Survival is not Enough

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.

13 comments on Survival is not Enough

  1. A better measure of a man than how he does when life is good is how deep he digs in when life is difficult. Proud of you and glad you’re in a good place.

    Feel the love.

  2. You know what Bradley, roughly about two almost three years ago, I proposed to this woman who I thought loved me. In short, she called off the wedding because she felt we needed to “grow up” sure, I have a lot to work on but you know what, I needed to grow up was an excuse. I was one year away from finishing school, with a plan. Yeah, I needed to grow up. So of course, I found out she pawned my ring, AND she also went on a date with another guy who only wanted to fuck her, psh, fuck her! I needed to grow up…I spiraled into a low for a while and I’m just barely getting my groove back. I think sometimes we need to survive to see other people live…it’s part of the balance of life. Trust me, I’m sure when her and I were on the high horse, having a good time, someone was watching us live….but next year, I’ll be living again because so far, I’ve just started living again. =)

  3. I know how different songs can make you feel sad, edgy, irritable,etc. I agree with you about “I Will Survive”. I do not want to merely survive. I have done that for many years, and now like you having been sober for a while, I want to live, and not just live, but live out loud. One of favorite songs by a band called Tool is “Parabola,” and one line states that the writer is grateful for “this chance to be alive and breathing”. I love that quote because I have tried too many times to not be alive and breathing, and now I am grateful for everything, especially being alive and breathing. I don’t even mind it so much when I go off into Bipolar la-la land because one thing ~ I am alive and breathing.

    1. There are too many days that I can barely get out of bed for me to not to try to “live out loud.”

  4. I’m happy that you’re in a good place right now Bradley and this is the perfect time for you to seize every moment of life because depression can reoccur at any time.

    So, get out of that comfort zone you mentioned. Fling open the curtains, open the window wide and take a good breath of fresh air and shout “I’m alive”. That will get the cobwebs off you and most probably give you a right old laugh for doing it (just hope the neighbours find it funny). Then go out for a nice long walk and buy yourself a nice cake to celebrate how you feel.

    I hope you have an enjoyable week Bradley.

    1. Thanks, RPD. I’ve taking full advantage of this good balance I’m feeling right now. I haven’t yelled out the window yet, but I will. My crazy neighbors won’t even notice.

  5. Sounds great progress, Bradley. Born to be Alive’ was out when I was just leaving school and hitting the clubs (We called them “Disco’s” in those days!!). If I knew what life had in store…well, that’s another saga….

    I absolutely loved the music, especially the dancers – wonderful!

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