Lola’s POV: Dear Oprah, Thank You for My Birthday Gift


On January 8th, the eve of my 17th birthday, I watched the Golden Globes. I drooled over the beautiful dresses on the red carpet, crossing my fingers for my favorite actors to win the award. And repeatedly asked “Oh my God, Mom, can Viola Davis look even more stunning than what she does right now?” (Seriously, did you see that woman!?). The words  “Time’s Up” and #MeToo resounded in my head and in the screen in front of me. I remember saying to my mom in awe, and a bit of discomfort, that there would be no need for feminism if women would have been treated equally in the first place. I always get so frustrated and angry when I think of that, and when I try to wrap my mind around the fact that anyone would go out of their way to diminish all the work that so many have done for us, as women, to be in the position we are in now.

My fury started fading as soon as I heard the multiple speeches from both strong men and women who believe in equality.  Men and women who believe that women should be able to speak up, and not fear someone in power or a higher ranking will do what he wants with her. Today, I am privileged to say I’m a free woman, who has the right over her body, can vote (soon enough!), can speak her mind, work in any field I want, and walk and express myself wherever I want, but I’m not ignorant.  I know that many of the privileges and rights I enjoy today are there greatly because of women who fought for them, for their generations and future ones as well.

I grew stronger, wiser, and prouder with every speech I heard, with every strong woman who stepped on stage. When I thought the night could not get any better, there she stood, oh my Oprah, looking fabulous as ever, high up on that stage.  Flawless. During her speech, she spoke, touched and moved the crowd that surrounded her. For a split second, I felt like she was talking to me: “I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.” And just like that, I broke down. It was true.  She spoke to me.  I was that girl sitting in front of the TV watching the inspirational figure, hoping all girls one day will see doors open and glass ceilings break, just like she did. History in the making.

So, yes, you could say this was one memorable birthday. I’m able to say that Oprah spoke to me, and gave me the greatest gift ever. I didn’t get a call or a meeting, or even a letter. I got empowered. Could anything top that?  Well, you know what would be the icing on the birthday cake? Can someone say #Oprah2020?

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