swiftest of the swifties

coming to terms with fangirling

It all started back in 2010.

Her “Speak Now” album had just been released and all my friends couldn’t stop listening to it. At this point, I was anti-Swift, because she was too flawless. I mean, how could anyone be that beautiful, talented, and smart? It wasn’t even fair. Begrudgingly, I listened to a few songs. Slightly less begrudgingly, but a little ashamed, I went out and bought the “Speak Now” CD.  My friends kept telling me I needed to fully experience the album, so I thought I’d get the CD and learn a little bit of background information on Taylor as well. I put the CD in the boom box I still used and let it play all the way through. Then I restarted it. Then I restarted it again. I could feel my opinion change.

“Last Kiss,” “Enchanted,” “Dear John,” “Speak Now”—those songs became my anthems. At this point in my life, I had never been in a relationship, nor was I even close to one, so as I belted out the lyrics I just pretended that I knew what she was singing about. Over the next year, I listened to Taylor Swift quite a bit but did not considered myself a diehard fan. I listened more because all my friends liked her music (and because—I wasn’t going to lie—some of her songs were so damn catchy!). The following year, something changed within me. I started listening to all of her old music from when she first became famous in 2006. I quickly became obsessed with her first hit single “Our Song” off her debut album and all the songs off her second album “Fearless.” By the time “Red” hit stores in 2012, I was a super fan: I downloaded the entire album within minutes of its release and listened to it on the way to a field hockey game. Thanks to that album, I was more pumped up for that game than I had ever been before. Damn, Taylor Swift had done it again!

Riding high on my enthusiasm for “Red,” that year I began to stalk Taylor’s life. Who she was dating, where she was living, what she was doing in between concert dates—I knew it all. It became an obsession, googling her every day to learn a tidbit of information. When my family vacationed in Newport in 2013, I knew that we weren’t too far from her house in Watch Hill, so I subtly asked my family if we could “go over and check out the area—I hear it’s really pretty.” Armed with specific directions from my best friend on how to find the right house, I took the lead and drove the car past the mansion. “Oh my god, no way, that’s Taylor Swift’s house!” I said to my family, brimming with feigned surprise. Unfortunately my phone was dead, so I couldn’t take a picture, and since no one else thought seeing Taylor’s house was cool, there is no photo evidence. Oh well. I guess mental pictures still count.

About a year ago, in October 2014, Taylor released her newest album “1989”, titled after the year she was born. Having become a “Swiftie,” the name of Taylor’s diehard fans, I had preordered the album and received it the day before it hit stores nationwide. I will readily admit that it was only about a week or so ago that I finally stopped listening to the album multiple times a day, every day.

This past summer, my status of “Swiftie” reached a whole new level.  I had an internship, but there was a lot of downtime in which I could do whatever I pleased. Naturally, I turned to surfing the internet to learn more intimate details about Taylor’s life. I focused primarily on her personal life away from the music. Here’s a quick summary: From the time Taylor became famous in 2006, she was considered a serial dater. Things changed in 2012, and until 2014, Taylor was single and enjoying hanging out with the girls. When she released “1989” on October 27, 2014, she preached the mantra of celebrating female friendships and enjoying life as an independent, single artist. Soon after the New Year, Taylor began dating (and continues to date) Calvin Harris, world-famous DJ. There have been rumors that Taylor broke up with Calvin after he frequented a Thai massage parlor, but these are not true. Taylor and Calvin are still together, as cute as ever. However, there are also rumors that Calvin is going to pop the question of marriage to Taylor. This seems unlikely, since she’s still touring the world until mid-December. She’s also most likely working on another album—based on her trajectory as an artist, it seems probable that Taylor will release another album in the fall of 2016. Her success is soaring higher every day, and she keeps breaking the glass ceiling as one of the most powerful women in the world.

This past July, Taylor came to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and my best friend got us tickets. Taylor’s performance was incredible. She rose onto the stage through a trap door, wearing a glittery green and purple jacket, black leather skirt, and white sunglasses. Throughout her two and a half hour performance, I never looked away. There were multiple costume changes, talented back-up dancers, and inspirational interludes where Taylor gave unsolicited advice on love, relationships, and the power of a girl squad. Towards the end of the show, she walked down the catwalk and slowly rose above the crowd. It was a magical moment. There is something about her that is mesmerizing. At the end of the show, I wasn’t ready to leave; I couldn’t get enough of her. I wanted to continue to bask in her effervescence. From my 2010 skepticism, I had changed: I’d become the Swiftest of the Swifties.