@DrMayaAngelou was such a positive influence – Her legacy will always live on!

Dr. Maya AngelouLast week we lost a beacon of light. Dr. Maya Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86.

Her repertoire is lengthy and covers everything from writings and movies to civil rights movements and so much more. She’s shared the hardships of growing up in a world that often made people feel less than worthy. She was a pleasure to listen to and inspiring to read. Dr. Maya Angelou had a great impact on me. Her book “I know why the caged bird sings” was eye-opening and poignant.

As a child, I loved poetry. I still remember memorizing my first poem and the way it touched me. This is likely the reason why I love the book of psalms so much as most of them read like poetry to me.

I use to write a lot of poetry. A few months back I found my writings and marveled at how detailed and passionate I was at such a young age. I wrote about everything from hardships to happiness.

Today as I reflect on Dr. Angelou’s life, I can’t help to think about the power of influence.

We all fall victim to influence in one way or another. It’s how we allow ourselves to be influenced that says a lot about who we are and what we are capable of as an individual. It’s easy to be influenced to make what are considered ‘good choices’ such as; going to university/college, getting a job, live a healthy lifestyle, etc. With that said, it’s even easier to be influenced to make what are considered ‘bad choices’ like; giving into addictions, lying, cheating, etc.
Regardless of what the influence is, we all have to remember first and foremost, we have a choice. We can decide ‘what we truly want’ and we all have the ability to create and follow our own path.

If you ever have a negative feeling about a situation, listen to your instincts and do what you know is right for you. People will try to tell you what they think is a good choice but your heart knows what’s right. I’m not discounting being influenced, I’m simply saying, before making decisions and choices (good or bad), ask yourself, is this right for me? Is this decision my own or am I trying to please someone else? Is this choice in my best interest?
Trust yourself more than you would trust anyone else. Always believe in yourself and believe in your abilities. Know that you’re worth all that your heart desires.

As I remember the influence that Dr. Maya Angelou had on me, I can’t help but think of her infamous and stimulating poem – Phenomenal Woman. A true representation of how the power of influence is a personal decision.

RIP Dr. Angelou, your light will shine in the hearts and souls of many for years to come.

Phenomenal Woman
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.

I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.

I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.

I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.

I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Maya Angelou

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