RIP Maya Angelou

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Today a woman I’ve always loved and aspired to be like, passed away. At age 86 Maya Angelou passed from heart problems.

I had the pleasure of listening to her speak almost ten years ago at the Palace Theatre in my home state. A Woman of Influence, wisdom and strength. She turned a painful experience into one of inspiration. Battling silence of being raped at age 7 by her mothers boyfriend. Her silence was awakened by a desire to chase her dreams. And she did just that.

In 7th grade I was exposed to what a “Phenomenal Woman” was. A poem that would influence my life in so many ways. My sophomore year in college I wrote an autobiography on her life, and leaned just how amazing this women she was. Like myself, she had her child at the young age of 17. And did everything in her will to become the powerhouse and legend she is known as today. One of many lasting quotes from Maya Angelou ” I created myself. And I taught myself so much” only proves her life of work started within her true self.

Her legacy shall live on through her heartfelt words of wisdom and in the hearts of the lives she touched.

XX,

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Phenomenal Woman
BY MAYA ANGELOU
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.

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