Maurice and I were driving home from a funeral on Friday when the old Gloria Gaynor classic came on, “I Will Survive.” For those who don’t know, this song is considered to be a gay national anthem and one of my personal favorites. It beckons to those of us who have successfully survived deep personal hardship, which would be just about everyone at one time or another. For the first time the song bothered me. It put me on edge, actually. It wasn’t enough. Survive? I will survive? I don’t want to survive. That’s just not good enough. I want to live.
It reminded me of the Patrick Hernandez 1979 hit “Born to be Alive.” I’ve done a couple of posts before about how special that song is to me and why. To retell the story, Maurice and I were dancing at our favorite nightclub not long after I got sober. Obviously, it was a difficult time and my depression was kicking my ass on a regular basis. We were dancing and smiling and I found myself filled with complete joy. When “Born to be Alive” came on I realized what was happening. I realized why I was feeling so good…finally, I was feeling alive and that’s what I was placed on this earth to do. I had tears rolling down my face.
I’ve been in a good place lately – balanced. Having just come out of a long bought of depression it would be easy for me to stay stuck in that rut. The depression passes and I survive, yet it’s comfortable staying home with the blinds shut, watching TV and eating my way through the day. Doing this can easily catch me off guard and extend my depressive period by going from chronic to situational. Deep depression is not an option, it’s a part of my life that I accept. When it passes I can be thankful that I survived, but it can’t stop there…I need to embrace these moments and remind myself to live. I need to remind myself that I was born to be alive. It’s much easier said than done, but I’m grateful to know it can be an option.