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Know your self-worth

cherry blossoms and sunshine | spring in philadelphia

Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.

As you’re probably already aware, Maya Angelou passed away today. I’m not going to act like an expert on her life and works, but many of the things she did and said during her lifetime really struck me. Her legacy is definitely worth knowing, understanding and remembering.

She was more than just one of the great American authors. She was also a civil rights activist beyond just the written word. She spent a great chunk of her life working with another human I highly admire, Malcolm X. Together, they worked on building the Organization of African American Unity. Dr. Angelou had over 50 honorary degrees, spoke several languages, and was an all around Renaissance woman. I wish I could be more like her in every way.

If you have 60 seconds, read this poem, ‘Still I Rise’. This is perhaps her most famous poem. It is beyond motivating. It’s one of those reads where you finish it and are left stunned in thought. The reason I love this poem and Maya Angelou is due to the recognition of self-worth.

No matter how many people or circumstances will try to take you down, still you should rise because there’s something in each of us that is unique and special and valuable. Even when you’re working your hardest and seeing no fruits from your labor, even when you don’t feel the support of those you had once relied on, even when someone blatantly mocks you for what you are or love, still you should rise. Rise above all that attempts to keep you down. It’s definitely hard and sometimes it feels like it might be wiser to give up. But I love the message here that if you are true to yourself and you self-worth, you’ll press on because it’s the right thing to do.

Yay for sappy blog posts! xoxo

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 back yard.

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.