When I was interviewed on the phone the last thing I was asked was if I'd be willing to share my story on the show?
That's exactly as it went for me. I'm fine either way if they use my story or not; I just want to be mentally prepared for one or the other and was curious if others were told their story was actually scheduled because that would give me a clue.
As Obi has pointed out, this sort of thing does hold the potential to be disappointing and can stir up feelings of victimization (I’m so, so sorry Obi.. I know exactly how this feels first hand). We have to remember that first and foremost, Oprah is a business out to make money and you have to be prepared that although they care about us, our emotions are not their top priority…
I was called to be on the Montel Show once. They drove me to the city to film some video clips the day before the taping, and like Oprah’s folks, they said up front that they weren’t sure they would actually use my story and that I’d most likely be in the audience.
Well while I’m standing on the train platform waiting to head into the city, I got a call that they’d not only use my story but that I’d now be on stage. When I got to the studio, other guests were taken upstairs however I was just sitting in the lobby. Eventually they brought me upstairs after I inquired and they put some makeup on me and had me wait.
I sat in the audience and the producer came to me and said they would be using my story but I won’t be on stage… in the end they didn’t use my story at all and they ushered the audience out onto 5th Ave with a hat and a t-shirt as a parting gift… and me in full makeup… I was able to make my way around to the front of the building and talk my way back inside so I could wash the makeup off. That one was tough to handle.
I’m very sure that won’t happen here but the point is you have to be ready for anything and nothing is a done deal till it actually airs. And they may tape things that feature some of us and then not use it. I had a segment in Boyhood Shadows about female offenders which I thought was very powerful. It was on the DVD they sent but when I flew to the premiere in California I found myself sitting in the audience wondering where that particular segment went…
My point is not to bring anyone down, I would just rather we prepare for the minimum but still hope for the best experience we can have. And in the end, what this is about , is getting the word out that we are here… we exist, we are real… the pain is real… and we will be heard as a group if not each of us individually.