Staying Stylish in Suburbia

Lessons Learned from Maya Angelou

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

With the passing of the great woman and writer Maya Angelou today, I found myself hungrily sifting through her many words of wisdom. She had a way of taking hugely complicated, universal truths and whittling them down into the most beautifully simplified yet eloquent sentences. Isn't that what all the really great writers and thinkers do? They put into words what we have been silently struggling to understand in our own hearts, giving us that beautiful moment of YES! It's that feeling of satisfaction and release that we all get when we finally feel understood or validated by another's words. It is a rare gift and one that Angelou harnessed and used with great skill and care. She may be gone but her words live on and I am so grateful for that.

There are so many quotes I could have chosen from but here are ten Maya Angelou sayings that have been important lessons in my own life. Perhaps you will find that they hold some kind of significance for you as well. For therein lies her magic, linking us all with her words forevermore.

Truth telling by Maya Angelou

1- "When people show you who they are believe them the first time."

2- "Bitterness is like a cancer it eats up the host. But anger is like a fire. It burns it all clean."

3- "Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay."

4- "If you have only one smile in you. Give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'good morning' at total strangers."

5- "Have courage to trust love one more time."

6- "I can be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it."

7- "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

8- "You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody."

9- "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you."

10-  "You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot- it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive."

Amen. Rest In Peace Dr. Maya Angelou.



  1. I have also been sifting through her words and all the on-line postings today. Her courage to speak her truth is so empowering. Her contribution to so many, so immense and as you said, will live on. I am inspired to start a wall in my studio dedicated to people like her, who breathe life back into us on our darkest days and in our happy moments too.

  2. Do it, Marilyn! That sounds wonderful.

  3. u summed up her work so well. taking the complicated to simplified gave us all a moment of undertanding we were not alone. God Speed to a beautiful soul.