The voice. It is the purest reflection of one's self and is the instrument from which our passions pour. It carries our emotions, gives wings to the thoughts that resonate within, and transforms our ideas into purpose. It embodies the complexity of our entire being, yet it is born out of a simple beautiful breath.
Defining Who I Am
Singing has been at the very core of who I am for as long as I can remember. Just like cystic fibrosis, it has always been a part of me. While there is truly nothing else that feeds my soul the way singing does, it isn't singing itself that has made my life so incredibly full. What truly gives meaning to my life is the people I have gotten to make such amazing music with, and the act of lending my voice to something greater than myself. For the last 10 years I have passionately drown myself in studying music: receiving my bachelor's degree in vocal music and currently in the last months of obtaining my masters degree. It hasn't been easy by any means, but the reward and inner joy I get from feeling the air pass through my lips and the song of my heart being painted upon each breath is incomparable. To be honest, my ability to sing has always meant that I am still alive both physically and mentally. It has represented that CF is not winning: that I am stronger than CF. Of course, CF has made singing difficult at times, but that just means with each painful breath I know that I am alive. It has forced me to treasure those moments when my body feels "normal" and the air and music seem to just flow from within. But it has also made me fight even harder through those moments I feel powerless: when CF is trying to destroy the song of life that sustains me. The entirety of who I am has been defined upon my voice and my pursuits as a musician. So what am I supposed to do when that very thing that has defined me is torn from my life? When that very thing that feeds my soul and gives me life seems merely impossible?
Sing A Song
I sang for the first time in over 5 months just a few weeks ago. There's nothing I've been mourning more these last few months than the loss of my voice. For much of that time it was difficult to speak, let alone sing. There's nothing I wanted more desperately than to just merely open my mouth and have a note escape from my lips. Not only was I desperate to breathe, but I was desperate for the song that lived within to be freed again. I always knew my voice would be undermined by CF sooner or later, and ultimately be devastated because of it, but I never could have prepared myself for the heartache and loss I've felt over it actually happening. It seems I've had to relearn just how to simply breathe again, not to mention sing. But, I am singing again. I know it will never be the same, as this last CF battle has left my body so different. But I am singing and that's all that matters. Whatever the future may hold, the voice within me will always continue to sing, it just might be a different song.
Regardless of what CF has stolen from me, the song within me will be ever present. I have learned that my voice's purpose in any medium is to reflect the beauty that is so present in every breath I am given. I've always defined myself by the use of my voice: the expression of the song that lives within me and that illustrates my life. I am realizing that I have not lost my voice at all, but instead it is just being used differently. That finding my voice is merely looking inside myself, breathing bravely, and sharing the song that fills my soul in spite of CF.
Sing it, shout it, write it: Breathe bravely and find your voice. When you find it anything is possible.