Something Maya Taught Me

07/19/2014

I used to happily reside in the physically descriptive category of ‘tall and slim’. Genetics really. But as my mid-life arrived with a more rounded mid-section, I saw my self-esteem fall. Rather than being a tall, slim, ‘wisp’ of a woman, I now had to accept that I’m large. Not really heavy, as I carry it well, but let’s just say I have a terrific build to have been a Viking warrior woman. Or an Amazon.

As I left the tall and slim category and became more of a big woman, I felt my spirit shrinking. I kept noticing I was head and shoulders (and fifty pounds or more) over every one I encountered and I felt a shyness growing I hadn’t experienced before. I even found myself slouching – not uncommon for tall people but something I’d never done.

Then I watched the episode of Maya Angelou talking about her life on an episode of Oprah Presents Master Class. She shared something about herself that touched me deeply as I paused and replayed the section many times. I had not realized how tall she was before. I didn’t know she was six-feet tall! I smiled and thought, Maya’s really tall too? I cheered Yes! I’m tall, just like Maya Angelou!
I felt proud to be as tall as Maya Angelou. To be able to walk like she would walk. Head held tall, face up, bright eyes forward. At last I celebrated being a tall, strong woman bringing light to the world, in my way, and that my large size is definitely a part of that. A joke came to my mind and stayed: Of course I’m large. A small body couldn’t hold this much personality!

gypsy-vannerI thank her for helping me rediscover that I have the heart and height of an Amazon. I proudly claim the responsibility that comes with having a large personality with a strong energy field housed within my tall ‘warrior woman’ body. I feel it’s important, that it is my responsibility, to remain calm, balanced, and to consistently radiate lovingkindness. I am not wispy like a fine-boned Arabian horse, but rather am more like a strong and steady Gypsy Vanner.

My love, respect and admiration for my role model Maya Angelou helped me to reclaim my self-acceptance, and therefore my power, with regards to being a large, dynamic, loving woman.

27 responses to Something Maya Taught Me

  1. 

    I had no idea Maya Angelou or you were 6 feet tall! I’m 5’8″ but I have a pair of boots that make me almost 6 ft. tall and I like to wear them and stand tall and straight – makes me feel like a warrior or amazon woman. Love this post Gina and so glad to hear you were inspired. ❤
    Diana xo

  2. 

    Lovely post and admission. Self-awareness is not an easy domain for many to reflect within. Tall and VERY thin here, my entire life, though I don’t carry it well.

    Appreciate your sharing the “Maya” perspective. Nice! And encouraging.

  3. 

    Maya taught me to love poetry 🙂

    • 

      How wonderful! She helped my appreciation for it blossom even more fully too. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

      • 

        I have always written poetry, but found reading poetry terribly dull, Then I read maya’s poems omg 🙂 Then I discovered spoken word 🙂 Now poetry is the opposite of boring 🙂

  4. 

    I used to use her poem, Still I Rise, with my teenagers I my English classes. That poem is my role model too. she was certainly a woman of strength and one to be admired. Glad you are now happy in your skin! 🙂

    • 

      Thank you kindly, and yes that is exactly it – she helped me to be ‘happy in my skin’. And what an incredible poem to use with your students! I can imagine how inspiring your classes have been to the students lucky enough to have had you. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. 

    I’ve always admired Maya Angelou and since her passing, a lot of great tributes to her have cropped up.
    There’s a comic that visualizes one of her most famous poems, Phenomenal Woman, which I think you’d really enjoy. I know I definitely did (and in general, I love the artist’s work): http://zenpencils.com/comic/153-maya-angelou-phenomenal-woman/

    Glad to see you back on the blogosphere, you’ve been missed. 🙂

    • 

      Bless your heart for sharing this link!! You’ve helped me find a new treasure in the blogoshere to follow because I adore that comic’s depiction of Maya, and even Malcolm X, MLK, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and perhaps even more whom I missed! I could hear her lovely voice saying that poem – one of my favorites of all time – and the article which follows (precedes?) is worth a full read as well, once I return. Thank you so kindly Lillian, for the link, this kind comment, and for being bright shining You. hugs xo Gina

  6. 

    So glad you are back Gina! You bold sassy Gypsy you 😉

  7. 

    Maya really was a breath of fresh air and she taught me so much about being comfortable with myself too!

  8. 

    Have missed you Gina – nice to see a post from you in my inbox. Oh, Maya, what an inspirational and brave woman. She gave the world so much in many ways, most of all the confidence that each one of us is a valid human being. Glad you’re standing tall – she’d be proud of you!

  9. 

    Hi! Just came across your blog .. I have the same issue.. Coping with being underweight all my life to being normal .. To being overweight and now normal and skinny with a post pregnancy belly .. I am dealing with body issues too.. But I see no one is perfect in real world. And those who are perfect are photoshopped.

  10. 

    Gautama Siddhartha is my dearest teacher his words are echoed in much of the modern motivational writing I read. _/\_

  11. 

    You know Gina it matters not our outer casing.. but our inner thinking.. And as a teenager I used to slouch.. my dad who did his stint in the Scots Guards would hit me in the middle of the shoulder blades and tell me to stand upright!… To attention.. 🙂 Your heart is Bigger than the Amazon… 🙂 .. And you teach many via your words acceptance Gina .. Love to you xox

  12. 

    I came to terms with my size and shape when I realized that gnomes are known as energy masters by those in the know – as well as being short, dumpy, and grumpy. Ha! I am all those things too! Now, it doesn’t bother me, as I enjoy being an energy transformer serving the Earth.

    Congratulations for peace with your size. I might send this to my Viking-like daughter. She’s very tall, strong, and beautiful.

    • 

      What an incredibly beautiful reply! Thank you kindly, and please forgive me for having been away for too long. I am certain your tall daughter is a beauty. It can be challenging to build self-esteem in a world that favors petite women. I am continuing to learn that I am wonderful just the (tall and large!) way that I am! Your daughter is lucky to have you as a mother, my friend. All is meant to be. Hugs, Gina