I've been keeping journals since I was in the 3rd grade and I'm so glad to share some of my most intimate life moments with you here! Here, you'll find inspirational stories of clients, my journey as a wife and first-time mother and other adventures I have that makes my world go 'round. So please, sit back, grab some coffee ( or my personal favorite, a good ol' fashioned Arnold Palmer!) and enjoy exploring my latest work! Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!
You know, I still remember the first time I discovered Dr. Maya Angelou.
I was a little girl; a sixth-grader, wandering the aisles in the Edward L. Bouie Sr. Traditional Theme School library. Poetry and I had recently began to get know each other and I came across a random book of poems written by African-American authors. I randomly opened the book and the first few words I read were:
“It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
That’s me. “
And suddenly, I fell in love. I fell hard. In that moment, I made a lifelong commitment to poetry, promising to never give up on it, no matter how hard life got. I would write it, read it, listen to it. It would be me and poetry: Til Death do us part.
Yes she was poet. She was also a dancer, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an author, a wife, a Presidential Medal of Honor recipient and a singer. Yes, Dr. Maya Angelou was many things. But what has amazed me about this woman over the years, what I respect and love the most about her was that Dr. Maya Angelou was a teacher.
As a little girl reading that poem for the first time, she taught me that it was ok to be a little black girl growing up in the South. It didn’t matter that I was growing up in the 90s, years after the civil rights movement had ended. Growing up in the south is still to this day, an experience that can’t be put into words: it’s merely something that must be experienced. So as I was going through my experience, she came into my life at a time when I didn’t feel pretty and hated my smile and reminded me that there is a power, a strength and dare I say it…a certain kind of vulnerability that lies inside of me that is unparalleled. Although I was yet a woman, she echoed to me what my mother has been telling me all my life: that I am phenomenal. That I am beautiful.
When I heard that she died today, I paused. I didn’t cry. I just…paused. I guess I paused because certain people…certain people you just expect to live forever, ya know? Even when they get old, you expect for them to be here forever. But then, I smiled. I smiled because she will live forever. The legacy this woman has left behind..the words and wisdom she’s shared with us all and the lives she has impacted …the sound of her life’s drum will echo through so many generations, that her newest and youngest fan has yet to born.
Even to this day, I carry a piece of her with me. Yes, I have my days where I don’t feel pretty, but honey….let me tell you: when I start to feel like that, I usually look down at my feet (which are usually slipped into a pair of heels) and begin to smile. And if I need to, I go look in a mirror. Not to be conceited, but to honestly, just look at my reflection. I look into my own eyes, let my eyes wander down my petite curves and remember that I am a beautiful, flawed soul…filled with SO much purpose. I don’t have time to dwell on the negative thoughts that try to make me lose focus. NO! It IS in the click of my heels and the bend of my hair. I remind myself that I may not be perfect, but I will never NOT be phenomenal.
The last time I saw her was last year. She came to Norfolk and in an intimate setting, me and a few hundred other people spent an evening with Dr. Maya Angelou. She was frail, but she was strong. She shared her wisdom and read to us. I was humbled to be in her presence then, but reflecting on that event today (ironically, I wore the exact same dress today that I did when I went to see her), I am even more grateful to have had that experience. She lived a life of action and continues to inspire me to do the same. She’s been encouraging me since I was that little sixth-grader and if I can touch even one life way the ways she has touched mine, I will be proud.
She left this world just how I want to leave it: EMPTY. She gave her ALL to this world, sowing so many seeds of greatness. My mom has always told me the importance of giving and like my mom, Dr. Maya Angelou is a shining example of the joy I can experience when I’m not stingy with my gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I will protect them at all costs, but what good am I, what good are any of us if we’re selfish with our talents, stingy with our kindness and refuse to share the life lessons we’ve learned with the ones coming up behind us?
The ones so many of us admire: Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou and countless others are leaving this Earth. It’s now up to us to step into their shoes, as big as they may be to fill, and give of ourselves freely and be the change we want to see in the world. Just like we looked up to them, there is a generation coming up that is looking to us. I can only pray that my light shines bright enough for them to see in the midst of all this darkness.
Dr. Maya Angelou, thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us and reminding me, a little black girl from Georgia, that I am a phenomenal woman…phenomenally.