When I was eight years old, I was singing along to "Teardrops On My Guitar" like I had a clue what it was like to have a boy break your heart. In reality, I was in the boys-are-gross phase and staying far away from the playground love stories my friends had. But through the earbuds of my Walkman, I lived in a fantasy world built by Taylor Swift.
I was ten when "Fearless" came out and I learned to look out the window every time it rained to inspect how the pavement looked. I looked for the glow that Taylor sang about, and wondered what it was like to kiss someone in the rain. Fortunately, still thinking that was a horrible idea, I played out my ideas in my head and not in real life.
I'm twelve years old when "Speak Now" is released. Cooped up on the bus to middle school, I curl up with my iPod and picture the kingdom that comes to life when I listen to "Long Live". I dream of homecoming crowns and friends who will stand by my side forever, even though Taylor warns me to "Never Grow Up". While a few songs on this album speak to how mean the other kids can be, there's still enough magic in the songs to keep me going.
Ready to enter high school, she drops "Red" on me like a bomb I wasn't prepared for. The album rocks me to my core and while I get over crushes I never acted on, I sing along in the shower about driving a Maserati down a dead end street. I've reached the rocky part of growing up where I don't know who to trust anymore, and my friends change week to week, but I always have Taylor to come back to at the end of the day.
"1989" comes at me senior year like the pop album I didn't want, but really needed. While I prepared to say goodbye to my friends and spend one last year all together in the same town, I learned to "Shake It Off". As relationships came apart and fell together, I wondered how if I was "Out of the Woods" yet and ran from my problems.
After a three-year drought from Taylor's music and some really bad moments in my life, "reputation" is released seemingly out of the blue. It was listening to this album I realized I was doing better than I ever was, and no matter what happened, I was "Ready For It".
From day one, I've been a Swiftie, and I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. I stan one woman, and she writes incredible confessional songs that connect to me on levels I never expected. I've found forever friends because of the way her music has brought us together. And even on my worst days, her songs never fail to perk me back up. Thank you, Taylor Swift, for letting me grow up with you. I can't wait to see where your next album takes us.