Last week our Facebook and Instagram feeds looked like a Best Of Maya Angelou quote-off, celebrating and remembering a woman who gave us such wisdom, such clarity. A woman who passed away, leaving a legacy of truth and heart.
But I wanted to take a moment, after the steady stream of Angelou quotes quieted, to reflect on her incredible spirit, and how much her words have helped me.
Especially as an Early Mama.
Back when I was clinging to any kind of indication that I could continue to grow and develop as a young mom — to not be permanently stunted by the weight of responsibilities sitting on my 22-year-old shoulders — this quote inspired me:
It even inspired me to create a community of young women who refuse to be defined or limited because of this shift into early motherhood.
And then I found out that Maya Angelou had a child at a young age. Nineteen years old. She gave birth to her son a few weeks after graduating high school, in fact. And she was a single mother, with more obstacles and trauma and stacked odds than any of us can imagine.
And according to her son, Guy, she was just as inspirational as a mother as she was a poet.
She clearly didn't stop growing or learning after having her son at such a young age, or after having such a traumatic childhood. She didn't claim the title of Victim, assuming that Life put a bulls-eye on her back. She didn't allow the bitterness to harden inside her heart.
Instead, she showed us the power and potential of the human spirit. She gave us a unique insight into the human experience, and then translated her strength and perspective into quotable nuggets of wisdom.
She opened our eyes with motherly advice.
She built not only a career, but a legacy.
She changed the damn world.
If Maya can do it, you can do it. The only difference: We have her words to guide us.