Follow Your Arrow: The Profundity of Kacey Musgraves and the Redemption Songs She Sings
February 4, 2022
Life is never straight but a series of twists and turns where one day we are standing on solid ground only for the floor to crack beneath us. Most of the time, these unexpected developments are painful as hell, the death of a loved one, severed relationships that lead to heartbreak or the loss of a job, life has more slings and arrows than Cherokees hunting buffalos. But if we hold on tight during these moments of woes, we eventually emerge on the other side with a deeper understanding of ourselves and a better appreciation of the small things we used to take for granted.
I was reminded of this fact while driving Uber yesterday, a job I once thought would signify failure I now see as my redemption during my season of tribulation. In all honesty, it was a magical day yesterday in ways that one ups Ice Cube’s best days, I connected deeply with almost every one of my passengers as we shared stories of life, loss and moving on that made my lifts seem more like therapy sessions. The people I picked up were as diverse as Warren Buffett’s portfolio yet we all had one thing in common—pain.
Though I could write articles about all ten passengers that left a deep imprint in my heart, there were two in particular who affirmed my faith in humanity. They were best friends from Kentucky and North Carolina who met up in Washington, DC to attend a concert. The minute I picked them up from the Washington Monument, I realized that they were tourists from out of town. As soon as they entered my car, I cracked a joke about them being visitors. They laughed and aske how I knew to which I responded that only tourists would go see the Washington Monument during a rainstorm.
When I asked them what brought them in town, they told me that they were here to see Kacey Musgraves. My initial thought is that Kacey must be some Senator or big shot lobbyist, such is the hazard of being encircled by the Beltway that one automatically equates our nation’s capital to “the swamp” that is politics. They both laughed at my guess and then told me that Kacey Musgraves is a country singer. That is when I realized that the drive between pickup and drop off was about to be a memorable one.
I told them that I have become a through and through country fan ever since my life got turned upside down three months ago. I shared with them the crucibles that have become a part of my life as a tsunami of woes wiped away normal and replaced it with sorrows. That is when they told me that I must listen to Kacey because she too recently went through a tremendous loss and that her latest album was inspired by a turbulent divorce she was still coping with. Enough said, I immediately punched in Kacey Musgraves on YouTube as we spent the next ten minutes listening to her melodic voice and sharing stories about our respective challenges.
What became evident at that exact moment, a truth I have been trying to spread through my articles for the past seven years, is that the three of us shared the same pains even if we experienced the adversities. Two “white” girls being driven by a “black” Uber driver yet in the end we shared the same guzo (journey) of hurting to healing. What is lost in the age of social media that conditions us to distance from one another is the oneness of humanity. We are convinced daily to view each other through our skin color and dogmas that shatter us apart but the reality is that humanity is one large organism where the fate of one is tied inextricably to the other.
Which leads me back to the sagacity of Kacey Musgraves who wisely advices us to blaze our own trails in her hit song “Follow Your Arrow”. We live in a time of omnipresent judgement and fanatical imposition of ideas in ways that is making fascism the norm, if only we give each other the leeway to make mistakes without fear of retribution, the freedom to pursue our passions without being hated for being different and the space to speak our minds without censure from our peers, we could have a slice of heaven on earth. Alas, too many choose to point at the splinters in the eyes of others while disregarding the planks in their own eyes.
This is where the beauty of Kacey Musgraves hit me, like Bob Marley said, that is the greatness of music because when it hits us we feel no pain. After spending a lifetime worrying about what others think of me and trying to please people at all times, I finally arrived at this one wisdom: who gives a fuck. It only took love that left and being separated from my most precious treasure for me to stop caring about people who don’t care about me. I get it now, I will be judged anyway so why let people live rent-free in my mind instead of finding peace in my own house? Freed from this sickness of validation seeking, I am now going to pursue my purpose and do something truly audacious instead of trying to convince others to be the change I want to see in this world.
Kacey might has well be mentor at this point, her music has become a source of redemption. Makes only perfect sense, just like her I have decided to be apart from the one I thought was “the one”. It is better to drink water alone than to sip toxic spirits together, I wish her well but I have decided to love myself as I love others instead of loving people above myself. This is wisdom that arrives through woes, but this is not a sad song but a liberation music. That is the beauty of country songs in this way, singers like Kacey sing out the blues only to find happiness at the end of the song.
UPDATE: I wrote this article early Friday morning but later on that night, after working a full day, I realized that I would not be able to work out at the gym because it closes early on the weekends. I decided to take my workout on the road as I traveled to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia to complete my daily two mile walk. As I was walking the idea hit me, what if I walked every Saturday at a set time as part of my guzo (journey) of healing and invite others who are courageously facing the traumas of their childhood to join in my “heal walk”.
To that end, I will be kicking of the inaugural #HealWalk tomorrow in Old Town Alexandria starting at the Bruin Slave Jail at 1707 Duke Street, Alexandria and ending at the Freedom House Museum at 1315 Duke Street, Alexandria. I am determined to walk from the bondage of the past to the freedom of living in the moment so I chose the starting point and the finish line with full intention. I am perfectly fine walking by myself but if fellow sojourners who are heaven-bent on healing join me, that is icing on the cake. To that end, if you want to take part and fellowship going forward, meet me at the Bruin Slave Jail at 10:00 AM tomorrow as this will henceforth be part of my routine every Saturday.
This is a seed being planted, I have faith it will grow but if I am on my own at the end, I am blessed for it because happiness is not found in seeking validation nor is joy discovered by pleasing people, peace arrives when you are good by yourself and find pleasure being in the company of others. There is no denying that human beings are meant to be a part of a community, but there is no community if we don’t find meaning in the stillness of being on our own. This is wisdom that is picked up when we stop bending like bows to the whims of others and muster the authentic audacity to follow our own arrows::
Teddy Fikre is the founder of Guzo to Healing, formerly the co-founder and editor of the Ghion Journal, he launched Guzo to Healing on his on guzo (journey) of healing from past wounds in order to liberate himself from the prisons of regret and guilt. The greatest journey we take is that which we travel to heal ourselves and by extension help others who struggle.