Not Damaged, Wiser

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

(Front row, professional photographer-style photo courtesy of my dear friend Jade)

If you know me, you know I love (or more accurately, am moderately obsessed with) Taylor Swift. If you don't know me, now you know.

On Sunday, I got the best text anyone could get on a Sunday night: my friend who works at B96 had two extra tickets to the Taylor Swift concert at Soldier Field. My sister and I were out the door within ten minutes. I'll skip over the part where we drove an hour into the city only to be stuck in the car for another hour looking for parking. Eventually, we found a parking garage, snagged a spot, and walked/ran over to the stadium just as the last opener was finishing up.

As expected, the concert was amazing. Taylor Swift really does know how to put on a show. One of the things I love the most about her, though, is that you can tell that she really does love and care about her fans. She doesn't take any of her fame for granted or feel like she's better than anybody else simply because she's a celebrity. She's still a real person who's growing up and trying to get through life like the rest of us. She's human.

Between songs, she'd talk to the audience, sharing her wisdom and giving us little pieces of life advice. My favorite was her introduction to "Clean." It was great in Chicago, but I came across this version from her show in Manchester on June 24 and loved it.

You are not the opinion of somebody who doesn't know you. You are not damaged goods just because you've made mistakes in your life. You are not going nowhere just because you haven't gotten where you want to go yet... You are your own definition of beautiful and worthwhile. That's what you are.

How good is that? How true is that? How long have you been waiting for someone to tell you exactly that?

Far too often I have let other people's opinions of me get to my head and tear me down. I've dwelled on my mistakes instead of using them to help me learn and grow. I'm compared myself to others in a way that made me feel inferior in some way. These are not the things I should be doing.

I am a person who tries her hardest to do the right thing and to be kind to others and to be a good friend, daughter, girlfriend, etc.

I am doing the best that I can, and that's enough, because it's all I can do.

There's not much else I can add — and I don't even want to, because her speech is so perfect in itself. I wanted to pass along her words in hopes that some of you love them as much as I do.

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