By Lauren Linhard – firstname.lastname@example.org – @LinhardReports
I first met Maya Angelou when I was a freshman in high school. Alright, I didn’t actually meet her, but that was the first time I read one of her works. It was “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
Maybe I was a little young for that book though, because I honestly can’t remember a thing about it, except for feelings of struggle and triumph, which I assume is associated with the autobiography’s plot. But again, I don’t particularly remember.
However, it was the beginning of an unexpected friendship that I leaned on for much of my high school and college experience. Maya Angelou taught me to be a “Phenomenal Woman” when things are hard, that I am “Touched by an Angel” in times of loss, that “Still I Rise” when others seek to push me down and that I am never truly “Alone.”
As someone who has lived through my own struggles – and remember, it doesn’t matter what the struggle is, but that it was your own to bare – Maya Angelou reminded me that life is about family, faith and love. The focus should not be on those difficult moments that come and go, but on those wonderful ones that last forever in your heart.
In a time of brutal racism, discrimination and hatred, Angelou followed her dreams, touring Europe with an opera company, dancing on TV variety shows, recording her own album and writing her own play.
She was an editor at The Arab Observer a writer for The Ghahanian Times and taught at the University of Ghana. She was a civil rights leader, working beside Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X toward equality.
Her death yesterday, May 28, 2014, certainly hurt, but it’s hard to say it left a hole in my heart, because that’s not the case. Even now, after she’s moved on, I know she will always be there for me, in her books, in her poetry and in the lessons she taught me.
Rest in peace you phenomenal woman.