Two years ago, I was sitting on the couch amidst the chaos of Meltonshire Christmas. My dear friend Suz, whom I used to follow around as a starry eyed ten year old when she was a colorful, outgoing thirteen year old, was talking about the upcoming Taylor Swift Reputation Tour. I had recently begun listening to the new album and was finding that I truly enjoyed it. I hadn’t listened to Taylor’s tunes consistently for a few years, but was finding myself getting pumped in the morning by this new album. Then Suz, the best gift-giver I have ever met in my whole life, offered to buy me, her sister-in-law and our Taylor-Swift-expert friend tickets to the stop in Tampa. With Suz living in Orlando year round, it was the perfect excuse to go down and visit my “sister”, while getting to experience my first actual concert. Let me tell you, committing to a trip down to Florida eight months in the future was one of the most spontaneous choices I’ve ever made in my life, but a choice I will forever be grateful for.
Here’s the deal with Taylor for me: I’ve always liked her. I remember in being in sixth
grade and singing “Love Story” at a karaoke event, and some of the first songs I learned on guitar were ones that she had written. But as seventh grade rolled around, Taylor Swift became less cool. The “popular” girls now rolled their eyes at the country/pop singer. Me, being a confused and very nerdy middle schooler, began to listen to the voices of my peers’ opinions, and in turn, began to listen to the music I enjoyed less and less. Even when I started homeschooling and went to community college, I found myself floating away from the music I liked because of how other people talked about the artists. I was focused on others’ opinions instead of forming my own.
Fast forward to August 2018. The anticipation of the trip made my heart race every time
my brain wandered to it. Samantha and I made crafting runs to create my “Feelin’ so Gatsby” look. I have the “Reputation” album on repeat as I drive between jobs. I’m scrolling through hashtags previous concert goers had used to see a glimpse of what I was in for. Still though, I’m not an open fan. Truth be told, when certain people asked me what I was most excited about for summer break, I would be slightly embarrassed to say, “I’m so hyped to see Taylor Swift live!” A part of my brain was sent back to middle school, where girls who set all the trends that flooded the halls declared that only weirdos listened to that stuff.
Among my close gal pals on the trip though, I felt truly safe to be open. My friend Marri is one of my biggest role models in being an unapologetic fan. I swear, this woman knows Taylor Swift better than most people know themselves. And here’s the thing about Marri: she doesn’t give a crap what you think of her, at least, she’s led me to believe this is the case. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s been loud and proud about her opinions, and people listen to her due to her confidence. She probably doesn’t know this, but her unyielding passion and exuberance for the things she enjoys has inspired me, especially as I enter further into my 20’s (Marri, if you’re reading this, hi, you’re great and I love you).
Florida was a dream. The Dampa Squad (yes, I meant to type Dampa, not Tampa; if you’ve been to Florida you understand why) graced the streets of DisneyWorld in mouse ears and glitter, enjoyed the wonders of a moon sand beach (right before getting caught in a rainstorm), and dressed to the nines at the Taylor Swift tour. Throughout the week, I grew relationships with girls I had known and looked up to for years and grew new friendship with a gal who quickly become a wonderful counsel (Hi, Caileigh). And let me tell you, I cannot do justice to the emotions I felt while at that concert. Lyrics that I didn’t even know I knew by heart were being shouted as I danced like no one was watching. There were multiple times words from songs brought tears to my eyes as I reflected on how far I’ve come in life. As dumb as it can sound, going to the concert made me realize I wasn’t alone in my appreciation of this talented artist.
The semester following the concert was full of extreme highs and lows. Through successes and heartbreak, I was beginning to listen to Taylor’s music consistently as I once had. Her words inspired me and pushed me forward. In the midst of a breakup, I did such a stereotypical thing that makes even me chuckle now: I began playing music again. Being a busy theatre and animation student, playing piano or guitar was an activity that I never made time for. During a much needed snow day though, I picked up my precious green guitar and spent an hour playing some of my favorite Taylor Swift songs. Let me tell you, my fingers hurt like HECK after not playing for months, but the joy my soul felt after making music was infectious to my overall mood.
Here’s my overarching point to this ramble: don’t let other people’s opinions keep you from enjoying the things that make you feel alive. There’s always gonna be someone who thinks what you enjoy is silly (let me refer you to my Twilight post for a direct quote). However, we are all created unique, including our different interests and passions. Can you imagine if all of us liked all the same exact things? UGH! So boring! As you dive deeper into 2019, I challenge you to be unapologetic in what you love; you never know how it could affect people. For example, while sitting in a coffee shop furiously typing this post to meet my deadline, I ended up wandering around to give my brain a break. This led to a conversation with a lovely barista, who I not only found out liked Taylor Swift, but Doctor Who as well, a show near and dear to my heart. I’ve decided that we should be best friends. Be proud of your passions, my friends. You never know when they could possibly change your life.
Until Next Time,
Some of my favorite tunes:
“New Years Day”
“All Too Well”