“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Author, poet and social justice leader, Maya Angelou passed away this week at the age of 86. We all probably know Angelou for her beautiful words that spark inspiration and self-reflection in all of us, but did you know that Maya Angelou’s engaging voice stemmed from her own difficult childhood?
Angelou was molested and raped by her mother’s boyfriend at the age of eight. Her book “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” chronicles the events of her troubled childhood and the effects of sexual and emotional abuse. Like so many women who experience sexual abuse, Maya felt the toll of it on her body, mind and soul. Guilt and shame kept her from speaking for nearly five years. It is hard for me to imagine the Maya Angelou I saw, self-assured and positive, as an insecure little girl unable to find the words to express what she was going through.
For decades she gave hope to the hopeless, speaking from a place of understanding, compassion and faith. She has been through what so many of us are going through and has shed light on painful subjects that are often tucked away in the dark.
She is proof that despite our challenges, failures, setbacks and pains, we can learn from them, overcome, and stand as a stronger woman because of them. Thanks to Maya Angelou we can all feel a little more confident when looking to the future, that no matter what we are struggling with we too will find our own voice and speak with confidence and positivity.
Here are some of Maya Angelou’s inspirational words that we will forever remember and find support in.
“In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”