“Elastic Heart” and Childhood Sexual Abuse

I don’t know how many of you saw the music video for Sia’s “Chandelier” with Maddie Ziegler playing a version of Sia dancing through a house. But Sia’s follow-up single, “Elastic Heart” is also a follow-up video featuring Maddie as well as Shia LeBeouf. In the video, they are trapped in a cage – simultaneously fighting each other and reaching out for affection. The public has had myriad responses – some praising it’s artistry, others crying out that the video is inappropriate for it’s blatant sexuality.

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It’s one of my favorite songs from the album, actually. Sia explains that the video is about dueling versions of herself, which makes sense based on the song. Sample lyric:

“You did not break me.
I’m still fighting for peace.
Well I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart,
but your blade it may be too sharp.
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard,
Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
But you won’t see me fall apart
‘Cause I’ve got an elastic heart”

For me, I can certainly see the duality that Sia intended to convey. I also see the sexuality. However, unlike the outcries against the underlying tones of pedophilia, I actually think it’s an incredibly powerful, expressive interpretation of the very confusing dynamic that often exists in childhood sexual abuse, especially incest. People so often think abuse is black and white – that survivors hate their abusers and it was always awful all the time. They also tend to think if we don’t hate our abusers or experienced positive interactions with them then it wasn’t “real abuse”. But it’s never that simple. And, for me, the interplay of love and hate with some of my abusers was very confusing and distressing and it felt quite similar to the intense push-pull that’s demonstrated in this video.

Anyway, I mentioned this on a support forum for survivors of sexual violence and some of them shared that they actually felt the exact same way, but didn’t think anyone else would see it the way they did. I wanted to share my thoughts because I found the video to be very powerful and I also want anyone who feels the same to know you’re not alone.

Here’s the video if you’d like to watch for yourself.  I’d love to hear your opinion!

*Trigger Warning*

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