When all is lost, be your own raft
July 18, 2019 7:30 AM   Subscribe

My dear friend is about to leave their abuser. What songs, works of art and writing will aid them in this final push?

This is the closest they've ever been to escape; I think it may actually happen this time. Since we live far away from each other, I want to make them a digital care package that says "I am strong!" "I grieve..." and "Fuck you, I won't be treated this way." I envision a playlist they can loop when things are rough, plus a suite of links to searing images and short pieces of writing.

My friend lives for ugly/beautiful, nuanced aesthetic creations. Their immaculate taste is the one thing their abuser has never been able to touch. Right now they are ping-ponging between fear, heartbreak, a growing sense of power, a desire for safety, bittersweet memories, deep anger and fantasies of revenge. Art has always been their best tool for processing their feelings. I think being able to get lost in worlds where They Win! Despite Great Losses would be helpful right now. They are a wide reader and love photography, painting, queer fashion and electro/pop music.

(I am not worried that this care package will result in retaliatory action. We have a safe channel for passing along messages and even if it were compromised, physical violence has not been a primary tool of abuse so far. Can't rule it out, but it seems unlikely.)
posted by aw jeez to Media & Arts (31 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Mountain Goats - No Children
posted by Captain_Science at 7:34 AM on July 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Kesha's album Rainbow. If she listens to vinyl, the record album and packaging are also beautiful.
posted by sockermom at 7:41 AM on July 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

When Will You Die and Let's Get This Over With, TMBG

As Cool As I Am, Dar Williams (even if they are not a woman, it still reads)

I Can't Decide, Scissor Sisters

"I Say No" -- Heathers, the musical (if they like power ballads)
posted by Countess Elena at 7:55 AM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This Year by the Mountain Goats, as well.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:15 AM on July 18, 2019 [4 favorites]

Get Better - Frank Turner
posted by Attackpanda at 8:31 AM on July 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

Independence Day by Martina McBride.
posted by Night_owl at 8:35 AM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Let It Go, from the Frozen movie. I know it's cliche but damn if it's not cathartic as hell to sing along with.
posted by sleeping bear at 8:53 AM on July 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

IT'S OVER by ANIIML. Video is powerful; maybe too spot on for the situation.
posted by kochenta at 8:54 AM on July 18, 2019

I made a spotify playlist.

It's called Freedom and it's mostly full of things that a person who is emotionally hurting can shout / scream / dance along to.

All lyrics reinforce that Freedom is good because the person that they left is TOXIC.

Link to Playlist

Songs featured

[ In no particular order because I only have free Spotify, also some are explicit non radio versions]

Freedom - George Michael
Get Out My Head - Redlight
New Rules - Dua Lipa
I Believed In You - Skunk Anansie
Empress - RAY BLK
No Scrubs - TLC
One Girl Revolution - Superchick
Alive - Sia
Stitches - Shawn Mendes
Needle in A Haystack - The Velvettes
IDGAF - Dua Lipa
Irreplaceable - Beyonce
U + Ur Hand - Pink
This Is Me - Cast of The Greatest Showman

posted by Faintdreams at 8:56 AM on July 18, 2019 [4 favorites]

Also I hope your friend remains safe and manages to permanently escape from their abusive situation.
posted by Faintdreams at 8:57 AM on July 18, 2019

Boy from Tupelo - Emmy Lou Harris
Changed the Locks - Lucinda Williams
No Guilt - The Waitresses
posted by veery at 9:18 AM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sledgehammer by Rihanna was the song that unexpectedly became my power-track-on-repeat during similar circumstances.
posted by somanyamys at 9:29 AM on July 18, 2019

A few more from my playlist during that time...

Stay Alive - Jose Gonzalez
White Flag - Joseph
Ride This Out - Imaginary Cities
posted by somanyamys at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2019

Stand by Sly and the Family Stone. This song helped me past my abusers and PTSD. Lyrics first verse:

In the end you'll still be you
One that's done all the things you set out to do
There's a cross for you to bear
Things to go through if you're going anywhere
posted by Homer42 at 11:07 AM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mary Oliver - The Journey
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:34 AM on July 18, 2019

No man's mama by Carolina Chocolate Drops.
posted by Thug at 11:36 AM on July 18, 2019

No More Drama - Mary J. Blige
posted by fuse theorem at 12:22 PM on July 18, 2019

Best answer: Good As Hell - Lizzo

Pretty sure it's made for this exact situation.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:52 PM on July 18, 2019

Best answer: You Bloody Mother F***ing A**hole by Martha Wainwright is pure power.
posted by ourobouros at 1:07 PM on July 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

My number one pick:
Aspera - Erin McKeown

I'm in shambles
Blown to bits by our troubles
These brambles
Our stumblings, our struggles
Aspera! Per aspera! Per ardua! Ad astra!
Thorns! Over thorns! Through this trouble, we are born!

Throwing Stones - Paula Cole
Still Beating - Josh Ritter
Head Underwater - Jenny Lewis
Bravery Be Written - the Show Ponies
Strong Swimmer - Shelby Earl
posted by fairlynearlyready at 2:55 PM on July 18, 2019

Best answer: Exit Music For A Film by Radiohead.
posted by Candleman at 2:59 PM on July 18, 2019

Indigo Girls - Prince of Darkness
posted by belladonna at 3:04 PM on July 18, 2019

When I walked out of my abusive relationship, I got into the taxi and I Can See Clearly Now came on the radio. It was pretty appropriate.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 4:49 PM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

You don't own me performed by Leslie Gore
posted by erattacorrige at 5:42 PM on July 18, 2019

... or better yet by Klaus Nomi
posted by Countess Elena at 6:48 PM on July 18, 2019

Rachel Platten - Fight Song

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
posted by readinghippo at 7:01 PM on July 18, 2019

Simple Song-The Shins
posted by kokaku at 4:01 AM on July 19, 2019

Best answer: Here, have some more Mountain Goats: Heel Turn 2 and Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1. I'll second the recommendation of The Journey, too.

This is a playlist built from songs that a friend has been sending me for almost a year now; not all of it will resonate, necessarily, but you may find some good things here. (Night Shift, in particular, is almost certainly for later, and even now sometimes I have to skip it.)

If they are up for a very long silly journey that ends with triumph and tears, The Adventure Zone Balance arc quite seriously changed my life. And it is very much a story of They Win! Despite Great Losses. (and also how I found the friend who got me listening to The Mountain Goats)

Thank you for being that friend, and I can say from experience that friends from far away can ABSOLUTELY make a difference. (MeMail is open if you want more about that.)
posted by epersonae at 2:55 PM on July 19, 2019

I've Got No Strings ("I had strings, but now I'm free, there are no strings on me!")

Sun Song by Sons of the Never Wrong: "well does anyone remember a simple thing like the sun, the day they fell in love? Well, I do! It was black and tarnished! I should have heeded the warning! But in the dark I stood a fool. ... And now I'm trying to remember the part of my life I never lived. So hello sun, my old friend. It's good to see you shining again. If anybody understands, please say amen." With cheerful horns.

Amy Dalley's Men Don't Change

Icona Pop - I Love It
posted by salvia at 8:34 PM on July 19, 2019

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