Taylor Swift: One Exception to that Rule.
I’m on Twitter, following one of my fave Taylor twitter accounts, tweeting congratulatory tweets about “Shake It Off” being certified on Vevo. Later that night, a notification tells me that I was followed by Taylor Nation and that they’ve sent me a message. After talking to me and verifying that I am eligible to participate in the event, they give me the information for the event and tell me to arrive between 4:30 and 5pm.
Saturday arrives and I’m arriving at the meet-up location looking nervously around for other people and I spot a tent behind two small party-type buses. Quickly though I make my way to a tent where I’m checked in and told the do’s and don’t of the event and we get wanded by security. A wristband and stamp later, I’m led to one of the bus waiting for us. As soon as I step on the bus, the other Swifties who were already on board started cheering and asked my name and to name a Taylor song that started with my first initial. Being able to click quickly with other Swifties literally from the moment we met is one of the best feelings ever. As the bus pulled out of the parking lot of the meet-up we start singing some of our fave Taylor songs like Tim McGraw, State of Grace, Our Song, Fearless, Love Story, Shake It Off.
Once we arrived at the location, a security guy tells us that we’re going to get wanded and checked by security once more before entering this person’s home and to treat it the way we would like our home to be treated by guests. We’re led down a path where there’s food and drinks waiting for us. Pizza, sushi, fruits and veggies, cookies, brownies, pies, meat on sticks, sodas, water, some kind of bread that tasted really good! As we all talk and mingle with each other, we all joke around that Taylor’s probably upstairs watching us or somewhere nearby looking down at us. Taylor’s team came around asking us if we were having a good time and what we think was going to happen that day and many of us replied that we thought maybe a music video shoot. They also came around taking pictures and video recording us eating and just having fun with other Swifties.
We start to look around for clues as to what might be going on when we spot a lamp inside that’s made of wooden shoes. Then outside in front of us, we spot a small box full of smaller boxes of Polaroid film, waiting on the floor.
Suddenly we’re told to get in a line and at this point I start getting more and more excited than I already was because I was beginning to spot more and more things inside. An MTV award and a Grammy inside the house by the television, a bunch of cushions on the floor. We’re told to make ourselves comfortable and without pushing people aside I made my way as close to the front as I possibly could. At this point I was really hoping that Taylor would come out but at the same time I couldn’t believe that this was happening. Then a couple of girls on the other side of the room started shaking their heads and crying.
Taylor was coming around the corner and into the living room where we were waiting. Screams and shouts of happiness and shock and surprise were heard and Taylor’s face just lit up at our reaction. Boxes of tissue paper were passed around to us by Taylor’s team.
At first, I screamed out of excitement, but then I started shaking and crying. Was I really sitting in a living room and Taylor Swift just walked out and was now sitting less than 4 feet from me?? I started crying. I could not stop the tears. Here I was surrounded by other Swifties who were having the same reaction as I was. I felt one girl rubbing my back, another two girls holding my hands. Happiness and disbelief were the only emotions I was registering at that moment. It didn’t matter that we didn’t know each other, we were all there for one another.
Taylor began by thanking us for coming to this event and asked if we were surprised. Then she introduced her parents, Mama and Papa Swift. Taylor also told us that as soon as the event was over, we were allowed to talk about anything that happened during the event except song titles and song lyrics and that there would be an intermission break for snack and restroom breaks. She began talking to us about what the album means to her and where her inspiration for each of the songs came (from movies made in the ’80s to dreams to t.v. shows to all these people in the music industry) and that she would like for us to listen to the full album. She gave us the background story for each song and she sang along to every song, dramatically acting out parts of verses. You guys will LOVE 1989!!!
Taylor announced halfway through the album that it was intermission time and that she’d be right back. She came out with a tray of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that, according to Mama Swift, Taylor had baked herself. Not wanting to swarm Taylor or be rude to other fans who were talking to her I decided to go talk to Mama Swift. She was talking about how excited Taylor had been planning all of this out and told us that Taylor had been watching us for months now. Then she asked each Swiftie what their name was and gave each person a hug. Then Taylor comes up to us and asks if we want some cookies. They were amazing and still slightly warm!
Taylor’s team asked if anyone needed the restroom and led us to a line in the hallway. While waiting in line, we could see has so many different pictures on her wall, with her family, with people she admires, during rehearsals. As I’m making way way down the hall, I could see that Taylor had brought Olivia out!!!! As I’m waiting my turn to pet her, I look at a bookcase she has nearby and see that in a small basket there is a pretty scallop shell with the words “Come morning light, You and I’ll be Safe and Sound” written on it. This was one of my more favorite finds in her home because I am such a huge Hunger Games fan. As I’m petting Olivia, who by the way is the cutest, most chill, fluffiest, adorable, ball of white fur EVER!, I see that Taylor is trying and I mean trying, to bring Meredith out. But Mer, was just not having it. She was wriggling and twisting trying to escape Taylor’s grip. “Okay, okay, fine.” Taylor let Meredith go back into hiding.
As we continue fawning over Olivia, Taylor asks us, “Did you guys see that? Have you guys ever seen a cat that hates its owner that much?” Taylor also tells us that she kind of woke Olivia up to bring her out and that Olivia just like to be held by humans. After one Swiftie asked if she could hold her, Taylor said, “Yeah. Go ahead, she’ll fall asleep in like 5 seconds. 5…4…3…2…1 aaaaaand sleep.” And sure enough, Olivia tucked her furry head back in and closed her adorable little eyes.
Heading back into the living room, we begin listening to the second half of the album. This time around we were treated to a voice memo of Taylor coming up with the melody of one of the songs. We laugh as she cringes while listening to herself on the recording and says, “That’s not even english what I’m saying there. Those are just weird noises.” Once we hear the last song on the album, she plays “Shake It Off” and we have a dance party in the middle of her living room. It’s such a surreal moment not just for me but for all the Swifties that were there. As the song winds to an end, we all, including Taylor, shout and scream the last few lines of the song. Taylor laughs from gleefully and you can see in her face how much fun and how happy she is to have just done that. Then as the song changes to a Kendrick Lamar song, Taylor begins rapping along to it in her extra small white, crop tee. Girl knows every single word.
We’re told to get in line because we’re taking individual pictures with Taylor. I was expecting a group picture. I started talking to other Swifties as we stood in line about how we still couldn’t believe what was happening and we started singing along to all the Ed Sheeran songs that were playing from Taylor’s playlist as we waited. As we got closer and closer to the front of the line, Mama Swift was hanging out with the fans taking polaroid selfies with us! Mama Swift informed us to not shake the polaroids because they would streak and that they take about 30 minutes for the picture to show.Then Papa Swift came up to us and asked how we were feeling. If we were happy and surprised and enjoying ourselves. He was also curious to find out what we originally thought this was going to be. The majority of us said music video.
Then it was my turn to meet Taylor. I walked up to her and just hugged her. “I’m so happy that you came. Thank you so much for coming.” Why is Taylor thanking us when we should be thanking her? I thanked her for being the constant in for the past 6,7 years of my life, that after being dumped by best friends and having people judge me and leave me, she was always there for me. She hugged me again as kept telling me “I love you, I love you.” She complimented me on having dimples and told me that she’s always wanted to have dimples. That sometimes she tried doing weird smile faces to try and create dimples. I spoke to her how whenever I go through a rough patch, I’ll sit at home on my bed with a plate of cookies, listening to her music. She taps my shoulder and then pats her heart and whispers, “That’s so me. Me too!” I told her how even my mom knows the story of how when she was about 11 she would go to Nashville and dropping off demo cd’s at record labels and saying she wanted a record deal. And how Scott signed her to his label when she was 14 even though he didn’t actually have a recording studio. That I watch all the video and interviews she does on the Ellen show and at this point she covers her face laughing, looking slightly embarrassed. She thanked me for being such a great fan of hers and I told her that if she looks at pictures of her and Cher Lloyd and of her and Sara Bareilles she could spot me in the corner of the pit cheering along. She hugged me again and then she asked me what “toys” I wanted to use for our picture (like her Grammy!) We decided on taking a tea party picture. She hugged me and told me “I love you” a few more times before letting me go. Taylor also told me that the picture on the Polaroid would take about 20 minutes to show up that sometimes some people think the pictures faulty or broken (Taylor’s own words) and they end up throwing away the picture. So not to worry if they picture doesn’t show up super fast, it’ll get there.
I had tea with the Queen!!
As we’re led outside, one of Taylor’s team stops and tells me that as a “Thank you” we were being given goodie bags and that inside was a keychain that Taylor wanted us to have to remember all the fun we had that night at the secret session. Security and the team members were all waiting outside in different spots to make sure we made our way back to the bus site safely. They even talked to us as well for a few minutes, asking if we had fun and enjoyed ourselves, if we expected any of this.
The bus ride back down to the meeting spot was just all of us being shock and wondering if this had really happened to us. Then one of the Taylor Nation staff asked us if we loved the event and told us the hashtag that Taylor wanted us to use when posting on social media about the event, but that in all the excitement, Taylor forgot to tell us. The Taylor Nation staff member on board with us was talking to us about Nashville and how they weren’t able to go sightseeing and that everyone should go to Nashville once in their lives, especially if they’re country music fans. Then we said we should all go to CMAfest together!
Apart from getting to meet Taylor Swift, the best part of the night was being able to be in a room with 30 other Swifties who love Taylor as much as I do and wouldn’t look at me weird because I start crying cause Taylor’s there because they’re crying too. I’ve gone to Taylor’s concerts and have had other fans look at me like something’s wrong with me because I start crying because Taylor’s there. I felt completely comfortable to be my Swiftie self, to not be afraid to cry and be judged by others there. Even though for the most part we were all complete strangers, we automatically felt like friends. It wasn’t like a fan event where you know that there are other fans there as well but you’re afraid to talk to them. You could walk up to any Swiftie at the event and join their conversation without fear of being judged or left out. Even as I’m writing this, tears make their way into my eyes as I remember the night’s events. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier in my life.
Thank you taylorswift and Taylor Nation for giving me such an amazing experience and for the chance to meet my idol and thank her for all that she’s done. I will never forget last night’s events. Thank you for making my dream come true, these memories will last me a lifetime. Thank you Taylor for opening your home to us, which smells like pumpkin, spice and Michaels, for allowing us to play and cuddle your adorable little ball of white fluffiness that is Olivia, for baking us cookies and dancing along with us. Thank you for being such an amazing woman and an even better role model for us and for the younger generations. Thank you for being as kind and as generous are you are towards your fans. I am so glad that now anytime someone tries to tell me that you’re fake or just acting nice for the cameras, I can proudly say (as I always have) that they couldn’t be anymore wrong and far off from the truth. I don’t think I or any other Swifties who were part of last night could ever find the words to express our gratitude and love for you.
They say you should never meet your heroes or idols, because usually you’re are guaranteed disappointment. But I am proud to say that taylorswift is one exception to that rule.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you.