Friday, May 17, 2019

30 Songs That Have Helped Me on My Journey With a Facial Difference

In my 27 years of life, I've travelled to about 13 countries and over half the US states. I've sat on more planes then I can count, been on at least eight cruises, and been on more road trips than I remember.

...But one thing all these trips have had in common?

They've all had a good playlist going in the background.

And my journey with a facial difference? That's no different.

For me, music is everything.

In the ups and downs, it's how I worship.

When there's unbearable hurt and I have no words, I find my heart's cry in the melody.

If it's a time of rejoicing, it gets me dancing. Celebrating!

Throughout my life, I've found myself listening to several songs on repeat. This list may seem long to some – but in reality, this is the shortened version. Consider this one my many mixtapes from my collection.

I hope you enjoy it.

1. "This is Me" by Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble

If you've never heard this song...Wow. You're in for a treat. I've never even seen the movie "The Greatest Showman," yet this song is one of my all-time favorites as someone with a body difference. Anytime I need a boost, or I'm feeling extra confident – this is blaring from my speakers.

"I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I'm gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
This is me"

2. "Scars To Your Beautiful" by Alessia Cara

There's so much truth in this one line, "And you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart."

3. "Wonderfully Made" by Ellie Holcomb

Ellie Holcomb is one of my favorite artists, and this song? Oh, it speaks to my soul. 

4. "The Champion" by Carrie Underwood

Want fierce? Download this song, and hit repeat.

"I am invincible, unbreakable
Unstoppable, unshakeable
They knock me down, I get up again
I am the champion"


5. "Rise Up" by Andra Day

Sometimes, when we're "broken down and tired," we need the inspiration to rise up. When there's another surgery on the calendar, another MRI, another diagnosis – this song is here to help us do just that. When someone stares, or calls us another name – this song reminds us to rise up unafraid once more.

6. "Good Day" by Natalie Grant

While reminding Christians to keep their eyes on God regardless of what comes, this song is also fun and upbeat. So on the days where I need a good boost – this is a good reminder to keep my eyes on God...While having a little dance party to boot.

And, regardless of what comes my way, today will be a good day.

7. "Head Above Water" by Avril Lavigne

Sometimes all the medical stuff and unkindness of the world seems too much. At times, it can feel hard to keep our heads above the depth of life's water. If that's where you're at today, take a listen to Avril's song.

 8. "Me Too" by Meghan Trainer 

All too often I'm told I should hide my natural appearance. That I should cover my birthmark with makeup, or go see a doctor who can "fix that." If only I could break out into song every time comments like that are made, because then I'd sing songs like this one as a response.

9."Beyond the Stain" by Denise Nicholes

A few years ago, my friend wrote a song about my journey with a port wine stain birthmark. While it was written in honor of my story, I know I'm not the only one who can relate to the song.

10. "Priceless" by for KING & COUNTRY

"Mirror, mirror, mirror on the wall
Tellin' those lies, pointing out your flaws
That isn't who you are
That isn't who you are"

Sometimes we all need the reminder that the mirror can and does lie, and sometimes we use the everyday object as a tool harm ourselves.

11. "Mean" by Taylor Swift

We all have those people in our lives who are unkind. Cruel. Mean. And sometimes those people are strangers, a classmate, a coworker, or family member.

But this song? It reminds us that while they're mean, we can still overcome. That in the midst of their humiliation and "words like knives" – the cycle can end with us.

It can be so easy to take out hurt out on others, or even the one who started the unkindness. But the cycle? It can end. And I promise...we can overcome.

12. "Fighter" by Jamie Grace

If you're fire feels like it's starting to fade away, listen to this song.
"She's a fighter, got that fireWhen you thought she'd fade away"

 13. "Most People Are Good" by Luke Bryan

This song isn't necessarily about bullying or overcoming. But, because so often many of us experience so much unkindness, I felt it was important to drop this song in here to remind us of one thing:

"Most people are good"

For every unkind person we run into, there's at least two or three kind people around the corner waiting to meet you. 

They're out there.

I promise.

14. "Rescue" by Lauren Daigle

Really, you should just listen to Lauren's whole album. But this song? This song is everything. And the chorus? Wowzers. What a reminder that we're not alone, and that God even hears our whispers of desperations.
"I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It's true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It's true, I will rescue you"

 15. "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson

Sometimes it can feel like the whole world needs to change how they see people who are "different." They need to treat the disabled better. They need to be kinder to people who have a body difference, they need to be more accepting. They need to stop staring. Stop with the names. Make better accommodations. Be more inclusive in the media.

While that's all true – sometimes we still need to hit pause on our advocacy work and look in the mirror. Yes, the world can do better. But how can we do better? How can we be kinder? How can we make the world a better place? How can we become better people?

The world...Man. It has a long ways to go, especially around disability and physical differences. But we should all constantly challenge ourselves to become better, to do better.

16. "Speak Life" by Toby Mac

It's not always easy, but we need to remember to speak life. We need to speak life to ourselves, to each other. We need to speak words of love and hope to our family, friends, our bullies and our enemies. Speak life – your words matter!

17. "Life's About to Get Good" by Shania Twain

Life isn't always easy. And yes, life has pain...Both physical and emotional. But don't forget – life also has joy. If you're in the hard parts of life, it's so important to hold on to hope.

18. "Pretty Hurts" Beyonce

Regardless of what the world says you should be – are you happy with yourself? Sometimes we all need a reminder to hit pause on the outside world and ignore what the world is saying, and ask ourselves how we're feeling instead - because sometimes, "it's the soul that needs surgery." Not our bodies.

19. "Try" by Colbie Cailat

Manicures and pedicures.

Blowouts and covering the grey strands.

Covering our scars, birthmarks, and what the world sees as a "flaw." What they call "imperfections."

Having the "perfect" image in the mirror. On Instagram.

...Do they like us?

We don't have to try so hard.

Really, we don't.

20. "Invisible" by Hunter Hayes

Do you feel invisible lately? Are you in pain from the sticks and stones that have been thrown your way? Maybe you need this reminder right now.

21. "Roar" by Katy Perry

Your'e a champion. And I can't wait for the day when people hear you roar.

22. "Who You Are" by Jessie J

There are so many powerful lines in this song. So much truth.

First off, Jessie points out bluntly that it's "okay not to be okay." And that alone is a beautiful thing. Because so often we feel we have to show that we are okay, when really, we're not. We we feel we have to show we're strong. That we can handle anything – the new nickname at school, the new bully, the new surgery the doctor wants to try. The new medication. But it's okay to not be okay. It's okay to be scared, to be sad. But please find someone to share your feelings with, someone to talk to.

Another line I love?
"Losing my mind on a tiny error. I nearly left the real me on the shelf."

Please never, ever, leave yourself on the shelf because of what you see as an "imprecation," or an "error." Please always dare to dream, and dare to chase those dreams – living your best life in the process.

 23. "Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift

Are you having a hard time with a new harsh comment or cruel name someone has called you? Ugh. I get it. I've totally been there...And it's hard not to stay there.

So crank up this song and DANCE.  Shake. It. Off.

It may not totally solve your problem, and you may still have a lot of healing left to do from the situation you're in...But doesn't a little dance party make the process a little more fun?

24. "Clay" by Grace VanderWaal

If you've been hearing a lot of negative comments surrounding your body difference, disability, or illness lately, this is for you. 

The analogy of this song is a beautiful one:
"Try to change my shape
But, baby, I'm not clay
Sorry, not today
'Cause, baby, I'm not clay"

25. "We All Bleed the Same" by Mandisa (Ft.  ft. TobyMac & Kirk Franklin)

From every race, to every disability. From every language, to every illness. We all bleed the same.

26. "Brave" by Sara Bareilles


Everyone's brave looks different. And if you need an extra dose of brave today, this song is for you.

This song is for the woman wiping off her makeup to show her friend her birthmark after years of friendship, or posting that makeup free selfie online for all her followers to see for the first time – showing the world her facial difference.

It's for the one who wants to say yes to a new medication, a new surgery.

Or even the one who wants to try to befriend their bully.

For some, it's going on that first date – not knowing how that girl will react to your body difference.

Maybe a high school graduate wants to go to college, but they don't know if they can handle a medically complex life with college life. But they want to try anyway.


We're all brave.

And we all need this song.

27. "Even Louder" by Steven Malcolm (ft. Natalie Grant)

Life with a facial difference? For me, it has been an up and down journey. There have been times of happiness and sorrow. Pain and celebration. But, "Even if the drums stop beating, my soul will keep on singing. Even louder, even louder."

28. "Defying Gravity" by Kristin Chenoweth & Idina Menzel

Sometimes we just have to defy gravity, to defy people's expectations they've put on our lives. And this is the perfect song to do that too.

29. "ME!" Taylor Swift

Because you're the only one of you – regardless of your medical condition. You're irreplaceable.

30. "It Is Well (You Make Me Brave)" by Kristene DiMarco & Bethel

This song is my go-to before every single surgery, no matter how big or small.


Because through it all – medically, emotionally and socially – my eyes are on You. And it is well.

What songs are on your mixtape?

The Travelin' Chick,


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