I, Little Colored Girl…

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These are the days when I’m taken back to barrettes and braids, little corduroy jumpers and precious little shoes. Days like this and news like this take me back to childhood days of drawing on sidewalks and bikes with extra wheels. The careless days, the days when you knew you mattered and couldn’t ever imagine otherwise.

Because I was a lucky little colored girl.

Maya’s voice was big enough, the stories she told important enough, that my careless days were joyful days. I was a colored girl who mattered because the stories of little colored girls were being told, and read, and thought about. Little colored girls had, thanks to Maya, become people, too. Our preciousness had finally become manifest because her words so pierced through the minds and hearts of a nation that had not really stopped to see us.

And when I was old enough to start to understand that what made me “matter” was relative, that it grew in some eyes and shrank significantly in others, that’s when her stories became most important for me. I was a colored girl who could read and reflect, who could re-read as she got older and learn more and more from the stories… Maya’s voice was big enough, the stories she told important enough, that my days of sadness and confusion became learning days. I was a colored girl who could transform.

And now that I’ve fully stepped into the world on my own, making a woman’s choices along the way, her legacy looms large over me. I am a colored girl who understands that I walk on paths well trodden, that where I may have opportunity to push there will be others who follow, and that my actions in peace and thoughtfulness are the best way to honor those who’ve come before. Maya’s voice was big enough, the stories she told important enough, that my new challenges are illuminated by her beautiful wisdom. I am a colored girl who can transcend and perform.

Because of Maya, I never was and will never be “just” a colored girl. IĀ am a colored girl. Such knowledge is as protective as steel, as sacred as prayer, as warm as a glowing fire, as perfect as a rising sun. In my nothingness to some (to many), I am everything to more. I am everything to myself.

What we have left are the words, and the words, in time, will be the ultimate legacy. But for those of us who were privileged enough to have heard her speak or to feel the gravitas of her presence, she lives in us for just a little longer. Every little colored girl living inherits just a little bit of her grace. We get to divide it among ourselves, use it as we so choose. Some of us will wear it, display it proudly as we walk, speak it with power and share it with the little girls who follow us. We will teach the words because the words will live forever and ever. The grace, though, we have to kindle, grow, and give.

I am so sad today. My lungs can’t seem to fully fill with air and my heart just can’t seem to find its rhythm. We don’t get many heroes in this life, and so when they leave it is only right to stop and mourn. Dr. Angelou lived a life of great meaning and importance and so much of how I think and who I am is thanks to her lessons, stories and poems. My tears today come from gratitude more than they come from sadness. These words I type have a tinny sound, so small and inconsequential. I can only honor through a life of peace, dignity and wisdom. I can only show my gratitude through sharing the words, living the grace.

It is a cold and rainy day here in New England and now I know why. May you, dear reader, find peace and wisdom in your day. And if you have opportunity, read a poem or pick up a book. Most importantly, though, choose to do something kind today. May your act of humanity, however big or small, ripple through your community, your grace and presence radiate to others, your words be spoken with truth and power, your heroes loom large over your day.

Quiet Thoughts on Friday.

72 Comments Add yours

  1. God Bless her. She will be missed but her legacy will live on!

    1. stefikal says:

      True!
      Her legacy lives on…

    2. K.C. Wise says:

      Very true. šŸ™‚ I think that is the part that really got me through the day yesterday. Her legacy is just as large and rich as she is… it means so much to know that she’ll always be with us in a way.

      1. Congrats on being “Freshly Pressed”! That post was very worthy! šŸ˜‰

  2. Britt says:

    Possibly my favorite essay from you. This is gorgeous. YOU are gorgeous. I’m sharing this with everyone.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Britt, thank you so much for always being so supportive! I really can’t believe that this became Freshly Pressed, and it’s all thanks to you. šŸ™‚ I can’t wait to repay the kindness in the future. You know you mean a lot to me, but still, thank you all the same!!

      1. Britt says:

        Whatever you put out into the Universe comes back to you. A-Ma, my beautiful mother-in-law, taught me that. So when you put a bit of honesty and beauty and emotion out there– like you did here– the Universe comes around and gives you a high five. It happens all of the time… just some times we don’t see it because of the crying children and what’s-for-dinner and termites. xoxo

  3. Great post, really inspiring. Reblogged šŸ™‚

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you for stopping by and thank you for the reblog!

  4. Britt says:

    Whoo hoo! The best writing comes from these places. Well done, you!

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      I suppose so! If only I could write this way more consistently–maybe in another life, when there are no children forever screaming in my ear! šŸ˜‰

  5. an amazing women and Civil Rights leader! She will be missed..

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thanks for stopping by. She will be missed, but the words will always be with us. I’m taking great comfort in seeing her words all over the place right now. It’s so nice to see people stop and remember.

  6. This was such a beautiful post, and I am glad I took some quiet time to read today. You brought tears to my eyes and opened them at the same time… Happy to repost and I look forward to reading more from you.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you! I am grateful for your time–I know that these quiet times are really precious for moms! So thank you for spending a little of it with me. šŸ™‚ I hope I can continue to write posts that are worthy of these precious moments.

  7. Reblogged this on BookWhacked and commented:
    In remembrance of Maya Angelou… forever changing lives once on earth and now in our hearts <3

  8. Us little white girls loved her for the same reasons. We miss her too. Well said, babe, well said.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      I know that well. I think that is one of the best parts about Dr. Angelou–her voice really was universal. It reached souls rather than skin. We can all miss her together. Thanks for saying hi, as usual. šŸ™‚

      1. Exactly. I am grateful she and her work crossed so many barriers to teach us how to cross barriers. And hi!

  9. Amazing touching and inspiring….I am following you….thank you freshly pressed.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you for reading, and for following me! I hope I can continue to write things worthy of your time!

  10. safiyyahyasmin says:

    Tears are welling up after reading this. Sharing with everyone.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you for sharing! I appreciate it! I hope you’ll come back soon!

  11. Monica says:

    A wonderful heartwarming and inspiring post for an amazing woman!

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you for popping over and reading my post! I hope you’ll come back soon!

  12. I’m so pleased I found your blog, and this post.
    Thank you.
    Emma.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you, Emma! I hope that you’ll come by again soon!

  13. Beautiful post. Glad I stumbled upon your blog! Looking forward to following your journey. When you have time, come visit me at My Salt, His Light šŸ™‚

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      I stopped by your blog yesterday and pressed the follow button! I’m very excited that you found me! Can’t wait to read some future posts!

      1. Awesome, glad we’re connected. Thanks for following!

  14. Kaydy says:

    Lovely memories of strength and grace she has given us. Well-written. May she be around His throne.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Totally agree, Kaydy. Thank you for visiting my blog! Hope you visit again in the future!

  15. Dawn says:

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you so much, Dawn!

  16. GM De Asis says:

    I’m sad too. But she’s definitely in a good place right now. A gift to the world indeed.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      And she’s a gift that keeps on giving. We’ll always have her thoughts and words, and that means so much to me.

  17. Really touched by your words, and what a world of a difference small humanitarian acts can make indeed!so glad to have found your blog here šŸ™‚

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      I am so grateful that you stopped by and found something in my post. Thank you! I hope I can continue to write posts worthy of your time and that you’ll visit again soon!

  18. bridjview says:

    A lady with a large voice wide spread mind, humble we are to have known such beauty

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      It is so true. We can only hope to aspire to touch what we was able to achieve. In the meantime, we can learn and reflect on the many thoughts that she left behind for us.

  19. Maya Angelou meant a lot to many of us women for her wisdom, her fire, and her kindness. Thanks for capturing all of that in your words.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you for reading, Pamela! I don’t know what I really captured here outside of my own sorrow… but I’m glad that something resonated with you. I hope that you’ll stop by again soon!

  20. silksachet says:

    just lovely…she will definitely be missed..so inspirational

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you for stopping by! I hope that you’ll visit again in the future!

      1. silksachet says:

        no problem hun šŸ™‚

  21. This was beautiful, just like the woman we lost, but she lives on in our hearts because she left footprints in this world, and we can remember her forever to come.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you so much for reading my post. And I agree with you, she lives on in our hearts and in our actions. When we choose quiet, peace, wisdom and kindness, she lives in us. That’s such a powerful thing, you know?

  22. exilsmith says:

    Yes, Maya had a big voice and it will continue to inspire many

  23. ujuh says:

    I’m glad I followed Britt’s link here.
    Maya was such a phenomenal presence in my life, and growing up she has left a significant impact by her words.

    RiP Maya, and thank you KC Wise for writing this beautiful piece.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      I’m really grateful to Britt for so many reasons. I hope that you’ll pop by her blog, too, because it’s so much better than mine! Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. Yesterday was a hard day, but I’m so happy to share in my memories with so many other women like you. I hope you’ll stop by again in the future.

  24. This is beautiful. Thank you.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you for stopping by, Eileen, and for following my blog! I hope you’ll stop by again soon!

      1. Will indeed! Looking forward to reading more.

  25. Tini says:

    From Kenya, I equally feel the loss. Dr. Maya’s words and stories and verses saved a young boy in me from self hate and fear of the world. I love her and owe much of what and whom I have become to her. May her soul rest in peace.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you for reaching out and sharing from all the way across the ocean. Her wisdom knew no borders or boundaries, its really quite amazing.

  26. Wow! This is a great post. I could feel your energy and emotions. This was written absolutely beautifully.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Thank you, Joyce! I wrote this right after I heard the news and was just feeling really raw at the time. I’m grateful that so many people have read it and found something in it.

  27. Dr. Maya Angelou definitely lives on in me. One of my earliest inspiration in helping me to find my voice in the written word, as well as spoken. But more importantly giving me the confidence to believe in and love me for the talent, the beauty and the grace I possess.

  28. K.C. this was beautiful. I truly enjoyed reading it. Sometimes we all just need to enjoy our moments, spend our days not focused on what to do or what’s going to keep us busy, but rather what will allow for our soul’s to touch other souls. Allow our happiness to grow even stronger just by the realization that we are living beautiful and profound lives. Your writing really captured me especially in the final paragraph. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to write that. šŸ™‚

  29. TenaciousM says:

    Reblogged this on Egos & Buffaloes and commented:
    I’m feeling sentimental about Maya Angelo as well.

  30. Dionne says:

    Congrats K.C. on getting Freshly Pressed for this beautiful post! I feel a tiny bit better now after reading such well writing material. You truly honored Dr. Angelou well. She would be proud.
    Sending many blessings your way.

  31. Thanks for the uplifting read during my morning coffee. šŸ˜‰ I love your line, “… I am a coloured girl” – goose bump moment.

  32. Beautiful post. Nothing more say. You say it all so well. God Bless.

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