Designed by Ammiel Mendoza; Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images.
Does your emotional intelligence enable you to live the fullest life, or are you reactionary? Incapable? Are you able to solve the problems that overwhelm you, or are you pretty much buckling under the weight of it all? Feels kind of deep, but all of this came into stark contrast for me, thanks in large part to...Oprah Radio.
This is what I listen to on my commute these days, and I swear it is like the Magic 8 Ball of radio programming. Maybe I'm just a total female cliché, but what's on always seems to have some pertinence to my day. Something about parenting or relationships — the stuff that really, honestly touches our lives rather than just escapism. It's more philanthropic and less gossipy or sensational. More tears and reality than reality entertainment. And I'm into it.
Designed by Ammiel Mendoza.
Designed by Ammiel Mendoza.
I stumbled upon Oprah Radio when I was trying to program my new station wagon...yes, I have a station wagon. Don't judge. The first thing I heard was an interstitial of Oprah talking to Gayle, asking her to tell the story of taking her kid to college. So, Gayle shared the story of setting up the dorm room and needing to go out and get some supplies — so, she and her kid ran to a store down the street to grab things like water, etc. When they walked out and Gayle noticed a traffic cop working in the hot sun, they ran back into the store and grabbed him some water, as well. And then, Oprah asked her "Do you know why I love that story?" And Gayle said, "Because I got the guy water?" And Oprah said, "Because in that moment you taught your kid what kind of person to be in this world."
Tears! As a new mom I have had so many conversations with people I feel might be smarter than me about the importance of good parenting, and one of the snippets among many that stood out to me was a man saying, "Your child will know how to be by the way you lead by example." Now, that's a lot of pressure in the best possible way — and also puts some things back into your control. You have to have endless love with constant boundaries. But "setting examples" is one of the most essential aspects of being a good parent. Or, hell, a good person.
Designed by Ammiel Mendoza; Photo: Theo Kingma/REX USA.
The next program I heard on Oprah Radio was something about setting boundaries for your kids. And it made the point that kids are little people who need you to know better. You shouldn't lack in love, but you should be able to say "no." A crucial lesson. And then, the other day, people were talking about knowing when to "get up and walk away." Before you got too angry or said something you would regret. I just loved it. I am practicing the art of walking away in my own self-mastery — I'm realizing, too, that it's a big part of my path, just reacting with more grace. I tend to get very caught up in the moment. And any tools that can help me clear my head are fundamental right now in my life.
And maybe that's what it is. Maybe this is just the right time in my life to hear what other women and parents are going through. I love the panel of no-nonsense experts who come around through my speakers, because, man, they say it like it is, and I GET it.
There are some fun "oh yeah!," "ass kicking," "take responsibility" moments that happen, too, and that really resonates with me. But at the heart of it all, I honestly just think I grew up respecting tough love because I never got it. I have always been drawn to people who are wiser than me, and I am honored when anyone takes the time to criticize me — because it usually means they care. Anyone I know who will stand up and speak some hard truths to me is a true friend. And I love them more for it.
So, yes, I will still listen to NPR, which has always been my daily go-to. And I will still live my youth through Sirius alternative radio (1st Wave!). But these days, my alone time in the car is less about rocking out and more about trying to take a deep breath as I get that precious moment to myself. I usually eat in the car, too, because I am so busy (yes, that is wrong, but I do it), and I can't eat to music. It becomes a glaring soundtrack to how uncool I am. So, I guess the truth is that I am going through an Oprah phase. Timing is everything. We find what we need and go sit in its shade for a while. Mine is happening at about 60 miles an hour, even though my life has slowed down in other ways. I am simply on new roads...and some unexpected detours.
Chewing. Crying. Laughing.