May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou- Art Expressed through Words

A simple combination of words can stir up the deepest of emotions. That's the beauty of writing. 
Some are talented enough to share their words with the world and allow the reader to feel the emotion behind what was written. 

I have felt this way with every single piece of writing that has been authored by Maya Angelou. 

It started when I was very young, maybe 6th grade when I read - I Know why the Caged Bird Sings. I just wanted to keep reading. I turned the pages quickly, taking in the story as not to miss a word even though I could take it at my pace. But her stories are not meant to be read that way. They created an appetite within me that couldn't be suppressed until I turned the page, and then the next. Until I was finally satisfied-  and that was when the story ended. 

This is art expressed through words-  holding a person's attention with your message. 

Growing up in a South-Asian household in the United States wasn't necessarily fun. I was constantly at odds with my culture. I couldn't understand why my mom wouldn't approve of my wanting to be a ballet dancer, or a violinist.  

A lot of times, I felt trapped by the confines of tradition. This is when I would turn to reading. 
 I would always use Dr. Angelou's words to express my sentiments when asked why I couldn't pick more South-Asian professions: 

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." 

Tradition couldn't shape my views.  Even if my mom didn't understand what I meant by this, I knew I did. Her words gave my emotions a voice. They helped articulate what I wanted to say, but couldn't.

She has given me the tools to better understand myself.  Her words helped me understand that I am not the only one experiencing the internal struggles to fit in to society, or even in your family.
 She has passed on, but her words will always be here for me to seek solace from. Words I treasure every day, and strive to live by. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou:

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude"

"What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger"

"I can be changed by what happened to me; but I refuse to be seduced by it"

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. "

(Above Photo from:

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