Maya Angelou herself said “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” So, I’m writing this blog in recognition and celebration of Dr. Maya Angelou, an inspirational writer, poet, activist, teacher, guide and one of my she-roes who passed away last Wednesday at the age of 86.
It is amazing the impact Maya Angelou made on my life by simply opening her heart and letting her words flow onto the page and out of her mouth. After growing up reading Dr. Angelou’s books and poetry, a few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Angelou speak live and in person. Even at her advanced years, her voice still was strong yet sweet, peaceful yet powerful – that iconic voice of hers. When she spoke, I listened – not just with my ears, all of me. She spoke straight to my soul and lifted it up. Though the factual details of my story are unique to my life, I too experienced the deep, earth shattering pain and loneliness of being a caged bird. Even though I am now free of that cage, thanks to Maya Angelou’s teachings, I will continue to sing my song.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” another memorable Angelou quote. It seems difficult to imagine a time when Mama Maya’s words will be forgotten – But, what I do know is that her wisdom and lessons about life never will be forgotten only uttered by others in their own voices and maybe it will be forgotten that she once said them. But her message and spirit will live on. She made me feel powerful, she made me feel courageous, she made me feel hopeful, she made me feel everything I was and am and made me feel proud to live into my dreams.
Thank you Dr. Angelou; from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your courage, for your voice and for living into your highest and best purpose. I am forever changed and tremendously grateful.