Phenomenal Woman, Phenomenal Me!
Have you read Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman? I was introduced to this poem in middle school, as I was still going through the phase of figuring out myself, the career I wanted to pursue, and who I wanted to become. Not only did I love Maya (we pretty much have the same name), but I was drawn to this poem because it reminded me of the person I dreamt of becoming. From the character of this poem to the language used throughout, I aspired to be the meaning of this poem and more. When we talk about women who inspire us, I immediately think of my mom and the phenomenal woman she is. She raised my sister and I by herself and has always celebrated the fact that “we as women are a powerful force!” Throughout my childhood, she always explained this to my sister and I, but it took me years to really recognize how much of a force myself, Mya Price, can bring to this world.
To this day, I admire the strength, power, guidance, and support my mother has provided me over the years. At one point in my life, I was bullied in elementary school for being tall and those words stuck with me throughout much of my childhood years. I would hide behind groups of friends, and try to do everything in my power to appear smaller. Further, I was very shy. I didn’t talk much in class, did every assignment (classmates always referred to me as the teacher’s pet), wore “different” clothes, and would always play around with different hairstyles. Most didn’t consider me a part of the status quo. With the remarks and looks I received from my peers, I felt like I had lost strength within myself. My mom would always tell me not to listen to what others said, but to find power through my differences.
It wasn’t until high school when I fully embraced Mya Price. What helped in embracing myself was the realization that I was smart, loved wearing heels to be taller than the rest, enjoyed putting my hair in fancy styles, and recognized that I can truly make amazing things happen by just embracing ME. At this point in my life, I joined the marching band which allowed me to learn about discipline, leadership, honor, and friendship. Through this experience, I found the leadership within myself. I was no longer scared to embrace the powers I had within and did so by placing myself in new experiences outside of my comfort zone. Through these experiences, I not only discovered the growth within myself, but my mom did too. She was always there to serve as my cheerleader along the way. She never allowed me to give up on anything I did and I didn’t allow myself to either.
Fast forward to now, I have discovered the phenomenal woman within myself and I’ve done so by reflecting on past experiences, but also focusing on living for today. In addition to my mom inspiring me each and every day, so do the other women in this world going after their dreams, becoming entrepreneurs, following their passions, trying new experiences, embracing their differences, living their best life, and loving themselves along with others. I love women who support other women. Beginning my journey as an entrepreneur wasn’t the easiest, but I felt compelled to start this journey through the inspiration I received from other women who started their own. In the great words of Maya Angelou, I leave you with this excerpt from her poem. I leave you with this piece because we as women are powerful, smart, innovative, creative, inspiring, motivating, and phenomenal!
"When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman