I am one of those people who can I say I really did "grow up" with Oprah. Her show first aired when I was a mere 8 years old. I didn't become an Oprah viewer, however, until my thirteenth year as I spent the summer caring for my mother after a major health crisis. I always thought it was fitting that Oprah was a central part of my transition into young womanhood. My mother and I bonded over the many food baskets filled with cheeses and summer sausage and who, or what, was going to be on Oprah every day the summer of 1991. And, while, my viewership was inconsistent over the next 20 years, what that woman had to share with the world always had a place in my life.
Even though many have not agreed with her evolving point of view on many things, I can't imagine a single person who cannot at least respect a woman who has exuded so much humanity. She knows, as she's discussed numerous times, the detriment of low self-esteem and a lack of validation. I know their sting as well and I think that is the crux of her service to others. As she so poignantly stated, "worthiness is [our] birthright."
Oprah, I speak your name.