Favourite Humans

I’ve been muttering a bit about ‘favourite humans’ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram a fair studio-boketto-you-are-my-favourite-human-bean-funny-valentines-card-foodie-card-pun-valentines-card-anniversary-card_grandebit the past few weeks, while at acupuncture tonight I thought I really ought to do a list for you. Here we go, in no particular order:

  • Stephen Fry – I have to start with him really don’t I?
  • Oprah – closely followed on the heels by another constant in my life. As Rosie O’Donnell said to her, ‘You’ve been huge in my life, you just never realised it’.
  • Ewan McGregor – I named my son for him.
  • Nathan Lane – wonderful, generous actor. Saw him in The Producers in London when he stepped in for Richard Dreyfuss. Being in the same room as him made me giddy with joy.
  • Dame Judy Dench – saw her in an RSC production of All’s Well That Ends Well, my favourite Shakespeare Comedy, started crying when she walked on stage.
  • Eddie Izzard – utter, utter god of sheer loveliness.
  • Brené Brown – her research and clarity of language around vulnerability is opening up and re-shaping the world.
  • Eckhart Tolle – “Enlightenment means saying ‘yes’ to what is”
  • Dr Wayne Dyer – his explanation of him as a child trying to find the tomatoes in the seeds being planted tells you all you need to know about potential.
  • Hibo Wardere – tireless Female Genital Mutilation campaigner.
  • Malala Yousafzai – “Extremists have shown what frightens them most. A girl with a book.”
  • Alan Rickman – always.
  • Dr Oliver Sacks – a wonderful writer who share his world so those who weren’t in it could understand it.
  • Osher Günsberg – so much more than the rose counting TV host.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates – for throwing money against inequality, bringing education and healthcare to millions.
  • Alan Alda – for using improvisation and language to educate and break-down barriers so STEM students communicate clearly. Clear+Vivid is a great podcast, his books make me weep with laughter and of course, M*A*S*H.
  • Alexandra Heminsley – British journalist and author, Running Like A Girl is so reassuring when your legs on fire and you’re wondering why the hell you’re doing this…
  • Caitlin Moran – British journalist and author. Bluddy love this woman.
  • Sali Hughes – British journalist and author, In The Bathroom vlogs on YouTube are glorious. Co-founder of The Beauty Bank, collecting toiletries and sanitary products to pay them forward to people who’ve fled domestic abuse, are in poverty and can’t afford them.
  • Glennon Doyle – Love Warrior, co-creator of #BlackFridays.
  • Carrie Fisher – who’s novels were the voice in my head when I couldn’t find or share the words.
  • The Honorable Julia Gillard, 27th Prime Minister of Australia, worked tirelessly to negotiate and manage Bills and Legislation to pass through the political system. And for this speech.
  • Christopher Hitchens – for all his foibles, his critical thinking was extraordinary.
  • Douglas Adams – do you know where your towel is?
  • Amanda Palmer – for giving me the courage to take the fucking donuts.
  • Neil Gaiman – for pointing me to his wife and for writing like Neil Gaiman.
  • Nancy Mitford – if only for Love In A Cold Climate.
  • Agatha Christie – if she’d only written Miss Marple, I’d be happy, but there’s so many more to choose from!
  • Dame AS Byatt – Possession, my favourite book and for that talk in Winchester where you gave so much of your time, as your husband took you out the door, you were still finishing off your sentence over your shoulder.
Picture credit

A love letter to Oprah Winfrey

Dear Oprah,

As your magazine has celebrated 10 years and your show 25, I think it is about time I said thank you.

I am now 35 years old, and have been reading O Magazine for the past 3 years, and watching when I can for the most of the 25.  Your programme bounced around the British TV schedules, from channel to channel, then time slot to time slot, but when I needed you most, I found you. 

Over the years I’ve learnt about neti pots, your favourite things and how to wear scarves to match the key pieces in my wardrobe.  I’ve learnt that no-one is perfect, and the people that try the hardest, can fall the furthest.  I’ve learnt that a heartfelt ‘Sorry’ will undo a lot, that owning and wearing your mistakes proudly is easier than trying to hide them, that I am allowed to live my best life, and anyone who tells me otherwise is trying to control me.

You’ve introduced me to Eckhart Tolle, Rev Ed Bacon, Josh Groban, Byron Katie, steel cut oatmeal, Peter Walsh, Elizabeth Lesser, Nate Berkus, Drs Oz, Roizen, Dyer and Phil, Michael Pollan, Taylor Swift and Martha Beck, all have enhanced my life, particularly the oatmeal.  I took my husband to see Eckhart Tolle and Dr Phil when they came to Melbourne, loving that he got nearly as much out the evenings as I did.

Now about that bit when I needed you.  My first marriage stopped, failed, utterly and miserably.  Broken open, torn apart, I sat on a friends couch and wondered how I could go on.  I lurched along my life, collecting pain and misery wherever I went, accumulating anger and resentment.  I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t function properly for months.  Then I found a workable way to get through each day, and for the next year or so drifted along aimlessly, only thinking about work, not thinking about the pain inside me.  You chose a book for your book club, and I found a way out of the noise and collateral damage inside my head.  I worked my way through with highlighters and post it flags, it now looks like a rainbow of colours and confetti.  The poor book has been read and re-read so many times it is nearly falling apart.  But when I brought it, downloaded the podcasts and worksheets, it was like a life line.  It literally yanked me back to shore.

How do I thank you?  How do I thank Eckhart Tolle?  The only way I know how.  I try to live my best life, every day.

Wherever your OWN takes you, on this next part of your journey; when you wake up in the morning after your last show, know that there are millions of people all over the world who owe you so much.  I for one, can never repay you.  I am proud to have walked beside you along this journey, joining for the bits I could as the show was bumped around, but you’ve always shown up, upheld your side of the bargain.  Twenty Five years, it’s a long time to wear your heart on your sleeve.  Enjoy that lie-in, you’ve earnt it.

With lots of love,

M x