For me, journaling helped me rediscover and reclaim a great passion in my life: music.
Going Back in Time
Since childhood, music has been important to me. I’d loved listening to it from an early age, sitting in my room glued to my transistor radio. My mother was an avid singer, and I grew up hearing her confident voice crooning the tunes of Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Frank Sinatra.
I also wanted to be a singer, and I secretly performed bedtime duets along with my radio. But when I was 10 years old, something happened to me at school that crushed this dream.
I tried out for my school chorus in the fifth grade, but only after singing a few bars of the music, the director told me bluntly that I was tone-deaf. No suggestions on what I could practice, no advice on how to prepare for the next audition. I was tone-deaf, case closed.
“I wish I could sing,” I told my mother later.
“Honey, I wish you could, too,” she said, confirming my worst fears.
I’m just not destined to be a singer, I told myself. And I didn’t really try again after that.
That is, until I started journaling, and all of these old feelings started to resurface. Music was still an important part of me, even though I had denied it for many years. Somewhere, deep down, I knew I still wanted to sing – and more importantly, I could sing.
A Fresh Start
One day in my journal, I wrote, “I will take voice lessons.” And it felt right. I knew I was a hard worker and that with the right teacher, I'd learn to sing. I set my intention, and I restarted my musical education.
Since that day, I’ve studied for many years with supportive and encouraging voice teachers, and I’ve recorded several albums of songs that move me. I practice diligently, and I can say with pride that I am a singer. I like to think that, besides improving technically, I’ve become the kind of singer who really embodies the songs she sings. I put my heart and soul into every single song that I sing.
And with further work in my journal, I’ve realized how much I had been carrying childhood fears and stresses with me into adulthood. I was scared to be too loud, I was worried I wouldn’t reach the high notes… the list goes on. But journaling about my relationship with music and my progress with singing has been enormously therapeutic.
My mother passed away before I began this musical journey; but in my head, I imagine telling her, "Mom, I know I can sing," and she responds, "Oh, honey, I know you can, too."
What About You?
As you write in your journal, look back at your own story. What did you love to do when you were younger? What did you find endlessly fascinating or entertaining? Does it still play a role in your adult life?
If it does, write about it. Explore how it has shaped you, and why it is an important piece of who you are.
If it doesn’t, ask why. What changed? What internal or external factors kept you from continuing with it? How do you feel when you think about it?
Look for a small way to incorporate this passion back into your life, or to practice it more frequently. Buy a sketchpad and some colored pencils. Dust off your bike and put air in the tires. Slip a notebook into your pocket to record ideas for a short story.
Cultivate this love, and give it room to grow.
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