Dr. Maya Angelou

I can't remember the exact moment when I was introduced to Maya Angelou. I'm not sure if it was through the requisite "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" school book reading or if it was the year my mother made me memorize (and recite at church) "Phenomenal Woman".

What I do know is that she always spoke to me. She saw the apprehensive, shy, and self-doubting brown girl and challenged that. Her words affirmed me and helped to mold me. She was brown skinned woman from a small Southern place who seemed to belong everywhere. Through her journeys, tales, poetry, and words, she gave me permission to reach for and take hold of the stars. To embrace, love, and accept everything I was and allow that to take me everywhere I needed to be. Representation matters and Dr. Maya Angelou represented me and what I aspired to be. 

When she passed yesterday, I can't say I mourned. With 86 years on this planet, not only has she lived a full and extraordinary life but she also impacted millions around the world. I hope that Dr. Angelou inspires more of us to take hold of who we are and manifest all that we can become. I hope she inspires to educate future generations and to better lend to love, ferocity, and compassion when dealing with others. 

Check out her 2011 appearance on Oprah's Master Class. Enjoy these gems.



"Take up the battle. Take it up. It's yours. This is your life. This is your world. I will be leaving it long before you under the ordinary set of circumstances. You make your own choices. You can decide life isn't worth living and that would be the worse thing you can do. How do you know?

So fall. Try it. See. So pick it up. Pick up the battle and make it a better world. Just where you are. Yes. And it can be better. And it must be better. But it is up to us."
- Dr. Maya Angelou

xo,
Jana-Lynn

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