This post is somewhat delayed – I wrote it in March and didn’t publish immediately. But I’ve decided to post it now!
13th March 2023
I’m watching Taylor Swift’s “Reputation Stadium Tour” movie on Netflix as I type.
(Yeah, I’m slow at getting around to things – it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to life, I think.)
Anyway, I was just reminded of every single reason I call myself a Swiftie.
Right from the very first minute of the movie.
I love all Taylor’s albums, but Reputation now has an even more special place in my heart.
As soon as I started watching, I was brought all the way back to one of my darkest times.
A time when I was deeply unhappy, struggling, and Taylor’s music was my lifeline.
A time when I felt like nobody would ever want to be friends with me again.
A time when I felt like I’d lost everything.
A time when I was 15.
No teenager should EVER have to go through what I did.
But they do. Every single day, all over the world, in endless ways.
Especially when it’s just allowed to happen.
I felt an overwhelming and terrifying loss of control. I had an emotional breakdown and didn’t leave my room for a month … I was unable to face the outside world. Thanks to a handful of young people who thought it was fun to break me down, I felt like my reputation was ruined.
I was 15.
The way I saw it, an ever-growing number of my peers had rallied together with the sole intent to completely ruin me. (Again, I was 15 – maybe not the most rational and mature of thinkers.) I could see the things they wrote on social media and the way they interacted with me – how different it was from the way they interacted with each other, and how my name popped up in various unflattering ways. “I think Georgia looks really hot in that picture! Ha-ha, just kidding, Georgia….”
As time passed, more and more of my peers seemed to join in. I heard that some of them were talking about how weird I was – sharing this with new people, people I hadn’t even met yet.
People I hadn’t even met yet.
Ultimately, I felt like I would never be able to win. How could I? How could I possibly reclaim my reputation? There were dozens, if not hundreds, of them and only one of me – and I seemed to be doing a pretty bad job at simply existing. (I was 15!)
My confidence was at an all-time low. I was mortified to my core. Eventually, I deleted all of them from my Facebook “friends” list and blocked a lot of them, too. Slowly, I managed to get myself outside again. It was hell. I was furious. So overwhelmingly, utterly infuriated by the fact that I had done NOTHING to provoke this, yet here I was, crushed and humiliated, crying my eyes out and feeling like the villain in my own story.
This is where Taylor Swift comes in.
While watching this movie, many years after my dark times, I found myself witness to a young woman with her own host of “reputation struggles”, yet here she was, standing tall, smiling, and absolutely SLAYING on stage. Few have achieved what Taylor has achieved, and that stadium was full – over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND people in attendance (out of 3 MILLION for the whole tour). I could say something trite like “there will always be haters”, but I’d rather say this: Taylor Swift had her struggles. She was hurt by the haters. And yet she was still up there, out there, singing her heart out and showing up. That takes courage. Poise. And she did it with such humour, charm and grace.
I have been a loyal Swiftie ever since I first heard her song “Love Story”. I have never been afraid to hide this – on the contrary. I immediately got tickets to her 2020 concert at Roskilde Festival (before COVID blew that out the water). I have drawn her. I have written about her. I have watched her journey from her earliest, more innocent, country days – to her hard-hitting pop era – to the magical indie “lockdown” years and beyond. I have enjoyed “All Too Well: The Short Film” – and the fact that I’m not the only one who loves wearing snake rings.
(Above: From Taylor’s music video for “Look What You Made Me Do”)
(Below: Georgia’s own jewellery)
All in all, if I was to mention one thing I’ve learned from watching the “Reputation Stadium Tour”, it’s that it takes enormous strength of character and courage to get up, dress up, and show up, even when it feels like your reputation is ruined beyond repair. Taylor’s concert is a demonstration of power in this respect … she hasn’t let those who tried to bring her down succeed, instead channelling her experiences into a full-blown amazing album and tour with millions of ecstatic fans screaming her lyrics and crying at her every word.
Taylor hits the right notes. She’s massively successful for a reason, and it’s not plastic surgery or sleeping with exes on TV. To me, she is a true inspiration, ever since I could relate to her first music and now, with her superstar status.
And guess what?
Proven them all wrong.
Made her “haters” look silly.
I’m eagerly awaiting the announcement of her international tour dates, as I’m sure many others are, too.
This brings me to this chapter of my story …
I felt like I’d lost, back then. That I’d been defeated.
It’s hard to type that.
But I see things differently now. I’m happy to see that school was a temporary nightmare, and grateful that I never became friends with any of them, even though it felt awful to be excluded at the time.
Because you know what?
I’m winning, too.
I’ve reclaimed my reputation.
I’ve put things into words from MY perspective, not allowing any jerk to dictate how my story reads.
Anyway, if you’ll excuse me. I’m off to underline your name in red.