reinterpretation (The Climb)

When making the climb: sometimes it’s best not to look down

Some time back, I remember tweeting how Miley Cyrus’ song The Climb can be understood very differently when put into the context of being a person living with HIV.

Yes, I will admit, I listen to Miley Cyrus — but not all her songs. I kinda like Party in the USA, it’s a fun song. And yes, I also have on my iTunes When I Look at You from her movie The Last Song. What can I say? The songs are excellently written and I love soaring ballads. I used to do really mean versions of both ballads on karaoke.

But one day, while listening to The Climb and singing along (with jazz hands, I have to admit), I realised that the song somehow mirrored what I was feeling as a person living with HIV. The song, I guess, is about life, a truism put to song about dealing with struggles and how it is all worth it in the end. But when I set it to the context of being HIV positive, it just hit me harder. That time when I realised that, I ended up in tears. Somehow, I kinda found my theme song.

There’s always gonna be another mountain

I’m always gonna want to make it move

Always gonna be an uphill battle

Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there

Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side

It’s the climb

(The Climb written by Jessi Alexander and Jon Mabe

And for some strange reason, I always found listening to U2’s Beautiful Day as a sort of testament of taking stock out of life and knowing that you can just still have it — the good times. That despite everything, it can still be a beautiful day. It’s the song, the way the melody just plays out, just how wonderfully the song is sung, and the very simple declaration in the chorus — “It’s a beautiful day.”

And despite all the hardships — the constantly having to watch out for yourself, the pills, the side-effects of the pills, the weakness, constantly losing weight  — it doesn’t matter. You keep climbing. And you can still have your beautiful days.

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