Whether you love her, hate her, or are completely indifferent to her, Taylor Swift’s 14-year career has taken many turns both stylistically and personally, and throughout it all she’s seemed to always manage to persevere and rise above. Is she perfect? No, she’s a human being just like the rest of us trying to navigate through life as best as humanly possible. But as I was growing up and feeling like some unrelatable anomaly, Taylor was in the spotlight daring to be different, and that both inspired my younger self as well as made me feel validated.
You see, I love to sing, play my guitar, and write songs, but back in the mid 2000s when I was first learning to do so, I didn’t see many other female artists who were doing music in that same way. Most would go up there with amazing choreography while they sang, and while I immensely admired them, my levels of coordination kind of suck. I rarely saw any who would get up onstage, just them and their acoustic guitar. This made my pre-teen self feel as though the way I liked to do music was somehow less than or not as interesting. Although playing my guitar brought me joy, I had doubts over whether it could do the same for others.
Then Taylor popped up on the scene, captivating audiences with her acoustic guitar and her waist length hair (which I also have), and for the first time in my young life, I saw someone in the music spotlight that seemed similar to me. By saying that, I don’t mean that younger me thought the songs I was writing were just as good as Taylor’s (they definitely weren’t), but it just felt so reassuring to see someone approaching songwriting and performing in the same way that I did (and still do). With Taylor up there, I finally felt seen. She’s inspired me ever since to continue writing and performing, even if it’s only me and my guitar up onstage. Her confidence and success gave me confidence in myself, and for that I’ll always be grateful.