By Alicia Karim
Every student that expects to achieve a higher education prepares for this assignment. They spend months trying to find the perfect words to describe their passion.
Throughout my years in high school, I had a teacher who reminded her students that they should always have two hobbies. One that relaxes them when they need it the most and another that they enjoy earning money from. The reasoning behind this statement is that you don’t want to turn something you love into something stressful, because then it becomes hard to love. It’ll turn into something you dread. I’m hopeful I’ll strengthen my second hobby as I complete my years at college since I have already found my first. And that first is music. It acts as my private language. Its ability to soothe me when I’m feeling stressed is the reason it’s something I want to keep to myself.
There is always one intimate moment when we experience music in a way that causes significant changes in our life. My moment occurred ten years ago, at the age of seven. The intimacy then didn’t seem as important as it is today. I was just one of the many little girls who looked up to Beyoncé as an idol. Snippets of her song, “Single Ladies,” was constantly on television. Every time I heard it playing, I would drop whatever I was doing and burst out singing. From her couch, my grandma would feebly cheer me on. My mom eventually nicknamed me Beyoncé because I would take so long in the shower just singing my heart away and with it all my childhood angst. Funny enough, I don’t listen to Beyoncé anymore, but she remains the first person to have piqued my interest in music. Later on, I would be writing my own songs and performing them with my best friend from elementary school. This made me believe that we would become superstars one day. Even though those dreams have fizzled out, music remains an important part of my life.
Music allows every individual, no matter how unique their situation, to understand themselves. It is more than just spitting lyrics over a beat. Music is the art of expression. Most of the time, it just lingers in the background of your life. Background music exists everywhere, like the grocery stores where music is played too low to understand, or in the movies, where music lightens an awkward conversation. It permeates every aspect of our lives, whether we realize it or not. Music is the perfect way to build a community because it is a language that almost everyone speaks. One might indulge in classical music, tracing a piano with fingers that have mastered “Ballade Opus 23” by Chopin. Another person may use music as their love language, a way to communicate romantic feelings when words are unable to leave their mouth coming face to face with someone that leaves them stunned. Maybe even using music as a way to trigger emotion, the only way to release built-up stress and anger. You can learn a tremendous amount about a person by listening to what they listen to. It sparks a conversation about why they enjoy listening to music, how they discovered their interest, and what keeps them listening to it.
Just like any human growing up in this world, I have two sides of myself. The private sector is the part of me only I need to understand. The public stance is presenting myself the way I want to be seen, rather than what I truly am. The easiest way to build a connection between both of my conscious selves is through the unique sounds of music. It connects the two versions of me to my soul. It truly is a private language that only I can understand, and it is unique to every person.
Approximately eight drafts. The first was composed with a mentor in the Girls Write Now organization. The rest was created by myself with revision from a family friend. I was stuck between expressing my love for music or my struggle with identity. Over time, I somehow managed to connect the two. I realized that music is a big part of me. It’s not just something that I listen to. It is something that has changed my perception of the world.
Alicia Karim is a high school senior learning to navigate the new world that awaits her. She is moving from a close knit community to an unfamiliar environment as she makes her way through college in 2021. Growing up with younger siblings has never been easy, but she has learned how to cope with her struggles through unique hobbies.