I’ve read some good books, but to my surprise, and perhaps yours, the best thing I’ve read in 2012 was this month’s issue of O Magazine. It sounds a little wacky to say, but I’m not sure why I was so surprised. Almost my whole life, until last year, I feel like I’ve been a casual Oprah watcher. Starting 2 years before I was born, her show just always seemed to be on in the background. Last year, when my moving home coincided with her last season – it felt like destiny. I watched almost every episode, usually crying (even during the makeover shows) buying into the fact I needed to live my best life, light bulb moments, and even using “the secret” which I really don’t believe in to get the job I have now. When you think about it, who, that you don’t actually know, do you trust more than Oprah? I’ve asked many people this question, and the only acceptable answer so far has been Hillary Clinton. I’ve trusted Oprah with decisions from what charities to support to what tennis shoes to buy. And she, or whoever actually puts her magazine together, was in top form for this month’s “express yourself” issue.
Throughout the issue are stories of people who are expressing themselves and their creativity in really interesting ways. I was inspired by the stories inside, from a list of ways to express creativity to the story of a development director turned chocolatier to the collection of 6 word autobiographies in the back of the magazine (my favorite were “Might as well eat that cookie” by Paula Deen, and “Mission accomplished but will consider reincarnation” by Alexandra Liosatos). I like that the magazine took a big theme, but didn’t stay too serious. It covered physical and mental health, clothing, cooking, money (I hate Suze Orman!) writing, and reading. There was even an article on how to wear cat themed make up.
My favorite article by far was on being an introvert, by Susan Cain who just wrote a book called The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I liked hearing about an introvert, whose success doesn’t stem from pretending to be outgoing. Susan attributes her personal and professional success to her ability to listen, communicate her point of view calmly, and work well alone. “Instead of worrying that I’m too introverted,” Susan writes. “I now worry that our culture is not introverted enough.” Being in a situation where I am spending most of my time putting on a bit of a front, giving tours and pretending that I know what I am talking about at work, I Susan’s message felt particularly relevant.
I read this magazine in one sitting while watching silly TV on Saturday morning. It made me feel better about myself, and gave me a jolt of motivation to reopen the novel’s first draft and start making some much-needed changes. The articles do make me worry, that I am settling. They make me wonder, if my dream is to be an author – why am I not committing everything to that? But even if I’m not ready to give myself an answer, that’s a good question to be asking. So if you’re going to the dentist this week, skip Cosmo and grab O Magazine. And if you trust a public figure more than Oprah, comment below. I’m still waiting for someone I trust more, and am glad even without the show I can still get my Oprah fix.