What Maya Taught Me

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I didn’t know who I was until Maya Angelou.  I remember sitting in my bedroom, writing.  I set forth on a mission to chronicle my life up to that point.  I hated who I was, what I had become, and even what that meant.

I would rock and cry and write.  Go to work, feed my son, and start the process all over again.  I shut out my family.  I shut out my friends.  I ignored calls, visits, and showers.  I had fallen into a deep depression and didn’t know it.  What seemed like three months was actually one year.

I remember picking up a book by Maya “Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women” at a book fair somewhere.  I read “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” in my teens and loved her work.  I bought the book of poems and went home.  I sat in my bedroom and read “Phenomenal Woman” about ten times before I screamed, no wailed in anguish.  I wasn’t phenomenal. I cussed all the time and I was loud.  I wasn’t graceful or even proud.  I wanted to be phenomenal.  I cried most of the night and got up and read that poem again. Over and over, day by day, I read that poem.  I got it in my spirit.  I got it in my soul. I started to live my life as if I was a phenomenal woman.  I didn’t believe it at first, but Maya helped me along the way.  Every step of the way I began to see just who I was and it has made me who I am today.



While I cry tears in the transitioning of Maya Angelou the physical being, I know that her spirit joins the many ancestors that will continue to help me along my way.  I am born of your spirit and in your spirit I live.  I am now a Phenomenal Woman, because Maya taught me so.




Icon_Sensible-Homework_220x220bThere is so much work to do.  I cannot let Dr. Angelou’s transitioning be the end.  Her life’s work has taught us all that we are much more than our past and our circumstances.  She has taught us that

“A person is the product of their dreams. So make sure to dream great dreams. And then try to live your dream.”

I will forever honor her legacy by living my dreams to the fullest of my being.  How will you honor the legacy of Dr. Maya Angelou?





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