As I sit down to write this, I am shaking from the fear of telling you this. It seems silly to me (and probably to you as well) but I don’t know how else to get this out but in a letter to you. You see, I have a part of me that I am hiding from you; a part of me that I am terrified to share because I am afraid of the response you will give me. But dear friend, it’s time for me to share. Please sit with me, as I try to explain the best I can.
I can sing.
Not “I like to sing in the shower” sing, but I was trained as a singer when I was a child. And admitting that to you fills me with so much fear. But it wasn’t always that way. I can remember the first time I stood on the stage behind a microphone and I felt free as everything else melted away around me. I sang everywhere: in line at the grocery store, during school, when I was alone, and even when I was surrounded by people. It was the thing that brought me joy.
But I stopped singing when I was eight.
You see, my voice was taken from me. Living a childhood of chaos and violence, I quickly learned the best way to be safe is to be quiet. Between that and being forced to sing by my father as his “trophy daughter,” my voice no longer felt like my own. So one night, curled up in a ball, I decided that my voice no longer mattered and I vowed not to sing for myself ever again. There were times when I sang because as a rule follower, when asked I didn’t know how to say no, but my soul was never filled with music again.
A part of me died.
Eighteen years later, something happened. I can’t remember when it first started, but one day I caught myself singing in the car very quietly. It surprised me and I quickly stopped, but not until after I flashed a quick smile. As days turned into weeks, the singing in the car increased until I could sing an entire song while alone. One song turned into two, which multiplied into a dozen and my voice was becoming mine again.
But it doesn’t mean my voice is completely back. There are times when I try to sing in the safety of my car or apartment, and no words come out. And the thought of someone asking me to sing terrifies me to the core, but my voice is slowly coming back. I’m reclaiming it as mine. And I’m smiling as I do it.
I can sing.
I might not be able to let you hear me sing (although a couple of trusted souls have heard me), I’m starting this path. I’m walking down this dirt road tripping and stumbling through holes and mountains, but I’m singing while doing it. So bear with me, and maybe one day my voice will return completely.