me + Oprah = bffs

indeepshift

Honestly, I don’t really remember how it happened. And that can pretty much be said about the entire process, start to finish.

It was not too long after the memoir came out, I remember that. And I was still reeling from the whole process—interviewing and public speaking in public and the crazy, unexpected opportunities (Good Morning America? Sure okay!) and other crazy things that just totally fell through but mostly the fact that PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY READING THE BOOK.

(also PEOPLE the magazine!)
People Review

The only way I had managed to finish the thing, and send it off to a publisher and let it be packaged and published and shipped out into the world where just anyone could pick it up and have an opinion about me was because I managed to completely suppress the fact that this was the inevitable result of, you know. Publishing a book.

So I was a little crazed at that point. When someone (my amazing publicist at Seal? An email from the ether?) contacted me and said Hey, there’s this documentary show on the Oprah network? It’s this guy Jonas Elrod, right, who had this extraordinary experience once, and documented his transformation.

Now on his new show, what he’s doing is traveling to people who have also had transformative experiences and talking to them about what they’ve gone through and what they still need to do, in their lives, to be happy. So we think maybe you’re a transformed kind of lady and we’d like you to be on an episode! And I said oh yeah, sure cool, that’s cool.

Nothing happened for awhile, I remember that. And I pretty much forgot about it, but then there was a flurry of phone calls, and conference calls, and a video chat with the host/creator and some other people (and I think I actually ended up buying the professional version of Skype right in the middle of it because we kept having connectivity issues) and then there was a great silence again, during which I pulled my shoulders back down from my ears and sighed a great sigh of sort of relief because the whole thing seemed very complicated.

But news, occasionally—they’re deciding on candidates! We’re running it by Harpo! They really like you! They’re still talking about things and the business! I think at some point I realized there was a small possibility that Oprah her own self had maybe actually possibly said my name out loud and I closed my eyes tight and wasn’t sure how I felt about that.

I mean, you know how the story ends—they chose me for one of their stories. An hour-long episode. They’d come to Utah and hang out with me and my friends for a week. They’d interview family. They’d bring along ideas and tools and have people for me to talk to and adventures for me to have and it would be a blast, they said.

And then they showed up in July, and it was one of the most surreal weeks of my life. I took them thrift store shopping. They took me to a dojo to learn how to reconnect to my body and also be fierce and join a ninja club. The dojo master and his students were entirely welcoming, generous, and just crazy talented.

We did karaoke! We threw an enormous fourth of July shindig (that could not have been even half as great without my incredible and talented roommate Sare), went to dinner, went on a nature walk with a lovely therapist, went on a run through the mountains at sunset, did so many interviews, learned my favorite new joke of all time ever, met the cutest dog in the world outside of my own dog, bewildered the neighbors, laughed like a loon, and hung out with some of the warmest, coolest, kindest people on the crew ever, ever.

Oh my god, it was—it just was. It was everything, every day, all day.

Every time I wasn’t on camera I was upstairs in my bedroom, hiding under the covers. Quite literally. My friends, my gorgeous, so-lucky-to-have-them friends, they rallied. My best friend flew out from San Francisco to support me and local friends all came to hold my hand (and be on television) and do karaoke and remind me that this was cool, it was awesome, it was an amazing experience and it was overwhelming but it was wonderful, right?

It was pretty wonderful.

And now the episode is on its way to the television screen. In Deep Shift premieres on February 6, and my episode airs on the 15th. And I am filled with glee and excitement and panic and worry and gladness and–oh, just all sorts of things.

I don’t think I can watch it. Being there, inside my head, experiencing the entire week, that was pretty astonishing. Watching myself wander around wide-eyed and doing my best to not fall over for 52 minutes? I can’t do it. You watch it for me! Don’t tell me how dorky I look.

  3 comments for “me + Oprah = bffs

  1. Laura Poehlman
    January 29, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Will it make you miss Utah? I mean, Madison is so great you just don’t really miss Utah-yes?

  2. Mara
    February 6, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Hiya Jen,

    It’s Jonas not Jonah (oops) and the series premiers Feb 8th, this weekend! Woot! Your episode is wonderful. You look great and not dorky at all.

    Best,

    Mara

  3. Sheila
    February 15, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    I just watched! I heard about the show and was curious enough to look up the listing and there was you! I DVR’d it and am watching before tonight’s Downton, which should say something about how cool it is. You don’t look dorky, your place is adorable and you have fab dresses. Glad that you’re happy in your new spot. Yay!

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