July 31st, 2014


Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Oh, Maya Angelou, how I miss knowing you're in the world with me. At least your words are.

Still I Rise - Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread 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 back yard.

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.


Belated happy my birthday to all of you! I hope the day treated you as well as possible, and that so does the year to come.

I was born in 1976, so now I'm 38: exciting!

Actually, I've kind of stopped caring about the numbers, and, in fact, most of the time, I have to stop and do the math to figure out what year-of-age I'm in.

I was born in 1976. When as much time has passed from now as since then, it will be 2052, which feels like quite a distance into the future. I'll be 76. I wonder what the world will look like then, and if I'll still have many of you wonderful people in my life -- I hope so. By then, a bunch of the kids I know will be over 40, themselves, and probably many of them will have kids of similar ages to their current ones. It's already weird to know adults who I first met as babies; I imagine this will only get stranger.

Sometimes, I feel like whatever I was going to do with my life, I should have started it by now. I started feeling this way around age 30, I think, when I had this sense of, well, ok, you did college and got a job and now aren't you supposed to have your life figured out now? Our society is really good at front-loading pressure on young people figure things out, and especially in terms of a career, it's like, well, I hope you're in the field you always want to be in, because BAM! now you're a grown-up and you don't get to shop around anymore.

But when I look at the actual numbers, that shouldn't have to be true, because, really, I've only been working what I'm going to call "real jobs" (for the purposes of how it applies to my life) for about 20 years, and if I'm lucky, I have at least 30 more years of working ahead of me, and hopefully after that I still have lots of things to do even if I'm not doing them for money. Why shouldn't we all get to do a variety things along the way?

It's hard to go back to being a novice, but it's also so important. I love this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's take on this point. I should print it out and laminate it and hang it in my shower.

If I'm lucky, I'll be happy and healthy past 90. I hope I can keep learning and growing and being both a novice and an expert, making mistakes and learning from them, having adventures, having boring times, and all the richness of life.