Domino effect of truth, empathy, and compassion - Thank you Oprah!
I did not watch the Golden Globes last night but I did see Oprah's speech today on Youtube. It was after a busy day at work and witnessing all my friends discuss it on social media (some good comments, some bad comments) I knew I had to know what she said.
Well, I just watched it and I am in tears. Those tears began from her first few sentences speaking about being a child, growing up in a single-parent home, and watching Sidney Potier win and accept his Oscar for Best Actor. She spoke about how it was, for her, being that child and seeing someone she could identify with accomplishing something, that up to that point, was unheard of.
Yes, her speech was powerful and gained momentum as she spoke.
She spoke about speaking truths and my tears freely flowed.
When I was a teen and horribly coping with prior years of being molested, I did not know now how to speak my truth, rather it ate me up from the inside out. Topics such as that were not openly discussed. I had no clue how many other survivors there were out there - I felt alone, isolated, and like a freak of nature -dirty and degraded...worthless and a burden on society. I had no one to identify with - no one I knew of had that common, traumatic, bond.
I remained that way until I was 18, on the verge of 19. In Chicago, The Oprah Winfrey Show, came on in the mid-morning. That is when I listened to her speak her truth about her sexual assault for the very first time. She said she was opening up about it show that others could come out of their closet. That admission sent shockwaves across the country but even more so, for the first time, I finally felt a bond with another survivor. It was just a few months after watching that episode I actively started a long, rocky, path of facing my truth when I placed myself into counseling. I no longer wanted to hold on to that shame, it was not mine to own.
My healing journey has been like anything else in life that is worthwhile in attaining, something I needed to do, and still do, for myself. However, now as I continue my path, I do not have to wonder if there are others who go through those ups and downs, experience the confusion and the joys. I know there are and that knowledge first came from watching that November 1986 episode of Oprah. She spoke out and reached out - the icy walls of my isolation started to melt.
As I sat here this evening watching the clip of her Golden Globe speech I was reminded of that day in 1986 when her words touched a very sad soul, me. While a teen still then, the child lost within me was comforted. I would even venture to say that impact carried over, subconsciously, when I started this blog as an effort to tell my story - my words- my truth.
If we really want to change the world we need to let down those walls we keep all of our secrets locked behind and just be real. Express our vulnerabilities - our life lessons because each time we do there's someone paying attention and quite possibly for the first time in their life they feel a bond. A bond that reminds them that they are not alone. It is the domino effect of empathy and compassion.
You do not need to be a television star - a writer - or a known leader to illuminate the path for someone to walk out on, you just need to be willing, ready, and open to speaking your truth - you just need to show how perfectly flawed you are in being the human you are - let the dominos fall where they may.