In a few days I will be two degrees of separation from Bono, Tom Cruise, Maya Angelou, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, probably Bill Gates, maybe Queen Elizabeth, and almost every other famous person on the planet. Who’s the link that can make my simple little life so global? That’s right. Oprah.
It hasn’t really hit me yet that in a few days I’ll meet Oprah Winfrey. I’m so busy packing and organizing and getting ready for my trip to Chicago tomorrow that I’ve not allowed myself time to let it sink in. My mind tried last night at about 2 a.m., but I forced it to sleep.
I was selected to be a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show after writing a letter to the producers last April. There was a posting on the show’s website for people to submit their weight-loss stories and my friend, Shari, who’d been a guest on Oprah’s radio show, saw it and said what the heck, give it a try. And so I did.
I forgot about the letter until August when I came home from a hike with my husband and stepsons. There was a message on the answering machine from a screener at the Oprah Winfrey show and would I mind giving her a call back? Mind? MIND? No one minds calling Oprah back. It’s like a law that you have to, isn’t it?
I chatted for an hour with the woman and when we hung up I asked my husband if I’d sounded like a dork. He said no and I was happy and so I left it at that.
Again, I forgot about the whole thing until last Sunday when I got a phone call as I was making soup. I didn’t recognize the number on the caller ID and so I figured it was a solicitor. I let the machine get it and a woman’s voice came on and said, “Hi Lynn, this is — from the Oprah Win…” She didn’t get the show’s name out before I had that phone in my hand. I said, in my most calm voice, “Hi, there. Sorry I didn’t answer but I thought you were selling magazines.”
This led to another hour-long conversation, only this time instead of sitting calmly at my dining room table, I balanced the phone on my shoulder so I could finish making the soup (it would have been ruined if I’d stopped at that moment) and then I went to the pantry and shut the door so the dogs couldn’t find me.
I was shaking a little when I hung up. Did I say what I meant to say? Larry hadn’t heard the conversation so he couldn’t tell me if I sounded stupid or not. I had a bowl of soup (that I’ve dubbed Oprah Soup) and took a deep breath and played the conversation over in my head.
I must not have sounded too bad because the next day I got an email and subsequent phone call from another producer at the show. Her phone number came up as Harpo, Inc. on my caller ID so I answered that one right away. What followed was a series of phone calls and emails throughout the week and this weekend from the woman I fondly refer to as my “Personal Producer and Temporary BFF” because she knows me almost better than I know myself right now and she’ll be with me this week as I try to not make a fool of myself on television.
PP&BFF last Monday asked me to throw together a three-minute video of myself in my “best outfit” and tell the camera how I lost weight and what it meant to me. She needed the video by Wednesday and gave me her FedEx info. This happened at 9 p.m. Monday night, I didn’t own a camera and I’d never been in front of a camera like that before. I called in reinforcements. Shari had a camera, and my hairstylist, Ashley, said she’d do my hair. I figured maybe if my hair looked good, the outfit wouldn’t matter.
My “best outfit” was a problem. I’ve bought clothes since losing 165 pounds, but nothing I’d consider Oprah worthy. After trying on every article of clothing I owned (and putting none away), I chose brown leggings and brown knee-high boots. I had no shirt that worked, though. The only one that was color-coordinated for my pants made me look like Peter Pan and I wasn’t going on camera looking like a flying boy. So after Ashley finished my hair and before Shari came over to tape, I drove downtown to a women’s clothing store and found a shirt I thought might work. I didn’t try it on. I just paid for it and rushed home.
I wrote up a little script, practiced it, and Shari and I shot the video in one take. Not bad for amateurs. The best part about it for me was that I liked it. As an obese woman for years I dreaded all cameras, especially video cameras. But when I played back the tape, I saw a confident and happy thin woman and it clicked that that was really me.
PP&BFF and the powers that be at Oprah must have liked it, too, because on Friday night she called and asked me if I wanted to be on the show. I said yes. She said good because she’d already booked my flight for Monday. See? I told you PP&BFF knows me well.
And so here I am, on the eve before Chicago and Oprah and all that it will entail. There is much shopping involved, PP&BFF told me, along with hair styling, a manicure, and waxing, if I so choose. I’ll have to think about the waxing thing. That scares me more than walking out on stage in front of an audience. I’ll be interviewed, videotaped, driven around town here and there. I’ve only ever driven around downtown Chicago. I’ve never stayed there. I hear the hotel is nice. Twenty-four-hour room service. Not sure that’s a good thing for someone who used to weigh 300 pounds.
I’m a little nervous since I’ve not flown in 10 years, but that’s why God invented xanax. I just hope to get through security without causing an incident or being felt up by a female security guard. But Shari is coming with me and is crazy excited and in her energy I find strength.
Lots of deep breaths. I’m the ZenBagLady. I can do this.
EEEEEEEEHHHH!!! I’m going to meet Oprah Winfrey!!!!! And my PP&BFF!!! OK, so maybe it’s starting to sink in…….
I promise to blog from Chicago.