I just watched the movie Bridesmaids on HBO On Demand and at the end of the movie Wilson Phillips came out to sing the song Hold On. I remember hearing that song when I was a teenager and thinking about how powerful a message it was because I was ready to give up and kill myself many times, but this song would give me another day to “hold on” to see what tomorrow brings. That isn’t hyperbole either.
I’m sure nobody needs to have this song broken down and interpreted, but indulge me for a few minutes because I want to explain how I take and interpret the lyrics of this song for myself.
“I know this pain. Why do lock yourself up in these chains? No one can change your life except for you. Don’t ever let anyone step all over you. Just open your heart and your mind. Is it really fair to feel this way inside?”
Now, this is the beginning of the song, it starts out with “I know this pain” and I immediately think of Carny Wilson because of the discrimination she had to deal with during this period of her life. During shooting of their videos, she was pushed in the back so people couldn’t see her weight, which is totally unfair because no matter how skinny or overweight she was, she was a gorgeous woman inside and out and she was part of the group, not a backup singer. I know the song isn’t about that, I know it’s about relationships.
“Why do you lock yourself up in these chains?” To me that means that you are (the victim of any abuse) shutting down to the world. You are punishing yourself for what is happening to you. You don’t deserve to imprison yourself for what someone else is doing to you.
“No one can change your life except for you. Don’t let anyone step all over you.” This is true. Just like in my book I said that it won’t get better until you stop letting people rule you. Not in those words, but that was the message.
“Just open your heart and your mind, is it really fair to feel this way inside?” This is also true. You (the victim) have closed your heart and your mind because you know things aren’t going to change and you don’t want to let anyone in because you are so afraid of being disappointed. That isn’t fair to you. You have to give everyone a chance and act as if you are starting over from scratch with every new person you meet as if you had never been abused in the first place. Let your life start over with that new person.
“Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye. Until then baby are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know? Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way if you hold on for one more day. Can you hold on for one more day? Things’ll go your way Hold on for one more day”
The chorus always gets me. That’s where the tears just start flowing. This is telling me that some day my step father and my sisters are going to force me to say goodbye, to basically burn my bridge with them. Until then (baby) am I going to let them hold me down and make me cry means that I need to stay strong until that day finally comes when I can just tell them that I can’t take their abuse anymore and I’m done with it all, that I never want to see them again. Don’t you know things will change if you hold on for one more day, things will go my way (to me) means that I just need to be patient because it will get better eventually. See what tomorrow brings, perhaps it might be better.
Last one I promise.
“You could sustain, or are you comfortable with the pain? You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness. You got yourself into your own mess. Lettin’ your worries pass you by. Don’t you think it’s worth your time to change your mind?”
“You could sustain, or are you comfortable with the pain?” That to me was kind of confusing at first because who is comfortable with the pain? But then it occurred to me that perhaps you are comfortable with it because that is all you know. Like for example, I grew up with daily smacks to the face and the head, being yelled at constantly and being punished for just having a pulse. I got so used to it that I didn’t even know it was bad.
Ok this one I had an issue with at first. “You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness. You got yourself into your own mess. Lettin’ your worries pass you by. Don’t you think it’s worth your time to change your mind?” I know this part isn’t meant for a child abuse victim, it is meant for a woman who is in a bad relationship. She got herself into this mess because she refuses to leave her no good wife beating husband or boyfriend.
I know this song wasn’t written for everyone, but we can all interpret it to our own situation if that is what we need to do. A woman who is in a bad relationship can interpret it for her situation, a gay child can interpret it to their situation and a child abuse victim can interpret it to their situation as well. Everyone can use this song to pick themselves up off the ground because it has a good message. Basically, hang in there, don’t let what other people (bullies, asshole boyfriends/husbands, abusive parents) do to you to keep you from living your life the way you should live it. Once you are away from that person, you will learn that your life will get a whole lot better, and isn’t that worth holding on for one more day? Things WILL go your way.