This I Believe

Alexis - Phoenix, Maryland
Entered on July 22, 2007

I believe in singing out loud. At the tender age of four, I loved nothing more than pretending I was Celine Dion, belting out her famous power ballads into my Playskool Kiddie Microphone.

However, those fleeting fantasies of musical stardom were always locked behind closed bedroom doors; I was not eager to share my melodic tunes with the world, or even my closest friends and family. On rare occasions, I took the risk of mumbling along to the car radio, only to quickly shrink down in my seat when catching a glance from passengers in other cars.

I had never taken voice lessons or sung in a children’s choir; I had absolutely no training or teaching in the vocal arena. I assumed that I did not have any talent and was afraid that, if I let others hear me sing, I would be mocked. That fear and assumption kept me silent.

I believe that singing serves as a means of self-expression. It enables me to literally share my voice with the world. Self-expression, in and of itself, remains an essential facet of personal growth.

All too often, I witness the hindrance of self-expression on a variety of levels due to fear or insecurity. A student never raises her hand in English class because she does not think her answer is correct. A son plays lacrosse every year because he does not want to disappoint his father. A gay student keeps his sexual orientation a secret for fear of losing friends.

Our generation, especially, faces this problem. As we become leaders, professionals, and parents, our ability to express ourselves will be essential in determining our future. If we are unable to share our voices with the world now, we will only suffer a losing battle as we move forward.

However, if we put aside our doubts and fears, for just a moment, we can take the risk and sing the first note.

After I had received acceptance to high school, I ended my silence. In May of my eighth grade year, I stood, knees chattering, in front of the intimidating high school theater director. In front of a complete stranger, I managed to warble through Beauty and the Beast’s “Tale as Old as Time.” Ironically, four years later, I am to perform that exact song in front of nearly three hundred strangers as Mrs. Potts in the upcoming fall production of the show.

Since that first audition, I have steadily grown more confident in my vocal ability, as well as in my self-esteem and self-expression. So now, when my favorite song comes on the car radio, I roll down the windows, turn up the volume, and sing out loud.