It’s you and me, that’s my whole world
You have been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. I first heard you on the radio when I was 12 years old, back in 2007. I was in seventh grade and just discovering myself and my taste in music. One day running errands with my dad, Our Song came on the radio and I was IN LOVE. “Who was this girl?!” I thought. The song was so catchy, so cute, so story-like. So… me. I instantly had to find out more about you. I found out you had an album and a whole list of other songs I had never even heard of before! It seemed I had hit the jackpot. My emotional, creative, passionate, determined, confident, hopeless romantic, nearly 13 year old self asked for your debut album for Christmas that year. What you wrote about in your songs… the seemingly carefree, cutesy relationships I could only dream of, were things I could hold onto. Our Song was the anthem I played in my earbuds on my tiny iPod at my locker each morning and the dream relationship situation my 13 year old self searched for. Little did I know that I wouldn’t have a real relationship like the ones you wrote about until I was 19 years old. But nevertheless, I was wrapped around every lyric you put out… from, “The only one who’s got enough of me to break my heart”, to The water’s high, you’re jumping into it and letting go, and no one knows,” and was captivated by how unapologetic and down-to-earth you were. The lyrics you wrote seemed to get me like no other lyrics of any other artist could. I couldn’t wait for you to release more music.
Although, I never got a chance to see your earlier tours like Fearless and Speak Now, they were probably the most important albums to me as I grew up. For me, they represent periods in my own life. Just like you wrote in the 1989 prologue, “These songs were once about my life. They are now about yours.“ When Love Story came out, I used to listen to it every day after school and dance around my basement as though I were in love and had my own Prince Charming. You Belong With Me and You’re Not Sorry bring me back to sitting in the last row of my middle school’s ski bus, next to my friends who were either prank calling crushes or gossiping as I blasted those two tracks through my earbuds on the way home from a night of skiing thinking that I’ll NEVER find love!! Dramatic, I know. I swear I belted out to You’re Not Sorry with so much much passion you would have thought I actually had a boyfriend who did something very bad lol. Songs like The Best Day, Tied Together With A Smile, and The Outside still never fail to make me shed a few tears, for they seemed to “get me” more than any of your other songs when I was a young tween. As a young girl looking for as much independence as she could, but so terrified of growing up, your songs like The Best Day and Never Grow Up helped me hold on to childhood and my parents. The Speak Now era was the era I was most excited for. The fairytales, the glitter, the theme of not waiting to hold in your feelings, but to speak your thoughts, was everything I needed. If it wasn’t for those lines, “I don’t think you should wait, I think you should speak now,” a lot of texts and conversations with guys I liked never would have happened. I felt so invincible when I had that quote engraved in my mind. Like, “Hey, if I really really like this guy, I should tell him you know!? Cuz you only live one life and I think I should tell him.” That didn’t always end up the way I had dreamt it up to be, but I never regret sharing my feelings with anyone. So thank you for giving me the courage to do the things that made me feel fearless at such a young age.
The Red era was the era I FINALLY got to see you. I was OBSESSED with the album. It was my senior year of high school and let me just say, I listened to that cd EVERY SINGLE DAY on my way to and from school. I couldn’t wait to see you in concert. It was the first time I ever saw a concert without my parents. It was also the first time seeing you, which meant the first time I cried at a concert. I wasn’t expecting to cry that July night, but when you see the girl you’ve looked up to and loved for so long for the first time and you’re surrounded by thousands of other people who love her too and you’re all singing your favorite songs… it’s something unbelievably special. I never thought I’d have a better night than that night. Flash forward to my first year of college. Wasn’t fun. Let’s just say I had the world’s worst roommates who bullied me and I was eight hours from home and homesick everyday. Yeah… it was a rough first year. I used your music as the best therapy when I was feeling alone and scared and not wanted. I listened to every one of your albums walking to class, in bed staring up at the ceiling, at the gym… basically everywhere. Thankfully, I transferred to a college closer to home the next year. And wow what a year 2014 would be. So much was changing! I moved cities, schools, met a guy (now my husband), and fell in love with a little pop masterpiece of an album called 1989. I also was struggling with my mental health at the time Shake It Off was released, in particular, panic attacks, which I still have to work through. 1989 and this “new guy” were the most amazing distractions to my anxiety. I remember watching the livestream of you up on that tall skyscraper the night you released 1989 singing some of the new tracks during my night class. I was so upset I had class that night so I secretly watched the livestream during class. 1989 means so so much to me because it’s an album about coming into your own and coming alive and I literally did just that during the 1989 era. I took chances, I was unapologetically myself, and started to care less about what others thought of me. And I found a love where someone loved me for me. Songs like Blank Space and Shake It Off were my anthems and still are! Clean is still a song I listen to when I feel like I’ve finally overcome my struggles with anxiety. The whole album means so much to me and stands as the album that defined so much of who I am as a woman. I saw you once on the 1989 tour and I was determined that the next time you toured I would see you more than once. I held the night of June 6, 2015 so close in my heart and couldn’t wait until I saw you again.
I excitedly anticipated your next album and wondered how it could possibly top 1989. I saw you hurt in 2016 and wondered if you’d ever return to music, but I knew in my heart you had something big coming for us. I stuck around, listening to your entire discography as I moved through life… graduating with my bachelor of science in psychology and then the following day getting engaged to my best friend! I started graduate school to become a middle school teacher. Then, I was on my way to Nashville for a short trip to see the solar eclipse with my fiancé when you wiped your social media sites clean. You had reinvented yourself again. I admire your ability to do that. You had just been through your sexual assault trial and were ready to come back into the music world. I was “shook” when LWYMMD was released and was so incredibly amazed how you took control of your own narrative. I decided to do the same.
I had a minor heart arrhythmia since I was about 13 and during the time reputation was released, it became a real burden in my life, bringing back my panic attacks. I had to take medicine for both the anxiety and the heart arrhythmia, which is called SVT. reputation served as yet another distraction for me as I struggled with my heart going from 70 bpm to 160 bpm out of nowhere. When I was buying tickets for my fiancé and I to see you at two shows the following year, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, I was actually having a panic attack as my dad drove us home to Pennsylvania. I managed to snag tickets to see you TWICE. In the mean time, my family and I decided that I was going to have a heart procedure called a cardiac ablation where my heart arrhythmia could be fixed for forever. I was terrified, but I wanted to be fixed more than anything, so I went for it and in February of 2018, my heart was set back to its normal rhythm. My anxiety still follows me, though. I still fear my heart doing its weird things. I try not to worry, and your songs help with that.
The summer of 2018 was one of the greatest. I got married!! I saw you THREE TIMES! I still can’t believe I convinced my dad to buy my mom and I tickets to see you in Nashville. It had always been a dream of mine to see you in the city where you got your start. We sat in the nosebleeds and it was the night my anxiety was at a peak. From the intense Tennessee heat, my fear of my heart doing something, and my fear of heights, I was on edge, but was in heaven seeing you with my mom who still talks about how captivating your show was. This was also the summer I gave it my all to try and get your attention. I don’t know, I thought maybe you’d see my face and choose to meet me. I had heard that you lurk the internet for fans to meet. I had been on stan social media since 2014, and I tried to get a notice by Taylor Nation that summer, but nothing ever happened. My anxiety returned worse than ever that fall of 2018 so I decided to take a long break from any social media.
Sharing my love for you online is a passion of mine, and I felt well enough, so I returned to twitter in January of 2019. I thought Twitter was my best bet to get your attention and wow was I right. When my phone blew up with messages on June 3 of ,“HAYLEY TAYLOR RETWEETED!!!!” I knew for sure I was dreaming. But I wasn’t. You… you, like the real you decided to press that little retweet button on my tweet of my support of the Equality Act and share it with all of your followers. Thank you for not only sharing my tweet that day, but my other friends’ tweets too. Thank you for being an advocate for human rights. That is one of the many reasons why I look up to you as my role model. Standing up for women’s and artists’ rights in the music industry and for human rights gives me so much empowerment and ambition to go out into the world as a middle school teacher and show to my students that I stand for equality among all. Something that children definitely need to hear these days.
Lover was released that same summer and wow was I stunned by EVERY SINGLE SONG. The complexity, the passion, the creativity, the diversity, it was astonishing. Songs like The Archer and Daylight have gotten me through some tough days. Daylight literally makes me cry every single time I listen to it. Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince is definitely one of my favorites. You should have seen my face when I first heard it! I couldn’t wait to get tickets to see you again. And just when I thought I couldn’t love you anymore, you decided to save a photo of my friend Heidi and I and posted it last August during the release of Lover! Hand downs one of the best days of my 2019. Thank you, Taylor for taking the time to reach out to fans, to communicate with us, care about us… we adore you and look up to you so so much. If I were to tell my 12 year old self or even 20 year old self that Taylor Swift would know who I was, I wouldn’t have believed it. I love you more than words could ever say and hope we get to meet someday. I hope you enjoyed reading my story and hope it wasn’t too long. Just know I’ll always love and support you and your music, passions, and visions. I am so inspired by you, Taylor. Thank you for creating the soundtrack to my life and so many others’ lives. I love you SO much!!!