...I'm not a poet and I know it
I won't try to fool you. I don't sit around and read poetry books under the shade of a pear tree on a sunny day.
I haven't, as of yet, read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou. The closest I've been exposed to her work, aside from reading quotes on the Internet, has been in greeting cards my mom has given me.
I, however, like many, whether you followed her every word, caught an interview or simply ran across her name online, felt the impact of her loss when I read about it Wednesday.
There are people who reside on this planet who do a resounding amount of good and she was one of them. Despite any hardships she faced througout her lifetime, she managed to leave a legacy of love and positivity.
In reading her obituary today and various other things, I can see why she was so admired and it motivated me to catch up on her literary body of work.
In the meantime, I'll share some quotes which I think are totally profound in their simplicity that we can all apply to, honestly, any aspect of our lives - from a tiny insignificant detail to our entire approach at the universe and why we are here.
"Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it."
Many times, I think we reach a point of comfort in life. I know I have in the past few years. There are goal I need to reach, but I've become so comfortable in my routine, I'm almost afraid to take further steps to reach them.
Many of us are certain of things we want in life, but hesitate because we don't feel entirely ready for them. I can relate for sure. And, please, understand the next one:
"Nothing will work unless you do."
I work hard. I think that's apparent to anyone who knows me, but I do find myself in moments of "I wish I would just win the lottery already" like it's going to be the answer to all my prayers. Please. I know it wouldn't hurt, don't get me wrong, but to work hard to achieve things, whether it be healthy relationships, career goals, personal goals is the only respectable way to go.
Life's not easy and it can be a pain in the rump at times, but if you have the will, you can always find a way to achieve what you desire.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Fortunately for me, I've had people in my life who have lit up my life. I've been down and out and had my day brightened by simple things like surprise Lawrence Welk memorabilia on my desk or a random note I hadn't expected.
Never in my life do I want to be someone who makes anyone's life harder. That's not what I'm here for.
I understand some people are just negative by nature, but I'll always try to turn that around. Whether it be by something completely ridiculous that comes out of this mouth of mine or just something I know will brighten their day, I feel purpose when I make someone happy and that's something I'll never apologize for.
And unfortunately, it's hard to forget those who made us feel awful as well, but in growing up and learning to forgive, it's something to learn not to dwell on.
Being treated unkind can teach a lesson in how not to treat others, so pay attention.
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."
Seriously. The self pity. I did it for way too long and it's pretty awful and doesn't get anyone anywhere in life.
Stop thinking life is out to get you. Roll with the punches and get up.
I felt bad for myself on several occasions and totally lost sight of who I was and what my purpose is.
Self pity is blinding. Situations may rise that are going to be uncomfortable and you are allowed to be sad, but do not, for the love of God, waste too much time.
Take the time you need to recover from something - the more severe and life-changing, the more time you may need - but understand you have a life to live, too, and the clocks are ticking away.
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."
When I was younger, I used to hate writing the number 8. Honestly. My hand just didn't want to move the way we were taught. The infinite stroke of the proper way to draw the figure was not something I enjoyed so I took to drawing two circles instead like the rebel I am and now it's my favorite number to pen.
So insignificant, but shows the range of Angelou's advice. You can apply it to the littlest parts of your life.
Or, it can change your entire outlook.
I can identify with this big time right now because I feel like I've been doing an awful lot of complaining lately and not a lot of changing. I don't like to be that person.
I know there are things that must change in my life which will eliminate the things I complain about.
It comes full circle back to asking for what you want and being prepared to get it.
I'm telling you, this woman had it right. Just writing this now, I feel motivated to heed all of this advice and do all the things I know I'm capable of because...
"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."
You are honestly a ray of sunshine. We all are. We all have the ability to be good and do good and achieve anything. Don't let anyone or anything put the shades to that.
"Don't trust people who don't laugh."
As a rule, I will only surround myself with people in my life who I can laugh with because I find no greater joy in the whole world.
It's all about riding out the negative to experience and share as much positive as possible.
Thank you, Miss Angelou. Your wisdom truly surpasses all earthly boundaries and will stand the test of time. Rest in peace.
(Jenna Wasakoski is an assistant editor at The News-Item)