Hello 😊 My name is Cree. I’m 20 years old (though tbh when people ask I always say 19) and live in Stratford (small town nearish Toronto, home to Justin Bieber and some really bomb theatre). This Saturday I am seeing Taylor in Toronto! Thanks to some amazingly generous people in my life, I jus found out yesterday that I also get to see her Friday!
I know everybody here loves Taylor (how is it humanly possible not to love her) and everyone has such beautiful stories about how she’s touched their lives in some way. I thought I would share mine, as I think it’s so inspiring when I read your stories; it reminds me I’m not alone and it reminds me that everyone is going through hard stuff, so it’s so important to be kind.
ANYWAY: I first heard of Taylor when I was 11 years old and driving with my mum. Tim McGraw came on the radio, and I remember loving her voice and the story she told with it. I had no idea, in that moment, the kind of impact Taylor would have on me over the next 9 years. I remember being so amazed that an artist whom I had never spoken to, could speak so personally to me. It was like she had read pages of my diary and was writing songs about how I felt. I had never felt so connected to a singer’s music before, and the fact that Taylor radiates kindness and warmth made me feel so connected to her as a person as well.
Over the next few years, I loved Taylor immensely and was so thankful to have her in my life, but it wasn’t until high school that I realized just how lucky I was; I’ve always been different, always been aware I was different in some way, but could never place my finger on what this difference was. The year I started grade nine, I began to be aware that this difference resided in the fact that while all my friends had crushes on boys, the only people I’d ever had feelings for were girls. This realization, which was devastating and terrifying to me, came at a time when I had a falling out with one of my best friends. This, coupled with trying to suppress the fact that I was a lesbian and the pressures of beginning high school, led me to a pretty dark place. I don’t like to go into detail about that time in my life, but I was horribly unhappy and felt incredibly isolated. I battled with a lot of self hatred and internalized shame that manifested itself in me being very unkind to myself, mentally and physically.
Throughout all of this, the one person I could always count on was Taylor. This might sound melodramatic, but I know most people will understand this. Her music, the things she sung about, her positivity and optimism and compassion made me feel as though I was never alone. I kept a diary during that time and used to write letters to Taylor; I would tell her about my day, tell her things I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone else. I knew that she would never read them, but just having an outlet for those things helped me so much.
I am 20 now. I came out to my friends and family over the course of this past year. They have been amazingly supportive and wonderful. I am still dealing with the aftermath of a lot of the stuff I talked about earlier, but the sense of freedom and liberation I feel is unlike anything I could have imagined. Taylor has helped me to achieve this point in my life. She has made me have a kinder, more open heart. She taught me it is okay to be different, as long as you’re being yourself. She taught me to never settle for less than I deserve, she taught me the importance of humility and hard work.
I am not sure where I would be without Taylor, but I do know that my life, and the world in general, is a much better place for having her exist in it. Your song Clean has been my motto for the past (almost) year. Anytime I feel like I could slip back into a bad place, I play it on repeat until I feel better. I cannot wait to hear you sing it, though I feel bad for anyone who is around me cause you know I’ll be hysterical the entire time.
You have helped me in more ways than I know how to say, and for this I am grateful in more ways than I can voice. I love you Taylor & can’t wait to see you this weekend! (((I HAVE BEEN WAITING SO LONG TO SAY THAT!!!!!)