On Homework Assignments From Former Students

One of my former students shared this beautiful piece she wrote about the former singer, Gram Parsons. He was part of the band, The Flying Burrito Brothers. After offering some feedback, to this truly stunning essay she wrote, she challenged me to listen to some of their music and pick one to write about. She said that since I gave her writing homework for a year, it felt only fair. I couldn’t really disagree. While I didn’t want to write about the songs she suggested, I did pick one of my own. She was always pushing rules, so it feels only right that I do the same.

Recently I’ve been reflecting and writing privately about my childhood. Things that happened and the way it skewed my view of self or how many years it took me to overcome the negative voices. Mostly about all the ways I wish I could have protected the little girl that lives in my heart. It’s been a heavy thought spiral in recent weeks, reflecting and coming to terms with the past. It’s something I have to do over and over again as I age. Accepting that I can’t change anything, but I can love the woman I am today and I can love the girl I was then.

When I stumbled upon the song, Wild Horses, it made me think of all these thought patterns. I’m not sure what the song is really about but it felt like a love song to someone’s actual child. For me, it felt like one to my inner child. To the child I once was but will never be again. To the inner self that others abandoned and I followed suite. To the child that who just needed to be loved by me to be enough.

I closed my eyes and let the soft strum of the guitar fill the darkness in my mind. With the first lyrics, I envisioned myself.

“Childhood living is easy to do, the things you wanted I bought them for you…”

I didn’t have a lot growing up, my folks did the best they could. Sometimes I joke about the things that I buy myself, just because it warms the heart of the little girl I once was. Maybe it’s books, or silly toys, rainbows and unicorns, or my taxidermy racoon holding a light saber. Money can’t buy love or happiness but on occasion it can bring a smile to a heart that grew up too quickly.

The song goes on as does life and much like earlier lyrics, it hit me in the feels.

“I don’t have much time, faith has been broken, tears must be cried, let’s do some living, after we die”

I spent the first 24 years of my life afraid of living. Sometimes at 36, I still feel afraid. But I’m reminded that courage is not the absences of fear, but it’s the things we do in spite of our fear because someone or something is more important. It took me a long time and buckets of tears, broken faith, and hearts, to realize that life was passing me by. That you can’t live after you’ve died. There is such a thing as too safe, and all I’ve ever wanted was to feel safe. Unfortunately it was at the cost of living. Life is meant to be lived not watched from the sidelines out of fear.

It took me most of my life to come to terms with my past. It’s an ever growing thing. After all, we age every day and make new memories and new mistakes. We live through new traumas and new best days. Each of which congregate in the brain banks for a future version of me to over think about an analyze into the dark and deep. I have learned the hard way, that wild horses couldn’t drag me away from the love I feel for myself. It took me a lifetime to learn and I’m lucky enough to have life left to enjoy.

“Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.”

Thank you Jo for the challenge. It’s been an enlightening evening.

Keep writing kid.


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