Dear Taylor Swift,

Between birthdays and album releases and general moments of beaming pride, I have written more than a dozen letters in your honor, expressing my gratitude for your music and your overall songwriting genius. I have spent the last few days listening to all of your music on a giant loop and figured it was time for another letter.

Let us recall the summer of 2008, when I was still madly in love with the Jonas Brothers and in the prime of all of my unbelievably dorky, delusional teenage glory. I was on the desktop computer in the basement, watching an endless stream of music videos and TV clips on YouTube and probably chatting with my friends via instant message. At some point, I stumbled upon a particular Hannah Montana fan video that piqued my interest. (Give me a break–I was fifteen.) So I played the video. Then I played it again. Then I played it sixty-five more times in that sitting because I liked the song so much, and because I too had an unrequited crush on a boy from school.

When I looked up the lyrics for “I’d Lie,” I was surprised to find out it was one of your songs. I’d heard a little here and there about “that new country singer Taylor Swift,” but I had never really listened country music before and didn’t think it was my kind of music. I am so, so glad that I was wrong. It didn’t take long until I was wrapped up in the buzz too.

A few short months later, it was Veterans Days and we didn’t have school. My friends and I went ice skating at the mall. Before we left, I dragged them all with me to the opposite side of our large mall so I could go to Target and buy a copy of Fearless. I went home that afternoon and listened to the entire CD on the old, old desktop computer in the guest room and I fell in love.

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Dana, me, & Alexa before the Speak Now Tour

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Getting into the concert spirit

Seven years, three more albums, seven Grammy Awards, one episode of CSI, three movies, three perfumes, and now almost four concert tours later and I am just as enamoured of and inspired by you. I don’t need to remind you of the charities you’ve sponsored, or the fans you’ve sent elaborate gifts to, or the lives you’ve influenced. You are very aware, and also deeply humbled, I believe, by all of that. But you taught me what it means to be fearless. It was your music that I blared on the long drives to and from university. Your music that made me feel like I wasn’t totally alone in fighting the world. Your lyrics that Megan and I analyzed over trail mix on her crappy apartment couch. A stranger from New Zealand became one of my dear friends when we bonded over our love of you. I’ve had your music on hand to celebrate my high points and to help pick me up when I was feeling low. You have been like a friend and (another) older sister to me. And for all of that, I am eternally grateful.

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YES WHALE

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Anna (all the way from New Zealand) & me, RED Tour

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Anna’s photo, “Treacherous”

When I first heard “I’d Lie,” I had no idea how much it would end up impacting my life, and in such a magnificent way. Since then, you’ve been such a positive addition to my life. Thank you, TSwizzle. It’s been a wild ride so far, but I look forward to much more music and memories.

Forever and always,
Jess

P.S. If you happen to read this and aren’t totally freaked out by how cool I think you are, we should bake lots of desserts together and co-host a tea party with all of our friends and then we can watch a Law & Order: SVU marathon and fawn over our adorable-but-quite-silly pets (my ninety-pound Chocolate Lab hates doorways and thinks he’s the size of a rabbit).

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