As I showered this morning, I pondered on Maya Angelou's life and what she accomplished. (Yes, I am still stuck on that). Then I thought on how old I am and what I still want to accomplish and realized that she wasn't much younger than 1 when she wrote her first book. It dawned on me then to do a timeline of her life to see what age she was at when she made her accomplishments.
These ages are approximate, but you get the picture.
Thankfully, WSOCTV started the project and I supplemented with the timelines at softschools.com and a few other websites, and I mostly had to do the math to figure out her age.
April 4, 1928- born in St. Louis, Missouri.
Age 9 raped by mothers boyfriend and becomes mute for a number of years
Age 13 Moved to California with mother and brother, when to high school and studied dance and drama at a college program.
I am still very raw from the news of the death of Maya Angelou. I feel and deep and profound loss because for me, she was the one, the elder, at shows feet I proverbially sat. I never got to meet her, but once, many years ago, my husband bumped into her in an airport. I was home, pregnant with our first child. He saw her and he knew about my deep love her for and he stopped, gathered his courage and approached her. She was so regal, stood so tall, as he told it, and was very glamorous in her fur coat. He said, "excuse me, I just have to tell you that my wife loves you". She replied, "I love her too". Oh my word! These are the things heroes are made of. He brought her love home to me.
In processing my sadness for the loss of a woman I find to be so iconic, I began to read her work, her quotes, and wanted to see her image. Hello... Facebook, twitter, and youtube. But youtube can be a nasty place, can't it. I stumbled across a video called The truth about Maya Angelou. In this video, a man, Stefan Molyneux, reported very many truths about Maya Angelou. And they weren't all good. In fact, many were bad. I watched the near 35 minute video with the thought in my mind, "and your point is?" In the end, his point was "don't listen to anything she said... she only preached forgiveness, to get forgiveness for herself, to unburden herself". Don't listen to her because after all her mother didn't do for her, she still loved her mother, so she must have been crazy. All of the talk of overcoming adversity is crap because her life was flawed. She said she did not break the cycle of abuse, because she did not solely raise her own child. He found her immoral, and so therefore useless as a hero. Here is the link to his video.
Mr. Molynuex has created quite a collection of "The Truth" videos. Right before Maya's video, he
When she spoke I listened
As if she were speaking directly to me.
She chose her words carefully
And set and example for all to see.
She told us why the caged bird sings
She lost her voice through childhood trauma
But found it again through poetry
Then she rose above poverty with dance and drama
She was as comfortable with a pen as she was on the stage
Acting with James Earl Jones, Gossett, and Cicely Tyson
Wrote for and worked with Malcolm X and King
She lived and loved in Paris, Cairo, and Ghana
And she was just getting started
At the height of her career she produced movies
She wrote scores and songs for Roberta Flack
She won Tony Awards
She won honorary degrees, and then she gave back.
By the time I came on the scene at the age of 13
she had accomplished all of these things
And I as a child looked at her life and her works
And breathed a sigh of relief as her words gave me wings
I saw so many similarities in my past and hers
Downtrodden, beaten, marginalized
I began to see the world through a new set of eyes
Her books gave me solace,
Her words gave me strength
I could see a future for myself beyond arms length.
And she continued to write,
And she continued to speak
She continued to sing
She continued to preach.
And I continued to learn.
She said, "If you only have one smile in you,
Give to the people you love"
"Nothing will work unless you do"
"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within"
"The truth is, no one of us can be free until everybody is free"
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain"
"My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept love in return.
She was a woman phenomenally.. and she will be missed.
Did you know that when the latest unmanned vessel was sent to Mars that a recording also went with it to be broadcast back to earth. Will I Am of the Black Eyed Peas penned this song and recorded it with an instrumental orchestra and an orchestra of school children. I found it fascinating.
I love how the guy in the black shirt (most likely a scientist) can't clap on beat. But I am sure his other brain abilities outweigh his lack of rhythm.
While this fascinated my pants off, the reasoning behind the song and the movement that has started is of important note to educators. Please listen to the intent behind the project and the movement that this talented musician his spearheading.
It's interesting how music is taken out of schools but yet, we worship performers. It might be because there is something in those performers and their work that inspire us to be more... to do more. They set the example of an insane work ethic, in most cases, that I hope will rub off to people in other industries... in the sciences, in math, in psychology, etc. If only people in the other industries would be compensated nearly as well.