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I cannot sing, but I am a singer. Growing up in a small family of four, I’ve never been a fan of the ever-present quiet. I could too often hear the inner workings of our house and the slight bustle of wind against the windows that made everything seem solemn and lonely. I’d never known anything different-that is until I heard music for the first time.
It wasn’t until I got a ride home from a friend that I was introduced to a magical box stuck inside cars that plays sounds so melodious, the ear can only dream of. As my friend in the passenger seat turned the knob on this alien contraption, I felt as though while taking this trip in their car, we were simultaneously being transported elsewhere through channels of music. I was in awe. How had I never experienced this before? As my friend changed the station from Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop,” which had given me explainable confidence and swagger, to Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” which ironically made us all want to bawl our eyes out, I knew I found something special. Color and beauty flooded into my once grey-scale life and light sparked in my eyes. People were sharing in agony and passion and love all through a few simple movements of the mouth.
The very next time I got into a car with my quiet parents, I had the radio on before they even let go of the breaks. I soon found that they didn’t share the same affinity for this beautiful creation. So used to their traditional Indian music, if any at all, they demanded I shut off this horrid noise that did little for them, but give headaches. However, I was relentless, as those in love often are. I turned on the radio every time I entered the car and every time I was told to shut it off but, soon enough, I had learned the words to my favorite songs. Once the radio was shut off, I began to sing, belting out the words to Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway,” knowing music is how I, myself, would breakaway. I sung so loud, I drowned out my entire family’s constant criticism of my supposedly croaking voice. Though my mouth may have been moving, Kelly’s voice was the one playing in my head. I couldn’t care less how I sounded; I no longer felt the painstakingly quiet car rides and I no longer felt alone.
Eventually, my parents gave in to the wonders of the radio, probably in hopes I would stop singing, but I never have. Now, at 17 years old, I have even gotten my parents to sing along with me, as they finally found beauty in it as well. My house is no longer the somber place it once was; it’s a home filled with constant humming, laughter, and misplaced dance steps. I am in turn filled with light and love. I better connect to my once reserved parents, and they better connect to world around them. Music unites me with something much bigger than myself and transports me into a much more beautiful place than I have ever been, and my voice gives me the power to call on this gift whenever I desire. I’d be a fool to not use it.
When pencils were being passed out before I took my ACT’s and other students were going over formulas in their head, I was singing. When warming up for my regional tennis finals, while my opponent was running last minute drills with her coach, I was singing. When comforting scared children while volunteering at my local hospital, I was singing. It gives me the strength I need to reach my goals. It makes me brave. It makes me who I am. I cannot sing, but I am a singer and I will be for the rest of my life.