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From the Ash, We Will Rise.

by Tess 2 years ago in humanity
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Realizing struggle equates growth.

Radioactive was the opening track of Imagine Dragons’ 2012 album, Night Visions.

During the summer of 2013, I was a complete mess, but let’s back it up to March.

My boyfriend and I had been committed to each other for over three years. We knew each other’s families, friends, flaws and favourites. We talked frequently about marriage and kids, but our last year together proved troublesome and eventually I ended things, mere weeks after his birthday.

While together, I experience my first betrayal by a partner; he stole money from me and inevitably what felt like years from my life because of his lies and deceit hiding his gambling addiction. He was my first love and to date, my only love. Discovering this darkness about him dropped the rose-coloured veil I saw him through and left only grey questions of “why am I here?” and “can I do this for the rest of my life?” Turns out, it was a big “no.”

I did what most people do when they break-up and decided to work on my career and myself, when actually what that meant was becoming a workaholic and sleeping with whatever man, woman, person I felt like. I spent most Saturday nights at my local watering hole, The Dime, surrounded by others who were looking to drown similar sorrows away.

The Dime is a dive bar in my neighbourhood, stumbling distance from my apartment. It was a sanctuary for myself and people like me looking to be seen, heard and not judged. Every Saturday, the bar was home to a crew of regulars and the bartenders, Marco and Trent, all who came to know me much more than by name.

Meeting Marco, I knew instantly we’d be in each other’s lives. Our acquaintance grew outside the bar and we offered a much “healthier” way of coping, a friendship. Marco was going through a breakup as well; we went on walks, had long, deep conversations and developed a connection that wasn’t romantic, but still filled with unconditional love.

Of course, we partied! Some of those conversations were alcohol or drug induced at 5am in the morning, swimming nude or wrapped up in blankets in the darkness. We were there for each other when it felt like we couldn’t be there for ourselves. Naturally, most of our time together was filled with music, specifically Radioactive by Imagine Dragons.

Radioactive was #3 in 2013 on the Year-end Top-100 Billboard Chart, so it makes sense that we heard it as often as we did. It was released as the opening track of Imagine Dragons’ 2012 album, Night Visions, then to modern rock radio at the end of October of the same year. Later in April of 2013, it landed on contemporary radio stations, a direct line to my ear.

After months of pain, struggle and exploration riding the fine line between self-discovery and self-destruction, I was in my car with Marco, the sun was setting and a beautiful, golden glow bathed the East Vancouver alley we were driving down. I put the vehicle in park and without a word, we listened to the song together, basking in the gorgeous sky above and we felt peace.

April through July we broke ourselves down in order to rebuild, to figure out what we wanted from others, ourselves and life in general. We had survived our apocalypse, the ash we had to wake from. “All systems go, the sun hasn’t died…Deep in my bones, straight from inside…Welcome to the new age…”

Every time I hear this song it reminds me of the struggle and the success. It brings me comfort to know, the sun hasn’t died and no matter what life throws at me, I’m radioactive!


About the author



Life lover.

Kindness sharer.

Inspiration seeker.

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