Phenomenal Women

Early in my freshman year of college, I joined Peer Advisers. Honestly, I cannot remember why I chose this specific group, but I can remember being enthralled by it’s staff mentor: Jeanne. Vivacious, caring, and spirited, Jeanne quickly became a warm welcome in a  large sea of unknown faces.

One of our first actions as Peer Advisers was the brainchild of this woman: positive messaging for females on campus. We hung Maya Angelou’s poem in every female bathroom on campus. Two of my close friends, whom meet virtually once a month, were part of this ‘activist’ action, to remind women how wonderful they are.

During our senior year, Brig and I were asked to provide the keynote speech for the “Woman of the Year” award, honoring Jeanne.  She was cited by the committee for “her Vision and Activism in Support of the Health and Well-Being of Students”. Certainly we had been beneficiaries of her work. Her warmth, her motherly love for all students, and her ability to triumph were the focal points of our speech.

We ended with the words that she had inspired us with four years earlier, and taught us how to live out in ourselves: Phenomenal Woman.Each time I think of this poem, I think of Jeanne. It is not only because she was the first person to share this gift with me, more so, it is because of Jeanne’s wonderful embodiment of these words. My friend, my teacher, Jeanne will forever be a Phenomenal Woman to me.

Phenomenal Woman

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 of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

~Maya Angelou
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3 responses

  1. Pingback: PERSPECTIVE « craftcrazygran

  2. The Phenomenal Women that impart blessings on us are, I believe, sent from One who loves us! They are more than angels, although their appearance at the moment we need them most, is divine. They are flesh and blood, one of us. Clay feet, cracked pots! Which makes them perfect! Blessings

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