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An Open Letter To Oprah From Tiny Tim

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Dear Oprah,

Listen, Sister. You are not alone! This may sound silly, writing to you, the Queen of the Many. You have inspired millions. You have gone beyond where "brave men and women have never gone before." You have given so much to so many. And still, like the rest of us wee mortals, or not so 'wee', you are guilty of self-torture. Give it up. I know it is Advent, not yet Lent, but give it up. After all, we are all entering the season where, depending on your sources, the average weight gain is 5 pounds.

That said, my girl, you are doing us all a humongous favor! The fact that you are beating yourself up over your weight gain to 200lbs gives your public a peek into the fact that underneath the bells and whistles, you are as human as the rest of us, particularly we women. After so many years on the tube, you may have forgotten one important thing. We love you because you are human. Your struggle is our struggle. We do not love you because you are Superwoman.

Just this morning, at the gym, (despite the fact that I've been down with this nasty respiratory malady for the past two weeks and actually made it to the gym), I overheard myself say to myself, "This is pathetic." Did you hear me? Instead of congratulating myself on the fact that I had showed up, I compared myself to how I work-out when I am feeling my usual spunky self.

Comparison seems to go with the human condition. We compare what we've got to what is missing. We compare ourselves to others, and come up lacking. We compare those in our lives, to how we believe they should be, and all would be happier. I've become especially aware of this over the past few weeks in my Huffington Post column. Readers have been so honest about their holiday distress when they feel they, or someone they love, do not measure up. No small wonder the holidays are so stressful!

The fact of the matter is that we have made it this far. Despite the parade of disappointments and disillusionments with the world, despite our self-inflicted list of self-complaints about how we've slipped up, we are doing pretty darn well. Despite the nauseating bail-out requests, unaccounted for funds, Blackwater killings, Maul Mart deaths, and governor arrests by the F.B.I., we are still keepin' on keepin' on. If weight gain is the extent of our problems, then we are pretty blessed.

Here's what I propose: I know I am not Gayle King, but let's do this puppy together. We are all sisters, after all! Let's consider getting back onto our own 'to-do' list. Let's not wait until January 1 for all those made and failed resolutions. Let's start now. Together. Here's what I'm suggesting, Lady O: We renew our commitment to life. We let go not only pounds, but the heaviness that comes from our addiction to perfection. How about it? We could begin by celebrating the fact that we are taking better care of ourselves today than yesterday. If we must compare, let's compare where we were 24 hours ago in the self-care department, and praise our reborn vision of what can be. We can do this, Sister. After all, if we can turn around the presidency, if we can begin working together as a nation and world in the possibility of hope and change, then we are unstoppable.

One more thought. My best friend reminded me today of that classic tale "A Christmas Carol." Remember the battle Ebenezer has with the past? Remember how misdeeds are described and shown as chains? Recall how dark his bouts are with his ghosts? What if, this holiday, we looked at our disappointment and shame we carry at our human failings, and took on the attitude of Tiny Tim? I know, I know. It could sound smaltzy to many, but who cares? What if we actually looked across the table at those we love, and those we find difficult to love, as well as our girth in the mirror, and proclaimed as our blessing: "God Bless Us, Everyone." And, as we release those pounds, let's say, as well, "God bless them, every one." Imagine where we might be one year from today if we no longer looked with shame and disgust at ourselves for our weaknesses, and stood tall in the knowing that we have become better, and better stewards for the life we have been given? Does it not begin with gratitude?

Your Friends in the Struggle,
Dr. Cara and Tiny Tim