I am one of the biggest Taylor Swift fans out there. There, I said it. When I was teaching at Yonsei University, I would often play her music videos to get students excited and to better understand what our theme for the day was. There was "Shake It off" to help students deal WITH those challenging times in life, there was "Fearless" to help us navigate and speak about the dreaded F word, there was "New Romantics" where I pulled out the lyrics "I could build a castle with all the bricks they threw at me" to empower them and remind them how awesome they truly were. Taylor was always there. On particularly rough days, even now, I would go home and watch as many YouTube videos with Taylor in them as possible.
I haven't always been able to admit to people that I have been a big Taylor Swift fan. I thought, I'm not young enough, I'm not in middle school, I'm not and the list continued. Last night, looking out into a sea of LED bracelet lights, I had an LED light epiphany: Isn't that what Taylor always told her fans? No matter who you are or what you do you are just awesome the way you are? And isn't that what you in turn told students by playing her music at the start of each class? Oh yeah, I need to take my own advice.
Recently, I got invited to speak in Italy, and my contact asked if I would need to change certain aspects of my workshop because there would be more people in the room than expected. Something I always try to do, no matter how many people there in my workshops is make them as WITH as possible. Last night, I learned a few lessons from Taylor. Ok, so she had a few million fans there last night...who's counting? I'll get there one day!
WITH HER FANS
At the beginning of the show, she played a clip of "Look What You Made Me Do" and alongside it, she played clips of her various fans' reactions to this video. Everyone knows it is no secret (pun intended) that she has these sessions called "Secret Sessions" where she invites her fans to the different houses she owns in the U.S., and plays the entire album for them before she releases it to the public. They get to dance, hangout WITH Taylor, she bakes them cookies, and just be WITH her. How cool is that?
GRATITUDING WITH US
So Thanksgiving is around the corner and gratituding is a-flowing. While playing the piano before "New Year's Day," Taylor shared her gratitude around the fact that she wouldn't have been there playing if it wasn't for us. I started crying because I thought of my book (my greatest creation thus far) and how it wouldn't have been possible WITHout the many people who have supported me both in the book and on the sidelines of it. I remember looking around at the millions of people who had come out to support Taylor on a week night and thought to myself, Yeah, she would not have been here if it hadn't been for us.
WITH Charlie XCX
Usually the opening singer is just that--the opening singer. You usually see them at the beginning of the performance, and then you don't see them again. Last night, Taylor brought Charlie XCX out again during "Shake It Off," thanked her profusely in front of everyone, and then danced WITH her on stage. Taylor further said, "Charlie XCX is not just a great singer, but a great friend, and it's been awesome to tour the world WITH her."
WITH HER DANCERS
At the end of the performance, she sang "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" and danced around WITH her dancers splashing around in the fountain they had brought on stage. Whaaaat?! It was neat to see that instead of just bowing by herself, she took the hands of two dancers, and ran around various parts of the stage WITH them and bowed WITH them.
So there you have it...my night WITH Taylor Swift.
Is there anything you're doing or holding yourself back from doing? There is still a little over a month left in 2018 for you to truly be WITH yourself, and as the great Taylor Swift says, "Shake it off" and just do it!