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I'm Still Standing

A long road to self love

By L. E. MastilockPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 5 min read
I'm Still Standing
Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Some songs speak to your heart and become your own personal playlist of your life's journey.

When I think back to childhood, one song stands out and, to this day, makes me cry. It's a song of hope and believing in the impossible, but, more than that, it brings back memories from long ago when I was a small child. The song 'Rainbow Connection' came out the year I was born and I remember hearing my parents sing it often. It brings memories of when things were simple. When my parents were together and happy, for the most part, and our family was whole.

Rainbow Connection | The Muppet Movie Soundtrack

As an adult, I've realized this song brings much more than childhood memories to mind. It stands for dreams that never came to be, hopes that were shattered. It brings with it a deep ache and longing for the life that could have been and should have been.

Things began to unravel. Everything I knew and felt about my family quickly disintegrated. My parents became unhappy, fighting constantly, and eventually divorced, mainly due to my dad's addiction problems.

My mom remarried shortly after and to her, her husband could do no wrong. I lived in fear for the rest of my childhood, avoiding his wrath, which he hid well from her for many years. Only showing his dark side when she was at work and he was alone with us children. I rarely succeeded in that avoidance or in protecting my siblings.

Yesterday by the Beatles

By the time I was in high school I was severely depressed, suicidal, and had extreme anxiety. I had given up trying to socialize and relate to friends. As the song, 'Apologies' says, "I wish I was like you, easily amused." I had no way to relate to the seemingly carefree lives of my peers. All their struggles and concerns were superficial. They could laugh so easily and my heart was perpetually heavy. A smile felt unnatural on my face, a laugh too loud in my ears.

All Apologies by Nirvana

I tried to be invisible and avoid confrontation as much as possible. Eventually, I gave up trying to please my step dad and avoid getting into trouble. No matter what I did he found fault with me. As the song lyrics go "Everything is my fault. I'll take the blame." I believed that all the bad things that happened to me and anyone in my family was somehow my fault.

I somehow made it through high school with passing grades and briefly moved into a college dorm, but I was still so depressed I could hardly function. I was free. And absolutely elated at that, so the song 'Free Fallin', at least the chorus, was often belted out in my car or shower where I felt safe to make noise. But I was falling. I had no direction, no confidence, no will to live.

Free Fallin' by Tom Petty

Over time, with the help of therapy, I began to slowly heal. The biggest breakthrough in defeating my self loathing was in talking to my past self. Telling the little girl I was that it was not her fault. And that could only be done after really thinking through each of the scenarios I felt most guilty for and then realizing it truly wasn't her fault (my fault). My therapist asked me to realistically think through what would have happened had I done or said something differently. Probably nothing. Or nothing significant enough to have changed the outcome. I was just a child without power. I had never thought about it in that way before and it led to being able to forgive myself and eventually love myself.

Don't Give Up by Peter Gabriel

I moved in with a friend, a wonderful man, who would become my husband. He lent me the strength and confidence I needed until I found my own. He was and is my protector, my cheerleader and confidant. It wasn't always smooth sailing for us. My own insecurities and doubts about my worthiness of receiving love would cause unnecessary waves in otherwise calm waters.

Maybe I'm Amazed by Paul McCartney

We worked hard to provide and care for our own little growing family. Life was simple and oh so good. My demons would haunt me for many years, and still do, but finally I found my voice and began to write and share my thoughts with the world, terrifying as that felt.

The more I shared, the more my experiences, my poetry, my words resonated with people and helped them to heal from past traumas as well. I began to feel real purpose and confidence to continue putting my vulnerabilities out for all to see. A fire was lit under me to keep going, to reach for dreams I used to think I was unworthy of.

Big Time by Peter Gabriel

I still struggle to keep my self talk positive, to not dwell on the past, knowing I can't change it. But I now have strength and a fierce desire to give words to others who are living with abuse or the results of it.

I Will Survive remix by Cake

A desire to stand up for them and help pull them out of the darkness that I am all too familiar with. Hopefully giving them a flame of their own to kindle into the confidence to be free, to heal, and to believe in themselves as well. Most importantly, to tell their child within, it's not your fault. You are worthy of love.

I'm Still Standing by Elton John

playlist80s music

About the Creator

L. E. Mastilock

L. E. Mastilock is a lover of nature, family, and good food. She believes nothing heals better than a good cry followed by a good laugh. She is a published author and artist residing with her family in the Sierra Mountains of California.

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  • Scott Christenson4 months ago

    I looked up "I Will Survive remix by Cake" haha this is awesome I heard this years ago. Slightly imperfect vocalist makes the meaning of "i will survive" shine. Really liked the other songs you mentioned as well. Related to the insecurities and negative self talk.

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