I was sad to hear about Maya Angelou's passing ... and though I find it annoying when people take to Twitter and social media sites to say RIP to a celebrity they didn't even really know ... I'm making an exception.
Ms. Angelou's books were way too dark and troubling for me to read (I'm sure there's a light chick-lit unpublished and hidden on her laptop somewhere), but her poetry opened up the world to me.
Particularly "Phenomenal Woman." That one changed everything.
I found this incredible poem as a teenager (senior year, maybe) and WOW it hit me like a 2-ton anvil. Floored. Smashed. Flattened.
I'd always felt pretty cool about being a girl, I didn't have horrible confidence issues or anything, but this poem took me to a higher level. It empowered me. Strengthened me. Made me feel PROUD of all the beautiful things a women could be. Should be! And at 17 or 18 years old, is there anything more important to understand? To learn?
There's absolutely no doubt that Ms. Angelou's work impacted a very many people around the world in so many profound ways. What an phenomenal legacy, Ms. Angelou.
Read "Phenomenal Woman" here.
Or, even better, listen to Maya read it herself.
If it's your first time, you'll never be the same.