I recently read a post by Gabrielle Bernstein titled, I rise for Self, where she included an excerpt of Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I rise. It happens to be my favorite poem. As a matter of fact, the vanity on my car reads, “I rise.” It’s a reminder of my struggles and all that I’ve overcome in my life.
This poem, this day means more to me than it ever has. Because no matter what comes our way. We must rise. We must continue and always rise. We should never allow ourselves to be strapped down and burdened by blame, self-pity and pain. Even though the do exist. Still we must rise.
It’s memorial day! Today I honor all those who selflessly sacrificed their lives for the freedom and lives of others.
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.