A-to-Z Challenge 2023 – C is for Cyndi Lauper – Resilience in Songs #atozchallenge #songs

The 2023 A-to-Z blogging challenge theme is resilience. Resilience is the ability to get back on our feet and keep going after life knocks us down and kicks sand in our faces. Resilience is how the psyche survives and copes, but resilience doesn’t necessarily wear a cape of positivity.

The 26 songs I’ve chosen show us, musically, what resilience looks (sounds?) like. I’ll offer a reflection of the resilience in each song. The songs are alphabetical by the artist’s first name or the group’s name, except for M, O, U, and X.

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter C
C is for Cyndi Lauper and True Colors.

Persons Hands With Rainbow Colors

Cyndi Lauper released True Colors as a single on August 28, 1986. 

Obviously, all songs mean something different to each of us depending upon our particular life circumstances and experiences. This song is no different, but I do think True Colors is a song that touches people at a deeply emotional level, whatever that emotion might be.

To sum up the song’s story, the narrator is consoling another person. She isn’t saying everything will be all right. She’s saying she sees the other person is hurting and discouraged and feeling dark inside as well as small and insignificant in the world.

I’ve always felt this song is a conversation between a trusted and empathetic grandparent and a teenaged grandchild. The teen is struggling with all the things that come with that age range, particularly in the areas of identity, sense of self, and feelings of self-worth. The grandparent listens to and ‘hears’…really gets where the teen is coming from. The grandparent says everyone is different, special, and beautiful in their own way, aka their true colors, and it’s okay to be unsure of letting others know who you really are. People, as a group, can be mean and judgmental, but there are still good people in the world. Don’t lose heart. Look for the beauty in yourself—the rainbow of true colors and be true to those colors.

So, where is the resilience?

First— Resilience is in the encouragement and unconditional love the grandparent has for the teen. The teen having a trusted person to turn to goes a long ways toward keeping the teen’s emotional well of resilience from going dry.

Second— The grandparent also understands from years of living in a world that can make you crazy, that there will be times when the teen has taken all you can bear. When that happens, call me up because you know I’ll be there. That statement is literally, “Phone me, and I’ll drop what I’m doing, and we’ll talk and get through this together”. Call me also means, “Reach out to me with any and with all emotions you’re feeling. No issue is too sensitive or off-limits to talk to me about.” Knowing someone is there for you no matter what and at any time for any reason also helps build confidence in self and raises the resilience level in the teen’s emotional well of self-worth. Kids learn and build character by example, positively and negatively.

Third— The grandparent says several times that her love is unconditional for the teen. Perhaps love can’t conquer all problems, but an adult’s love for a child, when that child truly believes in the depth of that adult’s love, can keep a child (or anyone else) going when they might otherwise give up hope.

Fourth— Hope. Hope is the foundation upon which resilience is built. The rainbow in this song is the metaphor for hope. The grandparent repeating that the teen’s true colors are beautiful like a rainbow is the grandparent’s way of giving the troubled teen a tangible (rainbow) focus for holding onto hope.

*Rainbow on arms photo by cottonbro studios

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer
writing through history one romance upon a time


    1. I am fortunate to have had a close relationship with my maternal grandfather, and that both of my parents had a close relationship with my own children. I’ve carried that ‘tradition’ forward with my grandchildren. I agree about kids having a trusted adult in their lives. It can make all the difference in their growing up years.

  1. Nice post for a nice song. So far only one of my grandkids is a teen, but the others are rapidly getting there. My oldest granddaughter seems to be doing well despite all the crazy influences around her. I wish I didn’t live so far so we could spend more time together.


    1. True Colors is a nice song on many levels. The tune is soft and soothing. The words are kind and gentle and uplifting. I’m able to be around four of my six grandchildren. The two sisters I don’t see but every couple of years live several states away. I’m grateful for the technology that allows us to visit virtually.

  2. I’m a big Cyndi Fan,……she has made a few appearances in past blogs. On a side note….I love a vesion of Willie Nelson singing Cyndi’s song “Time After Time.” Zulu

  3. A beautiful song, I always felt it was the older person talking to their younger self. Telling them that in the end they will be seen not judged

    1. …older person talking to their younger self… I love this perspective. I hadn’t thought of the song this way. That’s one of the things I love about music is how music affects people differently the different meanings we glean from not only song lyrics, but the music itself.

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