Oprah: I remember being in the bathroom at the Kennedy compound and seeing framed letters from Nikita Khrushchev on the wall. I'm just sitting on the toilet, trying to act like it's normal to have the First Secretary of the Soviet Union's Communist Party in there with me. So I made a decision: I'm just going to be myself.
Maria: You know, this teaches me that so many of us go through life not communicating. If I'd been more confident, I could have said to you, "This might feel a little awkward, but it's going to be okay." I didn't know how to articulate that. I was always wondering whether a person was coming over because they were curious to see all that stuff and to meet famous people, or if they were coming there for me. And I didn't know whether you would accept me into your circle. "Am I enough?" That's a scary question to ask yourself. I've spent years looking for an answer outside myself.
Oprah: Maya Angelou once said to me, "You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody." She gave me a necklace with those words on it.
Maria: We are all worthy—not because we've accomplished something or because we're part of a famous family. You're worthy if you don't make the team, if you get Ds and Fs, if you don't get into the best college. That belief is the greatest gift any parent can give his or her child. You and I don't have to do an interview or talk about a project or save the world. We can just sit and be with each other and with ourselves. For me, that was a revelation. An awakening.
Oprah: That's what you write about in your new book.
Maria: That's right. I'm not the person I was four years ago, so here's the question: "Who am I?" The answer is that I can feel myself evolving into a different person. For the first time, I can actually say that I'm right where I want to be.
Oprah: As a friend who has observed you, I can say that you've become more of who you really are. In all the years I've known you, you've been running so fast. You never took a breath. It was so exhausting to watch.
Maria: Was it? I'm sorry. I exhausted everyone. I'm still working on that.
Oprah: You've come a long way. The fact that you could come to Hawaii with me last summer and just be was big.
Maria: Huge. And I was so happy. Years ago, I would've been too embarrassed to tell my family that there was no point to the trip other than just sheer friendship.
Oprah: Remember when I was trying to get you to go to a spa years ago? You said, "I haven't been to that spa, but I once stopped by and looked in." For you back then, three days at a spa was out of the question.
Maria: That used to be true. My mother was not the kind of person who had her hair and nails done, went to lunch, and looked out at the scenery. That wasn't the example I grew up with.
We Hear You!