Many who visit this site know the terror and humiliation that we who have been horribly traumatized as children feel then and now. When we were kids we had no power and were prisoners from birth. We did not know the peace that should be home, instead we tried desperately to be too small for our abusers to find. When we became adults we still harbored those old habits fearful of intimacy but craving it at the same time.
Our lives were full of shame, loneliness and guilt. Then some of us found the help we needed. I myself found a wonderful therapist named Paula McNitt who lead me out of the dark instability of my childhood and into the light of a peaceful adulthood. It was a long journey, but worth it.
Maya Angelou wrote many poems that touch my soul, but none like Still I Rise. I am aware that she was speaking of the struggle of being an African American woman in the United States, but her words are true for anyone whose pain has been marginalized, ignored and even discriminated against by a society that would rather hide its head in the sand.
Even though today you may not be able to feel peace or pride, with time and dedication I can promise you that one day you will awaken feeling the power that you should have always had to control your life.
As you read the lines of Still I Rise, feel the pride in her words and apply them to yourself and what you would say to those who harmed you and those who still harm you today.
Still I Rise
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
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.