Mourning Dr. Maya Angelou…

Confession: This post is going to be pretty much about me & my process. It is not eloquent.

I’m supposed to be either sleeping or doing homework right now. But one of my heroes passed away and Universe has decided I needed to write about it. And I recognize that Auntie Maya would not be pleased with my holding onto bitterness, so I’m just gonna let it out. I think, really, this is more about me mourning my own stuff. Dr. Angelou is not one to be mourned; I can’t honestly feel anything but celebration and gratitude when I reflect on who she was; what her willingness to be a vessel has meant for me, personally; and her legacy, overall.

My 12 year-old self was inspired to be so many things because of Maya Angelou. The way she was unapologetically black, yet ever so smooth in commanding respect blew my mind. After reading the story of how she turned her first trick – especially the way she described how the man’s zipper scraped her skin, I was able to begin the looooooong process of acknowledging the hurt of my own experiences with sexual abuse. It was because of her work that I was finally able to connect to poetry. All I had seen by that point was a buncha Shakespeare, too much Dickinson, and about two Langston Hughes pieces. I had no idea poetry could heal until I read Auntie Maya’s words. I started writing that very year. (I got good enough to be accepted into a couple of those free poetry anthologies, LMAO.) Her wisdom is something to which I’ve aspired since I first encountered her story – I have often dreamt of being able to conduct myself with such grace and yet balance that with such unspeakable power.

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