Taylor Swift: The songwriter who turned me into my “Fearless” self


Diana Vitale Craig

Julia and Emma Craig at Taylor Swift’s Red concert in 2013.

Julia Craig, Associate Editor

In elementary school, my blue iPod Shuffle was my lifeline. It joined me on the longest of cross country car rides, where boredom would get the best of any six year old. However, it wasn’t the blue iPod Shuffle itself that captivated me, it’s what was downloaded onto it: Taylor Swift’s Fearless.

She created blueprints for growing up, and that’s something I am forever grateful for.”

— Julia Craig

Growing up, every child falls in love with a movie, game, or something that makes them happy. For me, it was Taylor Swift. When I put my earbuds in, it was like I was stepping into her story. From track one, I was transported to a magical universe, created by Swift herself, filled with characters and stories that turned me into the hopeless romantic I am today. Through her carefully crafted music, Swift shows how art imitates life’s most influential moments.  

To me, Taylor Swift’s music is so influential because it’s real. Every album, every song, every verse is made up of real emotions, because Swift is willing to be vulnerable to enhance her storytelling. 

She has taught fans how to laugh. She has taught fans how to love. She has taught fans how to cry. But most importantly, she has taught fans how to live. She has taught her listeners the importance of expressing our true emotions, helping us see that sometimes it’s okay not to be okay. For every emotional detail in a song, comes a real life experience. From starting high school, to getting into a real relationship, to dealing with mental illness, Swift has a song for every monumental moment in a person’s life. 

The best part about growing up in the early 2000’s was getting older as Swift released new music. On the first day of my freshman year, I sat in the car and listened to “Fifteen.” After 11 years of listening to this song, it felt completely different. Now, instead of a story told by Taylor Swift, it was real life. My life. I’m sure thousands of teenage girls do this on their first day of high school, but it was the only way to start off this new chapter in my story. She created blueprints for growing up, and that’s something I am forever grateful for.  

On Christmas morning, 2009, I woke up to find a Taylor Swift Barbie doll sitting beautifully in her box under my Christmas tree. On the back of the box was a piece of paper secured with a piece of Scotch tape. This was my very own ticket to Taylor Swift’s Fearless concert at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Julia and Emma Craig at Taylor Swift’s Fearless concert in 2010. (Diana Vitale Craig)

When the concert finally rolled around, we reached the courtyard in front of the stadium. A staff photographer with a large camera approached us. He instructed us to smile, wave, and say, “Hi Taylor!” towards the camera. Months after the concert, Taylor released her tour movie, Journey to Fearless. Being the huge Taylor Swift fan I am, I watched the film. A video montage flipped through clips of screaming fans at her concerts around the country. Suddenly, something caught me off guard. I recognized two little girls standing in front of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, waving like crazy. It was my sister and me, wearing the biggest smiles I had ever seen. This is a time I will never forget. This was “The Moment I Knew” I would be a Swiftie for life. 

Taylor Swift has been such an influential part of my life. I have grown up listening to her music, following the blueprints she left behind. She is always there for me, from helping me through the most “Treacherous” of times, to lifting me up on “The Best Day” ever. I will be a Swiftie “Forever and Always,” whether I need a laugh, a cry, or a jam session on the way home from school after a stressful day. Without her, I wouldn’t be the “Fearless” person I am today.