It took me 10 years to put myself through college, there were many semesters that I wondered if it was worth all the struggle. To be honest, there have still been times over the past 16 years since graduation when I wondered if was worth it. However, yesterday when I found out the world had lost Maya Angelou, I knew it was worth it. It was in the final few years of my college experience when I was introduced to Maya's work. Her words busted my heart open to myself. She was one of the first women who helped me to own my voice, use it in my writing and love myself in that way.
I was so moved by those words yesterday. I paused. I reflected. I shared on my personal Facebook that "In Maya's honor, today I stand proud of myself for all that I have overcome in my life, starting from way back in 1974. I rarely give myself credit, rarely acknowledge it all. It can be uncomfortable, yet therein lies my strength."
Someone asked me "What happened in 1974?" You see, I was born in 1970 and 1974 is the year my parents got divorced and my mom left me. That is the year everything changed for me. I don't remember the years between 1974 and 1978 very well, I have glimpses of things in between. I've always called it a "swiss cheese memory." And I have been overcoming things ever since, all my life. Haven't we all?
As I said on Facebook, I want to be stronger, lighter and more free with every passing moment.
Thank you Maya for everything you have taught me and for all I still have to learn. For now, today, I stand proud of myself.
P.S. This poem of Maya's, "When Great Trees Fall" was extremely soothing to me yesterday. Did you know I used to have a series called Friday Poems on my blog? When I read poetry, I feel called to write. When I read Maya Angelou's work, I feel called to write. I was a writer long before I was a photographer.