Maya Angelou is one of those people whose words filled up my quote journals from their start as a lost 6th grader. It may seem like a nerdy 6th grade thing to do, but these quote journals are filled with other people’s words that I think make this world what it should be and have encouraged me through my braces and glasses combo years; through my high school loves and heart breaks; through my true white girl problems that I thought(think) were(are) monumental; through deciding to move back to Houston and pursue a career I love; through hearing the words “I have cancer” come out of my own mother’s mouth; through moving to LA, 1/2 way across the country from everyone I know and love. These quote journals have the power to encourage me and comfort me. They help me to realize that EVERYBODY has the good, the bad and the ugly in life and that I will get through my own and should do so with grace, poise and light in my soul.
Today, when I woke up and saw Maya Angelo trending on Facebook (I wish I was more educated sounding and saw it on CNN, but I couldn’t lie to y’all) I was deeply saddened. I thought of all those times before I used her words to soothe my soul or to encourage someone else. In a way, stealing her incredible thoughts and words to make my or someone else’s days better seems cheap, but then I thought, “how incredible, maybe my words will do that for someone else one day.” Luckily, today I am back in Houston, in my parents home and am able to scramble through a closet of beloved children’s books, quote journal/regular journals and boxes that include too many #tbt photos one can even post on social media, crayons I “pressed too hard with,” notes from old friends and loves, and 2 Polaroid cameras I can no longer afford the film for. This path down memory lane could take me to a place of no return, but I find myself smiling while sifting through the last 25 years. Can you imagine the amazing boxes someone will get to sift though of Maya Angelou’s 86 years?
I leave you with this: what she left all of us with…her words.
My top 5 Maya quotes the are scribbled into 7 quote journals in this closet and what they have taught me.
“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”
Have as many experiences as you can. Take them all in.
“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
Relax. Everyone has something-take a deep breathe and enjoy each moment.
“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.”
Every thing you do effects someone else. Be gentle with other people’s hearts.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
You do you, kid.
“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
Let your light shine.
I hope you have enjoyed them, cherish them and take them with you to brighten your life and share with others.