Illustrations by Casey Webb
With the recent passing of the late great Maya Angelou, this is the closest I will ever come to sitting down and having a conversation with one the best writers in history. If she could be courageous enough to get her thoughts and writing out into the world, I could, at the very least, do the same and only hope I touch a fraction of the lives she has. Maybe it’s just me, but when I read something really good, such as the amazing words of Maya Angelou, I get so excited I can barely stand it. So much so that it makes it hard to continue reading because I’m still feeling every word from the last quote as I go on to the next. It’s incredibly overwhelming.
1. “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.”
I am in love with the world and, therefore, I try to act in a way that would make the world fall in love with me back. I try my best to forgive its faults so that I may enjoy its beauty, in hopes that it will forgive my faults.
2. “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 the love in return.”
For to be loved is to laugh, and to love in return is to cry.
3. “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
To truly love is to overcome, or at the very least, to try your hardest for the sake of love. Love more than you fear and you will go far in your endeavors.
4. “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
You can do exactly that just by being an artist and having your work enjoyed.
5. “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
Sharing your art with someone who enjoys it is like a good hug: it feels good for both parties involved.
6. “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”
You deserve it.
7. “What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.”
It can be scary, sure, but if you don’t do something with your time, you’ll have spent all that time being scared of losing that time for nothing.
8. “Nothing will work unless you do.”
The only way to see your dreams realized it to try them, even if you make mistakes. Remember, the ones who don’t make mistakes are the ones who are doing nothing at all.
9. “All great achievements require time.”
But not all time creates great achievements. Use your time and your skills wisely.
10. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
You may succeed far less then you are defeated, but it may only take that one time to give you the power to keep going.
11. “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
Don’t just be the starving artist, don’t just keep your drawings under lock and key, and don’t let others dictate your worth.
12. “Timidity makes a person modest. It makes him or her say, ‘I’m not worthy of being written up in the record of deeds in heaven or on earth.’ Timidity keeps people from their good. They are afraid to say, ‘Yes, I deserve it.'”
So tell yourself that you deserve it. No matter how many people it may seem are going towards the same goal as you, know that there are a lot of people in the world, and there is a place for you to be great.
May this wise and hardworking soul rest in peace, and may her words forever live on. This is only part 1 of this post, for more, check out part 2 here.