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Maya Angelou: A Quote To Live Your Life By

"You are only free when you realise you belong no place, you belong every place, no place at all. The price is high, the reward is great"

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot recently, probably because i’ve been listening to the Women in my life, some of whom find themselves at a passing place. There are doors to open and doors to close and strength is required for both.

I first came across Maya Angelou at secondary school. We were given ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ to read in our english literature class. The book had a profound effect on me and was the beginning of a life long appreciation of her works and wisdom. As i’ve moved through my life, it seems that I always find a way back to Maya Angelou or, perhaps, her words find their way back to me. It’s always just what I need at the time that I need it the most.

I was reacquainted with this quote when Brene Brown referenced it in her book Braving The Wilderness. In her book she talks about how she felt she had to call Angelou out on this one quote as “bullshit” because it went against everything she knew both professionally and personally. After years of being irked by this quote she decided to look up its origin and discovered it was taken from an interview between Maya Angelou and Bill Moyers. At this point, she realised she’d got it wrong. What Angelou was saying is that belonging doesn’t come from a place, it resides in yourself. You have to be more than ok with yourself, you must like yourself and love yourself. The price is high: often those around you don’t like it when you take back your personal power, when you change and assert your boundaries but the reward? the reward is truly great.

I looked up the interview too and there is another great takeaway that I would like to share. Moyers asked Maya what wisdom she’d share with her hypothetical young daughter and she said this:

“I would say you might encounter many defeats but you must never be defeated, ever. In fact, it might even be necessary to confront defeat. It might be necessary, to get over it, all the way through it, and go on. I would teach her to laugh a lot. Laugh a lot at the silliest things and be very, very serious. I’d teach her to love life, I can bet you that.”

I’m sending this to anyone who might need it today, with my love.

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