One of my biggest strengths is that I stay true to myself. I want to feel accepted, but I try not to fit in because I think it is very important to be who you are. I love the person I am becoming and am impressed by what I have achieved over the years despite having struggles in my life. I have had such a fortunate life and I have always stayed true to myself. I know I am “different” than other people my age, but it is important to be who are because it allows you to be the person you are meant to be.
The person I am is a spiritually strong, determined, funny, smart girl. I love listening to contemporary Christian songs and Broadway Musicals. It is amazing how my two main music interests started out as something quite small and turned into something that is more than I thought they could achieve. My love for both of them started back in elementary school. I was first exposed to Contemporary Christian songs at an Episcopalian Conference Center called Kanuga. My church sang those songs at our annual Parish Weekend for about eight years. I fell in love with some of those songs such as “Lord I Life Your Name On High”, “Sanctuary”, and “Servant Song”.
I truly fell in love with Christian Music at a youth event called Winterlight. It is an annual high school winter conference at Kanuga. I discovered my favorite Christian song there, which is called “Prince of Peace”. That song has so much meaning to me because it connects me back to Kanuga and Winterlight. I loved the youthful energy expressed through that song and I would later memorize the lyrics. To this day, I still listen to Christian Music and whenever I sing or listen to it, I am filled up with the Holy Spirit and feel God’s presence. That is why I go to my school’s student-led worship whenever I have the chance. I am able to discover new Christian songs that I love and some of them are “Power to Redeem”, “Child of God”, and “Come to the River”.
As for musicals, I watched Disney musical movies such as “Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast” and went to see musicals live with my family in elementary school .In elementary school, my favorite musical was “Annie”. But it was when I went to New York that would be a turning point in my musical journey. My mom took me to see “Wicked” and it was special because it was just me and mom. My favorite song than was “Popular”. I later would realize the meaning of the show. “Wicked” is special to me because it was the show where I started to understand theatre. I had a strong relationship to the character of Elphaba because I truly understand who she is and I can fully relate to her. That musical sparked my love of musicals. Growing up, I learned that musicals are capable of dance, spectacle, and full of positive and negative emotions. I felt like all musicals would stay happy for the rest of my life, but later I was to discover that everything would be tested.
It was in December of 2012 when my parents would take me to see the movie of “Les Mis” without realizing how much impact it would have on my musical journey. I came in only knowing one song and not knowing what the title meant. While watching the movie, I would realize that the musical was a tragedy and I did not know how to respond. As a result, i watched the rest of the movie in shock and felt like the show was just depressing and would not mean much to me. However, I still went straight to researching information about the musical such as the time period and Victor Hugo and facts about the musical. I decided to give the movie one more chance and that was when I was finally able to become a fan and start to truly feel the different emotions. I kept on asking myself “why do I also feel uplifted?”.
I decided to dig deeper in the musical to figure that question out and I would later learn that it is a story of love, hope, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption. I soon became obsessed with the musical and that was where I developed a passion for musicals. I knew I had to eventually see the stage show and I finally saw it for the first time at my community college and saw it three times because I saw it two times as an usher and once with my family. I knew I still was not done watching the stage musical and later had a dream to see the show in the West End and that came true in 2015. I saw it with my mom and we were nine rows back from the stage and it was the best stage production yet.
I stay true to both of those loves by continuing to listen to both of those kinds of songs. The thing I love the most about Christian music is my ability to feel connected to God and where I could develop my spiritually. The thing I love the most about about musicals is their ability to tell a story through song, which is beneficial because it makes it easier to connect to the characters and their emotions. It makes the emotions worth it including the negative emotions. The unique thing about both the positive and negative emotions is how they work together to make the story real. The thing I love the most about the sad songs is how I can still connect to them even though I can hardly relate to them. The negative emotions may be hard to work with, but if you find the right balance between the positive and negative emotions, it makes the negative emotions easier to work with.
Besides staying true to my music interests, I have other ways to stay true to myself. I stay true to myself by keeping up with my love for writing in a journal and collecting snow globes. I stay determined in schools and stay positive everyday. I am a very outgoing, optimistic, happy person and I stay true to that everyday. I feel as if staying true to yourself is an important characteristic because it shows that it is okay to be different and that you truly embrace who you really are. I feel that if you do not stay true to yourself, you are “nobody” because you are being someone you are not. I have always managed to stay true to myself, which is not easy, but glad I am able to that. I do not to become someone I am not. I know I am “different” and do not have the same interests as those my same age, but what really matters is being who I am.