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.G is for Gloria Gaynor and I Will Survive.
Gloria Gaynor released I Will Survive on October 23, 1978 as a single. The song was relegated to the B side with Substitute on the A Side. As has happened with other ‘sleeper’ B Side songs, I Will Survive was a bigger hit, and it was re-released as an A Side. Gloria Gaynor’s original recording of I Will Survive was preserved to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry as “culturally, historically, or artistically significant” in 2016.
At the time of original release, I Will Survive was heralded as a song of female empowerment. It has since evolved into a song of general personal empowerment.
We figure out from the first few lines that the narrator was in a relationship in which her significant other / boyfriend / spouse left her — At first I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could never live without you by my side.
Enough time has passed that the narrator has had time to adjust and assess just how awful it had been living with, putting up with, and generally tolerating the other person’s hurtful behavior. In fact, so much time has passed that the singer has discovered who she is and what she wants out of life. She’s strong now. She’s standing on her own feet. She’s learned to depend upon herself. This is her resilience rising up from the ashes of abandonment, rejection, and despair.
Then out of the blue – he’s back from outer space with big sad puppy dog eyes and obviously assuming they will pick up where they left off. She kicks herself for not changing the lock or making him leave the door key. It never crossed her mind that he would actually return and want to reconcile.
But she’s not having it. No, siree Bob.
Her determination to keep him out of her life forever is iron-clad. Her confidence is so strong that she gives it to him with no holds barred. Go on. Walk out the door. You’re not welcome anymore. You thought you’d hurt me with goodbye. You expected me to crumble and lay down and die without you.
Well, the laugh’s on you, buster.
She tells him she’s got her whole life ahead of her, and he doesn’t fit into her plans. She fought too hard to keep going after he left her. She walked through emotional hell and came out the other side a stronger person. She cried all she’s going to cry. Now she holds her head up high. She’s not that (chain chain) chained up little person still in love with this loser. She’s got all her love to give to someone else who’s worthy of her love.
She orders him again go on now go! Don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out.
At the end, as he walks out the door, she punctuates her final goodbye with the resolve of her resilience to never, ever fall prey to someone like him again by saying,
I will survive.
I will survive.
I Will Survive is the third of the seven resilience anthems that are still to post.
*Image by woodleywonderworks
Until next time,
writing through history one romance upon a time