Is Fear Our Friend?

It’s shit like this that still fucks with me. As a woman trying, begging, yearning to feel safer in my daily life after multiple traumatic experiences, seeing other women scoff at the idea of choosing something because it is “safe” makes me feel shame and then pure anger deep down in my core. It was all those “motivational quotes” about taking the “scary” route that made me think I was doing the wrong thing by running away from something terrifying in in childhood, high school, college (!), and beyond. I’m over this. I take care of myself now and if my body is giving me strong signals that it is scared, I WILL NOT DO THAT THING THAT IS MAKING IT SCARED. If it is activated with energy to help me, then onward we go. I KNOW the difference. Look, I know what she meant here is with good intentions but I just don’t buy it anymore. The feeling that pushes me to move to London, get on stages in front of hundreds of people and speak about important shit, publish vulnerable pieces of writing like this online for all to see, and do work that matters in this world is not fear. It is love. I wish everyone taking this fear-based approach in life all the best. I’ll be over here, kicking just as much if not more ass, by listening to the input of my gut feelings and the gift of fear which we should all value just a wee bit more as a society than we currently do for guidance on what I should or should not do.

Being Wanted vs. Being Valued

Just leaving this here because WE 👏🏼 STILL 👏🏼 DON’T. @robynexton Honestly if even ONE person had really taken my distress in college seriously things would be different. I remember SEARCHING, YEARNING, BEGGING for validation in how I was feeling about the situation, and I never got it. Ever. I did sort of after college, more than a year later and after I started showing C-PTSD symptoms, by some really dear friends from my school. But in some ways it was too late. The staring, watching, approaching, stalking, touching, commenting, laughing, attempts to isolate, shook me to my core. I felt crazy, terrified, nauseous, deeply self-conscious and watched/groomed/stalked/preyed upon for most of the time I spent on that campus. I dissociated a lot. I still get really tense and scared whenever men look at me in a certain way, which makes it really hard to date, or even go out much and truly enjoy it. Never reported anything, never yelled back, never made a scene, never stood up for myself; just stayed to myself more than I would have liked, and avoided many, MANY places on campus. I was made to feel crazy FOR feeling crazy. His frat friends would give me dirty looks and make remarks, and twisted things in my head to make ME feel like the bad guy.

So I learned how to perform. I learned how to make him think that I wasn’t affected. That I’m stronger than this, and he didn’t phase me. The problem was, I made MYSELF think that. So I never got help. I remember thinking, this really isn’t so bad, I can handle this. Some people have it SO MUCH WORSE than this. Oh, those dreaded, dreaded words. At the time I remember thinking, if I don’t sleep with him, date him, etc., then I’ll be safe; if I look so cool, so put together, so successful, this will just go away. Well no, sweet girl. Predators can still hurt you psychologically.

I still don’t know what the right answer was. Should I have transferred to a different school? Was that letting him win? Should I have given him what he wanted? Should I have never left my room? Should I have left campus more often than I already did?

Him hurting me wasn’t out of the question. I didn’t really let myself believe that, because then, suddenly, I have a much bigger problem on my hands.

When my dear friend was violently killed last year, my mind went STRAIGHT to this. The ruminating about it, worrying about it, overthinking it, and general fear ramped up after that event.

I have been psychologically and physically assaulted. This is obviously the psychological assault, that lasted four years. I can say with utter certainty that this was worse for me — on my sense of self, on my sense of safety, etc. — than the physical assault was. This wouldn’t be true for everyone, of course — trauma effects us all differently.

I know I’m not the only one with a story like this. I also know we don’t take this kind of thing NEARLY as seriously as we need to as a society. I’m going to fight to change that.

I never would have guessed as an 18 yr old new college student that something like this would happen to me. I felt the sting of being wanted but not valued. It leaves you empty and laid bare, at best. I want that time back. I want that energy back. I want him to hurt, but we all know that’s not going to happen. I want that young girl who was just trying to go to school in peace and safety back. I can’t get that, but I can claim my life moving forward. And I can talk about it now, from a safe place, to raise awareness that trauma is varied, trauma is ruthless, trauma is NOT YOUR FAULT, and most importantly, trauma can be HEALED, though it’s going to happen more slowly than you would like. The leaps and bounds I’ve made in dealing with this is nothing short of spectacular. It takes drive and ambition and strength but it can be done, with loving therapists, Somatic Experiencing (for me!) and a raging love of self.

You Will Be Met On The Bridge

I scribbled this poem on almost every piece of paper or surface I came across last year to feel safer. Something about these words are like a cozy blanket that warms the soul while telling you sternly, you deserve the best, and the best is coming, if you have the courage to wait for it, to believe in it, to meet it. I didn’t know who this amazing mystery person was that I was going to meet on this proverbial bridge, but since moving to London I’ve realised it is me. You meet your older, wiser, kinder self on that bridge and you go forth as her. You hand the baton to a new version of yourself, one that has the resources and skills and strength to take on the new battles. You keep the old you, of course, but she no longer needs to sail the ship; she can breathe. I love these words and I sure as h*ck love Laura McKowen.

What Te Kā And Maleficent Can Teach Us About Holistic Trauma Healing

* cw sexual assault *

There are probably a few great films that get trauma healing right, but there’s MANYYY that get it completely wrong and serve to traumatise viewers by not even hinting at any hope for trauma healing in the future; not cool. For the sake of this post, I’m going to focus on two films. They both originate as Disney films, and they both go above and beyond in their care to actually get human psychology — and specifically trauma psychology — right. Let’s begin.

Moana.

This movie is maybe my absolute favorite of all time. It’s feminst, there’s no romantic love plot (what a beautiful breath of fresh air!) and it’s all about women helping other women heal. Oh and a cry out for environmental activism. What’s not to love?

Moana is largely about Te Fiti. She’s a central character even though we don’t see her much; her trauma is really fuelling the plot line of the whole movie. Te Fiti was essentially “raped” by Maui in the beginning, when he stole her heart (literally.) Because of this, the entire ocean’s islands are in crisis — Moana’s island of Motunui can’t catch any fish, the trees and plants are dying, and no one can figure out why. Moana decides the only way to heal the island is to return Te Fiti’s heart — and she believes, for good reason, that Maui, who stole it, is the only one that can do it.

But anyone who’s been through trauma like this knows that the attacker, the thief, is not the one who is going to heal you. Maui treats Te Fiti like an object — stealing the heart, wanting to put it back when that ends up not getting him exactly what he wants, as if her sacred, precious heart is just a cog in a machine.

Te Fiti needs Moana. She needs someone strong enough and brave enough and kind enough and patient enough to actually see her; not pin her down and force the heart back in. She needs real, deep healing after such a horrific event.

My favourite part of the movie is seeing the wrath of Te Fiti in the beginning of this scene and how it looks like she could just maul Maui, but then sees her heart and realises that is more important. I feel that way about the people who have traumatised me; like you little piece of total sh*t, get the f*ck away from me; I matter more.

In the end, Te Ka, who we originally are led to believe is another thief trying to steal Te Fiti’s heart, but ends up actually being the traumatised version of Te Fiti herself, gets her heart back, no thanks to Maui and all thanks to Moana, and the ocean’s islands are restored. The earth is in harmony again. Trauma healing almost always has far-reaching benefits.

Now. Maleficent. MWAHAHA.

This is a lesser known film, so if you haven’t seen it, please watch it! It is a sequel to the original classic, Sleeping Beauty. It is the true story of Maleficent, known as one of the evilest of evil Disney villains of all time. It stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent and Elle Fanning as Aurora. Yeah. You can watch it on YouTube.

This clip is when Maleficent’s wings are stolen. I find it unbelievably painful to watch. I guess because I’ve been there. The prince cutting off her wings symbolises him raping her and taking her innocence (she’s only 16 here). He was her first love, and she trusted him. And he violated that in the biggest way possible. Her wings were her life; her transport, her freedom, her safety mechanism, her independence, her essence. And he took all of that in one slash.

Maleficent is so seethingly angry at this horrific wrong that she makes it her life’s mission to get revenge on the whole kingdom, but especially the prince, who by this time is the king and has married and had a baby, the princess Aurora.

This is perhaps the saddest part of this whole narrative. Instead of being able to live her actual dreams, she is now psychologically forced by the impact of severe trauma to get revenge, to make the king’s life and all the people in the kingdom’s lives, a living hell, like he had made her life. This just absolutely breaks my heart. In the end, though, her and Aurora create a bond that is strong enough to make up for this (I’ll try not to completely spoil the end here!). And I also believe that the act of fighting for yourself after enduring a trauma can bring out a strength and a love of self and an ambition that you may not have reached otherwise.

After watching Maleficent, I urge you to go back and re-watch Sleeping Beauty and see how you experience the entire movie differently, knowing that Maleficent isn’t evil, she is traumatised and wants revenge.

So, what do we get from these films? What can we extract about how to holistically heal trauma the right way?

  1. The person/people who broke you is not the person/people who will heal you. Do not view them as a saviour, as a prince, or, god forbid, as your true love. This is harder than it seems, because of a fun little thing called trauma bonding. We think that because someone took something so valuable from us, that they are the only ones who can give it back. Wrong. I’ll write more about that in a future post.
  2. There are many different kinds of perpetrators. Maui represents the clueless, ignorant, egotistical, self-aggrandising type; and King Stefan represents the evil, self-serving, wanting-to-become-king-at-all-costs, sinister type. There are obviously a million more types. But we can all understand these two, I’m sure.
  3. “Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.” — Peter Levine, a trauma expert. Not being seen and holding it inside you can destroy you, as it nearly did for Te Kā and Maleficent.
  4. You have a right to be angry, and should take time to actually feel that anger. Te Fiti and Maleficent are both livid after their respective traumas. They take time to feel the pain, the anger, and, naturally, they try to get revenge. This isn’t bitchy or crazy; this is normal, it is self-loving, and it is a necessary part of the healing process.
  5. Most of us will not be able to get revenge in the drastic ways Te Fiti and Maleficent have, because we, unfortunately, do not have access to magic, or a benevolent, human-like ocean (damn.) But we have a different magic; it’s called intuition, it’s called karma, it’s called post-traumatic growth, it’s called sheer will. Use it all to your benefit and you’ll get all the revenge you need, in the form of a totally kick-ass life. But also, speaking of magic, the brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined; so using dark magic on your attackers/perpetrators in your mind can actually help you heal. It’s also super satisfying 😉
  6. Women who have been through trauma are the strongest forces on this planet. They can shut down entire oceans, entire kingdoms, entire worlds. They can destroy your world. They cannot be messed with.
  7. Trauma must be validated. This is really first and foremost in trauma healing. Someone trusting, loving, and brave needs to see your trauma and validate it for what it was and what happened to you. This is absolutely crucial.
  8. Your body knows more about your trauma than your mind does. Through my work with the International Trauma Healing Institute, I’ve learned about the Somatic Experience method of trauma healing, which is allowing your body to process trauma somatically. Find out where where your trauma is stored in your body and you can greatly accelerate your healing process.
  9. Trauma is often created in the wrong relationships. Trauma is often healed in the right ones. Te Fiti’s heart was stolen when Maui got too close. It makes sense that she would never, ever want to let someone get that close again. Something about Moana, though, let Te Ka know that she could trust her, and she let her get close enough to return the heart to her. Maleficent’s wings were stolen by a prince who told her he loved her but really wanted to exploit her for his own benefit. Maleficent gets her wings back when she and Aurora work together to heal each other.
  10. You are worthy of healing. It would be easy for Te Fiti and Maleficent to say, “I’m ruined. Oh well. That’s it.” But imagine if they had done that. Te Fiti had the sole power to restore the entire island community of the ocean. Maleficent had to restore the forests, and be the voice “for those in the shadows,” as she says. They had shit to do. So do you. So do I. The world needs us.
  11. It’s important to note that getting revenge, helping someone else heal, and finding true love (remember, neither of these loves (between Te Fiti and Moana and Maleficent and Aurora) are romantic love! They are the love between comrades, friends, teachers, students, etc.) don’t automatically heal you. Te Fiti and Maleficent are still traumatised by what happened to them. That’s okay. Now that they are in a safe place, with safe people, and they can heal properly, but we don’t get to see that whole process. They each have breakdowns, anger, confusion, grieving, and shame in their future. They will survive the rise from the ashes just like they survived the trauma.
  12. Romantic love is never, ever worth losing yourself for. Read that again.
  13. We should always question who the real villain is. Not all villains look like villains. Not all heroes look like heroes. Pay attention.
  14. Act when your intuition tells you something is wrong. If something feels off about someone, IT IS. Do not keep quiet. Do everything in your power to address the trauma around the time it’s happening, if you possibly can. Don’t wait to get help. The arc of the moral universe is long, and it bends towards justice (thx, MLK Jr.), but don’t be afraid to help it out a little.
  15. You will be okay. Trauma healing takes time, and you will get to the other side. Just channel our new friends Maleficent and Te Ka.

Love to all,

Sarah ❤

Food for the Brain Foundation Fundraising Dinner

I’ve given public speeches before, but none were quite as vulnerable as this one. I had never disclosed information about my own mental health to a room full of rich, white, did I mention rich? people who we were trying to extract money from. But here I was.

The speech was only allowed to be about 3 minutes as we had a lot else going on that evening, but my boss wanted me to say something about our Step Forward Fund, which is a new program aimed to allow low-income people, often in poverty, get a fully-paid treatment plan at the Brain Bio Centre. This includes all biochemical testing, all supplements, and all therapy appointments. It costs about £1,000 to put one child or adult through the program, which really isn’t that much when you think about it.

I thought I’d share my speech here for those interested. It was an emotional one, because the subject is SO close to my heart, and is still sort of subconsciously shameful, because I feel like it SHOULD be.

“Hello, my name is Sarah Diamond and I’m a team member at the Food for the Brain Foundation and the Brain Bio Centre. I come from a line of strong, creative women who have used the power of nutrition to heal — my grandmother, for example, healed stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer using nutrition. I had been battling severe anxiety and panic disorder since before I can remember, and thought I would feel that way forever. Inspired by my grandmother’s story, I started researching and found the Brain Bio Centre, all the way in London. After learning that nutrition could have the same positive effect on my mental health as it had had on my grandmother’s physical health, I knew I had found something big — something you can’t just find anywhere. I immediately asked if I could volunteer for the charity and clinic remotely, and after a year and half of this, I was on a plane from the US to London to come work here.

The Step Forward Fund, which I’m helping with, is a new project aimed to help low-income people suffering from mental health disorders — anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, autism, ADHD, and more — get access to the Brain Bio Centre through a fully-funded treatment plan. Clients get access to revolutionary biochemical testing, world-class supplements, and of course our incredible nutritional therapists, who know how to interpret symptoms and plan a path forward, out of the dark. As you’ve heard, 1 in 4 people in the UK suffers from a mental health disorder and the lowest 20% income bracket are 3x more likely to develop a mental health disorder. Some have been suffering for years or even decades in silence, after conventional medicine just wasn’t cutting it, not knowing where to turn, thinking that no one cares and that they are in this for life, just like I did.

First I’d like to share a short clip of a previous client, Eddie, who experienced huge success in the Brain Bio Centre.  [shows clip]

So, we get some really incredible results, as you can see.

Claire, one of our first fund clients, has suffered from bipolar disorder for over 22 years. She has periods of okay functioning followed by mania, where she has to be hospitalised, and then experiences severe depression. She says, “Both the mania and depression are quite extreme, particularly the mania for which I almost always get hospitalised, not because I’m a danger to other people, but because I’m a danger to myself.” She says, “I want to stop this cycle, and I’m doing everything I can.”

We’re only in the early days of this program — she has only been in the fund for under a month but is already reporting much better sleep — which as we all know can hugely affect energy levels and overall well-being.

With your generous donation tonight, we can reach a helping hand out to these people, to help them live the lives they’ve always dreamed of — and deserve.”

These are two of my “mama bears” at work who look after me, I love them to bits. The office is quite international; Olga (left) is Peruvian, and Alejandra is Argentinian. We also have team members from India and Italy, and of course the UK 🙂

All in all, I gave a speech about the importance of getting people in need quality mental health care at the fundraising dinner for the organisation that carried me through the hardest mental health time of my life thus far. I was completely candid and open about my struggles with anxiety and panic disorder since I was little. I feel like I grew up tonight. That future self I had always dreamed of; I became her; I met her. I didn’t give a fuck if some old man in the room wasn’t comfortable with what I had to say; this shit needs to be said, so I said it. If people viewed me differently after learning I have a mental health issue, then great. It was emotional.

There’s also a video that was made that interviews me and other team members about the Step Forward Fund; I’ll post that here when I get the final version ❤

Love to all,

Sarah Diamond ❤️

Is Your Anxiety Hurting You or Protecting You?

A dear friend and I were talking and we, obviously, got on the topic of anxiety (I have very special friends :)). We were debating whether, when you get that pang of anxiety about doing something/going somewhere etc., whether it is a sign that you should or should not do that thing.

We decided it’s almost impossible to know, and obviously each circumstance is entirely different and needs to be assessed accordingly. But I was a little more defensive in my answer, based on my experience with this.

You see, my intuition and my anxiety are close. They do things together, and they’ve had 23 years to acquaint themselves with each other. I believe that, now, they work in tandem. They’re on the same team. They help each other send me messages I need to hear.

I think it’s up to you whether your anxiety hurts you or protects you. It’s up to you whether you are going to be a risk-taker or if you’d rather play it safe in any given situation. When we read that sentence, we instinctually think we should be in the former category, but the answer here isn’t that simple: my biggest regrets in life are when I went against what I knew I shouldn’t do and did it anyway, for the sake of a thrill or experience. Those aren’t times I look back on and say, yolo! Those are times I look back on with body-chilling anger, in disbelief that I knew I shouldn’t have done that, and shame that I went against full-body anxiety and a strong intuitive feeling to make someone else happy or, God forbid, “fit in.” I have about five of these. Pretty good. But I’d like to keep it at that — just five.

The best things I’ve done in life were relatively obvious decisions, both at the time and looking back. They were crazy, yes, but they weren’t scary, not exactly. They were exciting. There’s a difference. I don’t subscribe to the idea that everything worthwhile is outside your comfort zone. Maybe I have a big comfort zone — I do love sort of winging it in random countries and hoping I’ll be okay, and I absolutely love public speaking. Not everyone would love those things, I know.

Here’s a little antidote to help make this point, courtesy of Sarah Wilson’s incredible book about anxiety that has become my personal manifesto, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful. She writes:

“About twenty years ago there was a documentary made about the work of Dian Fossey, who followed a tribe of chimps for several years. It gets cited in various guises around the interweb by people interested in the role of mental illness in society. The gist is that in all chimp troops, there always exists a small number that are anxious/depressed and that tend to retreat to the outskirts of the troop, often socially disengaged. Fossey decided to remove these agitated chimps to see what would happen. Six months later the entire community was dead. It was suggested that the anxious chimps were pivotal for survival. Outsiders, they were the ones who were sleeping in the trees on the edge, on the border, on the boundary of the community. Hypersensitive and vigilant, the smallest noise freaked them out and disturbed them so they were awake much of the night anyway. We label such symptoms as anxiety, but back when we were in trees, they were the early warning system for the troop. They were the first to scream, ‘Look out! Look out!'”

Interesting stuff. One of my thoughts when reading this is, why is this my job?! What the heck were the other, non-anxious chimps doing?? Well, it relates to climate change, it relates to disease, it relates to everything ominous in the world, and there’s a lot right now. We know the answer: it’s what everyone is doing in these times of crisis we’re in now — they’re pretending it’s not happening. It’s not necessarily that they don’t care, it’s that they don’t want to have to care. We, on the other hand, don’t have a choice.

My anxiety makes me incapable of “pretending something isn’t happening.” That sucks sometimes, but you know what? It beats living in a world that’s literally just make-believe. We are kidding ourselves if we think we can continue on like this — both in the larger world and in our hearts and minds. Sarah goes on to say:

“As Nietzsche said, ‘He who has a why can endure any how.’ Our ‘why’ today might just be the very important task of crying out, ‘Look out, look out…we’re doing life wrong!’ We, the highly strung, are the advance party who flag to the troops that consumerism is hurting our hearts, that the toxins we’re being fed via Big Pharma and Big Food are making us sick and that… hang on guys! There’s no triumphant finish line in this mad, frantic race. So perhaps we could, um, back off. It’s we, the highly strung, who became meditation instructors, activists, and ranters.”

I love my anxiety. I truly can say that now. I’ve learned, with many years of trial and error and tailoring and really trying to understand its, erm, unique language, how to deal with it, how to embrace it, how to see it. It has kept me from doing things that probably would have annihilated the spark within me; it’s kept me from relationships that would have destroyed me, it’s kept me from talking to bad people, and it’s kept me from getting myself in bad situations in every area of life. It has my back. But it wants me to trust it. It wants my confidence, my knowing. I’ve learned that only when I get mad or frustrated or impatient with it, wanting it to go away, that it really revs up into something unmanageable and scary. If I put more faith in it, I can use it to guide me; I can use it as the secret manual to how to do life well that only a few get access to. I know that sounds sort of religious. Maybe it is.

”If I put more faith in it, I can use it to guide me; I can use it as the secret manual to how to do life well that only a few get access to. I know that sounds sort of religious. Maybe it is.”

Sometimes my anxiety knows better than I do.

On the flip side, my anxiety has pushed me to do things that were perhaps a little out there and ridiculous, but also so, so obvious and important, and fundamental to me becoming who I am. I was so worried about the food systems we exist in, and how it all worked, that I traveled all over the world in college to figure it out and actually get it, so I would have a better chance of doing something about it. Anxiety is also the voice that says, “How could you not do this? You can’t just sit around. You’re only here for a little while. There are things you need to do. Go do them. There are problems. Go fix them.”

When I was leaving for London three months ago, I was on the verge of a panic attack as I was leaving. I asked my Mom why my heart was beating so fast and I felt like I could punch something or run from a tiger or fling myself into outer space (lol!) I asked her why my body and mind must torture me like this, why can’t they just calm the heck down and let me manage this.

She said, because your body is trying to help you do something big. It’s getting you ready to go out and fight. Why would you be able to do that without this added energy? And you wouldn’t have made plans to leave without it pushing you.

Damn.

So, there’s the kind of anxiety that comes to help you do something, and then there’s the kind that comes to prevent you from doing something.

So, how do you know which one it is? Which anxiety is there to give you power to do something and which is there to give you power to walk away? That’s the intuitive part, that’s the part that takes long years to decipher. It’s really about asking this simple question:

2 types of risk:

Risk towards your success.

Risk towards your demise.

Which is this?

And you’ll, hopefully, have your answer. If you can’t decide, I hate to say it, but it’s probably the latter. If something could be towards your demise, you should probably quietly and quickly get the hell out of there. 

As my other favourite writer, in addition to my beloved Sarah Wilson, Gavin de Becker, wrote in his book The Gift of Fear: 

“You have the gift of a brilliant internal guardian that stands ready to warn you of hazards and guide you through risky situations.”

It’s called your intuition, which often manifests itself and tries to communicate through anxiety and panic. Your job is just to stop ignoring it.

So next time you are frustrated with your anxiety, I implore you to really think about what’s going on, and then decide what you’re going to do about it. It’s not always a bad thing. It’s there for you. Learning not to be scared by that nauseous feeling, those sweaty palms, that rapidly beating heart, that tingly feeling in your arms, and that stomach ache is step 1.

Step 1 is always the hardest.

Love to all,

Sarah ❤

Trauma/C/PTSD Playlist

 

Tomorrow, it will be a year since my no-good, very bad breakdown last year. I’m scared about this week. My life changed forever last year on May 28th. I’m doing a lot of self-care stuff leading up to this day, and will be probably forever and ever. So I finally put all the songs that have helped me out this last year in one playlist, to share with you, if you are in need of some extra fight. From Sia (so much Sia!!!) to Carly Simon, from new favourites to those loveable ballads that you just really need sometimes, these songs will help you out when you’re in a flashback, panic attack, anxiety episode, or a feeling of sadness about what’s happened to you.

Love to all, please take care of yourselves!!!!!!! ❤

Enjoy and please let me know if you have other recommendations in the comments!!!

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0ygVyb79xFXYikbh4idpOl?si=hwoyXp8kTr-kEGOA2D_-eA

  • I Believe You — Fletcher

“It’s the sick to your stomach feeling with a

smile on your face; it’s the memory you

ignore but you can’t erase; are you holding

back something that you’re dying to say;

Me too; girl, I believe you; are you losing

your mind thinking what will it take to make

someone listen to you; me too; did you know

every battle that you’ve ever faced is making

you bulletproof; it’s a piece of yourself that

you let go; you want to scream but just can’t

find the air.”

    • Footprints — Sia

“I saw only two footprints in the sand, thought

you’d abandoned me and let go of my hand;

but you were carrying me,

carrying me to safety.”

    • Praying — Kesha

“You brought the flames and you put me

through hell; We both know the truth I could

tell. I hope you find your peace, falling on

your knees; I hope you’re somewhere praying.”

    • You Don’t Own Me — Hanne Leland

“Blazing through the night, ain’t looking back;

leaving you behind; took all I had, I’m fighting;

I thought you should know: you can take my pride,

leave me with the shame; you can talk about me,

call me names; you’ll never, ever own me,

you’ll never, ever own me; now watch me as I rise,

from ashes of what has been.”

    • Battle Cry — Angel Haze, Sia

“You’re the only person alive that hold the key to

your healing so you take it, and you run with it,

and keep going, even when your sun’s hidden,

because the time we spend in darkness when

the rain comes is where we often find the light

soon as the pain’s done; man they can’t do

anything that you’re about to.”

    • Strongest (Alan Walker Remix) — Ina Wroldsen

“I will be the strongest that he ever knew, I will be

there when he needs a love strong enough, I will

carry this ship for us, no matter how bad the storm,

I will be the strongest that he ever knew, and we’ll

leave you alone.”

    • The Ocean Chose You — Moana Soundtrack

This one is instrumental but you’ll see why it’s on here

when you listen to it 🙂

    • Blackbird — The Beatles

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these

broken wings and learn to fly, all your life you were only

waiting for this moment to arise.”

    • You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile (2014 Film Version) — Sia

“But if you stand for nothing you’ll fall for it all…And if you

stand for something’ you can have it all, cause if it’s real

your love will never die.”

(Ps I see this song as me claiming back my smile — the one

I have for ME and the people I love — from all the disgusting

men who have ever told me to smile.) 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Byegone — Volcano Choir

“The door is wide open; somewhere I heard you

scream; set sail.”

    • Golden Slumbers — Dua Lipa

“Once there was a way to get back homeward;

sleep pretty darlin’, do not cry, and I will sing a lullabye.”

    • Barbies — P!NK

“I wish I could go back to playing barbies in my

room, they never say that you gotta grow up quite

this soon; how fast things change, and now I’m

here and all I wanna do is go back to playing barbies

in my room.”

    • Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself — Jess Glynne

“I WAS RIGHT AND YOU WERE WRONG BEEN TELLING

MYELF ALL ALONG.” (I like to belt this part hehe) 🙂 🙂

    • Girl On Fire — Alicia Keys

“This girl is on fire; she’s walking on fire; filled with

catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away; she’s got

her head in the clouds, and she’s not backing down.”

    • Quiet — MILCK

“Put on your face, know your place, shut up and

smile; don’t spread your wings; I can’t keep quiet,

a one-woman riot; no I can’t keep quiet, for anyone.”

    • What About Us — P!NK

“What about all the broken happy ever afters?

We are children who need to be loved. What about us?”

    • I Hope You Dance — Lee Ann Womack

“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside

the ocean; whenever one door closes I hope one

more opens; promise me that you’ll give faith a

fighting chance; and when you get the choice

to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”

    • Piece by Piece – Kelly Clarkson

“Piece by piece he restored my faith that a man

can be kind.”

    • Over the Rainbow — Israel IZ Kamakawiwo’ole

“Someday I’ll wish upon a star, wake up where

the clouds are far behind me, where trouble melts like

lemon drops, high above the chimney tops, that’s

where you’ll find me. Somewhere over the rainbow,

bluebirds fly…And the dreams that you dream of,

dreams really do come true.”

    • Try — Colbie Callait

“Put your makeup on, run the extra mile, keep it

slim so they like you; get your sexy on,

don’t be shy girl, take it off, this is what you want,

to belong, so they like you; You don’t have to try so hard,

you don’t have to give it all away; do you like you?”

    • Rise — Eddie Vedder

“Gonna rise up, burning black holes in dark

memories, turning mistakes into gold.”

    • Kingdom — Michael Ketterer

“Let them be forgiven, let them be fathered;

welcome to the kingdom, my sons and daughters.”

    • Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) — Billy Joel

“And you should always know, no matter where

you go, no matter where you are, I never

will be far away.”

    • Satellite Call — Sara Bareilles

“This is for the ones who believe they are the

cause of chaos.”

    • On My Way — Reo Cragun

“Don’t you look back, no don’t you slow down,

don’t you look down, we’re at new heights now.”

    • Warrior — Demi Lovato

“Now I’m a warrior, now I’ve got thicker skin;

my armour is made of steel, you can’t get in;

now I’m a warrior, and you can never hurt me again.”

    • Chasing the Sun — Sara Bareilles

“All we can do is try, and live like we’re still

alive; the gift of my heartbeat sounds like a symphony.”

    • Coming Around Again / Itsy Bitsy Spider — Carly Simon

“The Itsy Bitsy spider climbed up the water spout,

down come the rain, and washed the spider out;

out come the sun, and dried up all the rain, and

the Itsy Bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.”

    • Birdie — Avril Lavigne

“He clipped her wings when she was born to fly;

how can I escape this place, and go

higher; you can’t hold me down; so birdie, fly away.”

    • Fast Car — Jonas Blue, Dakota (originally Tracy Chapman)

“We’ve got to make a decision, leave tonight

or live and die this way.”

    • It’s Quiet Uptown — Kelly Clarkson (The Hamilton Mixtapes)

“The moments when you’re in so deep, it

feels easier to just swim down, and so they

move uptown, and learn to live with the unimaginable.”

    • The Light Is Coming — Ariana Grande

“The light is coming to take back everything

the darkness stole.”

    • Shine — Raiche

“I’ve been growing wings, now I’m ready

to fly. I could take over the world, believe it,

no giving up, I’m in control, I’m gonna

shine right now.”

    • How Far I’ll Go — Auli’i Cravalho

“See the light where the sky meets the

sea, it calls me; if the wind in my sail in the sea

stays behind me; if I go there’s just no

telling how far I’ll go.”

    • Found/Tonight — Ben Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda

“Have you ever felt like nobody was there;

have you ever felt forgotten in the middle

of nowhere; have you ever felt like you

could disappear, and no one would hear;

well, let that lonely feeling wash away,

cause maybe there’s a reason to

believe you’ll be okay.”

    • Rise Up — Andra Day

“You’re broken down and tired of living

life on a merry go round; I’ll rise up, I’ll rise

like the day, I’ll do it a thousand times again.”

  • Brother — Kodaline

“I’ve got you brother.”

  • The Middle — Jimmy Eat World

“You know they’re all the same, you know

you’re doing better on your own, so don’t buy in.”

    • Keep Holding On — Avril Lavigne

“You’re not alone, together we stand;

keep holding on, cause you know we’ll make it

through; just stay strong, cause you

know I’m here for you.”

    • Wings — Little Mix

“Mama told me not to waste my life,

she said spread your wings my little butterfly;

don’t let what they say keep you up

at night, they can’t detain you, these

wings are meant to fly.”

    • Road Less Traveled — Lauren Alaina

“You won’t make yourself a name if you

follow the rules; if you trust your rebel heart

right into battle, don’t be afraid,

take the road less traveled.”

    • Church Bells — Carrie Underwood

“Jenny slipped something in his

Tennessee whiskey, no law man was

ever gonna find,

and how he died is still a mystery,

but he hit a woman for the very last time.”

  • Phoenix — Olivia Holt“It’s your time now,

let them see you rise; go and claim your kingdom,

slay all your demons, I know you know where

you belong; don’t look now, but you’re off the ground.”

    • Happily Ever After — Jordan Fisher, Angie Keilhauer

“Setting out for a new tomorrow, every

step we take brings a new hope, a new day.”

    • Lift Me Up— Kate Voegele

“So can you lift me up and turn the ashes

into flames, cause I have overcome

more than words will ever say, and I’ve

been given hope that there’s a light

on up the hall, and that

a day will come when the fight is won, and I think that day has just begun.”

    • Future Looks Good — One Republic

“You are the future, and the future looks good.”

    • You’ll Be Okay — A Great Big World

“You’ll be okay, the sun will rise to better days, and change will come,

it’s on its way, just close your eyes, and let it rain.”

    • A Million Dreams — P!NK

“We can live in a world that we design;

cause every night I lie in bed, the brightest

colours fill my head, I think of what the world

could be, a million dreams is all it’s gonna take,

a million dreams of the world we’re gonna make.”

    • High Hopes — Panic! At the Disco

“Didn’t know how but I always had a feeling,

I was gonna be that one in a million.”

    • Circle of Life — The Lion King Soundtrack

    • Thunderclouds — LSD

“Turn your fears into trust; there in the ashes

your soul cries out, but don’t be afraid

of these thunderclouds.”

    • Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken — P!NK

“There’s not enough rope to tie me down,

there’s not enough tape to shut this mouth.”

    • Death Of A Hero — Alec Benjamin

“That night I put my youth in a casket, and buried

it inside of me, that night I saw

through all the magic, now I’m a witness to the

death of a hero.”

    • Never Give Up — Sia

“I won’t ever give up, I won’t let you get me down

, I”ll keep getting up when

I hit the ground, I’ll find my way.”

    • Innocence — Avril Lavigne

“This innocence is brilliant, I hope that it will

stay, this moment is perfect, please

don’t go away, I need you now, and I’ll hold

on to it, don’t you let it pass you by.”

    • Requiem — Jump Little Children

“It’s up to you, for every passing day, to not

let the past pass away, and it’s

up to you, now that you understand, to

take those who don’t by the hand.”

    • I Lived — One Republic

“I hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay.

And I hope that you don’t suffer,

but take the pain, hope when the moment comes

, you’ll say: ‘I did it all, I owned every

second that this world could give, I saw so

many places, and things that I did;

with every broken bone, I swear I lived.

    • Nightingale — Demi Lovato

“I need a voice to echo, I need a star to follow,

could really use your melody, can you be my nightingale.”