Quote: Sept. 19, 2012

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery / None but ourselves can free our minds.”
~ Bob Marley, “Redemption Song”

I try to play the guitar each night before going to bed, and “Redemption Song” is one of my favorite songs to sing.  Imagine it: a tall white girl sitting cross-legged on her bed, singing a Bob Marley tune.  It’s kind of funny, right?

But there’s a special truth in this specific line that leads me to play this song over and over and over again.  I feel a surge of power when I get to these words.  My voice becomes stronger, clearer, more confident.  I’m singing it to myself, for myself.  It’s an affirmation, courtesy of Bob Marley — sung without the Jamaican reggae accent.

There’s a sweet irony to this line when it comes to my relationship with the guitar, too.  For years, I longed for the ability to pick up a guitar and strum with the easy coolness of a 1970’s singer-songwriter.  But I “never had time” so it remained “something I wish I could do.”  I mentally blocked myself.  Emancipation came in the months leading up to my 30th birthday, when I vowed to do 30 new things.  One of those new things: learn how to play the guitar.  I signed up for beginner guitar lessons at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music … and Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” was one of the first songs I learned how to play.

My first guitar recital.

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