We’ve Had 13 Great Years with Taylor Swift

This past October, Taylor Swift and her fans celebrated her 13-year anniversary since her self-titled debut album put her on listeners’ radars. I’ve been with her for most of her whirlwind journey. I have vivid memories of listening to “Fearless” when I was dropped off at elementary school. Even if you don’t keep up with the newly announced artist of the decade, it’s hard not to see her name in the news at least once a month. If you take a peek at what is being said, it’s not always great things. You can thank the rampant sexism in the music industry for that.

Artists have had fandoms since Frank Sinatra, and social media has only made their intensity increase. I was around 13 years old when I learned about the communities on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr that came together around a celebrity they admire and love. My mother always warned me about the dangers of conversing with strangers online, but the appeal of gushing with other people my age about our love for Taylor won. I created fan account on Instagram with a name that proclaimed my support for her. Most likely, the name was something extremely cringy that only a 13-year-old would think was clever. I only used the account for a couple of months because the internet can be an extremely negative thing. But while using the account, I managed to find lovely women that I have kept up with as they have grown. We still have relationships to reach out to each other and talk about all the things we love.

Being in a fandom, even if not involved in the online community, seems to keep your love strong for your favorite celebrity. This is especially evident when the artist receives hate for things that have no importance — like dating in Taylor’s situation. Or when the whole internet turns on them for changing their word on a previous agreement, e.g. the Kanye situation.. Out of nowhere this wave of hate hit Taylor as though everyone was waiting for her to make a mistake. The world was fast to turn on her, and there is definitely an argument for why she deserved it, but it pales in comparison to why Taylor was right. I love how Taylor handled the situation. She said her piece and disappeared to make an album that would release all her thoughts and feelings on the situation. Once she did that, it was the end of the subject. Yes, she has been asked about the situation in recent interviews, but it isn’t the whole interview. She was able to let those negative feelings and thoughts go to produce her most recent album, “Lover.” If a woman who is in media’s eye all the time can handle moving on and grow from that insane situation, then I know I can overcome any difficulties life throws my way.

When my heart wants to make a change that can have both positive and negative effects, I have to do it. This faith in myself and abilities is something I value, and I see it with Taylor. The change from country to pop was a shocking one. At the time, I wasn’t listening to many different genres, and I was worried I would lose the singer-songwriter quality that Taylor’s country songs have. She got a lot of skepticism when she announced the move, but she trusted herself when thousands of people doubted her. It was reaffirming to see her be right about her idea when many doubted her because it proved that she knows herself the best. It also shows that sometimes what you need to do won’t be understood by many, but that doesn’t matter as long as you’re proud of yourself.

My 13 years with Taylor have been filled with great music to dance to with my sisters and songs that are the soundtrack to my life. I have the knowledge that the woman I grew up admiring truly tries to be a good person, even if that means she has to admit to millions that she’s made mistakes or done things to anger them. I had the chance to see her break records and celebrate it with a new community that was brought together by a woman’s strength to be honest and vulnerable to the world. It’s a good feeling to know that from here on out there is only more good things in store for those who enjoy watching Taylor grow and evolve musically and personally. To all the Swifties out there, here’s to another great 13 years breaking records and crying to the fifth track on every album.