If you get to know me or my work for any amount of time you are bound to hear me talk about Taylor Swift, without a single doubt my favourite person in the world, and may find yourself wondering why her?
Especially if you’re familiar with most of my musical tastes.
So I thought I’d try and explain it beyond the simple response I’ve given in the past, “She makes me smile.”
A smile seems like such a simple thing but when you suffer from depression, low self-esteem, low self-confidence and a plethora of body-image issues smiling becomes one of the hardest things to do. You don’t feel happy, ever, and faking it becomes harder every day. Life just seems to become darker, clouded by all the horrible, nasty, doubt-filled thoughts that occupy your mind.
And that’s where I found myself several years ago, a very dark place inside myself.
Nothing in my life was going right. Single, living at home, working a job I hate, nowhere near achieving my dreams of being a writer, completely failed at trying to work in the film industry. Fat, pathetic, ugly, loser – those were the words that played over and over through my mind, and often the words thrown out at me by others.
Life was awful and I often think now that the only reason I’m still here is my vocal stance against suicide, I may not have a lot of people who care about me but I would never have put them through that misery, even at my lowest, darkest moments I could never be so selfish.
It was in this awful place that the wonderful Taylor Swift entered my life.
Just another night spent aimlessly browsing the internet wishing time would just move on when I stumbled upon a link – on a male-targeted gossip blog – there was a picture of a very cute girl in a black dress, drenched from head to toe and smiling like she was having the best time of her life. I clicked the link and found myself watching her 2008 ACM performance of Should Have Said No
To this day I’m still not one-hundred percent sure why it had such an effect on me but I do know it made me smile, this cute, kind of awkward, quite talented girl just very obviously and honestly enjoying this amazing moment in her life.
I had to see more of her, I searched youtube and almost immediately came across her video blogs and discovered more about this gorgeous goofball. It took a while to convince myself what I was seeing was real, not because I thought she was faking but because I couldn’t believe that such a person could really exist. Taylor just seemed so genuinely nice and happy that I was amazed, I see so much hate and bitterness and selfishness in the world that I was truly shocked to see someone so good, especially a famous person. I watched them all several times and sat there amazed. There was something about her, something that stays with her to this day, that truly makes her shine.
I wish I could say it was like a miracle and after those videos my depression was suddenly cured but unfortunately it is something I will always have to cope with.
But there was now something else that I will always have in my life.
The more I followed her life, in interviews and videos and the lyrics of your songs, the more I was able to smile and look at my own life with the potential I once saw.
But my mind works differently to other people and it wasn’t long before I grew fascinated with the positive effect Swifty (and music in general) were able to have on my life. As the light returned to my life an idea came with it.
Being a storyteller has always been my dream but when you’re intelligent there’s the pressure to do “something better”, pressure from family and from teachers, a pressure that I bent to in highschool taking subjects that didn’t interest me because it was the “smart thing to do” and as a result I didn’t perform near as well as I should and came out of school with no idea what to do with my life. Even when I attempted to return to my dream of storytelling I could never quite work things out, perhaps because I had lost the passion in my life.
But the dream never left me it was just waiting for something to spark the fire, something so fascinating that it could scratch away inside my brain until I had to get it out (sorry kind of gross imagery).
I wrote my first novel (well my first worth publishing), the first of what will be four, inspired by the idea that music and good people can bring light into our lives, inspired by the positive changes in myself since I discovered the incredible girl known to the world as Taylor Swift (or Swifty as I prefer).
Somehow, just by being her own incredible self, Swifty reached down into the dark hole in my self and lifted out the better parts of me.
This isn’t to say that I’ve won the struggle yet, I’ve come to accept the sad reality that some things stay with you forever. I know depression will always be swirling around me, like a dark maelstrom threatening to pull me into it’s depths. Life still isn’t working out anywhere near the way I wish it would, I have one self-published novel out there but I can’t quite build the confidence to find a real publisher, the voices of doubt remain.
But so do the voices of creativity, I have more stories and more art that I am at least kind of proud to share with the world even if I don’t have confidence quite yet to make a career out of it. In the years that have passed since Swifty first came into my life I have grown more focused and more realistic about what I want my life to be and, while I may not yet have what it takes, I know someday I will.
Someday I will be the writer/artist person that I wish to be.
And when that happens, who knows, maybe I’ll be at a comic-con table, signing for eager fans, and Swifty will step out of the crowd to tell me I’ve done well.
But enough daydreaming for now. Time to work.
But before I go, Taylor Alison Swift, you will forever be my favourite person in the world and will always have my love and thanks.
LIVE LOVE LAUGH