It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive.

Maya Angelou

The poet Maya Angelou was eight years old when she suffered a trauma that left her ashamed of her own voice, and caused her to go mute for nearly five years. “I thought I would never speak again,” she recalled years later. For her, the process of self-forgiveness was a process of recognizing the power of her own voice. Finding her voice saved her — and continued to save her. “All these 60-odd years later,” she said in 2010, “if I am really shaken, I stop speaking — and I, then, bring myself out. I start. I sing. I speak. I speak loudly and firmly. Recite Poe and Shakespeare and James Weldon Johnson, and all, and all, and do it.”