Yesterday was something special to say the least. I spent the better half of my day sitting in anticipation. From the hours of 8am to 8pm, I waited patiently for what was going to be one of my most favorite concert memories yet. Mind you, I’ve seen Taylor Swift before. It was back in ’08 and she was opening up for Brad Paisley in a comfortable (and hot) outdoor concert. It seems that tonight, she would trade her little black dress and acoustic guitar for a dazzling mic and an epic performance.
The Calm Before the Storm
It’s 7pm and we’ve decided to dine at a quaint little restaurant in downtown at the corner of Texas and Travis. Girls and boys of all ages walk down the street in front of me, squealing and excited, just like the rest of us . In the hustle and bustle of the five o’clock rush hour, twenty girls file out of a hot pink hummer limo while two sisters stick their heads out of their mom’s sun roof, yelling at the busy businessmen that walk by. The mom, too embarrassed at this moment, sticks her head out and screams: “I’m sorry, WE ARE GOING TO TAYLOR SWIFT!” And just like that, all the calm and quietness that downtown had hoped to be on a Wednesday evening (lol) had swiftly vanished.
A couple of streets down from where I’m sitting, Taylor swift is humming different warm-ups while 45,000 of her best fans wait for what will be the best show minute maid park has ever seen. Inside, the line for apparel is longer than any line at six flags and you can imagine that the merchandise is as “on-point” as it should be. By this time, my mom and I have briskly walked, huffed, and puffed (no joke), to our seats. Luckily for us, we have the best seats in the house. Level 300 is no joke with the set up of the stage and the lights that shine from the downtown skyscrapers. It’s a perfect night to be jamming in style.
Vance joy (one to look out for) starts the night off with a magical set of slow jams mixed with a Sam Smith cover that makes all the lights in the house twinkle. Just a man, an acoustic guitar, and a lovely night in Houston. At the end of Riptide, Vance joy exits the stage and Taylor Swift starts the transition from pre-show fun to her big shining moment with a video that speaks volumes (typical Tay). In the mix of showing the behind the scenes of her Shake it Off video, Taylor mentions something that really hits home to a lot of people. I know this because her fan base wouldn’t be as powerful as it is if the words that she spoke didn’t relate to everyone in some sort of way.
The Lesson on Life, Music, and Happiness
“You can get everything you want in life without ever having to fit in.”
At this point, not even the girl nudging my arm while she eats her tub of blue bell can bring me down. While waiting, the sound of 80’s music blares over the speaker and every grown woman in the house starts dancing as if they were at a Saturday night disco party. Teenagers surrounding these vivacious women start to laugh and record, and then it hits me…I will be that woman one day. Just you wait. I have always been the one to start dancing, even if the time isn’t right. Taylor Swift’s first powerful message of the evening showed true through the many fans who showed up as unique and differently as a one of a kind fan should. The ladies dancing may have stood out but that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong . The laughter behind the staring teens might show that they haven’t come to terms with the fact that life isn’t about fitting in, it’s about being true to yourself. Even if that means you’re the only one dancing in a crowd of 45,000 people.
With the comfort you find in not fitting in, you start to realize that it’s okay to laugh at yourself. Lesson number 2 from Swift’s 1989 World Tour: ALL THEY’RE EVER GOING TO BE IS MEAN. Taylor didn’t disappoint with her trip down memory lane giving us a glorious performance of mean. Naturally, at the end, she held up her hands in gratitude and as , well, one big F U to the mean critic that judged her so harshly way back when. After seeing Taylor laugh at the way the paparazzi criticize her relationships and how one person can help make her write one of her best songs yet, I learned that the most important thing to do is take the criticism head on with some humor. People will always be mean. There will always be words, hateful words, that will come out of the mouths of others. It doesn’t matter. Stay true to who you are and learn that you are able to laugh at yourself.
But when it gets too hard to laugh, and the pressures of life become too much to handle…we are left with two things: the music & the moment. “We need music when we are heartbroken, betrayed, lonely, misunderstood. Time moves slower. There are 45,000 individual paths crossing tonight all because of the music. It’s the thing you don’t let hold you back”. Tonight, Taylor reminded us all that we are here for a reason. We attended this very concert because at some point her music helped us through break-ups, losses of friendships, separation, anxiety, and depression. Her music, and other music, functions as an aid to get us through the good and bad, the happy and the sad.
Which adds to the very last thing Taylor made me realize tonight: Happiness is key. Like she said, “don’t let life pass you by”. Savor the happy moments because there will come a time when things get hard and you need those happy moments to reflect on. You need the moments to remind you of this : “you’re not going nowhere just because you haven’t gotten where you want to go”. I CRY EVERY TIME. She just gets me. And the most amazing thing about it all is how she acknowledges the fact that today, more than ever, figuring out your direction in life is noticeably tough. There is so much out there that can drag you down, but don’t let it. Shake it off, man. (Yeah I went there.)
Basically, if I were to sum it all up, I would say this: Laugh at yourself, be yourself, remain happy, and love music. Don’t let any of it pass you by. Know that it’s alright to make a change or stay the same…people will still love you. And finally this: “You are not someone’s opinion of you, that doesn’t know you and you are not damaged goods just because you’ve made a few mistakes in your life.”
After tonight, Taylor Swift makes me want to dance around in an awesome sequenced romper and be a better person.