Let’s celebrate a woman who showed as power was in the voice.
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” Maya Angelou
The aim of life is to encounter defeats yet never be defeated or reduced by them. Life is full of ups and downs and lessons learned. It’s also full of hurts and betrayals from people as well as the love of others. It’s tough, is fun and it’s heartbreaking all at once. We can only learn to live it well when we learn to just be ourselves and love ourselves. As Maya Angelou said “you are enough, you do not have to prove anything to anybody”, “never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option”, and “if you don’t know what you’re here to do, just do some good.” Try to do right as Maya Angelou would say it gives you more satisfaction than deviousness. It makes you at peace with your soul. It also makes you able to love yourself, to feel good about who and what you are and gives your purpose. Selfishness, wickedness, envy and everything associated with an evil heart makes one battle with their soul constantly and brings an inferiority complex, shame and deep insecurity.
Maya Angelou was sexually assaulted as a child, and had careers as varying as a prostitute, a pimp, a cook, a lecturer, writer, dancer and motivational speaker. She suffered many heartbreaking moments yet she was never dettered, neither was she ashamed of herself or her story. She also made many mistakes and grew from them, turning them into great testimonies. When she was raped as a child, she thankfully told others about her experience, the rapist was jailed but released and was murdered, and Maya said she thought her uncles killed him. I can’t say that was a bad outcome. Yet Maya felt responsible for the rapists death.
Thinking if she hadn’t spoken he would still be alive. So she decided not to speak again.
Many of us decide to hide our pains and abuses or what we are doing through. Thinking silence will make it go away. Afriad of judgement, the power of our voices, looking dramatic, being seen as weak or not easy to be around. Sometimes unfortunately we may have people around us who have chosen not to see our pain as valid and we allow them to wrongly silence us.
Maya for a long time continued to swallow her pain, her shame for something she didn’t do. Until her grandma introduced her to a woman who told her she had to speak again, because speaking was the only way for Maya to live again. She told Maya she needed to let her voice be free and told her to speak poems out, Maya began to read and to speak, thank God she did.
Maya shows us that if we allow our voice to express our authentic stories, no matter how painful they are, no matter how taboo they may be, no matter how much people may not want to listen and no matter the consequence. If we live and speak our truth we will find healing. History no matter it’s wretching pain, if we have the courage to love again, to speak again, to live again, will not destroy us. Silence and being scared of so called ‘ dirty linens in public’ and other people’s voices doesn’t heal. Neither does minimising the pain or acting like the attack on your person was no big deal. No Maya says accept, embrace that what happened was terrible and terrifying. Yet as a ‘caged bird’ sings longing for freedom, the expression of an authentic voice is the way to heal.
There is nothing wrong with anger, as anger is a catalyst for change. The only thing wrong is bitterness as unfortunately that only kills the host. Even if it may harm the perpetrator the victim does not deserve that pain. As Maya said ” the wisest thing to do” is to be on your side.” If you are not good to yourself how can you expect others to be good to you.
I hope the words of this wise unshakable woman teaches us to swing through life with more ease, and” live us though life was created for you. ” We must repeat to ourselves daily” I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect”, because our quality of life does.
I’ve also added a poem about my roots in honour of black history month.
Daughter of those who crawl before they conquer.
Black as coal
Bold as a cocokroach lying upward
Symbolising the asante’s who laugh at surrender.
Fight against the tides of life until their last breath.
When two rams go head to head
The champion emerges
In the spirit of my forefathers
Competitiveness to be the best
Confrontation for what I deserve flows in these bones.
My ancestors dance to the Kete dance so I would never forget.
I was Kete hemaa.
They say my other people Akyems
Love to drag a quarrel
Raised to believe we are the best
We deserve the best
Sure we also demand the best.
The leopard is measured
The leopard is the best hunter
The leopard will rip you with it’s claws.
The leopard is powerful.
I am an Akyem. Named after the great warrior Okyem.
Call me child of the leopard,
Graceful, sweet, resourceful with sharp unforgiving claws.
With a ridiculous level of confidence.
Sometimes like the leopard, I can be anti social and give you attitude.
I’ll make it with or without you,
I’m a solidatory creature.
You may not understand the mysterious me.
Yet the Akuapem in me
Is a home for those I choose.
Called Ofie my Akuapem people are warm,
All Ghana calls them home.
They never discriminate against people.
Unless ofcourse they lack manners.
Oh and you’ll enjoy my laughter
If I deem you worthy.
Don’t you know I’m also a child of La.
Of Ga ancestry.
Of those who are the people of fire and dance and laughter.
Who hoot at hunger.
My thirst for a full life
Somewhere far up my family tree
Long long long ago
A fox from the Ewe tribe made her way into my multi Ghana history story.
The Ewes keep to themselves
Filled with a rich history and culture
Where they can trace themselves all the way to their original ancestors.
They call themselves foxes
Due to their cunning
I guess though far up in my family tree,
These characteristics still found me.
It’s black history month!!
Author: Akosua Darko