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Why I Sing Even Though the Odds Are Against Me Because of Hypotonia

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Anyone who knows me well (or let’s face it, anyone who’s had a five-minute conversation with me) knows how much I love singing. I am in a chorus class, an after-school chorus, and a Girl Scout chorus. I am especially devoted to Girl Scout chorus; it’s the two hours a week I don’t feel like the “weird one,” and I love all the performances. I can memorize a song just by singing it a couple times, and I can remember the songs for years before I start to forget them.

But it turns out, when singing, the odds are against me because I have hypotonia. After singing even just a few songs, my jaw hurts. After a performance, my cheeks hurt from smiling and my back hurts from using perfect singing posture. A lot of songs, especially in Girl Scout chorus, have dance moves or hand signs that I just don’t have the coordination to pull off. And since my diaphragm is weaker, I can’t inhale as much air as quickly and I can’t push out all the air in my lungs, so I have bad breath control. That means, statistically, pursuing singing is a waste of time. But I sing anyway because I love it.

When I sing, I get this amazing feeling that’s hard to describe. It doesn’t matter how much pain I’m in, how sleep deprived I am, or how upset I am — when I sing, and especially when I perform, it all goes away. I don’t have to worry about that pain in my ankle, that grade a teacher gave me, or that thing a mean kid said. None of it matters.

I don’t mind putting the extra work into my music. I will spend an hour practicing the hand signals to a song in front of the mirror, and I will spend even longer practicing my songs, smile, and posture because it’s fun. During the two months of torture when I have no chorus, I memorize songs by my favorite artists, just because. And no matter what, I’m never going to stop singing. I don’t care if it’s “worthless,” “doesn’t matter,” or “a waste of my time.” I will keep on singing, simply because it’s fun. And right now, that’s all that really matters.

Image: Thinkstock Photo.

Originally published: August 29, 2016
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