Fearless

“DID YOU LISTEN!?”
“I’ve already listened to it twice!”
“I KNOW IT’S… wait seriously? It’s not even 9 o’clock.”
“….. Yep.”

Monday was a day I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. My coworkers and I had the conversation above the moment we all walked in, fresh from the weekend and a beautiful sunny morning, because we’ve all been waiting for Monday for a long, long time. Why, you ask? My entire office of 20-whatevers has been waiting with baited breath to finally, finally hear the new Taylor Swift album.

Now, I’ve alluded to it here before on more than one occasion, but I have an unwavering and unabashedly loud love for Taylor Swift. I’ve been listening to her since 2006, royally pissing off my Twinster while on break freshman year of college as we listened to her first CD on repeat while working at the local toy store during the Christmas rush. From the early, early moments of listening to her twangy beats I felt really connected to the songs, similar to how many of her fans do. It’s part of her charm, the universal appeal, but it still feels very personal at the same time. I love that she’s only a year younger than I am and also has cats and loves to bake. I love that she and I probably have the same issues with love, in that we’re everything or nothing when it comes to bringing someone else in our lives. And I love her music, from the early low-country drawl about cowboy boots and high school crushes, to the synth beats of the new album, which I’ve been listening to on repeat since buying it within 45 seconds of waking up on Monday.

For a long time, I played down my rabid Swift fandom, listening to her music in my college apartment, at the gym, in my early NYC apartment, but never when anyone else was around, never playing songs on Spotify, lest it announce to Facebook that I’d been listening to Fearless for six straight hours. I was really concerned for years about cultivating an image that listened to all this indie, unknown, underground music; I didn’t want to be associated with the screaming teenage girls in the background of a bad MTV show, hysterically crying that Taylor Swift’s songs are “BASICALLY MY LIFE.” It was years, really, of listening to this music over and over in secret and categorically denying that I knew every word to every song and then some before I finally stopped caring. You know what? I’m allowed to love the weird underground music alongside T Swizzle. She’s a talented songwriter and artist. Her songs are catchy and relatable and I want to raid her closet. So I stopped pretending that I didn’t know everything about her and her music and started telling people within five minutes of meeting them that I’m a full-on Swift addict and I don’t care who knows it.

This is my 100th post on this blog. One hundredth! Sometimes I’m still in shock that I’ve been able to maintain the site for this long already, that I’ve somehow found 100 topics interesting enough to inspire me to share. And other times, while watching the total views and total visitors creep higher and higher each day, I’ll panic a little bit. In 100 entries. I’ve admitted to: injuring myself and losing things after excessive drinking, flashing my nipples at a neighbor, stepping in puddles of pee on the NYC sidewalks, walking around for hours with food in my hair, and accidentally making out with strangers who tell me I’m pretty. I’ve also immortalized how on more than one occasion I’ve felt like a total failure at my job, how it felt to hand someone my heart and watch him crush it slowly and then all at once, and what it’s like for my heart to break a little, even now, when I see a beagle in the street or I find another wayward Chapstick under my bed.

It’s really scary to have opened myself up to criticism in the way that I have with this space. Sometimes I’m expecting my inbox to be flooded with emails from exes or friends, demanding I rewrite their story, forcing me to take something offline. Other times I wonder if strangers think I’m crazy, a stereotypical single girl who lives alone with a cat and worships all things Taylor Swift. It’s crossed my mind more than once not to put something up here, looking at a final draft with the same trepidation that I would an email to a client, scrutinizing every word as though my life depended on it. And every time I stare at something thinking “Am I really about to put this out into the world?” I always hit OK. I could censor myself easily, but if I’ve learned anything from 8 years of tireless devotion to Ms. Swift’s music, it’s that there’s no point in doing anything if you’re going to do it halfway.

The new album this week was more than I’d been hoping for, with a few lines that literally took the breath out of my lungs, because once again, I know exactly how she was feeling when she wrote it (10 months sober, I must admit/Just because you’re clean don’t mean you don’t miss it). She finally knocked Hozier out of my headphones, and 1989 will stay there until I’ve learned all these words like I have all the others, dancing at my desk, on the subway, while at home in PJs with little miss. Say what you want about my love for Ms. Swift or any of the decisions I make here, the content and the stories I’ve deemed acceptable for public consumption. Because haters gonna hate hate hate – I’ll be the one shaking it like everyone’s watching for the next 100 entries and beyond.

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