I can distinctly remember the first time I heard Rachel Platten’s Fight Song.
It was a cold, rainy night in April**, and I was walking across an abandoned Ag Quad on Virginia Tech’s campus, heading back to my dorm. I was coming upon the end of my freshman year of college, and I was feeling extremely discouraged. Despite making many close friends that now seemed like sisters, I still felt like I didn’t belong. At the time, I felt like I didn’t belong in college (looking back, college wasn’t the problem; I didn’t belong at Virginia Tech). This was extremely disheartening to me; I had struggled through depression and anxiety in high school, and it was huge personal accomplishment to not only have made it to college, but to have made it to a good college. College had been my new beginning, my fresh start.
At a glance, it had been just that: a fresh start that went extremely well. I had made extremely good grades first semester, I had joined a club, made friends with the girls on my hall, and my roommate and I were inseparable. These things would have been virtually impossible just one year before, thanks to my severe anxiety. All I heard when I went home for christmas break was how much I had changed, how proud everyone was of me. The people pleaser in me rejoiced at this. Rightly so, because it was the people pleaser in me that had landed me at Virginia Tech in the first place. However, I had begun having doubts. I was a Texas girl, 1500 miles away from home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. At first, it was an exciting new adventure. For the first time ever, I got to experience the leaves bursting into the brilliant colors of fall; I’ll never forget having my breath taken away when I awoke to a campus covered in snow, a veritable winter wonderland. Despite all this, though, I wasn’t happy. I missed the warm winter temperatures of Texas. I missed the intensity of the Texas sun; I often complained to my friends that I could never feel the sun on my skin in Virginia. They just rolled their eyes at me. And then there was the matter of my classmates. Many of them referred to Virginia Tech as a southern school, but it just wasn’t. Most of the kids were from New England and the Washington D.C. area. While everyone on campus was friendly, it was missing the southern hospitality that is found everywhere in Texas. There was much more of a Northern attitude on campus, which can feel very alienating to a southerner (no, I’m not trying to start the second Civil War, it’s just a fact). I was homesick for my state. Every time I approached the topic of transferring though, I was guilted into thinking I was running home. That I was quitting. And I refused to be a quitter.
I remember hearing the first strains of the song as I hunched my shoulders against the cold drizzle, and completely stopping in my steps. The words that came next filled me with such a strong sense of hope that I could only stop and listen, completely ignoring the chill seeping through my thin rain jacket.
“This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”
I wanted that feeling. I wanted to take my life back. I wanted to be strong, to have the courage to follow my dreams that no one else but me believed in me. Because if there was anything I had proved to myself through my struggle in high school, it was that I did have a lot of fight left in me. I had a hell of a lot of fight in me. And it was time I started using it.
Now, I didn’t find the courage in me to follow my dreams until July. By that time, it was a bit too late for one particular dream, and it had to be put on hold. But other dreams? I was finally following them. For now, I’m back home in Texas. I’m finally blogging about things that matter to me, like mental illness, and surviving depression, and hope. And that’s a huge start. I followed my heart, and I’m so happy I did. I found my fight song, and as a result, I found my hope.
I know I’m not the only one who has been deeply affected by this song. It has gone viral in the past few months. SO many other people have found their fight songs, and that brings me so much joy. Music has the ability to touch lives in a unique way, and I’m so proud of Rachel Platten for realizing that, and for using her talents to change peoples’ lives. I can only hope to be that awesome someday. For now, I’ll continue to play Fight Song when I feel defeated. She’s right, I shouldn’t care if no one else believes in me, because I have a lot of fight left in me. I have a fire in me that’s burning extremely bright, and it’s propelling me toward wonderful things. Depression can break you, but hope can heal you. Following your dreams, believing in them, can heal you more than you ever could have imagined. Don’t ever doubt yourself.
**note: the Fight Song EP was released May 11, 2015, however the Fight Song single was released a bit earlier than that. Just a note, so people don’t think I’m lying about the date 🙂