When I think of the transition between childhood and adulthood, I see an image in my head of a person perched on a fence with one foot hanging over each side. It’s almost as if they’re looking at the other side that they’re approaching, but they can’t help but glance back at where they’ve come from. Perched on the fence, deciding whether to jump over or go back becomes a pivotal moment. Going back means embracing the familiar and comfortable. Jumping over the fence means walking into new territory, and not knowing what to expect. Whether child or adult, we all have these life-changing moments. I recently ran into a place where I had to make a tough decision. It meant giving up.some things I wanted, and letting go when I wanted to hold on tight. I had to release, and believe that God knows what is best for me. No matter how much it hurt, I had to choose to move forward. I felt like I was on that fence, staring at what had become normal for me over the past few years. Then in the next moment, I was looking over the other side of the fence, but could not get a clear picture of what was waiting on the other side. Then, before I could second-guess myself, I took the leap to the other side. Since I made up my mind, my life has changed completely. Things are not perfect, but my mind is no longer a mass of confusion. Life is changing right before my eyes, and it is because I finally jumped over the fence. Now, I have jumped over before, then climbed back to the other side. This time I jumped over and kept running. I still am. It is almost like I am running for my life, because I am. Maybe you’re straddling the fence, vacillating between two choices. You probably already know which choice to make. Choose. Do not allow yourself to be stuck. You deserve better than that. Life happens, but you can make the choice that leads to happiness. Jump over.
One of my greatest inspirations, and arguably one of the best writers/poets of all time has passed away. Maya Angelou first inspired me to open my mouth and embrace all that I am, and she inspired me to write–not only to write, but to write well, and to write things that have meaning. Since her passing, I have heard it lamented that there may never be another quite like Maya Angelou. I disagree. I think there are many like her already present in the world, but maybe they have not found their voice yet. It is possible that just maybe they have not gotten to a point where they are comfortable expressing the words of encouragement, and of power. In her book, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Ms. Angelou gave us a glimpse into her life. She allowed us to see what happened in her life to develop her into the amazing woman that she became. This glimpse showed us the rough times, the good times, the hurt, and the triumphs. Through her life, in some ways, we could see ourselves. She, a previously caged bird, learned to sing. So can we. So can I. Sometimes we worry what others will think when we express what has occurred in our lives. We worry that people will judge us, or ridicule us, but we forget that our story may actually help someone. It is sad to say that Ms. Angelou’s passing was a wake up call for me. I have been selfish, not wanting to share parts of my story for fear of what others would think. I forgot that to share means to help. To make myself vulnerable means to possibly save someone else’s life. I may not be Maya Angelou, but I too have a voice. I too can sing out. I am no longer bound by that cage that previously kept me trapped, and did not allow me to be free. You too have a voice. Even if your story can help just one person, you have made a difference. I choose to make Ms. Angelou’s life mean something. I choose to be a voice in this generation offering hope, encouragement, strength, and love. I choose to make a difference. My voice is necessary, and I will not forget that again. Thank you for your encouragement and your wisdom Ms. Angelou. I will continue to carry the torch that you left. R.I.P.