Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our Definition of 'What Being A Survivor' Truly Means

Many people have asked my opinion of what I think the definition of a survivor is? My definition of a survivor is someone that has been brought down to their knees by a tragedy and makes the decision to get back up and fight back. I believe that we are given two roads to go down and we need to choose the road to live a happy and productive life. I am a survivor because my manic depressive upbringing didn't break me, but made me stronger. And I am able to share my experiences with you.
I know for someone to survive, they have to be super aware that the pain will help them grow and they will be able to move over the pain to survive. Being aware is key. There have been times in my life when I felt Wonder Woman's power to survive and other times when I have felt no power, like I was an empty shell.

On the TV show Survivor the contestants seem to be able to survive the wilderness because they are apart of a tribe. They have a team of people that help them through to the end of the game and to the million dollar prize. Having good people around is the key to survival. Don't you agree?

On the Under the Sheets poll, 60% of you voted and selected that the true meaning of being a survivor is someone that lives to tell the tale.  And 40% of you said that it is someone that can enjoy each day.

I agree with you. Sure a survivor is someone that lives to tell the tale, but we also need to go one step further. To truly survive we can also life wonderful lives and appreciate each day. It is a delicate balancing act of where you were, with where you are trying to go.

The Free Dictionary's definition to sur·vive is  v. sur·vivedsur·viv·ingsur·vives

1. To remain alive or in existence.

2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere: families that were surviving in tents after the flood.

3. To remain functional or usable: I dropped the radio, but it survived.


1. To live longer than; outlive: She survived her husband by five years.

2. To live, persist, or remain usable through: plants that can survive frosts; a clock that survived a fall.

3. To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after: survived child abuse.

My thoughts are: to remain alive and or in existence is a wonderful way of saying that without the proper nutrients in life we cannot survive. Mentally and physically, but I know that it also takes perseverance after the trauma and how you walk through life that saves you. Do you hold everything in, keep your guard up or are you open to life and fight through? Dare I say to hang onto hope and light.

In a recent post I wrote about being a survivor, 'After she had announced that we would move to Laguna Beach, (we eventually moved about 20 minutes away to Newport Beach and lived there for four years) she drew the curtains closed in her hotel room and stayed indoors for three days. No matter where we were going to move her manic depression was going to move with us.' My Manic Depressive Upbringing: #6 We're Moving.

It was my question ' What do you think is the definition of a survivor?' that sparked my following blogger friends to comment:

Simplicity ~ Survivor- A person who faces their inner and outer demons in an attempt to create a better path going forward than the one they're walking on. All the while, being aware of the people in their surroundings and being mindful of their feelings.

Sasha It's a balancing act. You are a trapeze artist! But what I think makes you a true survivor is that there is no bitterness through your story...having gone through tough times..but coming out of it with such integrity as you...that is the definition of a true survivor. 

tanya A survivor is someone who lives to tell the tale. 

mighty jo A survivor is someone who witnesses the horrors but can still find the good things in life. 

Linda S. Socha You are the definition of a survivor. A creative survivor. It is very difficult for most people who have not experienced this kind of life to really have an understanding of what it means to a child. 

Donna Maria You are simply amazing, brave and a survivor...

June Saville I think the most difficult thing in this situation is to realize which behaviour belongs to the illness and which to the person we love.

All of your comments really touched me and thank you to all of you. 

What do you think the definition of a survivor is? So you agree that survival is like a trapeze act? What advice would you give to someone so they go down the right path?


~Vintage Nina~ said...

Hi Laura! Thank you so much for your comment on my painting! It was so SWEET!!! I am o glad you found me so I can follow your journey. I love your blog, and all your honesty and amazing thoughts! I will stop by often:)!
~Nina......AKA~ "A SURVIVOR"!!!

Dollface said...

Awww.. survivors are anyone that faces the fire and come out unburned, whether in life or love.... xxxooo

Laura said...

Vintage Nina: So glad you stopped by and I love your amazing artwork. Your kinds words made me smile.

Dollface: I totally agree!

Char said...

I disagree with dollface to some extent. I think anyone that faces the fire and comes through the otherside will always bear scars of that experience. Those scars are the true test of a survivor. Ones that can bear the scars and press on with daily living. Unfortunately, surviving isn't always the happiest of conditions and we must figure out how to rebuild after something devastating. To simply survive is not the full story.

Laura said...

Char: Yes. The scars make us into the people we are today. The scars can be the reminder that we pushed through?

Couture Carrie said...

Very thought-provoking post. I like your definition of "survivor"... interesting reading, darling!


♥ Braja said...

I agree with most that has been written; however I will add that a survivor is aware of why they're going thru something and are aware of the purpose of life, despite any obstacles. long subject, but that's it in summary :)

mighty jo said...

thank you for posting my comment! right now im having to really dig deep to find good things. i feel like it shouldn't be this hard. perspectively, there are people who have it a lot worse than i do. but still everything is painful...whether it is grief, frustration, feeling overwhelmed, post-partum depression, sorrow, anxiety, or a combination of all of these things.
but instead of focusing on the fear & small tragedies of my life, i need to remember what i want to make of this life--the good i want to bring to the world. & the good that is already in the world.
thank you for reminding me of the destination of my journey!
thank you for reminding me of how to be a survivor!

Laura said...

Couture Carrie: Thank YOU! I just knew that I needed to write this post and I love your feedback.

Braja: Hear, hear. Once we hurdle over the obstacles we can then understand the struggle. Welcome back over and over.

Nadine @ BDG said...

A great discourse-- a survivor bears life's scars and endures-- a warrior takes the scars and becomes stronger. Thanks to all who posted before me. Best, N

Laura said...

mighty jo: There are so many people that feel exactly the same way you do. I think sometimes it is easy to forget that. What you are feeling is real and shouldn't be compared to anyone else. Taking care of yourself right now and reaching out for help is key. Everything will be OK and you will get past through this. Move through and others will be there to catch you.

A World in a PAN said...

Hi Laura, A survivor? You, I, us all who move on from day to day trying not to harm and not to be harmed .. life is such a struggle, isn't it? A survivor? The little pigeon growing on the other side of my Paris window, in a plant pot ..

Couture Carrie said...

P.S. added you to my blogroll, darling!


chocolateshoesandcoffee said...

We faced the fire, got burned, overcame all and are now enjoying life. My wife and I are survivors!

Sasha said...

Thank you Laura for such a wonderful post...!! there is a strength in your message that is contagious...
there needs to be sometimes an intellectual trigger to change the attitude, wake up and keep going no matter what the reality/situation is that you are going words today triggered my always thank you!!!
You are a very special lady!

tanya said...

I love this post--thanks for the link-love, darling! I agree, it's definitely the epitome of one who endures. It's inspirational just reading about it!

June Saville said...

I really enjoyed this post - so full of wisdom and feeling. And of course I'm pleased my comment rang a bell for you. I do think we will get life into better perspective if we look for reasons behind a person's out-of-character behaviour and remember who the person is on most days.

Surviving? I think it has something to do with drawing from misadventure and life's downturns while pressing on - although not blindly, or stubbornly. Persistence and curiosity help heaps. Family and/or friends are paramount.

Glennis said...

We all go through the pain of hard times, really it just makes us stronger, but the scars remain, we are never quite the same as we were. We have to re-learn to love and trust again and often again.
Your article was timely for me.... thank you.

Jeve said...

Thanks for stopping by our blog. I think a survivor is someone who keeps moving forward and past some detrimental experience like the fashion of the 80's. Most of us got through it, some of us are still in it, but we're all still here!


Laura said...

A world in a pan: If it wasn't such a struggle then it wouldn't be worth living. Thank you for stopping by.

chocolateshoesandcoffee: It makes me happy to know that you are aware of how lucky you are. I am aware as well. Thanx for the comment.

Sasha: I am so glad I touched something in you and thank you for your lovely compliment.

Laura said...

tanya: you inspired me as well with your comment. You can always link back :)

June: you again touched me. Thank you for all of your support and feedback.

Glennis: Isn't timing everything? It means a lot that you were touched.

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Laura,

Great post ~ thank you.
I think that we are all survivors, just getting through each day.
There are so many obstacles that can get in the way but we need to withstand the trials that we have to face.
We need to always, be thinking of moving onwards and upwards.


Underfunded Heiress said...

Wow, interesting. I think a survivor is someone who overcomes challenges and doesn't let anything or anyone defeat them. Rises above and comes out stronger than before.

Carlotta said...

thanx for the lovely're right I need a support group!!

well for me a survivor is someone that despite all problems and bad things that happens in life, wake up every morning with a smile on the face and is still able to be happy for simple things no matter what..we have just one life it's better to "survive" every day because you never know when it's your time to why be angry or sad all thetime?!

isabelle said...

how cute with the pink!

Laura said...

Draffin Bears: I love that. Upwards and onwards is a great way to look at things.

Underfunded: Rising above is not always easy to do, but a great outlook. I promise to try and remember this.

Carlotta: You have such a positive attitude and thank you for your visit as well. I love your blog!

isabelle: I loved them as well. Where can we get a pair?

MissBliss said...

I realized I was a survivor when talking about my life for a just few minutes freaked someone else out so much they couldn't hear any more, and I had LIVED it.... :)

Girl Japan said...

It is fabulous to find another women who has not had a "perfect" life! My definition, it is hard top what others have said but all of them are equally true = )