My life has never been easy. Going over this list of power songs that have helped me at various stages of my life, I see they’re all from my twenties, and they’re all sung by women. This is particularly curious since I’m not that fond of female singers.
Covering these songs is a tough story to tell, but I feel like it needs to be told. So here goes.
Fighter – Christina Aguilera
Leaving my father’s house at age nineteen, I felt an enormous need to be independent. Living with my father had been all right, and I was already taken care of many things for myself. All I really needed to learn when living on my own, was doing the laundry, doing the groceries, and learning how to cook. My boyfriend at the time, taught me some tricks that I still use today.
During this time, I listened a lot to the ‘Stripped’ CD by Christina Aguilera. Her message spoke to me, and particularly this song ‘Fighter.’
The anger I felt wasn’t even aimed at one person in particular, though a lot of it was aimed at my mother. But listening to this song gave me a boost. I would fight. I would battle the shit that had happened to me, and I would come out victorious. They – the world – was not gonna get me down.
To this day, I feel like I have to fight. Every day is a struggle. I’ve known little luck in my life. Even now that I’m in a relatively calm, safe, and happy place, I’m still waiting for the day when it will all fall apart. Where I’ll have to start fighting again.
Skunk Anansie – We Don’t Need Who You Think You Are
Listening to this music today makes me upset.
Let me start by saying this has little to do with the lyrics or the issues raised by the artist. To me, it’s all about the intensity and emotionality of the song.
I used this music to express my anger. This time my fury was aimed at one person: my then-boyfriend. He ghosted me. Time and time again he disappeared, he didn’t answer the phone when I called, or he didn’t show up at our appointments.
He broke me. I had just moved to a new city to live in a student-room. I started out at university, which didn’t go so well, and instead of supporting me, he used me to his convenience and dropped me when not needed.
Over and over, when he didn’t answer his phone, or when he didn’t show up to a date, I played this music. Singing along, crying to these sounds, were the only ways for me to express my anger, my solitude, my anguish.
For roughly two and a half years, he treated me this way and this song was my only comfort.
Krypteria – God I Need Someone
I wish I could take you to a happier place after that rough story, but alas.
After being dumped by my ghosting boyfriend, I got into a safe vanilla relationship for five years. When I finally admitted to myself I couldn’t live without kink, I was on my own again.
While living in my small apartment, I listen to this song a lot. I knew it was Emo and over the top, but I liked to wallow in it anyway. I still connected to the lyrics, and it gave me comfort while I was alone. I enjoyed the sentimentality of the song.
Design Your Universe – Epica
For once, this song doesn’t apply to a person or to my solitude. Instead, this song worked as a reminder for me, that I could take the reins of my life.
I worked in retail at the time, and I was miserable. I remember listening to this song while I was on my way to a new theatre group that I had joined. I’ve always loved theatre and the fact that I could choose to do it again, next to me near-full time retail job meant so much to me. Theatre would bring something good and happy in my life, next to the dreariness of the retail job. That’s what this song was telling me to do. Choose your own life.
'Don't forget you're able to design your own universe.'
Music as Counsellor
During different parts of my life, different songs spoke to me. Some evoked anger, some mirrored my feelings of loneliness, while others inspired me to take action. Each in their own way has helped me to get through my darkest hours. The music made me feel less alone and understood in a way. It’s comforting for me to know that there will always be music for me to listen to that can improve my life. It may not bring solutions, but it helps to calm my mind and give me a sense of peace. I’m not the only one struggling out there. And one day, this fight too will end.