I scroll through my classical playlist in search for Celtic Woman’s ‘The Voice’, one of the songs for our group performance taking place two weeks from now. I find it by the time my hand is turning the gold-plated door knob. I notice a few people in the distance, haphazardly scattered across the room as I let myself in.

The gentle hum of the heating system fills the room along with the sound of a few shuffling bodies and idle chit-chat.

The air is even warmer in here, incredibly cozy with the perfect temperature for a nap, and I have to fight the temptation to run back to my car, speed home, and dive right into my bed.

The white tiles of the recently renovated flooring look even more immaculate under the fluorescent lighting of the spacious studio.

The bright lights attack my eyes and make me squint behind my glasses as they create a glare.

Everyone here has their earphones in already, and are singing along to the music they’re hearing just as I’m about to.

I look around and notice that Trixie isn’t here yet, but it’s not unusual. She hates coming to practice even a minute earlier than she has to.

I make my way over to a corner, right in front of one of the many floor-to-ceiling mirrors so that I can properly monitor my posture as I sing. I glance at my cheap plastic watch. Its digits read 6:50 AM.

 I only have ten minutes to warm up, which is good for one full go round, but considering this funkiness going on with my stomach, I’m not so sure. I’m worried I may need more time.

 I regard my figure, looking intently at the eyes of the girl staring back at me from behind thin, brown-framed glasses.

 I look…tired.

Incredibly tired.

And I know it’s not just because it’s early in the day. I always look like this. I’ve been constantly exhausted for years now, and it really shows. I feel a sigh escape me as I try not to let my mind wander toward negative thoughts like it normally does.

I bring my full focus to the current moment and the task at hand. I readjust my earphones as I feel one bud slipping out. I arch my back and bring my shoulders back so that they’re aligned with my hips. Lightly spreading my feet apart, I straighten my spine as best as I can, and even though it still makes me feel slutty, I push my chest out to fix my slouch.

I feel the tension leave my lips as I part them slightly, a measure I always have to take against my tendency to purse them. With my posture adjusted, I hit play, and soon, the harmonious melody of Celtic Woman’s ‘The Voice’ fills my ears.

I begin to mimic her, singing along to her hypnotic voice without having to think about the words as they are etched into my memory—thanks to having the song on replay non-stop for the last several days. As the music continues to stream into my ears, I momentarily close my eyes as I feel myself being transported out of the two thousand square foot rehearsal studio to a tranquil cottage on a lovely green meadow in Ireland.

I feel so in sync and free, and I continue to sing with increasing abandon, as if I don’t have a care in the world. It all feels so…magical; like nothing else in the world. I forget all my troubles, past and present, and think only of the music and how amazing the harmonious rhythm makes me feel. I open my eyes and continue to monitor my posture.

Everything looks and feels right so far. I glance at the MP3 player, noting that I’m already two minutes in. My surroundings have become a blur, and all I can focus on is singing, as if it’s the only thing I know how to do.

Three minutes in and everything is still flowing smoothly. My timing and precision are on point. I continue to sing fairly effortlessly, and the difficult bridge is coming up. I tackle it head on as I’ve done many times before. I watch myself closely in the mirror again, regarding the flex of my abs as I feel their muscles contract.

I feel the various parts of my body—my diaphragm, my lungs, my larynx, and my lips—all working together in perfect synchrony to control and maintain the pitch, tone, timbre, depth, and fluidity of my voice. I feel the power in my voice as I sing at the top of my lungs, feeling the waves reverberate within me and escape my lips.

I’m so in my element right now, completely in my zone.

Nothing beats the feeling I get when I sing like this.

Nothing gets me on such a high or gives me such an overwhelming sense of freedom—

Abruptly, I feel myself lurch forward unnaturally and my voice cracks. I feel the warm air forced from my lungs in a strained rush as it escapes my flared nostrils. My chest tightens in response.

Oh, God…

It’s happening again.


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