By: Lori Walker
(3 min read)
“What song is it you wanna hear?”
If you’re like me, there’s only one answer! The Southern rock ballad that achieved the No. 8 spot on Guitar World’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.
One of the perks of writing about music is the research I do on the artist/band. Although it’s not a deep, comprehensive dive, I try to give a little information to make my stories a bit more interesting.
But my blogs will always be about lyrics and how they move me…
“If I leave here tomorrow…would you still remember me?”
Legend has it that it was Lynyrd Skynyrd songwriter Allen Collin’s then-girlfriend, Kathy Johns, who asked him this question during a lover’s quarrel. Vocalist Ronnie Van Zant finished writing the rest of the lyrics in less than four minutes.
Although the band experienced great tragedy with the plane crash in 1977 that claimed the lives of four band members (Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines and Dean Kirkpatrick) along with pilot and co-pilot (Walter McCreary and John Gray,) their song, “Freebird,” went on to become an American anthem in the hearts of many fans.
What strikes me the most about a song is that it can bring back the memory of a person, a place or a moment in time. We all may experience a different connection to the same song.
For example, what comes up for you at the mention of this title? Is this a break-up song? A farewell tribute to someone who has passed? Do you see Jenny in Forrest Gump standing on the ledge of a building, contemplating a life/death decision? Or do you resonate with the words “Cause I’m as free as a bird now…”
According to warriorsway.com, “There are three types of freedom. The first kind of freedom is “freedom from,” a freedom from the constraints of society. Second is “freedom to,” a freedom to do what we want to do. Thirdly, there is “freedom to be,” a freedom, not just to do what we want, but a freedom to be who we were meant to be.”1
Freedom from the constraints of society. From the moment we are born, we are taught the ‘appropriate’ way to act to ‘fit in’ with others. I agree that we need certain rules of etiquette and structure. However, in the process, we may lose our individuality by trusting someone we perceive to be wiser. We follow their cues until we reach a certain point of awareness. (My son affectionately named this awareness point, “I call bullshit!”)
Freedom to do what we want to do. Twenty years ago, I was involved in an abusive marriage. Between the gaslighting and my naivety, I was convinced that everything was my fault. I did everything I thought I was ‘supposed’ to do to gain and keep the love of a man and his approval. I did exactly what he wanted, not realizing I needed to care for myself first.
Freedom to be who we were meant to be. I’ve jokingly said, “I didn’t know I was a writer until someone told me I was!” Perhaps that isn’t true.
In seventh grade, we were tasked with a homework assignment to prepare a report on a topic we valued most. I chose love. I proudly prepared a compilation of poetry. I can’t remember everything I wrote, but I do remember memorizing the name, Percy Bysshe Shelley. I liked the way it rolled off my tongue. However, I was mortified when we had to stand in front of the class and read an excerpt!
My mother always knew that I could write. In fact, she asked me to write the prayer for my nephew’s wedding and a story for a left-right game at my niece’s bridal shower (which ended up being titled “It’s a Hockey Night in Pittsburgh” – and totally hilarious!) She also asked me to rewrite ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to include all of our family members. ‘Twas the Day After Christmas was such a hit, I wrote two more! ‘Twas the Day Before Christmas and Todd, The Christmas Elf rounded out the trilogy for three consecutive years.
To my knowledge, my mom does not know that I am now a published author and a blogger. That’s a long story, but suffice it to say that as my quest for answers to life’s mysteries has grown, it hasn’t always aligned with her beliefs. And that’s ok. Because at the end of the day, all I want is to simply be a good person.
I will hopelessly believe that love always wins! To me, it doesn’t matter what path you choose to find your way. All that matters is that you get there in the end.
May you embrace the freedom to be who you were meant to be.
“And this bird you cannot change…”