I know that it’s sometimes hard to figure out what a songwriter is referring to in a song. It’s easy to sometimes assume based on what you might know about that person that songs are about particular things going on in their life that you may know about.
I think when it comes to me, many of my friends, family and supporters assume that most of the songs on the “Night Flower” EP are about my relationship with my ex-husband, John. It is true that we are going through the weighty trials of a divorce and that’s never easy, but many of the songs were written a few years ago, while we were still married, and are about something completely different.
Whether we always like it or not, people come and go in our lives. Sometimes that loss punches us deeply in the gut and is hard to recover from. While “Yesterdays” sounds like a pretty upbeat song with a pop touch to it, it’s evident from the lyrics that the song is referring to a relationship that has changed drastically over time.
When I wrote this song, I had lost a friend who I considered to be very close. Someone I thought was going to be a part of my life for a long time. I didn’t quite understand when our friendship changed and why she was so willing to let go of it, though now that I reflect, I think I have a better understanding of the dynamics of that situation. At the time though, I took the loss quite personally and was really freakin’ sad about the whole thing. Someone who I thought was fairly permanent in my life was sending me the message that I was fairly impermanent in their own and that I was also easily replaceable.
I think “Yesterdays” was written when I was trying to reconcile my sadness about that loss.
“You said you’d remember me, but now I’m just small company.”
As I started writing, I began to think of other relationships in my life that had morphed over time – exes who had come and gone – and how people who I once knew so well could be virtual strangers to me if I were to encounter them again. From there, it started to take on the form of a love song.
“Yesterday when all I had was you.”
As I started to blend the experience of that current loss with older, deeper ones, I wanted to capture that painful shift that can occur in a relationship.
“You said we would be okay, but now we go our separate ways.”
“Was it all some big disguise? You won’t look me in the eyes. Walk around like strangers, by and by.”
Ultimately, while the song is about loss, I think it is also about acceptance. Acceptance that relationships do change and while it may hurt, there are things that will stay in our “yesterdays” that we can no longer sustain today. In some ways, this was my way of saying goodbye and letting go. Of lost friendships, of lost loves, of family relationships that had transformed over time.
I saw a quote, and I’m not sure who it’s attributed to, but I think it’s fairly true.
“When people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you, and it doesn’t mean they are bad people. It just means that their part in your story is over.”
We have many chapters within our lives and some people will slip in and out and others will make a permanent exit. Being able to accept that and move on, and not spend your energies on vilifying that person is important and necessary.
To let go. To heal.
To embrace today and tomorrow.
And that, my friend’s – is what “Yesterdays” was about for me.