This week the world grieved the passing of Dr. Maya Angelou.
There were so many beautiful posts (checkout Michael Twitty), quotes and thoughts shared about Maya, I’d really not planned to post anything. I thought watching and reading the praise as it flowed, knowing what Maya Angelou’s transparency and pen meant to me, was enough.
I took in Maya’s charge to “just do right”, and shared it with my kids. Like everyone, I thought about how her life has gifted me and words anchored in my heart long ago.
Yet I still planned to keep quiet… like the freedom from shame Maya relieved me of so many years ago, was our secret.
But after reading “What Maya Angelou’s Past Can Teach the Feminists of the Future“, I felt I had to affirm writer Lauren Davidson’s assertion, that Maya Angelou’s darkest life moments were as inspiring and enlightening as her brightest and most celebrated accolades.
I was 18 years old when I first learned of and read Maya Angelou, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I had a BEAUTIFUL toddler, my firstborn Jerold (Jay) and was heading to nursing school, having just graduated with Honors.
In spite of the merit I earned by being a “good, young Mother” and academic achiever, in my heart I was ashamed of who I was. Though I loved Jay dearly (he gave my life purpose), I was ashamed of not being the “perfect” daughter or baby sister; heavy with the feeling of letting my family down. I felt unworthy — and that feeling factored into most every decision — good and bad — I made.
I had no idea what my life would amount to because I didn’t really know who I was. I had no “voice”. I was faking it.
But then I met Maya. Her life/books read like an adventure and personal truths cut me to the quick — her story was familiar. Journey by journey, Maya carried me with her to self discovery. She found peace and I found liberation.
Maya Angelou showed me that whatever my future held would be determined by me — looking forward. Her words of truth lifted the weight of my misplaced shame.
It wasn’t that I needed to be perfect or was unworthy. I had to forgive myself and release those who’d caused me harm. I was a young girl, human like everybody else; stumbling along to find my way.
Thank you Ancestor Maya. I am shameless because of you… a work in progress!:)
“Right may not be expedient. It may not be profitable. But it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that bodyguards can’t give you.” ~ Dr. Maya Angelou
Peace and ease on your next adventure. The rest is left to us.
Luckie | Just Do Right