12/11/2012 01:06 pm ET

What I Know for Sure About a Difficult Climb

People, I gotta tell you: 2012 kicked my butt, yes it did. I thought I knew myself pretty well, but 2012 added a new dimension of discovery: Who are you, really?

Without the mantle of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which over the years had become an extension of me, I was forced to address that question in all the ways that mattered.

Who are you when the chips are down and you're running out of chips? Over and over after I ended the show and began the next phase of my life, the media tried to put me in a box labeled "struggling TV network." Even though I read only a few articles, one in particular cut me to the quick: "OPRAH WINFREY ISN'T QUITE HOLDING HER OWN." I had always prided myself on just the opposite -- my independence, my integrity, my support of others.