As part of the newest issue of O magazine, Oprah, along with Katie Couric and Octavia Spencer, has written a letter to her younger, 19 year old self. In it, she advises herself to face her past abuses, maintain her faith, and see herself with her own eyes. Read the open letter below.
Dear beautiful brown-skinned girl,
I look into your eyes and see the light and hope of myself.
In this photo you are just about to turn 20, posing outside the television station where you were recently hired as a reporter. Youâ€™re proud of yourself for getting the job, but uncertain youâ€™ll be able to manage all your college classes before 1 and arrive at the station by 1:30 for a full dayâ€™s work. Even so, your biggest concern is how to manage your love life with Bubba. Yes, you are dating someone named Bubba.
On this day youâ€™ve brought him to the station to see where you work, hoping heâ€™ll be proud, too. He seems less than impressed. The truth is, heâ€™s intimidated. You donâ€™t know this, though, because you can see yourself only through his eyes. A lesson you will have to learn again and again: to see yourself with your own eyes, to love yourself from your own heart.
Youâ€™ve spent too many days and years trying to please others and be what they wanted you to be. You will have to learn that the wounds of your pastâ€”rape, molestation, whippings for â€œstepping out of place,â€ and not being allowed to show anger or cry afterwardâ€”damaged your self-esteem. Yet through it all, youâ€™ve held on to a belief in God and Godâ€™s belief in you.
That will be your single greatest gift: knowing there is a power greater than yourself and trusting that Force to guide you.
The trajectory of your life changed the day you answered the call from Chris Clark, the news director at WLAC-TV. Your response was ignited by the words of your then-favorite Bible verse, Philippians 3:14. â€œI press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.â€
Knowing there is a â€œhigh callingâ€ is what will sustain and fulfill you.
From where I sit now, viewing your journey, there are few regrets. Only months before this picture was taken, you wrote a poem about a â€œwoman becoming.â€ Even then you understood that success was a process and that moving with the flow of life and not against it would be your greatest achievement.
Love you deeply,
You can get your copy of O‘s May issue on April 10.