Remembering Maya Angelou

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This morning as I was watching the news, I found out that Maya Angelou had passed on. She was an inspiration to many including me. She was a survivor of sexual abuse, a champion in the civil rights movement, an acclaimed author and poet. In her autobiographies she shares her story, an in-depth personal look at her struggles and triumphs.

She was the definition of an empowered woman, through her tumultuous upbringing and experience she overcame so much! And what I find most inspiring is that she never let all of her defeats define her. She was a remarkable human being. If you haven't read any of her works, I recommend her book, "I know why the Caged Bird Sings." It will change your outlook on life. 

I am always so incredibly moved when I read her work, not only is it so powerful but it resonates with me, and so many others. To know that someone so inspiring can overcome so much, is a true comfort in knowing that your past experiences do not have to define your life. Instead those experiences serve as a part of a strong foundation that make you a survivor and phenomenal human-being. 

She is missed by many, but her legacy lives on forever in our history and hearts.

Here are a couple of my favorite poems of hers: 

 "Still I Rise"

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.