Only two days ago I tweeted this – ‘surviving is important, but thriving is elegant’ by one of the most inspiring women I know about. She had not long celebrated her 86th birthday. I remember tweeting then too. Every now and then I will post a quote by her. Because I have them on my walls. A small handful, on a wall at home, that remind me of some truths.
Just over 6 years ago some friends invited me to stay at their house.
I spent most of it smoking, crying or in bed, but they were safe people. Who took me in as I was.
Over that week or so I discovered two different things that would impact me, and continue to in the following years of carnage that has been life. Things that will never leave me.
And one of those things was a book on the bookshelf just above my bed in the room I was sleeping in, and it’s author.
It was ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’.
And I discovered who Maya Angelou was.
I read it twice that week. And then I googled and discovered the poem ‘Still I rise’
I’d never heard of Maya Angelou before, until that week. Until that book. Until that poem.
Anything I write simply could not do justice to her, and the life she lived.
But this woman was writing her story in this book, of being raped as a child.
And then not speaking. Literally. For years.
Until she did find her voice, again.
And my God, what a voice.
Discovering Maya Angelou that week, a week where I laid in bed night after night crying because I was silent about being raped 10 months earlier was the smallest smallest flicker of light and hope I needed.
This woman was an actress, a singer and dancer and director.
This woman was an astonishing author and poet.
This woman had an activists heart, especially within the Civil Rights movement.
This woman overcame deep deep rooted racism, trauma and being raped as a child to become a shining light in a dark world.
A bright bright shining light in a dark world.
She was grace.
She was stunning,
She was beautiful,
She was amazing,
She was bold,
She was courageous,
She was wise.
She was a teacher.
She was a survivor.
She was a warrior.
She has inspired generations.
She rose above.
She has, still does, and forever will inspire me.
‘We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated’ – Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou – May you rest in peace.
Maya Angelou – Thank you.