Years ago I saw Dr. Maya Angelou on TV and she spoke eloquently about gossip and her disdain for it. She stated (and I am paraphrasing) that there is a level of responsibility that we must take when we participate in gossip. Note: that participation is not limited to talking. Per Dr. Angelou, listening makes you guilty too.
Hmm. I guess I am guilty, however, there is an intensity of bickering and “he said/she said” for which I do not have patience.
I am no angel, I have definitely sat down at a table or two and talked about and listened to gossip. When I am annoyed with the actions of others and disappointed by a person’s character, or lack thereof, I have a good friend who reminds me, “Everyone is not you.”
In other words, everyone will not react as I would in certain situations, and as much as this bothers me, I am learning to accept it. In the past, I have written about my struggles with controlling how deeply the actions of others affect me. It sounds really good, and for the most part, I feel really good when I am able to practice what I preach.
But sometimes… damn, I want to go H.A.M. on people. (For those wondering what “H.A.M.” stands for, it is a term popularized by Mr. Sean Carter and Mr. Kanye West — Google it). OHHH, you just don’t know?!?! I have to quickly take off my Mobb Deep hat… “Speak the wrong words, man, and you will get touched,” and quickly revert to the great Dr. Maya Angelou…
There is a smug, “brush your shoulders off” calmness that comes about each time I read this poem, and today I wanted to share it with you:
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 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
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.
~ Still I Rise, Dr. Maya Angelou