An Ordinary Woman

“She is an ordinary woman. Not so beautiful, nor outstanding. But the smile she has for June. . . makes me think that she is the most beautiful woman.”

joan Unknown Joan was legendary

and Anne was extraordinary

But I am just ordinary

To the world,

I’m not especially pretty

Nor am I particularly witty

Just an inconsequential itty bitty

But in my own world,

I have a daughter named June

I pick her up every afternoon

And she says, “Play, soon?”

And for the rest of the day,

I am perfectly content

Though I don’t have an extra cent

Or any way to pay rent,

Because me and June are just fine

With our fake crowns of twine

And our makeshift costumes to dine

Our love is like being on cloud nine

And we are doing just fine

A Poem on Social Anxiety

chains

Sometimes I worry about what others think

I speak in public and my face turns pink

I make a mistake

and my hands begin to quake

I sit down alone

and now I’m in the loser zone

and my head fills up with doubts

and I look around but there’s no way out

so I just sit here all quiet instead

feeling all misread

like a book that’s tossed aside

because it didn’t follow the rules supplied

but was sad when they wanted happy

and funny when they wanted sappy

and so

book, you lay forgotten

just lying there all rotten

feeling all out of sync with society

because no one seemed to like your variety

and now you have social anxiety

and you’re probably gaining notoriety

and what happened to your old sobriety?

but then

a gentle hand reaches in

and takes you from the bin

she reads you as you are

and now she’s gotten pretty far

and she’s still laughing at all the right parts

and wiping her eyes when you tug at hearts

she’s lost in your tale

and now she exhales

and takes you over to a friend

and now he’s laughing in the middle and crying at the end

and now he’s giving you to someone else on lend

who laughs in the middle and cries at the end

and types you up and hits send

and now you’ve gone viral-

just the beginning of an upward spiral

and now your pages are scanned by eager eyes

who read you and print you as a prize

so now

maybe you weren’t so out of sync

perhaps you need to sit and rethink

yes, perhaps you listened to that one insult

and assumed a unanimous result

your mind was skewed

and you thought you were being booed

but really that one person was just being crude

so give others a chance

to explore you beyond a first glance

because there is a trove of treasures within

just waiting and waiting and lying therein.

“If we repeatedly are put in situations where we are made to feel different, to fear the judgment of other people, or are somehow singled out in a negative way, we can understandably develop beliefs about ourselves and the world that are more consistent with social anxiety. As these experiences continue, we may also begin to selectively pay attention only to those parts of our environment that reinforce our negative beliefs – for example, a public speaker may focus on the two people in her audience who appear bored, while she may hardly notice the 38 others who are watching and nodding with great interest” (socialanxietysupport.com).

Maya Angelou Thinks You are Strong & Beautiful

Once a week, I’d like to make an encouraging post on the subject of beauty. It’s nice to mix in light, encouraging topics, right? I think so. This weeks encouraging post is geared toward all women who need a confidence boost to get through their Friday. 

Maya Angelou, born in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, is best known for her autobiographical works, such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She is a writer, a poet, a director, a screenwriter, a playwright, a singer, a historian and a teacher. Most recently, she has been teaching at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. You can click on this link if you want to read her 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Although her poetry is criticized by some and praised by others, I like to look at poems individually. I cannot judge her other poems, but I like this one. To me, this poem describes a woman who draws admiring eyes, not because she is perfect, but because she is confidant. And she is confidant, not because she is perfect, but because she has accepted herself as she is. This acceptance of her entire self, which is so rare to see, makes her stand out from the crowd like a tall and sturdy sunflower in a field of slumped-over daffodils. When you accept yourself as you are, you say, “Okay this is what I have to work with. Now let’s see what my strengths are.” In this way, you get to know yourself which, in turn, gives you confidence.

Imagine that you are an art major and you have to present an enormous painting for a class project. If you have spent all your time worrying about the little imperfections (that line is a little crooked, I don’t like how dark the background is, that person’s eyes are too close together) then you aren’t going to know how to present the painting in a favorable light. In fact, you won’t really know how to present your painting at all. You spent all your time wondering how you could fix its few weaknesses instead of concentrating on its many strengths. And, thus, you really don’t know your painting.

In life, be sure your prepared. Childhood and adolescence are your time to examine and explore your strengths and weaknesses so that you know how to present yourself in a favorable light. From job interviews, to social situations, to everyday life, you need to know how to best present your strengths that you are confidant in. If you know you’re funny, tell a joke. If you know you’re better one-on-one then find someone who needs a friend. If you’re gifted athletically, teach a class at the gym or try out for a team. Play to your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses.  Extra Hint: Each time you play to your strengths, you gain more experience in that area, which makes that strength even stronger. Then people start to notice that strength and compliment you on that strength and then hire you because of that strength. And then you gain more confidence! What a cycle.

That’s my interpretation. If you have any insights feel free to leave them in the comment below. Sometimes poems mean something different to each person who reads it, but I think that this one is rather straight-forward.

Phenomenal Woman

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.