Sometimes we need to let ourselves dream impossible dreams.
On Monday August 11th 2014 Taylor announced that all the clues she had been giving us meant one very exciting thing. She would be hosting a live stream on Yahoo! at 5:00 pm EST on Monday August 18th 2014.
As expected, us Swifties were freaking out and the haters were well you know….haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate.
Now this live stream alone was enough excitement to keep us happy for a good while. But Taylor is known for doing more than what is asked of her. So naturally she had more news for us.
Well that’s pretty exciting right? Just the thought of it. Allowing yourself to even dream of such a thing. Now I’m from Ohio, about an 8 hour drive from NYC, but we just so happened to be going to New York the very weekend of the live stream. Fate? It was a sign. So I spent the whole day drafting up a “500 Character or less” essay about why I love Tay. This was not easy. How can you express in words the impact Taylor has had?
Doubt was entering my mind. How many people are going to apply to this thing? A million gazillion? Probs. How do you make yours stand out? They wanted it to be three things: enthusiastic, unique, and creative.
Well after a bunch of playing around and tweaking this is what I landed on:
#ICouldWriteADissertationOnWhyI’mTay’sBiggestFan. ButYou’reLimitingMeTo500Characters—Only3.5TweetsToShowMyLoveForT-Swizzle?ChallengeAccepted.ITweet, Instagram,&FacebookAboutHerSoOftenYou’dThinkIWasHerPublicist. ICanSingEveryWordToEverySongAndNotMissABeat.IMentionHerCats LikeThey’reOldFriends. IWriteRidicouslyLongHashtaggedTweetsLikeThisToPromoteTayAcrossSocialMedia. IDefendHerToAllTheNonbelievers, QuoteHerLyricsInEverydayLife,AndCryAtHerGenuineActsOfKindness. EverydayIAmTay’sBiggestFan. Send Tweet.
Well I doubted it would actually win. But I figured that the one long hashtagged tweet concept made it at least a little unique. But most importantly it was true to me. And then I sent it in and that was that. I was sure that would be the end of this little adventure.
I spent an excruciatingly long Thursday staring at my phone hoping for the impossible. Imagining what it would be like to actually meet Taylor. By 5:00 pm I had pretty much given up hope as we packed up the car and started our 8 hour drive to New York for our weekend trip.
Now, I had fantasized about this phone call over and over those past two days. What they would say. What I would say. But never did I actually believe my phone would ring at 8:00 pm with a NY number flashing on the screen.
On the phone I was informed that I was a winner of the Biggest Fans in the Big Apple contest and that I would be attending the live stream on Monday. The hardest part?? WE WEREN’T ALLOWED TO TELL ANYONE. Ahhhhhh. It was so hard. But a promise is a promise.
Waiting for Monday seemed to take ages. I could barely eat lunch the day of and my mind was racing the whole time.
At 1:00 pm exactly (once a rule follower always a rule follower) I arrived at the hotel and quickly spotted where I was suppose to be. After a while of waiting in line and hearing fellow ecstatic Swifties swap their stories I was able to check in at the first table. We were then escorted in small groups into an elevator. Now we are pretty much all freaking.
So we get to the next floor and…it’s another line. We wait a bit more and then hand over our release forms and all our personal belongings and electronics (goodbye any dreams of a Snapchat with Tay?)
After receiving our special wristbands we walked into a room with round tables and were greeted by two members of Taylor Nation! THEY were excited to have US! What? This was all so crazy.
For about an hour we stay in that room talking and making new friends. For once, we were able to talk with people who truly understood why we love Taylor so much— it was like lifelong friends we had never met.
Okay okay so then what? Taylor Nation came and talked to us.
“Just wanted to let you know that you 89 were chosen out of 5,000!”
5,000?? 89/5,000 = .0178
So if we are doing the math right that means we had a better chance of getting accepted into Harvard or getting a job at Google than being chosen for Taylor’s Live Stream. Yet here we were. Chosen.
Taylor Nation continued “this is a pretty exciting day because we are guessing most of you have not met Taylor before…”
The room bursts into screams.
After about another hour of waiting Taylor Nation was back. We were now asked to sit with our group numbers written on our wristbands. I made my way over to group 3. We sat in a circle, shared our names, where we were from, and why we love Taylor so much.
We had dance parties to Taylor songs as one huge group AND THE ENERGY WAS ELECTRIFYING.
And then finally the movement began. Group by group we were escorted across the street to the studio. After a quick snack and elevator ride we arrived in a gorgeously decorated apartment style studio. Two groups had already arrived and were sitting on various couches and chairs throughout the room. I was able to get a pretty great seat on the back of one of the couches nearly 10 ft from where Tay would be sitting.
It was about 4:30 by the time all the groups were situated.
Next, the producers came out to talk to us about what to expect. We watched the clock as it got closer and closer to 5:00 while looking at each other with “is this real life??” in our eyes. With around 5 minutes to go we began a round of We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. At 1 minute to go we began to scream for a minute straight. At 10 seconds to go we began the countdown staring at the door she was about to walk through.
And then there she was. Not at the door. But instead on the TV. On top of the Empire State Building. Talking to the world over the live stream.
“It’s actually a little scary up here. Do you mind if I come down to talk to you?”
WE SCREAMED. This was it.
And then there she truly was at the door walking towards us, hugging fans as she made her way to the stage.
Now I won’t go into detail about the live stream because that is available for everyone to see. I will say though that her coming out into the audience and dancing with us to her new song Shake It Off was pretty amazing.
So here is when things start to get crazy. The live stream ends.
Taylor: “Hey guys! So…do you want to hang out?”
Taylor: “Okay cool well I’ve just got a couple interviews to do and then we can go get some pizza! I’ve already got a place secured.”
Okay sure yeah no big deal we will just go have pizza with TAYLOR SWIFT.
We sat and watched her record her interview for Good Morning America and it was amazing just how REAL she was.
Her insights about life, as always, were amazing:
After the interview each group got to take a group picture with Taylor. This was enough to make any true fan lose it.
After our pictures we were escorted to two very large busses where we all freaked out together about what just happened and what was soon to happen. On our way out we even got a chance to see Taylor’s mom! Through the windows of the bus we watched Taylor exit the building into a car and of course…we screamed.
If this story wasn’t already crazy enough, here is where it gets unreal.
We are riding on the bus for a while speculating about where we could possibly be heading. The girl next to me is from New York and so she has a much better sense of direction than me.
“It seems like we are heading towards SoHo.”
My mind instantly freaks. SoHo…Tribeca…Taylor’s apartment. No. It’s not possible.
As we drive further I see “Tribeca Deli”. Now I’m really freaking. And then it happens.
We see her street.
The bus turns onto the street.
The bus stops in front of her apartment.
Taylor Nation tries to calm us down. “Yes this is really happening. Breathe.”
And so you know we just casually walk into Taylor’s apartment building. And then casually walk up the stairs. Many stairs. And then we’re at a standstill. Why? Because Taylor wants to hug and greet everyone individually as they walk in. OF COURSE SHE DOES THIS IS WHY WE LOVE HER.
We finally make it to the hallway and can see her door. We can hear her talking to everyone. “Come on in! Thanks for coming!” So genuine it is almost hard to believe.
The radio is playing. Her new song comes on. She freaks as only Taylor would. We all freak with her.
We meet her dad passing in the hallway.
“Man she talks more than I do!” he chuckles.
Now we are inside the apartment. It’s gorgeous and smells wonderful. We can’t really see her very well yet but we can hear people tell us what they see.
“She’s talking to every person!”
“She’s wearing a new dress!"
"She’s hugging everyone!”
“Her cats are here!”
We get closer and see that she is talking to people in roughly groups of 3. It’s really hard to breathe.
The group ahead of me gets a chance to hold her adorable kitten Olivia! Taylor trusts us to hold her cat?? ONLY TAYLOR DOES THIS.
When it’s our turn Taylor gives us all a hug.
She talks to us about the difference between romance and relationships.
“You don’t need a relationship for your life to be romantic. You don’t need another person to make you happy."
She tells us that there is pizza and pop in the living room and to help ourselves. She will be in in just a few minutes.
We eat pizza and walk around her apartment. Looking at GRAMMYs, VMAs, CMAs, and more all displayed throughout her house. People are playing pool in Taylor Swift’s apartment. I look at the beautiful piano and all of her decorations.
Now, there is a commotion in the kitchen. We all walk over. All 89 of us standing around her kitchen island watching her eat pizza and drink diet coke. This was actually happening.
She talked to us like we were old friends and she could not have been nicer.
All of a sudden someone says “Taylor your song is on the radio again!”
She starts running right towards where I’m standing to turn up the volume. And then there we all are.
Dancing. To Shake It Off. With Taylor. IN HER KITCHEN. I’m like an inch from her dancing like no one is watching.
After the song ends Taylor asks us “So do you guys maybe wanna take some Polaroid pictures?”
We stand in a blob of a line waiting to take a picture with Taylor. It’s about 4 people per picture and as we get closer we notice something else.
Taylor is handing fans GRAMMYs and VMAs to hold in the picture.
Before I could comprehend what was going on someone was handing me a Grammy and it was my turn. I was staring at the Grammy trying not to drop it when Taylor turns to me waiting for me to stand next to her for the picture.
Someone excitingly tells me “go take your picture with Taylor!”
Me: “I think I’m holding this backwards…”
Taylor: “There is no wrong way to hold a Grammy!”
And there we all are, arms around each other, Grammys in hand, taking a Polaroid picture with Taylor Swift.
We were told that they would scan all of the Polaroids and that they would be sent to us— knowing that those pictures would most likely be our profile pictures for the rest of eternity. Taylor wrote on the Polaroids personally just for us.
After the picture, a bunch of us realized wow it’s been like 8 hours since we’ve gone to the bathroom. And so yeup. We used Taylor Swift’s bathroom. Of course it smelled amazing.
Before we knew it it was 8:30 and time to leave. We formed a line and she said goodbye to us each, one by one, as we received a tote bag with 3 new Taylor shirts.
We discovered that she herself had read all of the winners’ essays. #tears
It was hard not to cry. Before I reached Taylor I got a chance to talk to her dad and give him a hug.
After receiving my tote bag I got to hug Taylor one more time and thank her so much for everything. I even got to tell her about how I have a 4 month old baby nephew who I am molding into the biggest and best Taylor Swift fan and described the onesie I made for him.
I told her that this was the best night of my life and then I left.
And that was that. I TRULY just hung out with Taylor Swift in her apartment.
Now that is an amazing story but it is not the only point of this post. You see I’m so excited about Taylor’s new song and about meeting her for more than just the excitement of a new song and meeting your idol.
That’s because this experience made everything so clear.
I sometimes get down and always defensive if I hear any haters hating towards T-Swift. But her song is so right.
There are always going to be people hating on each other no matter who you are; and we can’t do anything about it but dance and have a ton more fun than them.
Meeting Taylor showed me what I already knew: that she really is everything we have always believed. She is so real, so genuine, so generous, so funny, so kind, and so silly.
And the best part is that no one can ever tell me otherwise because I know the truth. And that’s what us Swifties know. That Taylor is a real person with real feelings and real compassion. She cares about her fans enough to trust us with her cats and invite us into her home.
NO ONE DOES THAT.
And that’s what other people don’t understand about Taylor Swift.
She really is that good of a person.
AND THAT’S WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW.
But no worries Tay, we don’t give the haters a second thought.
We just shake it off.