“If you don’t like something, change it. If you cannot change it, change your attitude” – Dr. Maya Angelou

For a long time, I complained about my life. I would gripe that I didn’t get to do what the other girls my age were doing, or that I wasn’t as pretty as they were or that I was overlooked because I was the middle child. I had it made up in my mind that I was not a person worthy of love or true friendship.

This disdain for life started to grow into a vicious bubble full of self-hate and self-defeat. Nothing seemed to go right for me and I began to overtly and covertly lust for the lives of others around me. I was a pity party waiting to break loose and get deep into a depression. It became a crutch for me.

I had an excuse for every thing that I wanted. One of the many: “I can’t be successful without a college degree.”

In fact, it’s still an excuse.

Poet laureate, civil rights activists, Queen Mother

Poet laureate, civil rights activists, Queen Mother

It’s not that I haven’t tried. I went for a year and was like, yea…..no.

I want to be a writer! Can someone tell me why I need to know how to do binomial equations if I know how to conjugate a verb? Deliver a story. That’s what I wanna do! Do I really have to go?

In comes the heroine of my story, Maya Angelou.

Dr. Angelou did not graduate from college. She faced trauma at an early age leaving her speechless. She, like myself, was an unwed teenage mother. She worked as a Calypso singer, ran numbers, dabbled in prostitution and had some abusive relationships.

I can imagine that Dr. Angelou faced the same problems and questions that women like me are faced with: eating or paying a bill, new shoes for the baby or pay the loan.  Who is going to love me? Why can’t I be happy like everyone else?

Dr. Angelou took these feelings and wrote about them. She took what she did not like and changed things. She left the abusive relationships and cleaved to her son. She worked diligently reading books, meeting different people, fighting for the equal rights of her people.

She took the things that she could not change- being molested, growing up in the Jim Crow south as a black woman and being a single mother and changed her attitude about it.

She began to embrace her weaknesses and honed them as the catalyst of her wonderful life. She knew that there were others like her and she began to pour out her soul onto paper.

She awakened the souls of women around the globe, creating a cipher of poets, artists, television hosts, and single mothers that were willing to change what they could and if they could not- they wrote something prophetic about it.

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7 comments

  1. I have been told by people, “You should be a writer.”
    One day it dawned on me – hey, I’ve been writing my thoughts and feelings in my secret notebooks ever since I was a teenager struggling to be authentic and defy the social norms of phoniness one experiences in high school … When I began reading literature like Orwell’s 1984, seeing that the protagonist was keeping a diary, writing to the future, I had a deeper appreciation for this “writing.”

    Now I am 47 … wow, an entire lifetime of writing … privately … an entire lifetime of expressing my frustration, anger, sense of purposelessness, and other dark thoughts.

    You know. so many times I leave bookstores empty handed. As soon as I get the chance, I grab my secret notebook and begin scribbling the kinds of ideas I wish were on the shelves of the bookstores!

    So, no … college is not necessary for writing. I just wanted to encourage you to write for writing’s sake. Write to yourself, even … Don’t worry about recognition from this world. It would be cool, but it is not required. Now, when people say, “You should be a writer.” I just shrug, knowing that I write every day and have written for decades …

    I’ll check you out, but I won’t comment too much since I tend to be extremely verbose! Hoo ha …

    Peace.

  2. Wonderful and wise words, my dear friend. So happy you now have a blog – happy that I get to open my computer and find a beautifully compelling message from you, and happy that you have opted to share your thoughtful musings. Hooray!

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