Poetry, Video

Still I Rise by Dr. Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

 

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

 

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

 

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

 

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

 

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

 

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

 

Still I Rise – Maya Angelou

 

Full Show: Going Home with Maya Angelou


Moyers & Company – Published on Aug 7, 2014

 

Over the years and on several occasions, Bill interviewed Maya Angelou, the legendary author who died in May. Here, Moyers revisits an interview from 1982 in which he and Angelou returned to the small town of Stamps, Arkansas, where she spent much of her childhood.

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Non-Fiction, Reviews, She Inspires Me

Ring Around the Rosary – Gretchen Grossman

Ring around the Rosary by Gretchen Grossman

I received a copy of “Ring Around the Rosary” two years ago in exchange for an honest review. This memoir is about an American woman who became a nun at the tender age of seventeen. She left five years later, married again, had two gorgeous boys, and taught school for twenty years. This tale touched my heart and soul in momentous ways, as many of the struggles Ms. Grossman endured overlapped issues in my life. Some have been critical of this true story, stating that it is harmful to the church. As a Catholic, I do not see it that way at all. When I was a teenager, raised in an abusive family, I wanted to be a nun as well. Had this memoir been available when I grappled with my own decision, also at seventeen, I would have been glad to read it. I appreciate it on many levels, but primarily because it would have afforded me a glimpse into the life, I almost claimed as my own. What harm does it do for a girl to know the exact nature of the training to which she might pledge? Why should she not know the day-to-day routines that would envelop her days? With my history of abuse, neglect, beatings, humiliation, and my parents confining me to an attic and basement repeatedly, a choice to enter the convent could have ended my life. Ms. Grossman’s memoir moved me to sadness, alarm, anger, shock, and love. ·I do not regret reading a single word. In fact, this is a vital and revealing piece of literature to me, a truly a fine read. Finally, I would be remiss not to mention its historic importance as well, especially through her travels in Europe with her husband, moments that include crossing from East to West Berlin and being gifted documents signed by Adolf Hitler. With sixty-six five-star ratings, you could never go wrong.
 
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Mental and Emotional Health, Non-Fiction, Violence Against Women

Bill of Sexual Rights

  1. I have a right to my own body.
  2. I have a right to my own feelings, beliefs, opinions and perceptions.
  3. I have a right to trust my own values about sexual contact.
  4. I have the right to set my own sexual limits.
  5. I have a right to say yes.
  6. I have a right to say no.
  7. I have a right to sexual pleasure.
  8. I have a right to be sexually assertive.
  9. I have the right to be the initiator in a sexual relationship.
  10. I have a right to be in control of my sexual experience.
  11. I have a right to have a loving partner.
  12. I have a right to my sexual preferences.
  13. I have a right to a partner who respects me, understands me and will talk to me.
  14. I have a right to talk to my partner about any abuse I have experienced.
  15. I have the right to ask questions.
  16. I have a right to receive accurate sexual information.

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Poetry, Women

Celebrating the Poetry of Mary Oliver

IF  I  WERE

There are lots of ways to dance and
to spin, sometimes it just starts my
feet first then my entire body, I am
spinning no one can see it but it is
happening. I am so glad to be alive,
I am so glad to be loving and loved.
Even if I were close to the finish,
even if I were at my final breath, I
would be here to take a stand, bereft
of such astonishments, but for them.

If I were a Sufi for sure I would be
one of the spinning kind.

Mary Oliver. A Thousand Mornings.

 

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Non-Fiction, Quotes, Uncategorized

May 2018 Bring New Hope

Happy New Year to you and everyone!

Yes. I am back. Hopefully nobody is hearing the creepy Jaws music right now. I wish I could say I am bouncing off the walls with zany energy.

I would love to tell you that I am blowing up balloons, rubbing each against my head and attaching them to the walls at odd angles.

If only I could announce how I am playing a noisemaker like the sax, although with much less finesse and sex appeal.
None of that would be true, however. I decided not to fake it. I will say hello to your kind souls and stay clear of my mild depression.

In honor of the late great Dr. Martin Luther King, on his 86th birthday today, let me share one of his quotes.

This is important to me because it is giving me courage right now. I hope it does so for all oppressed groups who are being denigrated every single moment these days. This includes all women involved in the #metoo movement and #timesupnow.

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

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Non-Fiction

Red Admiral

It is the last day of summer. Are you as shocked as I am? I can just feel the scores of people who are complaining about it. On my side of things, it was a glorious summer.

As a spoonie, I have several immune disorders. These include Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), fibromyalgia (fibro), and degenerative disk disease.

I know! Isn’t that ridiculous? Like most, I love summer. Water skiing. Camping. Fishing. Hiking. I miss all of that.  Of course, I can do all those things but it takes planning. A preventative approach to pain control–every four hours without fail.

It exacts a considerable amount of energy from my body and I feel like the poor butterfly that fell to my feet from a large tree. I want to toss all challenges and ambitions.  Everything hurts too damned much.

However, when I saw this ragged little guy (a Red Admiral), I approached it with gentleness and foreboding. The last thing I wanted was to do any harm. It looked like it already had a horrific day.

I lowered myself to the sidewalk and it flew onto the palm of my hand. After a short respite, it became airborne and was soon on a branch in the tree.

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Activism, Non-Fiction

Stop Site C Now!

Laura Caceras stood with her sister, her mother’s namesake, and spoke those words to a crowd in honour of her late mother, Berta, a human rights defender and environmental activist, 2015 winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, who was assassinated in her home on March 3rd this year, for her work to stop the same kind of bulldozers the BC Premier is trying to send tothe Peace River Valley. The place is the Honduras where she and others from Copinh fought against Central America’s biggest hydropower projects–a group of four dams in the Gualcarque river basin, including the Agua Zarca dam. Between 2010 and 2014, one hundred members of the group, were murdered in cold blood. I find this young woman’s words eloquent, driven, and determined. I stand with her, as I do today with Kristin Henry, everyone at the Hunger Site, those protesting at Site C in the Peace River Valley, and every human rights and environmental activist around the world.

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Mental and Emotional Health, Non-Fiction

PTSD and 2015

Happy Thursday. I hope you all are having a fine day. Mine is feeling positive right now, especially as I settle in to chat with you and to breathe new life into these pages.

I’ve been ill for over a year now and this account and my blog fell by the wayside. I don’t share much about it while in the throes of uncertainty. Long periods of time can go by before I feel the ability to reach out to continue my work on and off-line.

However, today I acknowledge that I have experienced my post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms to the highest degree. These include panic attacks, depression, insomnia, isolation, estrangement,  an inability to concentrate, and introversion. These issues have been huge obstacles for me problems since I was about six or seven. I handle it but privately struggle with its impact every day of my life.

For years, I worried about sharing myself through writing. I don’t want to add negativity and despair to the world, and fight that with everything in me. I would be devastated to learn that a vulnerable person happened across something I wrote and felt worse because of it. That kind of responsibility is scary but all I want is to share with others, teach, and, if possible, to inspire.

I worry too much, don’t you think?

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