Still I Rise- Dr. Maya Angelou

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
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)

Black Gold

Hold your head as high as you can
High enough to see who you are, little man
Life sometimes is cold and cruel
Baby no one else will tell you so remember that

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

Now maybe no one else has ever told you so
But you’re golden, baby
Black gold with a diamond soul

Think of all the strength you have in you
From the blood you carry within you
Ancient men, powerful men
Builders of civilization

They’ll be folks hell bent on putting you down
Don’t get burned (don’t get burned)
Not necessarily everyone will know your worth

Think of all the strength you have in you
From the blood you carry within you
Ancient men, powerful men
Built us a civilization
Think of all the strength you have in you
Powerful, powerful men
Builders of civilization

Hold your head as high as you can
High enough to see who you are, little man
Life sometimes is cold and cruel
Baby no one else will tell you so remember that

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

Think of all the strength you have in you
From the blood you carry within you
Ancient men, powerful men
Builders of civilization
Think of all the strength you have in you
Ancient men, powerful men
Builders of civilization

Hold your head as high as you can
High enough to see who you are, little man
Life sometimes is cold and cruel
Baby no one else will tell you so remember that

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

Hold your head as high as you can
High enough to see who you are, little man
Life sometimes is cold and cruel
Baby no one else will tell you so remember that

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold
You are
You are
You are
Hold your head up
Don’t give up
You are black gold
You are
You are
Black gold

Balance Works Better

It seems that for many of us, a life balance may be an impossible goal. There’s work, school, relationships, children etc. Not to mention any outside interests or hobbies we may want to pursue. So it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of us that feel stressed. The definition of stress: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. In the rush to get everything done, we don’t understand that as stress rises, it can mess with our concentration, make us irritable or depressed as well as harm personal/professional relationships. Stress can also mess with our physical bodies, as sickness and ailments.

While we all need a certain amount of stress/motivation to get things accomplished, the key to managing it all is one word: balance. There are a few things you can do to learn how to do. First, recognize the need for personal time. If you need to unplug from technology also, great. Give yourself a time frame and during that time, rest or engage in something that relaxes you. Shed the superwoman or superman urge! When looking at your calendar, schedule in time just for yourself. Don’t overcommit, it’s better to say no to certain activities and/or events.

Stay active. We all know exercise has so many benefits but one of the most important things to note is that exercise reduces stress levels significantly when it is consistent. Those feel-good hormones are released and work their way to your mental and emotional well-being. Whether its a gym membership, a trek team in your neighborhood or taking a walk on your lunch break, make time to be active and over time you will see the benefits. Treat your body right. Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs only weaken the immune system and can lead to serious addictions. Look for support also. Chatting with family/friends can be an important part of the de-stress routine. Make time to send a text or phone call to check in with loved ones and friends. Most times, people with stronger support systems have a more aggressive immune system and can ward off potential problems. Its a known fact! Don’t let stress stand in your way of happiness. Figure out a meaningful balance between work/rest/play that will enable you to lead a more satisfying and fulfilling life. You’re worth it.