|MAYA ANGELOU at age 85, being interviewed by Oprah in May 2013. (Video below)|
If the air feels a little stiller and Earth seems a little duller today, it's because Maya Angelou has left it. The American poet and philosopher has passed away at the age of 86, which seems far too soon for someone who had so much to give us to be taken away.
I first encountered the force that is Maya Angelou during a particularly difficult point in my life. I was alone, watching television and grimly working my way through a large bowl of Cheetos and angst when I happened across Oprah interviewing Maya (video below).
They were talking about men and women and relationships and how badly we botch them because we don't listen to or love ourselves.
I was instantly absorbed.
"I'm gonna need more Cheetos," I thought briefly, but I couldn't tear myself away from the bewitchingly gentle beauty of Maya's voice and words. I didn't want that interview to end, but when it did, I knew it would never leave me. I still hear her graceful wisdom in my head, especially today. Her inspirational life is woven into the fabric of history, and her effortlessly eloquent truths are her greatest legacy.
Among my very favourites:
“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.”
“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.”
“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
“I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
And perhaps my favourite of all time, one might even say my motto: “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.”
Thank you for being the rainbow in our cloud and the song in our cage, Maya Angelou. Rest in peace.