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Victim vs Survivor

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I keep hearing people talk about being a victim vs being a survivor. In fact, I hear the survivor thing about all kinds of things. Cancer, domestic violence, heart attack.

I have never liked either one of those words. Especially now with that TV show, Survivor, which I would not personally want to be associated with. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be called a victim. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be called a statistic.

But none of those titles feel like they apply to me. Even the positive, powerful label of survivor. I don’t want to be called a survivor.

Because that title still defines me by the things that happened to me. And the things that were done to me. The outside influences of the world may have shaped who I am. But they are not who I am.

I am me. And that encompasses a lot of things. I, like most people, contain multitudes. I’m complicated. I don’t want to be one word, one thing, one experience.

I want to be everything that I am. And everything that I am can’t be summed up and easily labeled. Nor do I want it to be.

Calling me a survivor doesn’t mean I am always tough. It doesn’t mean my suffering is over. It doesn’t mean I handled my challenges well, or even at all. I bristle at the word.

I have been through so much in my life. So many hard things. I don’t want it to be bottled up and sanitized and distilled into one, quite frankly, bland word.

I haven’t come up with something better. But I know something better is out there. Something that is more than an easy label. More than a blanket statement that isn’t one size fits all, at least not for me.

I want a word or phrase that isn’t just about surviving, subsisting, getting by. I don’t want my life to be something I overcome. I want it to be something I experienced. And lived. And thrived. And mostly enjoyed.

Does anyone have any suggestions?


8 responses »

  1. I am surviving.

    If you say that to someone who asks, it makes them think about it a bit.

  2. I share your annoyance with the term. Evolving…best I got right now.

    • Evolving is good. I have lately been thinking of the term fighter. I don’t normally endorse violent imagery. But that’s what I believe I am doing every day. I am fighting off my old beliefs and challenges and growing and becoming a better, healthier person. Plus, I like the idea of being a domestic violence fighter. What do you think?


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