The Reason Why I Love To Sing

The Reason Why I Love To Sing

I aspire to touch the lives around me with music.
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I remember sitting in front of the T.V. as a child, watching American Idol. I loved hearing so many beautiful voices, and I always wished that mine sounded like theirs did. As an eight-year-old girl, I certainly couldn’t belt like all of the talented men and women I heard on the radio, but it didn’t stop me from trying. When I was younger, singing was a pastime, but certainly not one that I took seriously. The realm of rock stars seemed too far away to be a reality.

In fifth grade, I began participating in musical theater. I tried out for the play, only to realize how weak and small my voice was. After hearing countless female singers with higher ranges, I assumed that was how a girl should sing, and I wouldn’t unlearn this stereotype until a year later. The audition left me with nothing to go by, but my director’s advice to work on my lower range.

I must briefly discuss my love affair with rock music, in order to explain everything that would follow. One day, fourteen-year-old me, was sitting in the car with my father, when an Evanescence song came on the radio. Amy Lee’s voice was strong and powerful, yet she possessed an elegance to her voice. I immediately knew that I wanted to sound exactly like she did. I spent countless hours singing in my room to music from "Fallen," and "The Open Door." I modeled my own voice after Lee’s. I became passionate about finding my voice, and spent my waking hours trying to find out how to sound better. I read article after article, on how to improve, but none of it made a difference. I was able to strengthen my voice, but I still possessed little to no technique.

I remained a shower singer, exclusively, until I joined my high school’s chorus in my sophomore year. Much to my surprise, my chorus director placed me as a soprano. At first, I was contemptuous, but upon further exploration I realized that my range was much wider than I had previously believed. I learned to breathe properly and develop my range and tone. More importantly, I eliminated the word ‘can’t’ from my vocabulary. I learned that the only thing holding me back was myself. My greatest realization was that I must open my mind before I could effectively use my instrument.

Music became a living and breathing thing for me. It was no longer the two-dimensional people on TV or the faceless voices from the radio. Music lived inside of me, and in the people around me. Suddenly, notes became my alphabet, and harmony was my language. All of the research I had done on the human voice was finally contextualized.

Simultaneously with my increased vocal understanding, I was learning more about musical culture. I discovered new artists and bands every time I opened my laptop. Vocalists became my closest confidants. They articulated everything that I felt, and in a way that I understood. All I had to do was sing along, and I felt that I had a place where I belonged. Names like Josh Ramsay, Gerard Way, and Taylor Momsen, would make their way into my everyday vocabulary. I began attending concerts and using my voice to scream back the lyrics that I loved so much. I met people and made personal connections with many other musicians and singers.

Singing has empowered me in so many ways. I now write my own music and sing in my free time. I still participate in musical theater and choruses, but I use my voice for so many reasons. I sing to encourage, to express, to understand, and to feel. I sing because it is a mechanism for me to experience emotion. The excitement of performing gives me chills, I never smile wider than when I sing with people I love, I always choose the music over the tears, and it’s much less expensive to sing rather than breaking things when I’m angry. However, I believe that my voice is not only for myself, I am able to effect those around me. Whether I am healing, encouraging, or creating with, I aspire to touch the lives around me with music.

Cover Image Credit: Techzono.com

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
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I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Quotes That Will Remind You What Life Is Really About

“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”
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Sometimes you just need a reminder that everything happens for a reason, and the struggles you are going through now are only temporary. We are all human and we all belong. We aren't perfect, we make mistakes, but that's all a part of being alive. Here are some quotes in case you forget:

1. In case you forget that we are in a nation founded by immigrants

“Maybe you weren’t born here, but you found this empty shell and you made it your home”

-Avatar Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

“I am human, so nothing human is foreign to me”

- Terence

2. Failure only brings you closer to perfection

“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all in which case, you fail by default.”

-J.K. Rowling

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.”

-Stephen McCranie

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same."

-Colin R. Davis

3. For all the writers out there, keep writing

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

-Ernest Hemingway

“We see with the eyes, but we see with the brain as well, and seeing with the brain is often called imagination.”

-Oliver Sacks

4. The future isn’t everything. Don’t forget to enjoy today

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

-J.K Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

5. Remember… don’t be petty

“There are many who pretend to despise and belittle, that which is beyond their reach.”

-Aesop

6. Our faults are what make us unique

“We are more than the parts that form us.”

-Patrick Rothfuss

"You can be wild and still be very wise."

-Yoko Ono

7. Keep an open mind

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”

-Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird)

8. Remember to be kind

"Where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness, there is magic."

-Fairy Godmother (Cinderella)

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

-Dalai Lama

9. Be the change you want to see in the world

“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”

-Maya Angelou

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch without doing anything.”

-Albert Einstein

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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