The first book I ever remember reading was ” I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. I don’t think I was 11 years old at the time however I clearly remember reading through that book over and over. It helped me through a rough time in my preteen life trying to find my place and my why’s of living.
Then there was the reading of Phenomenal Woman that wore me out and helped me to understand who I was as a woman. I would reference that piece over and over again in my young life in my twenties. Now that I am older I would take time to read articles or catch any film that had the presence of Dr. Angelou in it.
Her words could sooth the soul of any young woman, especially the beautiful brown babies born in a world that told them that they were nothing but mammies, and care takers and caregivers. She spoke to a nation beyond her own time from black and white to color she performed and danced and then begin to write and travel. She spoke and screamed my story with her words. I wonder did she know that she did? I wonder did she know that I could reach over and get my little torn paper back book and let the caged bird in me sing openly each time I read it. Lord that book gave me strength and gave me life.
How amazing it is to have a life and a career that is as amazing as hers was. I was sort of jealous I remembered when people began to reach out to her and she got more public attention through plays, movies and her connection with Oprah and other popular icons in our culture. I felt as if she was sharing the secrets that she had exclusively shared with me with everyone else. I thought I was the only one that knew of this amazing woman and the prose that she wrote that spoke life and encouragement to only me.
Ultimately the public won out and she belonged to the world through television and film. She opened up and shared her secrets with the world and I was open to listening to what she had shared with me with everyone else along with more that she had learned in HER OWN journey. I must say she taught me a lot in her time with me through her words, her appearances, her speaking engagements.
You know I often wonder will there be anything that I have said that people will remember. Will my words cause the masses to move to action or will it get lost in the abyss of social media bumblings and thumbs posts? Will it be nonexistent as fast as it trended? Will we ever have another that will touch people the way that this caged bird set free did?
I certainly hope and believe that my words will. I am most certainly not Dr. Angelou but who she has helped me to be over the years through her words and her wisdom has helped me live and immense and deep meaningful experience on this physical plane that I hope someone will glean from one day.
Let me end with this. She will be missed. Her words however will live on forever in the corners of a library, or that box you have in your closet that you forget you had since college, or on the wall that poem to remind you how phenomenal you are she will be there. Eternity will live on in her words and her voice. The young girl her did not speak for years from Arkansas ……is no longer the caged bird ….yet now she sings and flies among the stars and the sun and the clouds.
Rest In Peace Dr. Maya Angelou.