…i’ll rise.

I came across a excerpt from a poem by Maya Angelou this morning. I will be honest in saying I have never read any of her poems or literary works. I know who she is, I’ve heard her name, but I don’t think I ever knew who she was, what her mission was and what was deep within her soul.

“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.”
Over the weekend I decided to make my Instagram page public again. The person I’ve written about who has stalked me over the years, the one who wrote an email to my significant other and ended it with “let’s just move on, ok?” popped back up. This person has been blocked…going on 2 years. To say that she doesn’t have a way or doesn’t obsessively search and follow me is a lie. She claims we share a mutual friend-we don’t. She claims I stalk her-I don’t. Either way I decided that since we have all agreed to move on and live our lives, I could live my life again. I could share my thoughts and my photos, but surprise surprise, she came back. And she’s now engaged, so there really is no reason to continue to harass and torment me.
Her bio read “Screaming for peace while still taunting and hoping someones watching.” I couldn’t believe this. Mind you the last thing I had posted was about my mammogram and breast lump scare. I sat there thinking to myself that she is literally the most hateful, unstable person I’ve ever come across and still yet, I don’t even know her! I have never met her, she has never tried to have a conversation with me other than insulting me in her bio on social media. I have no idea what she was referring to as “taunting” honestly. And I just want to tell her, you don’t exist in my life. But I can’t, I think she would totally lose it. She’s a 2nd year law student and that doesn’t scare me at all, but she has caused SO many problems in my bf’s life, in his family’s lives, in his exes life and now in MY life, that she may have better resources with spinning some kind of lawsuit even though she has no grounds. I don’t trust her. I know I have a mountain of evidence and a slew of family and friends who can speak to her character, I don’t want to get in a battle that isn’t even worth it with her. I just don’t understand the logic behind her actions or words. Why is it that she just can’t move on…
I tossed and turned all night. Waiting, wondering if she was going to start her battles, post more hateful words or reach out to my bf again. This girl has me living in a state of anxiety I have never experienced. I am afraid to add my location on any social media because I’m afraid she’ll be there. Why? Why is she this person? I was awake at about 3am, and obsessively checked my phone to see if anything was going to pop up. As mentioned, she has been blocked for years and now she was off my block list. There was a pit in my stomach, “she’s gonna create a new account, she’s gonna find a way to keep stalking me”, was all I could think. I made my page private yesterday, so there was nothing to see and no way to watch me. This morning I couldn’t get this out of my head. Why is this girl so hell bent on making my life miserable? And acting like I am the one who started all of this?! And I sit here bothered by the fact that her circle of people know this distorted, delusional version of me and I can’t even negate it or prove that its not me, but it’s just not worth it.
So the poem, I saw that part as a quote which led me to search the entire poem itself and although Maya wrote this with a much different, MUCH more profound message and intent, the words instantly healed my soul, even if not completely, just in that moment. It helped me understand that I don’t need to get up and voice my character to anyone. I don’t need to validate myself by trying to prove this person or their friends wrong. I will not be pushed down to the ground, stepped on or spoken negatively about by someone who has no identity. Someone who literally has no soul, no compassion, no heart. I will never understand it. I want to share the whole poem with you and I hope that it resonates the way it did with me, if you’re struggling with someone who is THIS toxic. I’ve italicized the parts of this poem that helped me find peace today. And I know that this peace is fleeting, that tomorrow may bring different challenges, but for now, I can breathe.
Things are quiet, her account is back in my blocked list, but her picture is gone. For now she’s silent. I see it more honestly as, she’s dormant. Waiting to attack, waiting to hurt, waiting for an opportunity to cause more damage than she already has. I am a firm believer in Karma, I don’t wish anything on anyone, even the worst of enemies, even her. But for now, I WILL RISE. She will not douse my fire, she will not dim my light, she will not break me for I know, I am a beacon of light. I have always been. I am focused on healing, balance and centering myself. I am focused on being the best version of myself and I am constantly working toward using my soul and my experiences to inspire others.  I want to know her. I want to hear her reasons. I want to believe that she’s just hurt and I am just the punching bag she feels she needs to pound on. I want to believe she doesn’t mean it. But I don’t know.
If you are in this position or if someone is making you feel inferior, recite these words to yourself or choose a poem or a quote or even just a mantra you’ve made up, to combat the negativity, to combat the hate.
Live with love. And live and let live. Rise above the hate.

Still I Rise

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.

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