I can clearly remember the day I recited a Maya Angelou poem in front of my church. I was a young girl, and had been assigned to read “Still I Rise” as a part of a summer camp program. I had always been a shy child who feared any unwanted attention. Having to stand up, front and center, before a large group of people was something I feared. Here I was, having to live one of my worst nightmares.
I stood on stage, my legs wobbling beneath me uncontrollably. As I started the first line, my voice wavered. I’ll rise. I couldn’t believe I was doing it; speaking in front of a group of people. I focused on a spot on the back wall as the words flowed from my memory. I’ll rise. For a brief second I looked away from the spot, and discovered many faces smiling back at me encouragingly. I’ll rise. I pushed through the poem, my voice getting stronger and more confident line by line. Even though at that time I didn’t understand every part of poem, I could feel the power of the words pulsing through me. I rise, I rise, I rise.
On a Sunday morning not too long ago, I was sitting at the coffee table with a cup of tea and notebook, my heart feeling extra nostalgic. I never know what I’m going to end up writing about on Sunday mornings; all I’m sure of is that when my pen hits the paper, my heart opens instantly.
I decided to take a little trip down memory lane and wrote about cherished memories – magical moments I never want to forget. I remembered the songs I wrote at 2 a.m., the faces in audiences I’ve played to, the beautiful people I’ve met. I revisited easy afternoons, singing in the car with friends and taking neighborhood walks. I also recalled more difficult moments – the shaky hands on stage, silent prayers I said so I wouldn’t forget the lyrics, second guessing myself, and the introvert in me nearly terrified of unfamiliar situations I found myself in. As I recalled these moments of uncertainty, I stopped mid-sentence and jotted down these words:
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt