I liked this song from the first time I heard it to the last time I heard it…which was recently because I watched the video. Only I thought it was Rihanna singing, not Sia. I thought it had a good tune and I enjoyed it. I never really paid attention to the lyrics. Then I watched the video and saw people calling it porno. Say what?!
I saw a little girl dancing, granted it was an odd type of dance as she’s jagged in some places and looking like she’s going mad in others but in general, this girl is, well… dancing! There’s no porno moves, she’s not being overly sexual, she’s just doing a dance in an empty, albeit decrepit looking, house by herself. Oh but people like to make noise, don’t they? She’s dancing in a flesh coloured leotard and she’s wearing a bit of makeup. Oh my god, sound the alarms! Kid being exploited! Let’s get serious. At first glance, I thought it was just a kid in a house dancing around because her parents weren’t home so she had free roam. What’s a girl to do but put on makeup and run around naked?! No? Y’all didn’t do that as kids? Hmmm…. OK… fiiiiinnnneee then! I know my kid liked to run around naked when she was a toddler and I admit, the freedom of naked is nice but well, we’re a civilised society aren’t we? No no, we must wear clothes at all times! Hell, I’m still waiting for people to start taking showers and baths in swimsuits because god forbid we’re ever naked… people have sex with clothes on, all we need is a crotchless panty that looks full and a fly with the zipper open but in general god no, we don’t touch skin! Oy….
So yeah, I can see why people are calling this porn or why it’s disturbing to see someone run naked and free. But is it right? Not if you’re so sexualised yourself (read: you need to get laid) that you see everything as some kind of sexual act. So please, take measures into your own hands (if you can’t find someone else) and CHILLAX!!
Seriously, stop looking for things that aren’t there! Anyway, back to the song. From what I’m told, it’s supposed to be about Sia’s journey through alcoholism. The video makes sense now. If you’ve ever been depressed or addicted, this might make sense to you. As a child, all you can do is cope with what little control you have over circumstances. You’re vulnerable and in a sense, naked, for all to see but you can’t let them see. You must be the perfect child or something went wrong and you get beaten. I don’t know if Sia got beaten but I did. I wasn’t perfect enough.
Maybe now the naked and free comment I made earlier makes better sense to you now or maybe you still think I’m weird. No biggie. The point is, the little girl in the video is doing what she can. She’s trying to dance her way through this hell of a life. She has no parents or they’re absent, she has no food, she has no on really there for herself… she’s drowning in her own life. That’s addiction. And in a sense, depression is a type of addiction. You’re addicted to being sad or to being taken cared of or something like that. At least that’s how it was for me.
It was much easier to be sad than to actually do something about it. Emotional growth is a bitch and it’s hard to do. I imagine kicking off an addiction is similar if not worse than that. It’s easier to medicate yourself with something than to deal with something for real. The emotional pain you felt as a child. Easier to drink/smoke it away, eat it away, cry it away, sell yourself short, put yourself down, ANYTHING to make it go away outside of facing it… It’s a lot harder to face those demons when you’re sober… a lot harder to slay them when you know what they are and what they’ve done to you. So yeah, I understand how one can stay addicted for ever. Some just never want to move on…
Let’s move on to the lyrics:
Party girls don’t get hurt/Can’t feel anything, when will I learn/I push it down, push it down
When I was at my worst, this is how I felt. I was numb and I spent many years being numb. Not hurt, not happy, not anything, just surviving my own worst war. I pushed everything down and I avoided confrontation of any kind. I wasn’t promiscuous, I didn’t do anything stupid, didn’t gamble my money away, and I didn’t get into any addictions. And by that I mean I didn’t go out and get drunk, do drugs, or smoke things. I just drew, listened to music, and I slept, a lot.
I’m the one “for a good time call”/Phone’s blowin’ up, they’re ringin’ my doorbell/I feel the love, feel the love
I’ve heard drunk or wasted girls always get attention because they’re so “easy” and lord knows boys like easy girls. They don’t have to pay for sex, just find the wasted chick and go there. The girl, starving for affection, goes yeah I’m being loved! And I can relate to this in some weird way. When I was younger, all I wanted was love but it never happened. When I got older I jumped from boyfriend to boyfriend and it didn’t really matter who he was. I didn’t get sexual with all of them but the feeling was the same. As long as I was with “someone” I was OK. I was loved. This, sadly, translated to sex equals love. And though I still didn’t get promiscuous, I had sex every chance I had and everywhere I could, which of course, the guy I was with loved. Up until recently, I had yet to meet a guy who didn’t love to have sex every day at least once or thrice… But the sex was always empty. I loved the moment, but not the after. With my last ex I felt like I had sold out my soul. Thinking back, I played it safe, but I could have easily been a promiscuous girl.
Sia’s Pre-Chorus goes like this:
1,2,3 1,2,3 drink/1,2,3 1,2,3 drink/1,2,3 1,2,3 drink/Throw ’em back, ’til I lose count
I think mine went more like 123 boink… you get what I mean… keep going til I can’t feel anymore… Til I’m sore and walking funny because I know I was loved right… I was delusional… so was the girl in this song…
And we move into the chorus:
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier/I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist/Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry/I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I lived a lot like this too. My chandelier was moving on through life but not really living. I lived like tomorrow didn’t exist and as I child I had so hoped it didn’t… but well, as you can see… it did.. I cried at night and prayed to die… I cried in the morning when I didn’t… those tears were hot and when they dried, it felt like slime from a slug, but it was proof I was still alive…and at the time, that wasn’t a good thing. As I got older, the rest of the chorus resonates with me.
It goes like this:
But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes/Keep my glass full until morning light, ‘cos I’m just holding on for tonight/Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes/Keep my glass full until morning light, ‘cos I’m just holding on for tonight/On for tonight
I had given up the dream of dying so my job was just to survive the day or the parts where it wasn’t OK to sleep. I held on to what dear life I had…that light inside all of us…but it was buried under everything else. I didn’t look anywhere, didn’t do anything, I just floated along in life, aimless and helpless. I kept my “glass full” at night by sleeping. But the feeling was the same… if I could sleep…I could get away from this hell… I could live while I slept…I could dream and be somewhere else. That’s how my book came about… all those dreams kept me sane… It’s why I called it “In Dreams She Slept” and why it went from one book to a series. I put it up in Kindle if anyone is interested or you can message me but I’m not going to talk about it here. I added writing to the mix of music, art, and sleeping. This helped me more than any therapy had ever done. Now let’s me go back to the song.
Sun is up, I’m a mess/Gotta get out now, gotta run from this/Here comes the shame, here comes the shame
I was a mess because I slept too much… the shame wasn’t in sleeping… the shame was that I had to live this life. That I was sure everyone could tell I was messed up…and I was… I was all kinds of screw up in my own head. I worked but didn’t do anything brilliant. I ate but couldn’t taste anything. I couldn’t smell the roses even if I wanted to because everything was always poisoned. In Sia’s song, the shame came from being that “drunk girl” again. And from what I’m told, people who drink or do drugs can’t help themselves. Even if they want to stop, they can’t because the shame throws them into another spiral which makes them want to get drunk/wasted again. In my case, it was the I’m worthless so why am I hear spiral. And I fell deeper and deeper into depression or what I called, fatigue.
Sia’s song, after this, goes back to pre chorus and chorus but the message is that all you want to do is hold on… pass the horrid by medicating yourself any way you can. Fly like a bird through the night… you’re blind but keep going anyway… you go crazy in your own head…perhaps you go crazy out in the real world too…and there’s nothing you can do because you’re spinning around in circles and nothing you can do stops that.
In my case I went to get therapy and I got into more trouble. It wasn’t until I faced my demons that everything stopped spinning. Now therapy works for some people and for others it’s a huge disaster. It was for me. It made me need to hide everything I ever felt because I needed to stay out of the mental institution. I had to pretend I was more or less normal or else I would die for real… And by that time, it’s not what I wanted. I had a child, you see, and I was alone. Dying was NOT an option. So I swallowed more fears and drank away my tears. I was… normal…
It could have been easy to drink my trouble away. It could have been easy to smoke them or drug them away. But that wasn’t me… I became a control freak, which oddly enough, I’m told, so are some addicts. So can I really say I wasn’t addicted to anything? I don’t know… I could argue I was addicted to sex and I was addicted to sleeping…I also became a hoarder…not to extremes in any of these categories, mind you, but the traits are still there.
The thing about addiction, depression, and everything else in life is that the only one who can “fix it” is you. You are the ONLY key! And like I said, the demons are very hard to slay and you have to go through more tears and more emotional hell before you can come out the other side. I’m no longer depressed. Now I have to deal with different demons. I’m not out of the woods at all, but I’m further down the road then I was from childhood, to teens, to mid 20’s. So if you’re struggling with something, please don’t despair. There IS a way out and there IS hope. And if you need an ear, a shoulder, a hand (as much as I can hold your hand via internet, I mean) give me a jingle. I don’t know if I’ve already said too much but I hope at least some of it helps you. Music saved my life and it still saves my soul from time to time. People tell stories through music, art, and writing. My drawings/paintings, so far, haven’t told a story, at least not to me, so I tell mine through words, but I hope between all of us (writers, artists, musicians) we can both heal or help those that need it.