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.
From that moment on, I had accomplished two things: conquered a fear of public speaking and discovered my love of Maya Angelou. As I grew up, I continued to immerse myself in her poems and novels, taking away something special from every one of them. Her simple yet powerful way with words have taught me how to live each day to the fullest, how to focus on the things that matter most, and how to work hard for what I want. I love that her words speak to me, and that I can easily apply them to my life. I admire that with simplicity, she is still able to create meaningful lessons and stories. Her talent and wisdom are timeless. Below are ten of her most inspirational quotes that have left an impact on me.
1. “Nothing can dim the light that shines within.”
2. “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”
3. “Good morning, this is a beautiful day. And I have never seen this one before.”
4. “If you get, give. If you learn, teach.”
5. “No one has become poor from giving.”
6. “Be present in all things, and thankful for all things.”
7. “You alone are enough, you have nothing to prove to anybody.”
8. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
9. “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
10. “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.”
Maya Angelou’s wise words can be applied to many situations in life. Whenever, I am having a tough day, there is always a quote from her that I can refer to get me back on track. Even though she may no longer be with us her powerful way with words will never be forgotten, and will continue to shape the lives of many.
Bre Lyles is a writer/blog contributor residing in Southern California. In addition to working on her current novel, she enjoys reading, traveling, and trying new things. Find her on instagram @goodgalbrebre.