The poems and stories she wrote were gifts of wisdom and inspiration to many. In my mid twenties I picked up one of her books, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings;that was the moment I knew that for many years to come she will be part of my life.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which dealt with the racism and family trauma of her upbringing, spent two years on the US best-seller list after its publication in 1970. It was the first of seven memoirs which I digested over many years.Through her writing, her strength and eloquence as a role model for people finding answers for inequality and injustice won her many admirers. I will be forever grateful for all her wise words which inspired me in so many ways as a young woman. Maya died on the 28th May at the age of 86. Her ability to inspire will live on in her prolific thoughts, proverbs and works; her words will forever be a guide to leading a fulfilling, successful life. Here I share with you some of my favourite quotes from her writing.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
“I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”