Oprah.....Among Other Things

So, weird thing. I was watching Oprah the other day. Yes....Oprah. I was cleaning my Gram's microwave, which happened to be near the kitchen dooorway, which happened to be in direct view of the TV upon which Oprah happened to be. Yes, I will admit, I chuckled a bit at the way she gave that throaty yell when she introduced someone, and I laughed at the way her eyelids have gotten so droopy that she needs two forklifts to hold them up. But Oprah gave me one of those "Oh my gosh, life is speeding by" shocks. You know what I mean?
I knew this was Oprah's last season, but I didn't know that she was retiring this wednesday!!
I grew up watching her on that tempermental mini DVD player in the school room with mom while she graded. It was the little slice of pop culture we got once a month or so in the mail and it was a time I had with my mom....back when life was so simple. So simple that the biggest crisis of the month was that Moussa was going to his village for two weeks and I'd just have to live without my best friend for awhile.

Oprah is leaving now, and her farewell commercial just had to play "Beautiful Goodbye" by Josh Kelley.....a song that makes anyone who has said a hard goodbye want to cry. And I did. I cried....over....Oprah. But honestly, it wasn't over Oprah. Life is *flying* by and I can't make it slow down.
Last weekend a bunch of kids graduated from highschool and I went to their graduation. I love so many of them, but there was one of them there that means more to me than almost anyone in this whole world.
My big brother walked up onto the stage in a black cap and gown. I watched him stand and be recognized, I watched the video of his childhood, our childhood, and how he grew into a geeky 12 year old then finally his studly, almost 18 year old self and honestly, I bawled my eyes out (And if there is one thing I hate, it's crying in front of people)and the funniest thing is, it was his white tie that made me cry.
He asked me to help him decide what tie to get, then when we discovered (the day of graduation) that he had a stain on it, Mom and I went to get him a new one. That stupid tie made me cry. What is he going to do without me? Yeah, I tried to make it about me. I was the one who helped him make decisions. I was the one who beat the living day lights out of any kid who dared tease him. But honestly, it wasn't about how he wouldn't be alright without me. He'll be just fine....if someone can survive off of Ramen noodles and Mac and Cheese. The question is, how am I supposed to survive without him??
Austin and I....our relationship isn't like normal sibling relationships. At times, we were all we had. When we moved to Canada, we only had each other. When we moved to Africa, we only had each other. When we moved back to the US, we only had each other. My friends were his friends, his friends were my friends and we...we just enjoyed each other. We still do. Immensely.
It seems like yesterday he was letting me wear his batman flip flops as we played in the sand box at Aunt Brenda's. It seems like yesterday he was taking me lizard hunting and exploring with him....only yesterday he was teaching me how to climb the mango tree outside of our gate. Don't be fooled, he wasn't always sugar and spice. We had our spats...heck, he killed my imaginary friend with a cannon!
Now I look up and see a man where that little boy who always stole my Ariel barbie once stood.
And he's leaving me. Not this fall...but next spring. I feel like I am losing my best friend. I know it's silly. He isn't going far. Just 3 hours up the road....but he is the only one that has always, always been there for me and he is going to go away...get married....have kids...and then he won't be mine anymore. Is that selfish thinking?

Then there is the issue of me being a hypocrite. As soon as I graduate, I am out of here...hopefully to India. I don't want life to move on though. I am safe where I am now. I am absolutely terrified of going out on my own. Of moving away from the familiarity that has always been there (my family). I have gone through so much change, so much transition, but the one thing I always had was family.
My older brother with his unconditional friendship and irrepresible good humor.
My mom with her gentle wisdom and her sometimes eccentric love of life.
My little sisters who bring nothing but pure, aggravating, irritating joy to my life.
They have always been a part of everything "Emma" and I don't know if I have the courage to find out who "Emma" is without them.
But I refuse to give in to my fears! I am not going to go to a community college, hang around home waiting to get married, have kids and push papers behind a desk in Rolla, Missouri for the rest of my life because I am afraid of being scared. Dont get me wrong, it may be the life for some, just not me.
What scares me more than anything, more than moving across the world alone, more than finding my individual self instead of my family self...what scares me most is living a life of mediocrity.
I refuse to wake up one morning when I am 45 and think "What have I done to my life?"
I won't let fear get in the way of what I am supposed to be doing and the journey I am on. That's what this all is. Austin's graduation, my approaching graduation....the rest of my life...it's a journey and I am excited to see what happens.
Life is a blank page, and I have the pen. There is no erasing, there is no going back, there is only going forward.

There you have it, my friends. Oprah, Austin, India. All in one post.
I told you....I am a complicated individual. It's 12:40, I'm exhausted. Goodnight all.


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