I remember the first song that ever made my cry: “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion.
As a child, I was obsessed with Celine Dion. Hers was the very first CD I ever owned and would listen on my crappy CD player while I walked to the bus stop with my older sister every morning in elementary school.
I always had to skip “My Heart Will Go On” because tears would roll down my little cheeks as I walked under the palm trees dripping with morning dew. I couldn’t help it. Something about that song just touched a deep node of my soul and pulled tears to my eyes.
Even now, that song still does something to me. In college, my roommates made fun of me relentlessly for my love of Celine Dion, but her voice got me through some of the roughest and most traumatic parts of my childhood.
All my life, music has been there for me in times of crisis.
As a teenager, I used to plug my headphones into my computer and hide beneath the covers. The tears would flow freely then, hating my life but not knowing any other way to process it other than finding myself in the lyrics of a depressing song.
It was as though these artists understood me, deep down to the core. More than anyone who actually surrounded me.
And more, music didn’t leave me. It couldn’t. It was always there, waiting for me to plug myself in and forget the rest of my life.
I wrote my own songs sometimes, though I never shared them with anyone. No one knew how much I loved to sing because I froze the moment that I tried to do so in front of anyone else, so it wasn’t hard to hide. But when the house was empty, I’d take to the high-ceilings of the living room and belt it out.
It was a primal urge for me, singing. It wasn’t just a compulsion — it was a need. I wasn’t good — I’m still not great, even after decades of solo practice. But I enjoy it. The power of music coming from me is intense, but it helps me to moderate my raging emotions. I’m always on the edge of overload, and singing helps to release some of that.