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Are you inspired? What makes you rise day after day?

Who inspires you?

We all need inspiration. It's tough to create it ourselves day after day. So having those who inspire us nearby is critical. 

They may be living. Or dead. Or imaginary. 

Doesn't matter. 

Keep being inspired.

Maya Angelou feels like my dear Aunt Zula to me in many ways. Yet. Dr. Angelou's history, personal and public, has much to say to me over and over.

If you haven't watched the documentary on her life, I highly encourage it. It's a history that's important, and stunning in many ways. She was singularly herself. How many of us can say that today, with the pressures to be this and that and the other, both from outside and within?

Please be inspired to be the strong person you are through her words. No matter your race or gender.

She embodies empowerment. And boundaries. And respect. And love. And creativity. 

Those are my wishes for you, and for me.

(Netflix: Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise.)

Still I Rise

BY MAYA ANGELOU
You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.


Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.


Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.


Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?


Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.


You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.


Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?


Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.


Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.


Maya Angelou, "Still I Rise" from And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems.  Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.  Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)

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With heart and fire, and love,
Lauren

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