How to Build a Survivor

Lyssa had tried everything. She’d worn manufactured composure underneath carefully applied makeup. She’d shoved terrifying memories down as soon as they sprung up. She’d tried to quiet even more terrifying thoughts with drugs. But they just waited for her until she sobered up. She’d tried to reclaim her sexuality with sex.

She thought she’d had it beat when it seemed she could control her life by controlling what she put in and how much. Who she let in and how much.

Now there was just her, living in what was left of the body that hadn’t wasted away yet.

The nurse’s words hung in the air long after the she had left the room. “You have a choice, girl. Live or die. That’s all you got. That’s all any of us got. Which one you gonna choose?”

Good question.

For anyone who’s been through It, whatever that It is for you—the It that brought you to your knees, there may be a person, a sentence or a song that helped you out of the mucky place you’d sunk into and gave you the strength to move just a couple inches out of it. The courage to imagine life outside of the muck.

If there is, share it. If not here in the comments section, then with someone you know who is living in her own It. Someone who can benefit from your story.

Because that’s how survivors are built. One shared story at a time. One encouraging word at a time. One hug at a time.

And in between the stories, words and hugs, there are songs that touch the heart and ignite the inner fire in a way nothing but music can.

Here are a few. They’re all by women who have stories of their own to share. You won’t find Eye of the Tiger here. This post celebrates beautiful women who celebrate survival their own way—with strength borne from personal experience and the courage it took to face down their own demons.

The Climb by Miley Cyrus

Courage – Celine Dion

Prayin’ by Kesha

Roar by Katy Perry

Head Above Water by Avril Lavigne

You Say Lauren Daigle

I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor

Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys

Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

Fight Song by Rachel Platten

Have your own go-to song or survival story? Share it below.

Published by Missy Kavanaugh-Carryer

Missy Kavanaugh-Carryer is a content writer and author of two children's books and a board book series for young children. She's currently working on her first novel.

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