She Taught Us to Feel

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Today the world lost a Phenomenal Woman.

Maya Angelou passed away this morning, and as her family issued a statement they made sure to emphasize that she passed peacefully. I do not want to say she died. She passed peacefully from one life to another. She shed her mortal skin and now lives on in what she left behind. She did not die, because she is a woman whose name, essence, and soul will live on through her written works and reputation. Many people will forget, years down the road, what exactly she said, but we have what she wrote, and certainly the last thing they will forget is that she left this world something to feel.

She felt life. She felt life’s mysteries, sorrows, joys, shortcomings, and strengths, and she published it for the world to feel with her. I think that is the most honorable way to live, and most deserving of such a peaceful passing.

I majored in both English and Art History in college, and while picking apart the smallest pieces of literary and visual art is important to understanding a work, I didn’t study those subjects for that reason. I just wanted to learn how to appreciate them better. The analysis was one way, but I preferred to think of my studies as understanding better the human condition; how do we as human beings feel and express ourselves and treat others and what do we find to be the most important things in our lives, etc? The greatest artists, to me, are the ones that leave us with an instant understanding of that condition, not more questions on what they were trying to say. I don’t believe art needs to be that complicated (Some of you may disagree, but that’s the lovely thing about art. We all feel it differently.)

And that’s what I want- to feel and to express and to have a voice that can leave this world with something important to feel. That’s why I like to write. That’s why I like to take photos. That’s why I started this blog. That’s why I love Maya Angelou.

She just may have been, then, one of the most successful artists of this world. She felt life… and made us feel it, too.

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