Word Press Discover Challenge: Song 7 Lions One More Time
I first heard this song when I watched the WWE Tribute to the Ultimate Warrior.
Like many of my generation, I first encountered the Ultimate Warrior in my teens as the WWE hit the UK. A lifetime fan of Arnold Schwarzzenger, Stallone, He-Man, The Hulk and other superhero muscled figures the Ultimate Warrior was an obvious logical extension of that element from my childhood. Possibly an obsession, because, as an adult, I went on to spend 15 years bodybuilding trying to look like my heroes without ever actually achieving that look.
I moved out of my parent’s house and didn’t have a TV for years let alone a sky subscription, and I guess I quickly grew out of wrestling. I rediscovered Warrior in my 40s, when a friend pointed me towards his YouTube channel. Immediately I connected with the man, Jim Hellwig, somehow, although this was supposed to be Warrior, it was always Jim to me. Warrior was the wrestler, and he cut promos that never made much sense. Jim, in contrast, cut through my personal bullshit and ripped at my soul. I was desperately unhappy at the time; to the world, I had the dream. In reality, I had become trapped in the prison of an abusive relationship, and it felt like as escape became more and more remote the walls were closing in. Every desperate attempt and cry for help served only to isolate me more and deepen the hole.
Watching the Warrior Man was a reminder that there was something. Jim was part of the turning point. Like Eric Thomas, Jim was a key figure in the chorus of voices telling me something different about myself. They screamed at me “You Matter”, and time and time again I would return to Jim and Eric time and time again they screamed the same message to the core of my very being. When I was kicked out and the marriage split was nasty. Jim was there; this time instead of reminding me, painfully reminding me of what I didn’t have, I watched Jim the Warrior Man in a different light, the passion and the intensity with which he spoke and lived connected with me again on a different level. He screamed at me with such passion, like the video had been made for me and me alone, you matter, it does matter, an it does matter life. At the very depths of my personal darkness it was incredibly difficult for me to see any light. But in the same way the text message of a friend jogged me out of a suicidal spiral, Jim the Warrior Man was there to remind me that there was more to life.
Jim screamed and shouted at someone inside me who had hidden away, like a very scared Mouse. It wasn’t just video’s people too were about. However, in all honestly, no one pulled me out of that dark pit of brokenness and dispair but me. I worked my way towards the light one inch at a time, I fought and I clawed for those inches.
It is a long road, but Jim connected with me on my journey. He died 4 days before my birthday, suddenly. Like many, I was still celebrating the induction of Warrior into the WWE Hall of Fame when footage of his final speech and the news of his death came as one big hammer blow ….. with the words
“Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the bodies of others, and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit will be immortalised. By the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory, by those who honour him and make the running the man did live forever
And, just like that Jim was gone, but not forgotten, as a child I had been entertained and captivated by the Ultimate Warrior, as an adult Jim the Warrior Man would speak to my very essence, and help with the ignition of the person I am today. It is old and it is worn out to call someone an inspiration, usually that means someone admires while that admiration does nothing to them as a person, and nothing about them as a person changes. With Jim the Warrior Man, I was and have literally been inspired by the very fact that there are people, of which Jim was one, who live a life which I can aspire to emulate. Not because it has money, cars or material wealth, but because it is a life chasing their passion.
7Lions One More Time is the Soundtrack to that memory; and so when I hear it I can remember, and more importantly I can summon the emotions. I can feel what it was like to be trapped, I can feel what it was like to sit watching Jim on my laptop with my breakfast on my own, alone hardly able to face the day feeling that intensity and passion driving its hammer blows to my desperate soul. I can relive the flicker of “I can do this”, of “I can recover, I am down not out, I will be more than this right now” not as words but as feelings. That feeling that while the future looked like a storm of uncertainty, I had what it takes to grow and be something better in the storm and after it.
The lyrics also speak of a different emotion, sadness. My Mother, for all her faults and abusive behaviour, I want to see again. I held her hand as she died, right there in front of me, imperceptibly at first. Her breathing slowed, she became still, she said almost inaudibly, I am proud of you, and then that was it, no sound, peace and stillness till moments later she was gone. Just like that. Then, you sit, and then you leave. You walk to the car, you drive, nothing has changed, yet, everything has changed. That was it, 37 years old, 16 days until my 38th birthday and I am all alone. No grandparents, no aunts, uncles, just me, no siblings, cousins. With nowhere to escape at all, the abuse of that marriage gradually increased until I stood up for myself and was discarded like yesterday’s old news to be destroyed at the earliest opportunity.
I’ll stand in the front lines.
I’ll give it all just to see your face.
And tell you its alright.
To hold you for one more night.
Just give me one more time.
The song reminds me that
my mother and my father, like Jim are gone. I will never get to tell Jim what a difference he made, get his autograph or even show him my Warrior Tattoo based on his original artwork. Instead, it reminds me of what will never be. I read the lyrics, and they remind me of what my 1st marriage should have been, my mother gone, my father gone and the relationship I had and the stark reality of how my normal was anything but right or normal. The song is a soundtrack to times of pain, hurt, and endurance, even a little suffering at times in the way of a Rocky montage. At first, when I heard the song I was down, I was nearly out, I doubted myself and all but lost belief. I was ready to check out of life itself. But the Warrior Man spoke to me, the ghosts of my past spoke to me, Eric Thomas spoke to me, a few people stood with me and stayed the course of my journey through darkness. And the song keeps playing as I have risen up.
It plays to finish with the backing of a highland piper, the montage of my redemption starts to show me with my wife, my successes at the end of the journey and the song plays to the fact that now, each of us would tearfully play this in remembrance of each other, that the words speak of reality and the tune foreshadows the fact that for one of us, this song will echo the longing of loss.