This I Believe

Alexandra - Portland, Oregon
Entered on September 28, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Abracadabra! Alacazam! I offer my greatest apologies to magicians and wizards everywhere. It has come to my attention that your spells have nothing on what I’ve got. It will never run out, for it is everywhere.

Let us remember. I regret to inform the members of the congregation. It is clear that your gospels and prophecies have nothing on what I’ve got. It will never run out. I can heart it, make it, share it. What I have is for everyone.

I believe in music and its power to transmit, transmute, and transform. Perhaps it is God who can flood the world, but it is music that can change a pink, plastic hairbrush into a Electro-Voice Dynamic N/D967 Vocal Microphone. You can pull a rabbit out of your hat, but can you take a long card ride and turn it into a road trip where fingers drum on the steering wheels and hands that move up and down outside the window in sync with every beat that drops? Can you inspire a societal movement? There is no need for picket signs when their lyrics ring loud with such resonance as to last an eternity.

The greatest transfiguration that music can endure is the transformation of my perception of others. It began when I was younger and spent my days in the back seats of cars due to my vertical mediocrity. As a passenger, all I could do was observe my family and listen. My father flooded my ears with the sounds of the sixties; with every song he played he accompanied a story or a shared memory. For him the car stereo is his time machine. My mother would drown out our whining with her Italian opera. We would protest, but I realize now that those songs serve as temporary escape. Nothing relieves her stress like the warmth she feels under her Tuscan sun. I crawl into the back of my brother’s 1985 Toyota Celica, and I hear lyrics no that no nine year old should hear. I never knew “Candy Shop” had another meaning than a utopia of sugary confections. Just as the songs suggested him to do, he would “Lean Back” in his seat, simultaneously sacrificing his comfort and safety. Despite the bewildered Bussy in the back, the nods of his head confirmed a mysterious yet intriguing understanding. His rap gives him an identity, and provides a window to a culture so different from his own. My sister was too young to have acquired a developed appreciation for music, yet it would burst out of her with every step she took. She would sing in the shower constantly. It didn’t matter what it was; they were mostly made up melodies from her brain. As she grows older she sings less and less because it embarrasses her. Yet, if I listen closely, when the water is running, you can still hear her. For her, music is her imagination.

It mystifies me the way something so common and so universal like the presence of music can be interpreted so differently through the eyes and ears of others. As for me, it is my savior, my method of transcendence, my unveiling awareness. Like my mother, sounds serve as my escape. Like my brother, they give me a sense of purpose and a grip on myself. From my father, I have learned that nothing can tell a story better than a song. Most importantly, my sister’s musical interludes have reminded me to be creative and free. Music is my alarm and my lullabies, opening my eyes to new things and soothing sounds in times of sorry. Every culture and every conflict can transform into song, and I will listen.