by Kimberly MacCarron
I admit it. I overused a song to get me through breakups and heartbreak. I always had the individual “our song” that made me cry. Then I had my own song that helped me through it. It was one that made me feel empowered. Strong. Resilient.
I Will Survive!
And I did. Many, many times.
Throughout my teen years, I stumbled in and out of love. Again, many, many times. Or at least it sure felt like it. Looking back on it, I’m sure most of those angsty feelings were a little melodramatic, but at the time they felt real so they were real.
Grabbing my curling iron and dancing around my bedroom with tears streaming down my face, I would sing my heart out to this song. At first, I would stand there at the slow beginning and sing, “At first I was afraid, I was petrified…” Then quickly I would start dancing and getting louder and louder, feeling way stronger than I did at the beginning. By the end of the song, I was definitely not that “chained up little person still in love with (him)”. I wouldn’t crumble! I would survive. Hey, hey!
I remember going through the heartbreak even into my adult years. Granted, the heartbreak hurt more because there were deeper emotions involved, but the same song came through again and again to make me feel stronger.
As an adult, I was dating my husband, and once he came to my townhouse after I became a bit annoyed at him for not yet giving me a ring. THE ring. He came by unexpectedly, and I was blasting the music and dancing around, and since we were friends before we started dating, he knew my history with that particular song. All he said was “Uh oh.”
At our wedding, I danced with my husband’s nephew (who also loves this song) with complete abandon and happiness.
Because you know what? I DID survive. And all those breakups and heartbreak led me to the person I was meant to marry. Each relationship taught me something about myself and love and learning from mistakes made. I think it’s important to go through the heartbreaks so that you can grow as a person, but it sure doesn’t feel like a learning opportunity when it’s happening. For those going through it, I’m sorry. But you will survive. You will grow stronger. As long as that’s what you want.
Now for a couple random facts about Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 hit song I Will Survive:
1. After a back injury and spinal surgery, Gaynor was still in a back brace when she recorded the song.
2. This song hit the #1 slot in the United States, the UK, Canada, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland.
3. VH1 named this #1 on the 100 Greatest Dance Songs.
4. This song was originally the B side on its release until Boston Disco Radio DJ (Jack King) played it many times, and his listeners went nuts!
5. This song was awarded the only Grammy Award ever for Best Disco Recording in 1980.
6. Glee made a mash-up of this song with Destiny’s Child “Survivor”, and the song reached #51 in 2011.
So, even back in the day while I was wailing and sobbing into my curling iron and clutching my heart, I must have known down deep that this song appealed to others in the same way. There’s not a better song out there that can give girls and women the feeling of complete empowerment like My Gospel of Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive.
Hopefully I’ll never need to cry to this song again. I just dance around my kitchen with my kids now. But, I’m sure my daughters will need to borrow it in the future. And I don’t envy them that.
But I do envy them those raw feelings and first loves because you only have them once.
What helped you through the heartbreaks? Chocolate? Good friends? Ice Cream? Music? Tell us!