I just really need to take a moment and talk about Taylor Swift and how much she has impacted my life.
Taylor is like the older sister that I never had. I remember when I was in middle school and I first heard Teardrops On My Guitar on the radio and thought it was a wonderful song. I didn’t understand the full meaning then. But I loved the song. And then I heard Our Song.
Then, that Christmas, I got her self-titled album as one of my gifts, and I played that thing to death. It was one of the first albums to go on my very first iPod. I endlessly listened to Picture To Burn, Mary’s Song, and hoped that I would find a boy like “Cory” in the song Stay Beautiful. I watched the music video for Tim McGraw and wondered what my first serious relationship would be like.
Fearless came out in 2008, the beginning of my freshman year of high school. It came out when Taylor was 18, so she had written about high school and all of the problems she had, and the relationships she’d gone through. Two albums and almost six years later, Fearless is and will always be my favorite Taylor album. In March of 2009, there was a boy who really, really hurt me, emotionally, verbally, and even physically. But I still really loved him. I listened to You Belong With Me on repeat, sang along in a hairbrush to Love Story (yes, I actually did that), and cried myself to sleep to White Horse, Forever and Always, and You’re Not Sorry. The things that happened with that boy broke me so badly, but her music helped me heal. Even when I was alone, crying in my closet, Taylor was always there for me.
On May 24, 2009, I got to see her in concert at the San Diego Sports Arena during the FEARLESS Tour. She played all of my favorite songs and kicked off the show with You Belong With Me. The entire experience was so surreal. Our seats were okay, but not near the front because the tickets cost so much, but they were right by a tiny stage in the middle of the audience, and about halfway through the show she disappeared backstage and popped up on the tiny stage so I was really close to her and she played Hey Stephen. That concert was one of the best experiences of my life. I was still healing from what had happened with that boy, and that capped off the months of ups and downs that had been my freshman year of high school.
In October 2010, Speak Now was released. It was a little bit of a different sound for Taylor, but I still loved it. She was growing up and so was I. I was in the middle of my first really serious relationship, so I listened to the love songs on repeat and listened to the songs about heartbreak for their melody and not their meaning. My boyfriend and I always talked about these crazy ideas about our future, so Mine was one of my favorite tracks off of that album. Enchanted really defined for me what it was like to meet someone and experience love at first sight. Mean reminded me to stick up for myself, especially with the problems I was having with my parents and how I almost lost my best friend. Taylor’s songs were always the ones my boyfriend wanted to hear me sing when it was late and we were both falling asleep talking on the phone to one another.
And then the next July, he ended our year and a half long relationship. During arguably the worst week of my life, I cried a lot, couldn’t eat anything without wanting to throw up, and felt absolutely awful. I couldn’t listen to any type of music for the first couple of days, but when I knew I was ready, I put on Taylor. Haunted, Last Kiss, The Story Of Us, Dear John and Back To December took on a whole new meaning for me.
My senior year of high school was an absolute mess (that’s an understatement). I was taking all AP classes, dealing with major depression, constant thoughts of suicide, and increasingly frequent panic attacks because my heart hurt so bad from being dumped. The heartbreak songs helped me when I was feeling sad, and the love songs gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe I could find someone again. I was so badly broken that I could barely function. Most of the days I didn’t even want to get out of bed and go to school, and on the days I stayed home, as soon as everyone left for school/work, I would blast Taylor through my speakers and cry all day. It took a thousand times listening to Innocent to be able to forgive that person for the things he did.
I found love again a few months later, at midnight in the backseat of a car, snuggled in blankets. And when we decided that it was too quiet, the first thing he did was reach for his iPod and put on Taylor. It was like she was there with me, telling me that everything was going to be okay, that I could be happy again and that I didn’t have to be broken anymore. I fell in love with my best friend, and I still love him even though we had to break it off because he was going to an out-of-state college. He loves Taylor Swift as well. And despite everything that we’ve been through, both together and with our separate lives, I still love him so much and appreciate that he was there to pick me up when I fell.
RED came out just in time for me, in October 2012. At first I was skeptical after listening to WANEGBT, but Begin Again reminded me that fresh starts are always possible. September had been a month full of horrible decisions and horrible consequences, and RED is a very mature album. Even though Taylor is only a few years ahead of me, her songs always seem to line up perfectly with my life. Now I relate to them more than ever. I listened to the title track, Red, and thought about how many times I’d felt as if I was crashing a car at a dead-end road that was supposed to be a relationship. The first time I listened to All Too Well, I knew immediately that it was going to be my favorite song from the entire album. It hits me so hard every time I hear it because it’s so raw and beautiful and real and it reminds me so much of the things I’ve gone through. I Knew You Were Trouble., Treacherous, I Almost Do, and The Last Time reminded me to resist the temptation to go back to someone who was hurting me, even if I thought that they were all I ever needed.
If Taylor Swift and her music didn’t exist, I probably wouldn’t be around now to tell you about it. Honestly. No matter how much she changes, I will always love her and never stop being her fan, and she will never stop being my older sister. I love her so, so much, and I’m so proud of her. She’s turning 24 tomorrow and it seems like yesterday that I was watching the curtains rise and her sing You Belong With Me live.
So if you EVER think you can tell me that she’s “attention seeking” or “stupid” or “a bad influence”, don’t you fucking dare. That’s all, bye.