I got schooled at Oprah's Lifeclass

I got schooled at Oprah's Lifeclass
Getting ready for Oprah's Lifeclass!

I got schooled at Oprah's Lifeclass. Well, I think I got schooled. In all honesty, I'm not really sure what that phrase means. It's entirely possible that I'm using it incorrectly. I tend do to that. I also tend to NOT learn from my mistakes, which leads to a lot of humor, mostly at my expense.

Let me try again: Today I embarked on a grand adventure to Harpo Studios for a taping of Oprah's LifeClass about single moms. I learned a lot about me that really had nothing to do with my status as a single mother, just me - without the mother part.

I was an awkward, spanx-wearing, bobble-head, who will probably be banned from television, but it was a gift. A lovely, unexpected gift.

me at my loveliest

me at my loveliest

What I learned from Oprah's Lifeclass:

1. I should NOT be allowed to use technology unless I pass a test first. With great power comes great responsibility. Someone needs to take away my cell phone ASAP. Why?

  • GPS - Check in for taping was at 9:00. GPS said the trip would take 57 minutes on a Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. I added some random bonus time for Monday morning rush hour and left Aurora at 7:30. I thought I was being so smart, efficient and professional. I probably should've talked to actual rush hour commuters instead of guessing. I didn't even see the Harpo Studios building until 9:15.
  • Cell Phone Alarm, part 1 - At precisely 2:15 while the brilliant, insightful, beautiful, Iyanla Vanzant led everyone in a quiet meditation, my cell phone alarm went off. I thought I had turned the volume off. I swear. No other alert sounds were going off, so I thought I was safe. Nope. I grabbed my phone and attempted to discreetly turn off the phone. I failed.
  • Cell Phone Alarm, part 2 - 10 minutes later, my damn phone's alarm went off - AGAIN! I frantically fumbled to grab it and almost fell off my chair. During my struggle, Iyanla referenced something I had said earlier. She saw me focusing on my phone and changed the subject. I wanted to slink from my chair and disappear. Forever.

2. I suck at planning.  While I am constantly making lists, lists for my lists and sometimes spreadsheets for those lists, I suck at anticipating the little details, like parking. Parking in the city should be an Olympic event. If it was an Olympic event, the course would close before I finished. As I mentioned in #1, I caught my first glimpse of the studio at 9:15. I didn't find parking until 9:45.

The few parking lots near the studio displayed hand-written "Lot Full" signs, so I drove around searching for a spot. I drove into private lots and was asked to move. I asked people on the streets and was laughed at - repeatedly.

The heavens opened up and light shined down on my friend, fellow-blogger, Old Single Mom. (Her blog is funny and thought-provoking. You should read her and subscribe.)

Me and Old Single Mom

Me and Old Single Mom

OSM gave me directions to a parking lot far away and in the opposite direction. I didn't arrive at Harpo until 10:00. My heeled boots, while adorable, didn't function at all like my running shoes. Ouch.

3. Some people are born photogenic, camera-ready and belong on television. I am not one of those people.

Me, my exaggerated gestures and too loud vocalizations often done during inappropriate moments belong on a live theater stage, un-mic'd in the back, as stage filler. My special brand of stage presence should be limited to college theater productions, the kind of "theater" which happens in old, converted garages. I did one once. I was awesome. I was the best damn garbage-bag wearing, dancing corpse this world has ever seen.

I almost passed out when a Harpo producer emailed me about my blog, 5 Reasons This Single Mom Won't Be Going On Match.com. After chatting via phone, he invited me and my kids to the studio and interviewed me and my teen daughter.

Between you, me and anyone who reads this blog (Hi, Mom!), I'm completely aware I wasn't blessed with the she-who-shall-be-on-camera gene, but there was no way I was going to turn down the opportunity. I was convinced my interview would NEVER air.

I started rehearsing my faux-shock and aw, shucks exclamation. I was shocked when the producer called and not only told me a clip or two would play, but when he asked if I would sit in the front row!

Imagine my surprise when I showed up and learned that somehow, magically, I was seated only 3 seats away from OPRAH in a cozy half-circle of honor with four other single moms, Iyanla Vanzant, actress Nia Long and eventually Tyler Perry!

Awkward me getting my mic on - #mistake

Awkward me getting my mic on - #mistake

I was a total disaster -

  • The conversational classroom structure truly confused me. I had no idea when I could talk, if I could talk, if I should talk, if I was even capable of talking. So, I listened.
  • Problem: I am an "active listener." I nod my head.  A lot. The more I agree with something - the more I nod my head. I enthusiastically agreed with almost everything anyone said. I nodded so much my neck hurt.
  • I fidget, squirm, make strange facial gestures, tics and twitches when I'm nervous. All of my odd behaviors emerged during the taping. I'm surprised medics weren't called to the stage to treat me.
  • When I finally did speak, I'm not sure I spoke English. I'm not sure which language I spoke, but it's never a good thing when you finish speaking and don't even understand what you just said.

4. Spanx are NOT my friend! Spanx are great. Since gaining 20 lbs during my divorce, Spanx are my new favorite undergarment. Spanx should NEVER be worn for 11 consecutive hours.

Spanx marks of pain and shame

Spanx marks of pain and shame 

Assuming I am not edited out of the show completely, you can see me and my epic fail this Friday, February 28 on OWN:

If you enjoyed this blog post, check out Food Stamps, Oprah and the 2014 Listen to Your Mother Chicago Show.

Don't miss another blog post in my not-so-incredible journey. Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Please follow me on twitter and like the Parenting Without A Parachute Facebook page.

Leave a comment