Phenomenal woman



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.

The above is a famous poetry written by a famous and phenomenal woman, Maya Angelou, I believe in 1970s.

I actually found a song with the poem so you can listen to it if you want from here.


I love the poetry ever since I have known it in my Master program. In my Master program in 2004, my concentration was clinical social work, which means that we study psychology and therapy performance in depth.

Students often times were given opportunities to talk about their own feelings and experiences in the class.

As you may know, a Master of Social Work is one of the toughest Master degrees ever and has high drop out percentages because of it.

The program is normally rigorous and demanded in terms of high credit requirement in comparison with other Master degrees. When the other Master programs have 36 credit requirement, MSW (Master of Social Work) requires us 60.

Because there is field work placement as students, they perform as an employee actually in the real world working for an agency in the social work field.

My concentration was therapy so I performed as a therapist in my field work in these two years so as other studies that required me to work hard, such as enormous writing and reading assignments without break.

Students suffer from mild depression in the program so it is sometimes tears in the class when we talked about what we were going through in our academic careers and also our personal lives.

Not to mention it, MSW students tend to have background of family or personal situation and condition to be interested in supporting others such as some severely mentally ills or physically ills in the family members.

At first place, they were interested in helping people so there might be some personal issues happening in their lives too.

Of course there is issues all the time in anyone’s life, I say though.

Anyway, in the circumstance in my Master program, there was a class to present regarding songs and poems that we liked and how we felt about it and one of the students presented this poem in the class.

There was absolutely tears or sobbing in the class and I was trying to hold up my tears in the class for sure.

Everyone was on the edge and here it was, this poem and the presenter emotionally read the poetry so we couldn’t help feeling emotional.

Everyone was dead tired emotionally and physically and heard this poem then.

This poem is all about self esteem and confidence, which everyone wants. A lot of my clients’ top of the wish list in the work with me.

And, I noticed this poem explains very well of confidence and self esteem.

Self esteem is not about being standard that is why we are easily accepted by others.

Sometimes we are afraid of being different or stand out in a crowd. We have endless wish to be standard and blend into the society.

How? Of course, we have standard measurements such as, what kind of career we have to have in what age? what kind of marriage or relationships we have to have in what age? What kind of looks we have to have in what age? And of course, etc..

We want to be accepted by others in many ways. Different status or ideas are not welcome often times. We have to do what everyone does or we have to persuade others that we are successful enough, with our career, educations, or even looks.

But for what? Why do we have to persuade or being accepted or approved? Because we can’t decide who we are on our own.

We have to be agreed by others about who we are, including if we are successful or not, or even we are happy or not.

Of course, you see in this poem, Maya’s secret is confidence for sure even though her size and shapes. I feel like she feels comfortable with herself anyway even though she is different from the standard.

Yes, she was aware of her differences and our own struggles in the society to be accepted or approved. I believe that she had struggles too in her life.

However seems like she overcame.

Yes, of course. Often times, self confidence is highly misunderstood concept though it is all about how truly you feel comfortable with yourself, as Maya says here.

She is not asking anyone’s permission or approval to be herself. She is not asking anyone to join a club either.

She is telling her secrets and asking us to think about our lives in the way she suggested.

Her secrets is, of course her confidence and we can feel the same way any time we want to. That means we can be confident any time without changing ourselves to fit the society.

She could do it because she was a phenomenal woman, that’s her, of course. However she encouraged us to do the same.

Being confident is not about changing ourselves into a person who can be confident on our own. Being confident is to believe that we are wonderful and we truly love ourselves.

Confidence is not about being perfect either. Confidence doesn’t take any of blending in. Confidence is to accept ourselves in just the way we alway are.

That is why, we can do it today.

Have a wonderful day!



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