life now more than I ever have. Obviously, my family has a huge part in that, but I can’t deny that this blog is also a factor. I feel like this path is more my calling than anything I ever dreamed of doing in college, and though I may never be famous for it or paid large sums of money for it, it makes me happy.

15 years ago, I used to watch Oprah and dream of being just. like. her. on TV. I had no idea what a blog was, I had never been on a message board, I’m pretty sure my head would have exploded if someone tried to explain Twitter to me, and all I can say is THANK GOD THERE WAS NO FACEBOOK WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. I could never have imagined that I would hear her farewell speech from this couch with a napping baby at my feet and feel validated by her for doing what I do today, something so different from the dreams I had then.

Thank you, Oprah. Thank you for that one last shove in the direction of the dreams I’ve yet to dream.

(Seriously, I’m crazy sappy right now. Odd, I know. And I don’t even think it’s because my period is about to make it’s return… I hope.)

Kendall is 3, Leyna is just nearly 5 months, and I’m a 30 year old SAHM/blogger who never made it as a TV anchor and proud of it


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  1. I never wanted to be Oprah. And I may never (read: WILL NEVER) blog about cervical mucus, but I wouldn’t mind my life turning out like yours someday. ๐Ÿ™‚ It looks pretty kickass.

    • Never say never!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Actually, I’m pretty sure I believe you on that one. It’s not a bad life. I think most would enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Ha. That’s true. Someday, maybe I will blog about cervical mucus. And if I do, you’ll be the first to know. You are welcome.

  2. Oh my God, talk about a blast from the past – those Oprah’s On commercials drove me nuts! “It’s 4 o’clock, where’s everybody gone? They’re tuned in – Oprah’s on!!!”

    • To this day, I kick myself for never making a show the whole 2 years we lived there. I think I tried several times to get tickets, but never got through. What was the show about?

  3. Thanks for this, Jill.

    In my life, I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. In my classroom, I’m on my own stage. And while there is chaos and turmoil in my work life now, in my heart I know it’s my place to be.

    As for my blog? When you said “No, it’s more. It’s me,” I might’ve fist-pumped the air just a little bit because yeah. I feel that.

    I’ll miss Oprah.

  4. I just want to say I love your blog! It’s so refreshing to read. It’s real and honest and makes me feel validated. So basically you validate me as a mom and I thank you for that! Whenever I’m having a rough day I look for one of your funny tweets or blog posts and it makes me always feel better! Thank you for your blog!

  5. So well said. I just watched the episode and cannot stop crying! You alone are enough – that is one of the best things she has preached and it has inspired me for years.

  6. Love this post! I watched her show today, too. I made sure to get my boys asleep before 4:00. ๐Ÿ™‚ I felt empowered and I don’t have nearly the # of readers you do, but I LOVE my blog and I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be right now.

  7. Jill, you and I have so much in common. Really, we do. I wanted to be a broadcast journalist and that was my major in college until I transferred to a small college that didn’t have it as an option.

    I love me some Oprah. I actually went to one of her shows hoping it was gonna feature Brad Pitt or My Favorite Things (you don’t get to know what show it is until you get there). It ended up being about how kids are affected by divorce. Definitely a downer. I also got the feeling that she’s definitely a bit high maintenence. She had an intern put her heels on her feet after she sat down.

    But still. She has done so much good in this world. What an amazing run she has had!

    I am such a sap. This post made me cry.

  8. I’ve never seen Oprah’s show, just clips here and there, but I can relate to what you’re saying here. I’m coming to these same conclusions about my own life. Having a family has made me more courageous, more willing to take risks, and more able to follow my dreams. Kudos to you for following yours. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Is it ok if I quote this piece and refer it back to you for my next post? I find it extremely quote worthy. This is my favourite post of yours. I feel the same way. I love how similar most beings are…sometimes the world focuses to much on differences but I think that most of us have this driving force to want to make positive changes in this world.

    “When you learn better, you do better.โ€

    Iโ€™m not saying Iโ€™m proud of every word Iโ€™ve typed on here or other places online. There are posts Iโ€™ve considered erasing, but then I know that wouldnโ€™t be honest. You canโ€™t erase your history, but you can learn from it, and you can hope that others will forgive you and watch you grow.

    โ€œYou are responsible for your lifeโ€ฆ You are responsible for the energy you create for yourself and responsible for the energy you create for others.โ€

    If Oprah were a blogger, she wouldnโ€™t need to create drama for page views. If Oprah were a blogger, sheโ€™d bring up the other bloggers around her, not cut them down. Sheโ€™d shower them in praise and support. She wouldnโ€™t be perfect, but sheโ€™d grow, evolve and learn from her mistakes. She wouldnโ€™t let trolls take over her space with negativity, she would be a positive force to be inspired by. She would always look both inside herself, and out to the world to challenge the norm and spark genuine conversation. No one would care if she was a โ€œmommyโ€ or not.”

    Let me know If I can use it. Thanks.

  10. I love your blog, it makes me laugh and cry. I think you are inspring, from a mom who hasn’t had the guts to stay home. I had been meaning to tape some of Oprah’s last shows but forgot. Looks like I missed something awesome.

  11. I just started watching Oprah a few years ago. But she is so inspiring and supportive. I’ve thought of 100 reasons to quit blogging, and then 100 reasons not to. While I do feel sometimes I take too much time out of my life for something that makes me no money and isn’t read by that many people. But on the other hand, like you said, it’s ME. It’s who I am and what I am thinking and that has to go somewhere. I don’t know if it’s a true platform, but it works for me for the time being.

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  13. Awesome message!

    I missed the last episode and I’m so bummed I did. I didn’t want to be on tv or anything like that. But Oprah brings me back to my younger days when I’d watch with my mom. It’s almost a sign that I’m getting older when the shows I used to watch with my mom are ending like Guiding Light and now Oprah.

  14. Hi Jill!

    I wanted to say that I love your blog! I find it funny, insightful, encouraging and above all – refeshingly honest. I’m not a mom, and quite honestly, I don’t know if I want to be or not. As I try to wrap my head around this decision, its always nice to have your experiences to look to when that voice in my head says, “But what would it be like?”…Thanks for being a window into Mommyland for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I, too, was a huge Oprah fan, and am super bummed it won’t be there anymore for some occassional late afternoon inspiration.

  15. I stumbled upon this today, and couldn’t have said it better myself. And I had to comment because MY name is Kendall too! And I am a 26 year old Mommy to an 8 month old. Where did you find the name Kendall? I am hearing it more and more recently. It is a family name for me. I will be back often, love your writing!

    • Thanks, Kendall! I’m glad you found your way here. We ran across the name in a baby book, I think, and we also knew a few guys between the 2 of us growing up named Kendall. I mentioned it off-hand one day that I liked it and my husband was sold on it from the minute I suggested it. Kendall’s middle name, Milam, is a family name for us. It’s my dad’s mom’s maiden name, and he was very close with his Grandpa Milam.

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