For this post, I felt I needed to touch on a inspirational woman that has taught me more than I have realized. I remember a time long ago. I’m not sure how old I was, but for a school project we had to present a poem. One of my classmates presented Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. I was young then, and although I don’t remember the words sinking into me, I wouldn’t have remembered that poem if not for a special reason. Now I re-read it, and it clicks. Of course. It stands for every thing that I wish to do with my life in the future: supporting young girls through the years of growing up surrounded by media influences and the pressures of today.
Some odd number of years later, days after turning 21 and with that wish in the back of my head for my future, I wake and scroll through my phone, seeing the news that Maya Angelou has passed away at the age of 86. Not only did this alarm me but I couldn’t help but think about the gift I was given for my birthday a few days before. My mom and best friend collected quotes from my loved ones as words of wisdom for turning 21. My mom stuck in a few extra ones that she throughout it’d enjoy. One is a picture of Maya, and reads:
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.
It’s a sign. That I needed to pay attention to what she had to say.
I looked up what she’d done in her life. It turns out that she spent quite a bit of time in Accra, Ghana. The lovely spot my best friend has been studying in for the past four months. She also was a professor at Wake Forest University, a close friend of Oprah’s and spoke at Bill Clinton’s inauguration, reciting her poem, "On the Pulse of Morning”. All of which most of you may know, or not. But I’m learning things.
I’m a fan of sentences. I’m a fan of quotes. I’m a fan of feminism. I’m a fan of people wiser than me. You may say I’m late to the revelation, but I don’t think that’s accurate. I think it’s the timing of where I am in my life and the importantce of paying attention now. Alas, she would have been a great coffee date.
“My life has been one great joke, a dance that’s walked a song that’s spoke, I laugh so hard I almost choke when I think of myself."