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How ‘This Is Me’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’ Became My Personal Anthem of Empowerment

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I found myself at the cinema with my husband and two young children on a Friday night, despite my insistence I needed to just be alone and sleep. I snapped at my husband, shrouded in irritation for his pushing me to get out. I was sure to fulfill my fear that I would not only have a lousy time, but everyone else would as well in my poor company.

Tickets were sold out to the movie he was eager to watch so my husband bought tickets to a kid’s show while I grumbled that I knew I should’ve stayed home. And then suddenly, he pulled my hand and whispered urgently, “come on!” We passed our movie’s designated room and snuck into a different crowded theater with our excited kids following closely behind. My husband managed to find the last available seats while I chided him for breaking the rules to watch a film about a circus that was likely highly overrated.

But when the music began along with the lyrics, “I am not a stranger to the dark,” my body froze in full attention. I heard my piercing, poisonous depressive thoughts echoing out loud. “‘Hide away,’ they say, ‘cause we don’t want your broken parts. I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars. ‘Run away,’ they say. ‘No one will love you as you are.’”

Tears began to well up as a lump formed in my throat. I’ve found music that can articulate my deepest thoughts and emotions before. But unlike many other songs I identify with due to my depression, the tempo picked up for the chorus, along with my heartbeat. “When the sharpest words wanna cut me down, I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out. I am brave; I am bruised. I am who I’m meant to be; this is me.”

My heart seemed ready to burst from my chest with empowerment and hope for the first time in a long time. And though depression still throws sharp, dark thoughts at me regularly, I turn up the volume to release the tension and negativity while I sing at the top of my lungs. “I know that I deserve your love, ‘cause there’s nothing I’m not worthy of.”

I will drown out my depression and conquer this. I am a beautiful, worthy, talented and loved individual and if I ever forget, I have my anthem to remind me.

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Originally published: March 1, 2018
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