I finally got to see her. I’ve waited for this for nine years.
I remember getting her album for Christmas in 2006 and listening to it over and over. I was 16, and that album played countless times in my first car, and so did her second one, her third one and her fourth one, and — you guessed it — her fifth album has been on repeat for more than a year now.
Now you’re probably wondering who I’m talking about. Taylor Swift, of course.
I’m a “swifty” through and through. Her music has grown up with me. When she was in high school and had her heart broken, I was in high school and had my heart broken. When she had a crush on a boy who only saw her as a friend, I found myself in the same situation. When she moved away from home and got her first apartment, I was moving away from home and getting my first apartment. When she was writing about a boy who treated her poorly and finally found the courage to stick up for herself, her music gave me the courage to break up with the guy who was treating me badly. Her music has always reflected my life — probably because we are the same age. (Actually, she is 1 year and seven days older than me — but close enough.)
On Monday, I was given the chance to see her live at the FargoDome in Fargo, N.D. I received these “holy” tickets as a going away gift from my previous employers when I told them I would be moving to Worthington.
I spent the days leading up to the concert making a sign that looked like a Polaroid picture (which is the cover of her newest album, “1989”) with some of her lyrics written in the picture.
On Monday I spent the day watching YouTube tutorials on how to do my makeup in the classic Taylor Swift way — with cat eyes and red lipstick.
And when I finally took my seat at the concert, I decided then and there I would not take my cellphone out of my jacket pocket. While most people spent the concert sending Snapchats and text messages and uploading videos and pictures to Facebook, I chose to not document a single moment of the concert.
I decided to unplug for the night. Instead of watching the concert through my cellphone screen, I chose to watch it with my own eyes.
I have spent many past concerts worried about getting the best moments on video and then realizing after I leave the concert I couldn’t remember what happened. The worst part: I never watched my videos. I just ended up deleting them because the quality wasn’t that great.
I didn’t want to miss a single moment of this show. And it was worth it. She was great. Better than great. I can’t put into words how in awe I am of her.
(Weird fact: I started crying when she came out on stage because I was so happy to be there.)
She has been one of my key role-models since I was 16, and I’m so glad I got to dance and sing along to every single song and feel every single emotion I did.
I guarantee that I will remember that much more than any cellphone recording.
I will leave you with a quote from Taylor at Monday’s concert.
“When you start feeling like you’re not different, or you’re not special or you have nothing important to say — we all feel like that sometimes. But what I want you to do right now — if there is one thing you remember from tonight, remember what I’m about to say.
“You need to look into the mirror in the morning and not tell yourself that you’re not special or you’re not good enough or you’re not pretty or you’re not awesome. I’m going to tell you right now the things that you actually are not. These are the things you really are not. You are not the opinion of somebody who doesn’t know you. You are not damaged goods just because you’ve made mistakes in your life. You are not going nowhere just because you haven’t gotten where you want to go yet. … Now I’m going to tell you what you are.
“You are your own definition of beautiful and worthwhile. That’s what you are. And you are someone that is wiser because you’ve made mistakes. Not damaged — wiser. … It’s not about perfection. It’s about getting on with things. … I think people have a misconception about mistakes. They don’t make you damaged — they make you clean.”