Winner Takes It All

Having watched Mamma Mia countless times with my daughter and being lucky enough to go to the show for my birthday, the song Winner Takes It All blows me away every time I hear it, it’s so powerful, full of emotion, telling the story of what it’s like to be left behind, in the case of a song by a lover.

Each time I hear it I feel that is could relate to other things too, things I have lost like my health, my career, my ability to have children, my independence and my value.

Due to my hearing loss it is difficult for me to hear music, but this is one song I can hear clearly.  I miss having music as a companion in the long hours spent alone and also have lost the ability to read music and play instruments.

In the film this song is sung on an empty cliff top with the sea in the background and I think there is something about standing there letting it all out, like going to a cliff top and screaming and letting go.

Lyrics taken from AZlyrics

1)I don’t wanna talk
About things we’ve gone through
Though it’s hurting me
Now it’s history
I’ve played all my cards
And that’s what you’ve done too
Nothing more to say
No more ace to play

2)The winner takes it all
The loser’s standing small
Beside the victory
That’s her destiny

3)I was in your arms
Thinking I belonged there
I figured it made sense
Building me a fence
Building me a home
Thinking I’d be strong there
But I was a fool
Playing by the rules

4)The gods may throw the dice
Their minds as cold as ice
And someone way down here
Loses someone dear
The winner takes it all
The loser has to fall
It’s simple and it’s plain
Why should I complain?

5)But tell me does she kiss
Like I used to kiss you?
Does it feel the same
When she calls your name?
Somewhere deep inside
You must know I miss you
But what can I say?
Rules must be obeyed

6)The judges will decide
The likes of me abide
Spectators of the show
Always staying low
The game is on again
A lover or a friend
A big thing or a small
The winner takes it all

7)I don’t wanna talk
If it makes you feel sad
And I understand
You’ve come to shake my hand
I apologize
If it makes you feel bad
Seeing me so tense
No self-confidence
But you see
The winner takes it all
The winner takes it all

8)So the winner takes it all
And the the loser has to fall
Throw a dice, cold as ice
Way down here, someone dear
Takes it all, has to fall
It seems plain to me

If I was talking to my illness the first verse seems to say, we have tried everything you have got what you want and now it’s too painful to talk about it, you have won and taken over, it’s history and I have to accept the way it is.

The second verse says the illness takes it all and leaves me behind feeling small and insignificant, the illness has won.

Verse 3 seems to say it felt safe when I had my health and I was sensible, but that doesn’t matter it still got taken away.  We take our health for granted and it can be taken away without our consent.

Verse 4 fate takes control and has no emotion taking away health, it also speaks out about death saying “And someone way down here, Loses someone dear” and it feel like a draw who gets taken and who is left behind, as it is with who gets hit by illness.  The things you hold dear are taken away by some stronger force and you have to accept that and not complain.

In verse 5 which is obviously more about the betrayal, it still says I miss my health, but I have to accept what I have been dealt even though I miss what I had., you have to “play by the rules” of society and no complain or be sad.  This can also be true when someone has died, they have been taken away, but society doesn’t like us to talk about the pain of the loss and encourages us to move on and make a new life.

Verse 6, is saying it’s all out of our control, we may recover we get back what we lost, but again it’s not in our control something else decides it and we have to accept that and submit to the wishes of the illness or situation.  So even though there is a glimmer of hope, it can go either way.  I guess we all have high hopes of a cure or recovery, but we can’t control how or when or if this happens.

Verse 7 talks about guilt and having to keep feelings to yourself so as not to upset others, robbed of self confidence not allowed to discuss the upset.  Yet wanting to speak out and wanting people to know the hurt.

Verse 8 A repeat of having everything taken away on the “throw of a dice” controlled by something with no cares or emotion and someone has to be the person who takes the fall and suffers while others seem to have it all.

I have been in a relationship where I was left for someone else, so can see the song from that side too, the betrayal and the what has she got that I haven’t, but thats a long way in the past, although I think the effects do live on in relationships with others.

I hope this makes some sense. Songs usually tell a story or carry a message, but most of the time we miss it or may not feel it applies to us, but then looking at it a slightly different way can make it meaningful and speak to us.

This blog has also been published on The Mighty a website for people to share stories about illness and Disability, “We Face Disabilities and Diseases Together” and “We believe in the power of stories, the strength of communities and the beauty of the human spirit” (The Mighty)

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