Music has saved my life many times. I grew up in a painful, broken home where neglect and abuse were the predominant vibrations. But, even though there were many tears, I still loved, loved, LOVED to sing. They say that the best singers are the best criers, and looking back, I would have to agree. It was my way of wailing when crying wasn’t appropriate or allowed. I sang everything. Broadway musicals, radio songs, elevator music. I would even use the monotonous sounds of hand dryers in public restrooms as drones to improvise over the top of. One time, I blocked off the cul-de-sac where I lived with every stuffed animal I could find in my and neighboring houses so I could perform the entire show of Annie, playing all parts myself. But sadly, my father thought it would be healthy to guide me away from the life of a “starving artist” and told me that I was simply not meant to be a singer. I was crushed. Yet somehow, Music found another way in. Thanks to an angel grandmother living far away, a piano made its way into my house. And miraculously, instead of turning to drugs or something else that would take the pain away, I learned, once again, to turn to Music. And every single time, Music was there to help me move from the lowest feelings of sadness, depression, loss, grief and powerlessness, slowly but surely up the vibrational ladder to feelings of understanding, acceptance, presence, love, and sometimes even joy and excitement. As my passion and skills for Music grew, I found teachers to help guide me. But even though those teachers meant well, I left almost every meeting with them feeling not-good-enough, not inspired, and eventually hopeless. There was no money to have consistent lessons anyway, so I began to write my own songs, songs that I would play over and over and over, as if I could be safe and happy as long as I just kept playing them. Then one day, I was in a theater where an orchestra was performing with a guest cellist as the soloist. I was about 14 years old and I remember the color and the feel of the whole room changing the moment he bowed his first note. I can almost taste the feeling I felt. If I had to describe it, the only words would be, “Yes. This.” Again, thanks to a series of miracles, a cello came into my life. And once again, I poured all of my sorrow into the instrument. Once I had enough skill for teachers to take notice, I would once again leave music sessions feeling not-good-enough, uninspired and alone to figure it out. Then another miracle occurred. I had no idea how I would ever manage to afford to go to a university, but after auditioning with every ounce of hope and desire I had, I was offered a full scholarship to play the cello at a university with a great music school. I thought I was set. I thought I had arrived. So I was shocked at how approaching Music academically made me feel. I hated it. But I so wanted to love it. And even more, when I saw many of my colleagues thriving around me, I wanted to be like them and more than anything, I wanted to look good. So I shoved my feelings down and let my ego grow as big as it needed to so that I could look the part. I forced myself to spend endless hours alone in a small cube practice room, slumped with my cello, praying more than playing, that I would somehow figure out how to excel and be the best.