Uncertainty amazement, whistles filled the air, and the claps

Uncertainty is wholly overwhelming. This monstrous feeling halts me from ascending the elevated, angst-seeking theatre stage, from confronting hundreds of faces strumming my guitar at a talent show, and from taking a moment to reveal my voice in front of others by joining a choir. I often consider that my timidity is meaningful and natural. Blatantly, I genuinely lack the required musical qualities–accurate pitch, vocal range, constant rhythm–to assuredly deliver my shaky rendition of Adele’s ‘Hello’ in the public realm. So when it comes to singing, it seems that my reserved, introverted personality is incomparably suited to the lack of talent I possess; though I will never expose the tones of my diaphragm to the public realm, I cannot argue that anyone is really missing out on much. Yet, despite my flagrant mediocrity, I’ve envisioned myself with the ability to be a wholesome vocal rockstar since the mere age of four, when a rather unconventional stage erected at my first competitive swim meet. A female swimmer, aged thirteen or fourteen, began her spunky rendition of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ as eyes fixed on her in amazement, whistles filled the air, and the claps of impressed spectators surrounded her. In just a mere forty-nine seconds, it was over, but it was just enough to hook me. Later, as third-grade multiplication became seventh-grade pre-algebra and swim practices transformed from one hour to four, I looked for an escape from the hectic nature of my daily life: the shower. As I step in, I enter a world where my timidity and apprehensions are washed away by the gentle stream of water that grazes my back. Soon, I’m screaming at some fantasy ex-lover in ‘Someone Like You’ as I reincarnate into Adele or imaginatively growing a mermaid tail to recognize Ariel’s struggles in ‘Part of Your World.’ With no shining smartphone in hand, no link to conversation, no book, and no game in sight, my prefrontal cortex’s vital craftiness and prevailing desire for purpose summons an act as timeless as 500 BC: screeching–I mean singing.The subway-tiled walls transform me–from dying goat to opera princess–a secret that lies in the physical properties of sound waves as the impure tones of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ reflect off the bathroom walls. According to the Review of Modern Physics, as these waves are reflected, the pure tones with the right wavelengths become stationary waves while other pitchy tones immediately cancel out, resulting in correct musical notes. In addition to this general mellowing of tone, the close walls create reverberations, an effect that magnifies richness of tone, adds bass, and incorporates an incredible echoing effect. With sound waves vibrating at around one-hundred times per second, it seems fitting that the shower becomes a recording studio for aspiring artists–the original autotune.Yet, beyond the novelty of pleasant sound, singing in the shower inflicts a calming, yet energizing effect on people. As my regular oxygen intake nearly doubles in volume, endorphins and oxytocin are released into the synaptic clefts between the axon terminals and dendrite receptors of adjacent neurons. In addition to boosting confidence, these chemicals improve immune response and even reduce the perception of pain. Additionally, a study led by Swedish musicologist Bj√∂rn Vickhoff found that vocal exercises for twenty minutes a day has a dramatic effect on heart rate variability, a result that expedites a reduced risk of heart disease. Essentially, what researchers are beginning to understand is that singing is an infusion of the ideal tranquilizer: a soothing breech to nerves, an elevation of spirits, and a path towards an overall healthier lifestyle. Yet, I exist and gain the motivation to pursue things based upon tangible results, regardless of how minuscule said results may be. As I belt the highest note of Kesha’s ‘Praying’ and immediately catch my breath, I realize that singing is a physical exercise just as much as it is a mental one. I see singing’s impact on my abilities as a swimmer of thirteen years as I effortless traverse the pool underwater, completing several laps before needing a single breath. I use this newfound lung capacity as I flawlessly practice my Tchaikovsky flute concerto, and even to quickly link words together as I debate Congress’ exemption from the American Health Care Act with my sister. If you mortify the crowd with your screechy rendition of ‘Don’t Stop Believing,’ I would like to remind you that hope still exists. It’s in your shower. It’s existed to me for years on end: a pain reliever after a tragic 5 AM swim practice, a sort of synthetic melatonin at the end of a hectic day. As I lather my hair into a clump of suds or wash my permanently chlorine-stained skin, I sing; and as I do so, I realize I exist in a world that isn’t my own, a world of seemingly genuine optimism and confidence. It’s a short break from the hectic nature of daily life into a new world, where I can scream songs lyrics without fear of self-judgment or discrimination regardless of who else can hear. Refreshed and well-rested to approach the challenges of existence on again, I turn the handle, open the doors, and end my fantasy life. Deep down, I know I wasn’t meant to touch the stage or join an a cappella group, never destined for the guitar or talent show. But maybe, and just maybe, my voice in the shower will give me the conviction to approach the classes, practices, work shifts, and interactions of my daily life with boldness and enthusiasm while preserving a modest, soft-spoken nature.