Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What Maya Taught Me

Since her death last Tuesday, May 28th, I've found inspiration in bits I didn't know about Maya Angelou discussed in recent articles. One of the most inspiring for me is the fact that she was a sex worker and had no qualms talking about it (brought to my attention by the lovely Ms. Amanda Palmer's link in facebook to the post on Tits and Sass).

Dr. Angelou herself says she was never ashamed.
"I wrote about my experiences because I thought too many people tell young folks, “I never did anything wrong. Who, Moi? – never I. I have no skeletons in my closet. In fact, I have no closet.” They lie like that and then young people find themselves in situations and they think, “Damn I must be a pretty bad guy. My mom or dad never did anything wrong.” They can’t forgive themselves and go on with their lives. So I wrote the book Gather Together in My Name [about her past as a sex worker]."

I needed this. I needed it because sometimes I do start to think about the things I've done and worry about perception, worry that I might be one of the worst people in the world because of deeds from my past. The truth of the matter is that we all make mistakes, we all have bits in our lives that TV or print would likely gloss over unless it's scandal they're looking for. I am not the first one to make a bad call, nor am I one that will never make a mistake again.

I try to be as honest as I can with everyone because I do believe that people have the power to see past issues, mistakes, and imperfections; I trust that my nearest and dearest will still see just me.* With everyone else, whatever they (whoever they might end up being) decide to think or feel about how I've lived my life is up to them. 

I love that she wrote about her experiences so that people could read it and know that they aren't alone. That's one of the main reasons why I'm writing - I want to be a voice out there for others that says, "It's okay; me too."

*When my lawyer has allowed.


Unknown said...

I love 'just you'.

Ceci Virtue said...

@Amanda Guerra -
Lovely, because so do I! ;)