The world right now seems uncertain, even while we try to grab onto hope that we will push through this difficult time and move forward with our lives. This is not the first time that countries like the United States have gone through, to put it lightly, chaotic, times. But, if you have seen the musical “Hamilton,” you know that it is possible to have a bright future even if the odds are stacked against you. Alexander Hamilton sure did.
Disney released the streaming version of the popular Broadway musical early as a balm for our COVID-19 souls. “Hamilton” is ground breaking for recasting U.S. history with BIPOC people even as creator Lin-Manuel Miranda responds to criticisms about how the musical handles slavery. There are also plenty of lines that speak to viewers around the world, especially when the going gets tough.
We all have our shots, although it can be hard to realize this if you are going through a tough period now or experienced one in the past. We asked members of the Mighty’s mental health and chronic illness communities to share song lyrics and other quotes from “Hamilton” that resonated with them and helped them find hope in the midst of what might feel like a battle, or even a revolution.
Here is what they had to share:
1. ‘We may not yet have reached our glory, but I will gladly join the fight.’
“As an advocate for disability rights in our current political climate, I often rely on phrases like this to keep going and fighting the fight. I view my illnesses like war sometimes too, so fighting is an everyday thing.” — Trinity B.
2. ‘I am the one thing in life I can control.’
“Reminds me that I can’t control everything that goes on around me, and to focus on myself and what I can control. Also a reminder that I’m my own person, and that I can do things at my own pace.” — Megan A.
“I still struggle with this idea but this helps me remember that I can’t control other people or life events. My mom always tells me that I can’t control what happens, but I can control my reaction to it.” – Ashley C.
“There’s something that makes me feel very empowered by this lyric. … I always wanted to dance to my own beat, but the toll my experiences have taken on my self-esteem and mental health over the years is significant. In the past few years, I’ve come a long way in learning how to love and accept myself and have grown my confidence.” — Vicky S.
3. ‘You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.’
“Many of my OCD intrusive thoughts are about my loved ones dying. This lyric helped remind me there is no compulsion I can do to keep others alive. I just have to live with the uncertainty and keep living.” — Malena D.
“The last song, ‘Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story’ reminds me to always think about what I can do with the time I’ve been given. Eliza talks about the things Alexander couldn’t do because he died early. I know that I’ve been given time to live and this song reminds me to use that time.” — Jordan H.
4. ‘Dying is easy. Living is harder.’
“While I haven’t been suicidal myself, I have close family members who have and they fought to live and I’m so thankful they did.” — Brandie C.
“I have two options when I’m faced with bad thoughts and unprecedented circumstances. I can give up and end my life or I can remember that that’s the easy way out and if I’m gonna go down, I’m going down fighting. Nothing is taking me that easily.” — Abby C.
“While it took some time to grow on me, this simple phrase has helped when I couldn’t explain why I no longer wanted to be in that moment — but when I choose to live despite all the obstacles I face it worth it.” — Cassandra S.
5. ‘I’m not throwing away my shot.’
“’I’m not throwing away my shot’ resonates loudly with me, because it says to me to not give away this life that has been given to me.” – Sara K.
“Going through a tough spot right now with the pandemic and losing my job and trying to go to school still.” — Miranda B.
“I identify as Burr, sir so watching/listening to Hamilton’s side and seeing how it’s actually better to take your shots instead of waiting really helped me.” — Dawn S.
“Anytime something big is happening in my life I play [‘My Shot’]. It reminds to be confident in myself and go for the opportunities I want. Whenever I’m feeling down I listen to ‘Hamilton.’ I love the show so much that I named my cat Eliza. It has had a profoundly positive effect on me.” — Katie H.
6. ‘Immigrants, we get the job done!’
“As a daughter of a former refugee and immigrant, I feel strongly that that quote deserves all the love it gets. I have a chronic illness, history of mental health issues, but every day I still strive to be successful. And I fully credit my hard-working family of immigrants for instilling that drive in me.” — Veronica V.
7. ‘You knock me down I get […] back up again!’
“For years now it’s been Hercules Mulligan’s line ‘I need no introduction. You knock me down I get […] back up again!’ It reminds me that I’ve been here before. This is nothing new. And while it may knock me down, you best believe I’m getting up again and coming back harder. ” – Jenni H.
8. ‘He is working through the unimaginable.’
“‘If you see him in the street, walking by himself, talking to himself, have pity. He is working through the unimaginable.’ As we go through our day to day lives, we forget to show grace and understanding towards others. We easily come to the judgement of those around us and forget that there are those facing worse trials and hardships.” – Carrie R.
9. ‘I write my way out.’
“I don’t mince words and I do not keep my mental illness struggles bottled up. I’m misunderstood a lot due to my BPD. It’s my way of justifying my thoughts and feelings.” – Alison K.
10. ‘Life doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints.’
“I’ve been listening to ‘Wait for It’ more and I find it helpful in this time of uncertainty. I might lose my job and I don’t know if my kids can go back to school.” – Melissa L.
“I feel like these lyrics perfectly describe life with depression, chronic pain, chronic illness. These things don’t discriminate, but just take, and we keep on living.” — Jennifer E.
11. ‘I am inimitable, I am an original.’
“I am the only me and that’s beautiful and powerful and needed in this world. Even when anxiety lies to me, I can know that I’m not “crazy” I am just me.” – Candice L.
“It reminds me that I am my own person. No one experiences life the same way, I need to give myself a break and just be sometimes.” – Amelia M.
12. ‘I’m not falling behind or running late.’
“I’m living at my own pace and on my own terms and that’s good enough for me.” – Megan S.
“I lost a lot when I went through a depressive episode 4 years ago, and it took me 3 years after that to rebuild my life. This lyric was the only thing that could comfort me sometimes when I felt devastated and hopeless. It reminded me I hadn’t fallen for good; I was just biding time until I could gather all the pieces back together again.” — Kelly G.
13. ‘I will fight the fight and win the war.’
“This reminds me I’ll be back on top. I just have to fight back even harder when my bipolar knocks me for a loop.” — Kristin L.
14. ‘Why do you write like you’re running out of time?’
“[It] makes me feel more motivated to stop spending hours on social media watching pointless videos and do something.” — Amanda G.
“I’m obsessed with writing letters to my friends and family to make sure they know what they mean to me in case COVID robs me of a proper goodbye.” — Rose E.
“I never expected a terminal diagnosis in my 40’s, but it came for me anyway. Now I’ve got a limited time to write and to write and to write. To process my past. To process my illness. To process the future that has been stolen from me. To find a way to forgive others, and to say goodbye.” — Heather S.
15. ‘I put myself back in the narrative.’
“I sing it when I’m feeling out of control of something.” — Christina K.
What quotes from “Hamilton” resonate with you? Share your thoughts in the comments.