To say that I love t-shirts is a major understatement, I’m obsessed with them! I literally have to ban myself from buying new shirts because I will just KEEP BUYING THEM. I currently have several hundred all folded in the Marie Kondo method in my closet.
A t-shirt can give you a glimpse into a persons life in an instant. Their favorite music group, show, an event they went to, a company they work for or even a funny saying. For me it’s a way to say, “This is a part of who I am” or “This is what I love”.
If someone is wearing a graphic tee I am literally craning my neck to see what’s on it. I remember I was at Disneyland and I kept staring at this girl (and low key stalking her..) until I could figure out what concert tee she had on!! (It was Shakira…)
So I decided to tell some stories about my tees/tanks. I dub thee Tee Tuesday from hither forth!
I am starting with my 2017 Disneyland 10k tee simply because I was wearing it today when I got this idea.
The 2017 Disneyland 10k was not the first 10k I ever ran but it was the first time I ever ran two races back 2 back. It all sounded really good when I signed up 100 months earlier. Ok, it was like 7ish months but you have to register for the Disney races WAY in advance. I had already signed myself up for the Tinkerbell 10k (which I hadn’t ran at this point) and I was feeling sporting…so i said, “I’ll do the 5k and the 10k! This time I’m going to train for sure!” It was also the anniversary of the first race I had ever ran, the 2016 Disneyland 5k.
Guess who barely trained for their race? *Waves hand sheepishly* The depth of the commitment I had made really hit me the Thursday before the 5k when I picked up my racing packets. I think I went to Trader Sam’s and had a drink…hachi machi.
But I didn’t pay all that money to not follow through. This was my 3rd 5k, so I was feeling good about that. Btw both mornings of both races I almost missed the start because we couldn’t figure out where the bus stop was by the super seedy hotel I had booked. *facepalm*
I remember the first two miles of the 10k I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. I was like, “The tram is going to come get me, I’m going to pass out right here..right now” They call it, “getting swept” when you aren’t at pace and a little tram goes and picks you up and takes you to the finish line.
Around mile 3 I stopped panicking. I was telling myself, “You’re halfway there, you’re halfway there..” and the last 2 miles were actually easier then the first! No, I didn’t jog the entire thing, are you kidding me?! But, I did keep the required pace and I didn’t pass out or get swept. I was very proud indeed!
I was trying to look happy for the photopass photogs but at this point I still wanted to pass out.
You get the BEST pics during RunDisney races!
I DID IT!!!! I had dumped wanted on myself several times…lol
But what inspired me to write this?? Well, I was at the gym today (wearing my Little Mermaid workout top I wore during the race, btw) and I saw a lady working out with a trainer. I noticed she had the sponsors “a la” a race shirt and the top one was PANDORA. I was like, “That’s a Disney racing shirt!”
Then I sat there for a few moments trying to figure out which race it was because I could only see her back. Mental process:
“Pandora….Pandora sponsors Tinkerbell races!
Did she do the Tinkerbell race my year?
No… her shirt is purple mine is pink…
She must have done the 10k another year!”
I was dying to confirm this and I stared until she got off her machine and faced me. Unfortunately I am so blind I couldn’t see what year or race it was. But I did see Tinkerbell and the RunDisney logo on her sleeve that wasn’t facing me when I first saw her.
I got so excited, i just wanted to run up to her and say, “You ran it too?!” But she was working with a trainer and I am not the type of person that goes up to strangers. I was really hoping I’d run into her in the locker room though…
And that’s why I love t-shirts. I know absolutely nothing about this older lady, but instantly I had a connection with her. We had a commonality with this random person and I would have never known that if she was wearing a different shirt. I think these days finding commonalities with people that seem completely different from us is even more important.
I had taken my Disneyland 10k shirt to change into after my workout. So I wasn’t wearing it when I was staring at her like a crazy person, but I did wear it out. I was still hoping I’d run into her so we could talk about running Disney races.
As a kid up until my early 20’s, I was able to freely be creative. What I mean by that is I wasn’t afraid to try to learn or do new things, creatively.
– I crafted a stable for my barbie horses
– I created a map of of the Lion King “world” complete with pride rock and bad lands
– I took up making my own animation cells by painting with acrylic paints on plastic
– Making my parents friends kids do choreography I created
– Painting in general
– Learning how to do basic HTML code (This was the late 90’s people)
– Taking a web design class
– Learning photoshop
– Learning to do myspace layouts, doing them for friends
– Had a steady blog for over 8 years
I never thought twice about doing any of these things. I never worried about, “Not being able to do it” I just did them. But somewhere in my early 20’s this ability started to fade. I think the whole Myspace layout thing was the last thing I remember doing without worrying about how I would be perceived or feeling like I wasn’t doing something, “Good enough”.
Coinciding with my first full-time job, I feel I pretty much lost the ability all together. What came next was lots of half baked ideas that I didn’t fully follow through on. Some I did more then others, but I never pushed anything to the max. I also never shared what I created with a lot of people. Sometimes, but it was rare.
A few examples:
– Bought a guitar but never mastered it, I still want to master it!
– Bought FL Studio but never learned to use it
– Took voice lessons but was too afraid to practice in front of people
– Have tried to restart my blog COUNTLESS times
– Paid for this wordpress and barely use it
My creativity is like a car that is unreliable and starts only occasionally.
I have analyzed this to myself many times. I used to sit there for an hour just trying to pinpoint the moment I lost my ability to just CREATE. I found several, but even discovering those moments has not helped me jumpstart the damn car and keep it running. I’ve even written about it here a few times.
I did something that has been on my to-do list for over a year yesterday. I sat down and actually wrote down my reasons for wanting a blog (and IG). Like I forced myself to sit there and really say, “What do I want to say? What is my message? How can I do this?”
That was SO HARD.
It was also a little scary.
Why? Because it was going past the, “I want to” point. Going past the, “Let me just invest a little money into this and maybe that’ll make me commit” point. Things become a lot more real when you sit down and say, “I want to do this, now how can I make this happen.”
And yeah, this is basic, chapter one self help book stuff. “Write down your goals and plans”. I know that, but doing and knowing are very different animals. (BTW, I love self help books..so no shade there, just pointing out I don’t act on their advice enough.)
Another thing that has REALLY stifled me, and that I’ve also wrote about several times. Is being authentic online. If I share x do I have to share y? Do I have to be a complete open book? Do I have to post about fun stuff always to not feel like a bummer. But if I post fun stuff am I going to seem frivolous? I try not to worry about how I will be perceived but that’s hard, especially for someone that needs to do some heavy lifting in the confidence area. Writing everything down really gave me clarity and showed me how my IG and blog would work in symbiosis but showcase different facets of who I am.
So I am going to share with you what my plan is. Why? Not because I’m trying to make anyone care about what I’m going to do… but so I can have some accountability. Also, it’s my way of putting it out to the universe that,“Yes, I am ready to commit to my creativity again!”
My blog is going to be my overall sounding board. It will be more about my life with some interests possibly sprinkled in here or there. As I have mentioned here my biggest struggles are loss (losing my sister and mother) and confidence. Also I feel like a blog post is a better place to share a new experience, i.e. trying skincare for the first time. I mean, you can share anything on a blog but this is my plan for my own. I want to update it at least every Sunday and Wednesday.
My instagram will be more fandom-centric. I collect various things like Funko Pops! and t-shirts also, as you figured by now, I love Disney like crazy. It will be a place to showcase my fun and fandoms. I want it to reflect all the various things I love.
Obviously both of these will cross pollinate. Also with time this plan may totally change, but this is the skeleton I am going to work with right now. This is my plan.
OMG I have a plan! Do you know how exciting even that is?! It’s a loose plan, but a plan nonetheless!
The original title of this blog was, “I lack creative follow-through” but I added the “currently” because I know I have it somewhere in me. From reading my many self help books I know that the language we use about ourselves can really set the course for how we act. Even though I have been trying to restart this car permanently for nearly 10 years…I still have faith I can get her up and running.
I hardly ever share my feelings about losing my sister or mother. Maybe about the situations that have arisen because of losing them, but hardly ever directly about not having them in my life anymore. I will say X is frustrating me long before I will tell you I’m feeling sad and missing one or both of them.
Because I don’t want to seem dramatic, or stuck in the past… what can you say anyway to make me feel better? Let me just not say anything, let me just sit in my sadness and cry by myself, or maybe to Adam, maybe.
There is a hole in my heart the size of my sister and a hole in my safety the size of my mother. The loss of each was painful in different ways. And if I spoke enough about it, you might think I miss my sister MORE then my mother, but that’s not the case. The losses were just different. So, so different.
I have really been noticing how hard it is for me to be happy now. How impossible it is to sustain happiness for long periods of time. Happiness is always slipping through my fingers like sand. The more I reflect on this, the more I realize that there is just a massive part of me that is empty, that’s where my sister is in my heart.
But I never speak the words and if I do, I downplay the pain. I act like a trooper. “Look at me, getting through my life!” but on the inside, I’m just crying. I want to roll up in a little ball and wish my sister back here with me, and that actually happens more then anyone knows.
I lost my best friend on earth. The person that knew me best. The person that understood me best. The person that knew everything. Words cannot express that loss. Nothing I type or say could truly feel like it was equal to what I am feeling.
I try so hard to live despite this pain. To try to make my life as full and rich as magical as I can. I do my best to try because SHE can’t live her life anymore. And I have made so many moves I should be so proud of, I try to be proud I really do, but my heart is still incomplete.
And there is a part in me, that just wants my sister back. My heart want’s something I literally can never have, but the feeling is relentless.
Though I have embraced some of the things I lost in growing up (i.e. Disney) there are things that I still avoid because they are drenched in her memory. I pulled myself out of a scene I still love, I can’t listen to music I love so much because every time I go back to it, it feels like i am opening a wound and torturing my soul. Because the person that understood this stuff MOST is not here anymore.
You cannot sit in sadness because it will drown you. It will suck any color from your life and leave you with black and white memories and wishes that can never come true. But maybe I need to sit in it more. Maybe I need to say it more and stop acting like I am ok, stop worrying about making others uncomfortable with my grief.
The innocuous question, “How many siblings do you have?” is literally the question I hate most in life. HOW do I answer that?!
“I have 3 but one passed away”
“I have 2 alive but my sister closest to me passed away”
“One sister lives in O.C. the other lives up north…”
You can see the discomfort on someones face that second you mention death. The, “Oh shit I didn’t mean to bring that up” look. All in good spirit and not in a rude way. But I hate making people feel that way. I hate even dealing with any of this. But then if I just answer, “I have 3 sisters” that feels like a lie too. Like I’m PRETENDING everything is ok.
If people knew how often something made me sad because it reminded me of her, they’d probably think I was a depressed emo girl. They’d probably think I need to get over it. So I say nothing and shove it all down.
I am TRYING to rebuild that lost part of me. I don’t know how though But please believe I am trying SO hard. I’m not doing a good job tbh. Because I just want my sister back, even in this moment.
I was not fully looking forward to our family trip to Sequoia and I almost didn’t go. There were personal reasons and then more topical reasons.
It had been about 15 years since the last time I had went. Prior to that we went almost every year when I was growing up. But a lot has changed in 15 or so years and I just didn’t think I had it in me to “rough it” in nature.
I use the term “rough it” loosely because we stay in cabins that have electricity and beds, we only camped once or twice, that I can remember. You do have to walk to a central shower and bathroom but it’s far from sleeping on the ground in a tent. My niece’s friend Sam likened it to, “glamping”, it’s not quiet that plush…but somewhere in-between.
Over the few days I was there though, it was like this dormant part of me woke up. “OH, I used to love nature. I used to love running around and exploring!” I had completely forgot that that part of me even existed. It was like I forgot about that girl completely, but the big beautiful trees and endless vistas brought her back to me.
I felt SO insignificant out there in the vast world of nature. I was SO small, tiny, miniscule! I can’t even verbalize how unimportant I felt. And it was amazing…because it was a reminder of how big the world is. And, though my problems and issues sometimes feel insurmountable they are even tinier then I am against the backdrop of nature. That’s such a comforting feeling.
Sometimes it feels like life is crashing around me. One crazy happening after another but the forest kind of just side steps the chaos. You see broken or burned trees scattered about the floor but it doesn’t stop everything around it from being beautiful.
Sequoia trees cannot begin to grow without fire. If the ground becomes overcrowded they can’t thrive. So they require something so destructive to live, enter fire. In our lives we say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” but maybe the hard things in life are pushing us to thrive too.
We walked through Crystal Cave which was formed, in simple terms, by running dripping water. Water finding weaknesses in marble and working at it for millions of years formed an amazing cave. Sometimes we feel like the small steps we take don’t mean anything yet these tiny drops of water formed a massive, beautiful cavern.
The place I didn’t really much want to go back to, became a place I wasn’t ready to leave. I wanted to go on more trails, more hikes, soak in more of the forest. After the first day I stopped caring that my phone had absolutely no service. I was happy about it. It really forced me to disconnect and connect with mother nature and my old self again.
I leave you with a Shakespeare quote our tour guide at Crystal Cavern told us:
“And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”
A brief history of my skin: I had really bad skin in H.S. and even after. Once I got out of the bad relationship I was in (and stopped using MAC face makeup) my skin pretty much cleared in my mid 20’s. I hadn’t had any issues with my face since, until about 7-8 months ago. I also have eczema and take an allergy pill and moisturize my skin everyday in the shower.
I DON’T KNOW JACK ABOUT SKINCARE. I used my Clarisonic once a day, used a moisturizer with SPF in the morning and some concealer here and there. That was my daily routine for about 5 years. The products really didn’t change and the Clarisonic was a constant.
I’m pretty sure at this point everyone knows what a Clarisonic is, but just incase you don’t… I loved mine and used it religiously 1x a day. One time it died right before I was going to Hawaii and I rushed to order another one because I couldn’t IMAGINE not having it on my vacation! I imagined a face full of zits on the beaches of Maui.
Late last year I was going through a lot of stress at work and home, then I moved and added MORE stress. Suddenly my relatively calm skin was like a war zone. These weren’t cute little whiteheads, these were massive, disgusting straight up ZITS. And I was HORRIFIED. I’m 35, not 14, wtf was going on with my face?!
I tried switching long time products like my SPF moisturizer…it got worse! I changed my makeup, my face wash, nothing helped. One time I was in tears because my boyfriend and I were going to the gym and I had to pull my hair back and show my skin. I didn’t want to go to to the gym, I did, but I felt hideous and horrible. Same thing at work and I work with so many people that have flawless skin! (You notice it more when yours looks like shit.) I kept trying everything taking my nightly shower earlier, switching my laundry detergent, not drinking anything but water. Nothing really helped. It felt so hopeless, it’s like my own face had turned against me.
I brought this up to my co-worker Kate one day, because she had talked about being a skincare junkie. Then I mentioned that I had talked to Kate about skincare to my other co-worker in MN, Erin, and low and behold I apparently work with 2 major skincare mavens! And I had no idea!
We started our own private Slack convo and they divulged their routines and favorite products. When I told them my tiny routine they both said the same thing, ditch the Clarisonic .
“But…but..I’ve used it for years and it’s been fine. That can’t be it, its just stress…probably right?”
“You are probably over-exfoliating…stop using it and see what happens” was their consensus.
I was so desperate…that I went out and bought $40 of products they recommended and…ditched the Clarisonic.
Low and behold guys, it got better, especially on my cheeks. It still is happening under my chin here and there, but everyone I talk to agrees that that area of your face IS hormonal and stress affected.
My routine is now:
Morning – Cosrx low ph cleanser, Origins spf moisturizer, Origins eye cream
Night: Cosrx low ph cleanser, The Ordinary Squalane, Origins eye cream
If I do my makeup I put on The Ordinary Squalane as a primer
I am slowly going to try to switch the ELTA SPF and another (tbd) moisturizer for the Origins because I don’t love the tint it has. I am also going to introduce The Ordinary Niacinamide at night.
The Ordinary Marula oil is supposed to be amazing but I went for the Squalane first because I read that it was good for oily skin. And I’m proud to say that Erin and Kate have both tried the Squalane because of me.
BTW, don’t ask me to pronounce Squalane because I still don’t know how to say it.
I thought my skin was looking way better, but the proof is in the pudding. When i did my makeup the past 2 weekends I barely had to do ANY spot cover up. And my niece complimented my skin on Sunday which almost made me cry. Like, I had been so miserable for months and now I feel like it’s getting better. Still not perfect under the chin, but way way better on my actual face.
I still miss my Clarisonic though, and I don’t blame it for breaking me out. I asked Erin and Kate why it turned on me and they said it’s probably just the fact that skin changes with age…and my skin became more sensitive to it. Yay aging! (eyeroll)
I still don’t know crap about skincare. But I will say that if something similar happens to you it could be a product/tool that you have been using all along. Though, I think we all tend to blame new products in our ecosystem first. Don’t be afraid to question products and tools you’ve loved all along.
I will keep you updated here and there as I move along with my skincare journey. I don’t know if I’ll ever ben on Erin or Kate’s level of comprehensive skincare knowledge. But I just know I am SO thankful to them for helping me figure out at least some of my skin issues!
I follow a lot of Disney peeps on instagram. I don’t recall who, but someone posted that they were participating in “The Disney Swap”. The swap was closed at the time and they had just received their package. It looked interesting! So I added them on instagram and waited until the swap opened again.
A few months ago, it finally opened. The ask you for your favorite Disney characters, colors and shirt sizes, plus other general info like your name, instagram handle, email address and mailing address. The swap only accepts so many people at a time, it was filled up within a few days. It took about a week after that to get assigned my partner.
The way it works is that you’re assigned to a person but they are assigned to someone else. So, the person you send a box to is not the one sending you a box. The boxes value has to be around $30 but you can fill it with whatever Disney goodies you think your partner will enjoy. The swap facilitators send you the form that the other person filled out and it gives you a pretty good idea of what that person might enjoy. You have a swap deadline, your package should be sent by that date.
My swap experience was AMAZING. I had the sweetest partner that informed me they had ordered me some items from Japan so they might be shipping past the deadline. JAPAN?! Oh-em-gee, of course I didn’t mind if it was going to be past deadline! She kept me very informed and I was never worried that I was “forgotten”.
The date to send really snuck up on me, so around the deadline I emailed my own swap partner and told her I’d be sending a bit late as well. I had ordered her something and it came while I was at Walt Disney World. She was also very nice about it, she just received her package today in fact…I hope she liked it!
I loved everything my partner sent me, she totally “got me”. That is what is picture above, Mermaid Monday indeed!!
The only con about the swap is that there is always the possibility that the person sending to you won’t send anything. The swap facilitators say that they block people who do this. The person who sent me my package hadn’t received one from their partner. I feel so bad! She did such an amazing job and didn’t get anything from whomever her partner was. They do have “swap angels”. People that will send packages to those that didn’t receive one. But it is not guaranteed you will get a swap angel if you do not get a package.
I think it would be better if the swap was mutual. Meaning that you sent the person a box that sends you your box. I think this would add more accountability in sending. Though, I cannot speak to the percentage of people that didn’t receive boxes because I don’t know how many total participants there were. I would be pretty bummed out if I got burned though.
Would I recommend it? Yes of course, I had a wonderful experience! I believe most people are generally honest and you can’t let the bad ones keep you from trying something new. I think I would participate again if the swap partners were mutual.
A note about me: I was born loving music and lyrics. In 4th grade I sang, “Take a bow” by Madonna to my then beau to show him how his on again off again “love” was making me feel. Lyrics and music have and always will be important to me. Taylor put it best..
“People haven’t always been there for me but music always has.” – Taylor Swift
My life story runs parallel with a living, breathing soundtrack. I could tell you my story better in songs then I could plain words. But I’m going to try and do it with both. This is the story of us, Taylor and I.
“Love Story” I didn’t have my license yet because I was afraid to drive. I’d love to tell you I was a teenager, but I wasn’t. I was in my mid-20’s still terrified. I’d started my first full time job, which was night shift (12am – 8:30am). My father used to have to drive me to work and pick me up. He would listen to KIIS FM as he drove me. Whenever “Love Story” came on he would put it louder. Honestly, I didn’t pay attention the first few times. I was deep into Dilla and hip hop and this country sounding song was NOT in my wheelhouse.
But one night, I listened, I actually listened to words and I totally fell in love with it. The way Taylor wrapped you into that story..I could feel it. I was born and raised on Disney Princesses and fairy tales and this song just GOT ME.
“You belong with me”
I didn’t know who Taylor was before Love Story and I wasn’t quite hooked yet. I went on YouTube and watched the video for, “Love Story”. I was a cute and sweet, everything you’d expect. But then I clicked on the video for, “You belong with me”… I was never the same again.
In that 3 minutes and 49 seconds a swiftie was born. The shy dorky girl being ignored for the gorgeous one, wanting the guy you like to know you’re alive, being looked at as the friend BUT in the end, the dork won. He wanted her…he wanted her!! I literally watched it OVER AND OVER. This Taylor girl..she got me, she REALLY GOT ME.
“Fearless” I could literally almost tell you exactly what day I first saw, “You belong with me”. It was April 22nd 2010. Do you know WHY I know this fact? Because I said, “I have to see her live!” And I looked at Ticketmaster and I had JUST missed the Fearless tour at Staples Center by a week! I was crushed, heck, I’m still crushed about that. I missed her by a freakin’ week, are you kidding me?!
“Tim McGraw” This was before streaming services, I went and bought the deluxe edition of, “Taylor Swift” and “Fearless” on iTunes. And let me tell you, Mrs. “I’m not a fan of country” knew (and still knows) every word. I also bought any song she made outside of her albums like, “Crazier” from the Hanna Montana Soundtrack. I couldn’t get enough of the emotion, the lyrics, oh the lyrics!! Country or not I didn’t care, she told stories that felt like MY stories. She got me and that’s not often a feeling I have.
I also watched every single video she had made, over and over again. “Picture to Burn”, “Change”, “Tear drops on my guitar”. And I had to learn everything about her, how she came up, her story. I could do a doctoral study on the history of Taylor Swift from memory. “Did you know she was one of the youngest song writers ever.” “Do you know she had a development deal with a major label and they didn’t want her to sing her own songs so she turned it down?” “Did you know Big Machine didn’t even really exist when she agreed to be signed to them?” Anyone who has ever dared to come at me with, “Taylor Swift has no talent” has been taken to SCHOOL. Miss me with that nonsense.
“Run” The only George Strait song I know by heart is, “Run”. And that’s because Taylor covered it at a George Strait tribute and did a phenomenal job. I still get verclempse when I think about how she asked him for advice about performing in a stadium and he told her, “Just do it for about 25 years and it’ll feel real natural.” Oh how far my girl has come.
So anyway, back to “Run”. I went into a long distance relationship with someone that lived across the country. This song was the theme of that relationship, because in that moment all I wanted to do was run to him. I listened to “Run” literally over and over again just dreaming about going to him.
“Mine” Later on in 2010 I did the impossible, I got my drivers license. I cannot express how scared I was (and still sometimes am..) to drive. I did it because I couldn’t keep making my dad taxi me to and from work, the guilt became worse then the fear. The ONLY thing I did love about driving at first was blasting my Taylor Swift music and singing at the top of my lungs driving to work at 4am. (I was on “day shift” at that point.) That was in early September of 2010. At this very moment Taylor occupies 4/6 CD slots in my car.
“Mine” came out shortly after I got my car. I had missed the beginning of the other eras but for Speak Now I was ALL IN. I even remember, “Mine” leaked the day it was supposed to come out and I refused to listen to it until it was officially out. That video…I still love that video. *Puts hand in the shape of a heart* The bridge of that song, I want to cry just thinking about it! Even though the lyrics were based on an idealized relationship vs a real one, I don’t care! “Cause I remember how it felt sitting by the water / And everytime I look at you it’s like the first time”
The first time I ever drove on the highway alone I had, “Change” playing. Because conquering driving was a major wall that fell down for me. Yes there were times in my life I purposely made Taylor the soundtrack to certain moments.
“Speak Now” First came, “Mine” then the announcement of the “Speak now” album. I preordered it from Target, I was ready! Right before it came out another crazy thing happened. I went to Louisiana and finally met my boyfriend at the time. I remember on the plane listening to Taylor the entire way, particularly, “Love Story”. When I got off the plane I felt like Taylor running through the field. Have you figured out that I am a hopeless romantic and highly emotional being yet?
Right after I got home, the album came out. My Target pre-order actually didn’t come before the album released so then start the long standing history of me buying an album in both physical and digital copies because HELLO I wasn’t going to wait to hear it!!!
“Enchanted” I was rightfully obsessed with Speak now. “Do you know Taylor doesn’t share the writing credits on this album with anyone?!” Guess what happened shortly after the album came out, a tour was announced. I was still SO SALTY about having missed Fearless, there was no way in hell I was missing the Speak Now world tour.
Except one small thing… no one else I knew was into Taylor Swift. Like, no one. Maybe they liked a song or two but they certainly weren’t going to pay to see her in concert. What was I to do? I guess I had to go see her alone.
The thought of traversing Staples Center alone terrified me. But seeing Taylor live was bigger then my fear. I just wanted to experience her live, alone or not.
August 24th 2011 I saw her and it was everything I wanted and more. By that time my long distance relationship was obliterated and I was onto different avenues but my love for all these songs was unaffected. And I cried…and cried and cried. I could care less that Justin Beiber was the special guest, Taylor was amazing and everything I was hoping for. That night was surely sparking. I only wish I had been with a group like a lot of girls there, so I could make cool costumes and share that joy with someone.
And I have went on to see Taylor 3x alone, Ariana Grande 1x alone and Beyonce alone too. I have seen so much amazing talent because of my willingness to go by myself and Taylor opened that door for me.
Far out in the nosebleeds of Staples
“Dear John” “I’m shining like fireworks over your sad little town”. Anyone who has ever seen the Speak Now DVD can envision those fireworks as they read that line. The relationship I was in crumbled and Taylor was with me every step of the way. Her lyrics nursed those wounds. Dear John was like an epic poem I could write to so many that had held my heart at one point or another. If you’ve been there, you get that song.
“Safe and Sound” My parents bought me a cat in the 4th grade, his name was Michelob. And I had him for 22 years. I lost him around the time that Taylor’s song for the Hunger Games soundtrack came out. My heart was and is still so broken over that loss and this song helped comfort me when literally NO ONE could understand. A cat is not a cat, this cat had been with me most of my life. “Just close your eyes/ The sun is going down / You’ll be alright / No one can hurt you now/ Come morning light you and I will be safe and sound” It was the first time I ever dealt with loss in my life, that song helped me through it.
“Begin Again” 2011 was the year that my current boyfriend and I started hanging out. My heart was still pretty fragile and we took things slow. Begin Again came out and once again Taylor was singing about my life. Here I was trying to trust and give my heart to someone new after it had been so crushed. But if Taylor could do it….
“Come in with the rain” I had been obsessed with come in with the rain the moment I heard it. I need to stop saying that but, it’s the truth. It wasn’t a radio single but it was a Malinda’s car single for sure. But that guitar…
I had always wanted to play guitar. When I was in H.S. I wanted a guitar because I loved Michelle Branch (another singer songwriter). But I never got one…I just never did it. But hearing the guitar in, “Come in with the rain”, “Superstar” and “Breathe” became my obsession. And it was shortly after I saw the Speak Now tour that I finally bought my first guitar. I always say, “Michelle made me want it, but Taylor made me do it”
“Treacherous” The anticipation for the release of Red was insane. She was doing this thing where she was releasing a track a week and I could barely stand it. When the album came out I was blown away, HOW did Taylor get my life so well?
Literally there were nights when I followed my boyfriend home from a night out. I still hated driving but I’d drive to see him. “Two headlights shine through the sleepless night and I will follow you, follow you home” Also the Red album showed my then non-boyfriend just how much of a Swiftie I was.
I was at his house the morning the tickets for the Red Tour went on sale. Sweating and freaking out, because I just had to see Tay again. Once again I was going to see her alone but by then I was fine with it.
Treacherous was also the first FULL song I learned how to play on guitar. There was a girl on youTube that would do Taylor tutorials for the new Red songs the moment they were released. I went back later and learned songs from other albums, but “Red” showed me I could actually play.
“State of Grace” I always said that the opening of State of Grace makes me feel like I’m flying. It sounds like dizzying exciting love. It would be in my top 5 Swift songs for sure.
Depending on how long you’ve been a Swiftie you may remember Taylor Connect. The message boards on her website. I mean, of course I was on them! After the Red Tour tickets went on sale the did a lottery for Taylor Connect users to get pit tickets. I entered and I WAS SELECTED.
I was sitting in a booth at The Habit (a burger place in Cali) and I looked at my boyfriend and said, “I HAVE TO GO HOME AND BUY THIS TICKET!” Because I was convinced if I tried to buy it on the phone it would malfunction and I would lose this golden opportunity. Have you figured out that I’m a SPAZ yet? My computer did not blow up and yes I got my Red Tour pit ticket for $150. You read that correctly, $150. Taylor has always been so good to her fans.
The day of the Red Tour I was A MESS. Pit is GA and I was convinced I was going to get stuck behind a massively tall person. I was there before the doors opened for Staples center and I RAN to the floor. I got a spot on the runway and did not move for hours. I didn’t eat, drink or go to the restroom I stood there and held my spot on her catwalk.
This is why the Red tour DVD not being released still makes me sad. Because that night WAS MAGIC. I have never been and probably will never be SO CLOSE to her. GUYS SHE IS REAL! She is amazing, she is everything you can imagine. Her opening song was State of Grace and I still know where she jumped down the stairs, some of her coreo and the way she walked, her fingers for “2 fire signs, 4 blue eyes” …the black hat she threw into the crowd. I remember it all…all..allll too well. That was August 19th, 2013, my life changed a lot shortly after that.
“The best day” I cannot listen to, “The best day” I just wrote out that song title and tears started coming out. If you are not familiar with this song it’s a sweet song Taylor wrote to her mom on her Fearless album, hence, why it’s to painful for me to ever hear.
My mom had been fighting an illness for 10 years called aplastic anemia. Due to battling the illness and complications from the side effects of all the medicines she took my mom passed away on March 5th, 2014, a week before her birthday.
My mom knew I loved Taylor, when I got my guitar she told me, “What you’re going to be the next Taylor Swift?” Honestly in the moment I took it as sarcasm, but now I hold that comment so close to my heart.
When the Wonderstuck perfume came out my mom went to Macy’s and bought it for my birthday, she even got the patchwork gift with purchase bag for me. I wear my Wonderstruck perfume whenever I miss her.
Both my parents took me to Staples Center the first time I ever saw Taylor live. They dropped me off and picked me up. I remember jumping into the car with my Covergirl tour merch bag after the concert and excitedly telling them how amazing she’d been and how she was EVERYTHING I’d imagined.
I didn’t know it’d be the last of my birthday’s I’d spend with her. But for some reason I’d opted for an at home BBQ that year and asked her to make my favorite foods. My boyfriend bought me a guitar case for my birthday and I have a picture with her smiling as he surprised me with it. I went back to Safe and Sound, I was very, very lost.
“Superstar” My sister didn’t know a lot of Taylor Swift. But she knew, “Superstar”. She knew why I loved that song…and so many others. My sister was my best friend, she was my only true best friend. But my sister couldn’t handle losing my mother.
My sister was born with a congenital heart defect and had health issue her entire life. But somehow, she still carved this AMAZING life full of adventure for herself. But just over 6 months after my mother died, I lost my sister too on October 1st, 2014. The day before my birthday. It was the 1-2 punch from hell.
My sisters musical love was Duran Duran but she TOTALLY understood my Taylor obsession, she got it because she was the same way with them. She didn’t like country at all but she’d always let me play Taylor in her car. I remember when the Red album came out and I played her, “All too well” she knew without saying who that song was for.
One of the last text messages I have from my sister was a picture she took in a Dr’s office waiting room. There was someone in there wearing a “Red’ rubber tour bracelet and she wanted to show me. My own Red tour bracelet took on a much deeper meaning after.that. She also bought me Taylor shirts for my birthday one year.
The night my sister passed away we went to a a karaoke bar near U of Penn. (My sister passed away in PGH and my dad and other 2 sisters were there.) One of the songs we sang that night was, “Highway don’t care”. Probably one of the few pure country songs I know, thanks to Taylor of course.
Me and my sister Mercy
“1989” I don’t remember anything making me very happy that year. There was so much loss and sadness in my life. To be honest with you, all of it hasn’t gone away. I’m not who I was in any way shape or form. I just cried a lot, went to work, came home laid in bed and cried.
I am not over exaggerating that the release of “Shake it off” was one of the first and only things that truly brought me a fragment of joy. That and went my boyfriend took me to Disneyland after a long dry spell for a belated birthday were the ONLY things that made me even temporarily happy.
1989 was one of the only lights in all that darkness. I’d even feel guilty when I’d smile or dance to it. It became my lifeline to joy because it took my mind, if even temporarily off the hurt I was trying to live through. If I ever did meet Taylor I’d tell her 1989 saved my spirit in my darkest time, just by being made…for giving me something to ease that unfathomable pain.
“Blank Space” The thing about loss is that it shows you how finite your life is. You don’t have endless time, so it began to push me to try and stretch myself despite the heartbreak. Even if it was driving to Manhattan Beach for a women’s symposium, running a 5k or dying my hair red. I just started trying to stretch.
I’d always wanted to take vocal lessons but never did. I was born with a clef palette and have a speech impediment but as fate would have it (and as I mentioned) I LOVE singing. I always felt that vocal lessons were going to be a waste of money for someone with a voice like me. But at this stage of my life, despite all those internal demons saying, “Don’t do it!” I did it anyway.
I have never been more scared of anything in my life, and I wasn’t that great especially because of stage fright. But I kept going and going. The first song I attempted to learn was “Blank Space” then “Style” then “All too well”.
Blank Space was really when Taylor started to grab the image projected onto her by the media by the horns. It was the first glimpse we had at how she could use those bricks to make her castle. I pity anyone that ever dissed that song because they didn’t understand it’s satirical value. I was trying to take control of my own image too.
“Shake if off” Mean girls aren’t just reserved for high school and they aren’t reserved to girls either. At work I was miserable because on top of the aforementioned loss the person I thought was my closest friend turned out to be a frenemy. Work felt like a battle ground for awhile and I would listen to Shake it off over and over again on the way to work AND at work to remind myself that haters were gonna hate, hate, hate and I didn’t have to play into it. Music really does give me strength and healing and courage and everything else.
“Wildest dreams” Since the very first 1989 tour date in Tokyo I was waiting to see the Wildest Dreams/Enchanted mash up live. I saw it in a YouTube video and I started crying because it was so perfect. Two of my favorite songs delivered so amazingly.
Wildest Dreams was instantly my favorite songs on 1989. I learned it on guitar, I tried to learn to sing it in voice lessons. When the video came out I went to Disneyland wearing my Taylor shirt. Once again, she had captured that feeling of fleeting love so perfectly. I knew that feeling so well too. Maybe it was in the past, and I know it’s long gone but, that song just made it flood back.
I recorded the audio of the mashup on my phone at the concert and tried not to cry too hard when she did it. The 1989 tour was another bright light in my world that was still pretty dark. I always say death is like a film that forever alters the way you see life and even the beautiful moments are tinged with sadness for the people that can’t share them with you.
But the 1989 tour left me with more hope then I walked in with. Taylor doesn’t understand how healing her speeches are, how much she connects to the audience. I remember once in an interview they asked her what super power she’d want and she said, “A Healer”. I wanted to make a sign for the concert that said, “Taylor you ARE a healer!!!” But I doubt, even if she did see it, she’d understand that I was referencing some random interview she did.
“Out of the Woods” There was only one bad thing about the 1989 tour. I was sitting on the floor and someone stole my light up bracelet before I got to my seat. And let me tell you as a swiftie I was LOOKING FORWARD to this bracelet! I literally felt like every person in that arena had a bracelet in Staples Center except me. I was really, really sad about it. I wished bad karma to whomever had stolen it off my seat. So that was August 25th, 2015.
Flash forward to the 2016 Grammy Awards. My boyfriend got invited because one of his friends worked on Kendrick Lamar’s record, “To Pimp a Butterfly”. I was so excited because Taylor was nominated for album of the year and they were going to be in the same building!!!
They walked the red carpet and he saw Joseph Kahn, I was so jealous. Then he said that as the filed into the auditorium there was a table…piled high with Taylor’s light up bracelets! Why? She was opening the Grammy’s with, “Out of the woods” and brought them for the Grammy audience. He grabbed about 5 and brought them for me. (Not to mention he was feet away from her as she won her Grammy and did her bad ass acceptance speech.)
I honestly still can’t believe my fortune. Especially with how I was still feeling, I just needed that reminder that magic still existed in the world. I got my bracelets 5 fold and someone the universe had fully made up for me being sad about it at the concert. Taylor Swift is magic even when she’s not trying.
“Welcome to New York” Once again spurred by the need to reclaim my life I left my job that had made me miserable after 8 years. I found an amazing job at an NPR station. My first day of work I remember driving in morning traffic. This was a new experience for someone that used to drive to work at 4:30am, I was used to empty roads and this was chaos! (Chaos in the mind that someone doesn’t like to drive much.)
But, I put on “Welcome to New York” and it reminded me of the enormity of this great journey I was embarking on. It was all unknown and crazy, but a step in the right direction That is exactly what “Welcome to New York” embodies, starting something new, not knowing what to expect but you know you’re on the right path. Subsequent mornings “Welcome to New York” (and all of 1989 would lift my spirits as I sat in morning traffic AND at work when I was nervous at my new job. I started that job on October 7, 2016.
“Look what you made me do” We didn’t hear a ton from Taylor in early 2017. But I was still stanning for her and happy that she was getting a break from the relentless public eye. I’d rather her take all the time she needed for herself then keep pushing and being unhappy. I have never been more proud of her then I was when she gave her court testimony. It was BAD ASS (no pun intended). And her Time Magazine cover with the other silence breakers was by far my favorite magazine cover/interview she’s ever done.
But when she came back with LWYMMD and RECLAIMED her narrative I was in awe. I hated being on socials seeing everyone talk crap before LWYMMD, about her. The stupid snake emojis would infuriate me. But Taylor doesn’t need my defense, Tay has got her own back and she took her image back and minted it! And once again, the song was on repeat and helping me get past my own hurdles. “But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time / Honey I rose up from the dead I do it all the time”
I can’t say I’m as far along as Taylor, but I’m trying to be reborn again myself. Trying to adjust to the new normal in my life now, I’m really bad at change. Also I’m still not as confident as I’d like to be but watching how strong and happy she’s become gives me the strength to keep fighting for joy too. Not worrying about what other people think of me is my #1 goal in life. Even writing this my brain is saying, “People are going to think you’re crazy…” but I’m doing it anyway.
“New Years Day” I had lived at home my entire life until January of this year. Another reason why Reputation just feels so right in this moment, because it’s Taylor really striking out and L-I-V-I-N-G. It’s not easy to leave the place you’ve always known, but with my mom gone things just weren’t the same anymore…I guess it was just time. So I spent this New Years Day at my new house with my boyfriend in Los Angeles. The first month it was hard, I kept thinking of the line from, “Never Grow up” where she says, “So here I am in my new apartment / In the big city, they just dropped me off / It’s so much colder then I thought it would be / So I tuck myself in and turn my light night on”.
“Delicate” The relationship I am in now is so different then any other one I’ve been in. For so many reasons, there’s a perfect Taylor song (or several) for every past person that’s ever had my heart. But it’s always a good sign when the happy songs remind you of the person you’re with. And if “Dear John” or “All too well” remind you of someone run as fast as you can!
I’ve never been serious enough to live with a boyfriend before but I’ve never been with someone that really understood me for me. We’ve been together 6 years and I’ve never been happier or felt safer with someone. One of the first places we ever met up was a dive bar… I’m not kidding.
Even though I think the Swift fandom wanted a sweet romance video for “Delicate” what she got was even more powerful. She’s happy cause she gets to be herself and this person she loves actually sees her for herself too. It took me years to actually fully show myself because I was so afraid of being hurt, do to what had happened in the past, delicate reminds me of those first few years when I was really starting to show myself. I’m still working on showing myself to the world however.
“Dress” I know “Dress” is Taylor’s song but honestly it could be my song too. Because as I keep saying, Taylor writes my life. “Flash back when you met me / Your buzz cut / And my hair bleached / Even in my worst light, you saw the best in me”
We didn’t meet under the best circumstances, I actually liked someone totally different. But we stood friends for a very long time. He saw me at my worst, my darkest, my dumbest, and yes he saw the best in me. And I really did wake up just in time, because if I hadn’t realized what was important in a partner I probably would have made different choices and missed out on him.
My favorite line on the song, nay, on the ALBUM is, “You left your mark on me, a golden tattoo”.
Because I not only think of him, but for some reason I think of my sister and my mom. I think of how much they influence my life and the lasting tattoo they will forever have on my heart. Love leaves its mark on you, and it is a golden tattoo which can never be erased..even long after someone is gone.
“End Game” I am now a week away from watching the Reputation Stadium tour in Pasadena and once again I cannot wait. Concerts are my church it’s where my soul is healed where I feel like I belong, amongst all the others there that just get it. We scream, cry, sing and dance it is freedom and it is beautiful.
And for the first time in my Taylor history, I won’t be going to this concert alone. My niece got her ticket after me though…so I’ll still be sitting alone. But, I look forward for the opportunity to enjoy the pre and post concert glow with someone. And I will once again bawl my eyes out next to people I don’t know, happily.
I often can’t really verbalize WHY I love Taylor so much when people ask me, and this is why. Because we have such an amazing long history together, she has meant SO MANY things to me over SO MANY years. I know I don’t know her, but she’s left her mark on me too. I will probably be a Swiftie for the rest of my life. She’s amazing and has helped me through my darkest times and helped me to express all the joy and love I’ve experienced too. If you actually stuck through to the end of this, I thank you for taking the time.
I will leave you with my second favorite Tay quote:
“If you’re lucky enough to be different, never change.” – Taylor Swift