The courage to survive victoriously

The Dallas Examiner | 6/9/2014, 2:27 p.m.
Dr. Maya Angelou was one of the most beloved heroes of our time. Her magnetism was so great that millions ...
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As an adult, she wrote autobiographies about those early years and used her life experience to tell us, “Anything that works against you can also work for you once you understand the Principle of Reverse.”

The lesson was so powerful. Not just because it changed her life, but the ripple effect of that lesson was passed on to so many little girls who needed to know that their life is worth so much more than one devastating incident.

People use to say, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It still does. With so many girls that come from broken homes, and the fact that 1 in 4 girls are molested (or more), it’s important for a girl to have that one person who truly cares and is willing to go that extra mile to plant a small seed of hope, courage and self-confidence. Girls need to know that it’s okay to love their self as they are, to be strong and bold, and to discover their passion and pursue it.

Sometimes it just takes one person – one woman who knows her own power – to reach a little girl who is lost in her own illusion of the world around her … to reach a little girl who may one day change the world. You don’t have to know the young girl’s story – the history behind why she doesn’t fly or how her wing was once wounded. You just have to be willing to show her that there is healing and there is beauty in taking flight.

Angelou once said, “The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors and deserves respect if not enthusiastic admiration.”

She admitted in an interview that there are still times when she is shaken by something and it will make her stop speaking, and she has to bring herself out of it by singing and talking loudly and firmly. But had Flowers never gone that extra mile to show young Angelou the magnificence of her voice, Angelou might still be Marguerite Johnson. Lost in her silence, she may have never graced the world with her acting, poetry, dancing, teaching, speeches, civil rights and women’s rights activism, counseling, mentorship and so on.

“All my work, my life, everything I do is about survival,” Angelou once said. “Not just bare, awful, plodding survival, but survival with grace and faith. While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.”

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