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Journal of gratitude, entry #22: music
Today is Day #22 of my gratefulness explosion. I'm grateful for music.

When I made the list of things I was grateful for, I almost forgot about music, which is strange because I love it SO much. However, I have a coping mechanism called not thinking about things that cause me pain. And as much as I love music, and I really do, sometimes it hurts to love it, because I used to live for playing piano, guitar, percussion and singing, and especially composing. So, in order to not feel completely sad, I just put it out of my mind... the intensity I feel for this art form.

That being said, I love music! I was raised on a healthy dosage of the three B's: Beatles, Beethoven and Broadway. My parents listened to a lot of oldies when I was growing up, and my grandma would send these tapes of all the awesome musicals -- Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Secret Garden, etc. -- and we would live off of that. From the age of three, I was involved with piano lessons. In the third grade, I had a brief love affair with the violin, but it wasn't to be. It was a combination of not practicing/practicing too much. Sometimes I would get lazy and not practice the violin. Other times, I would practice it, but no one really liked hearing that. But it wasn't my instrument of choice. That was always the piano. It always will be.

In high school, I was in choir, just like I was in middle school. My junior year, I made the top two choirs in the school. It was quite an honor for me, and I loved singing. My sophomore year, I joined the marching band as a cymbal player. Mainly, I joined band because, in addition to my love for music, I just wanted to be a part of something as awesome and large as my school's marching band. I admired their hard work and dedication -- afterschool practices, practicing during lunch, marching every football game. I saw it, and I knew I wanted it in my life. My junior year, I switched up to playing the bass drum, which I loved. A little under half of my school schedule involved music classes. I also took college voice classes, and joined the community college choir while I was still in high school. I planned on majoring in music and either becoming a famous composer or teaching music.

Of course, my plans changed after my accident. No longer able to major in music, I got my degree in literature and writing. I don't want to sound all pity party here, because I don't even feel sad for myself. I didn't get to do what I wanted, but I still got to do something fantastic. And while it sucks that I can't do what I most wanted, I still have the ability to appreciate music with all my heart, and I do that on a daily basis.

I love being able to listen to music. Every day, I listen to Pandora radio while I read my scriptures and then do my work. There are several times where I will just listen to music and it resonates so deeply within me that brings me to tears. Almost every time at church, I have to stop singing a hymn because I'll start to tear up a little. I love that there are so many different levels of listening to a song: the melody, the harmony, the rhythm, the lyrics, the beat, the different instruments, the organization of the song, and so on. I can listen to the same song so many times and hear something different. I love that! And then you listen to the same song you've listened to 100 times with someone else, and then it actually means something different to them, and when you listen to it with them, it makes it different to you. It's beautiful!

I will always love music and appreciate its positive influence in my life. Right now, I don't play the piano anymore, but I still whistle and play the harmonica. I can't sing like I used to because of the accident, but I can still attempt to sing. I know it doesn't sound great, but it doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world. I'm grateful for what I can do in the musical realm, and I'm grateful for the music and musical artists who have touched and inspired me. It makes my life better every single day.

Here I am at around 15 years old with my cousin Keli, playing piano.

This is me with my sister KeriAnn, who played cymbals in the band, age 16.

This is a picture of me marching in a parade. As you can tell, I took it very seriously.

This last one was taken maybe one month before my accident, so I was almost 19 here. I was singing and playing keyboard at an open mic night at some Christian juice bar in Arizona.