Hate her or love her, she has a point.
You may not be a fan of Taylor Swift. Whether you think she's overrated, untalented, or simply don't see the appeal of her songs, I get it — she may not be your cup of tea.
Since the release of her "1989" album, controversy has followed the 25-year-old country-turned-pop singer, such as her decision to remove her songs from Spotify and whether or not her "Bad Blood" music video glamorizes violence.
But sometimes, you have to admit that despite all that, she truly and definitely loves her fans — from hospital visits to inviting them over to her apartment for cookies and dancing.
In this speech preceding her song "Clean" at her 1989 concert in Manchester back in June, Taylor sought to make her fans realize how important they are, which can pull the heartstrings of even the most dedicated Taylor Swift-hater:
"You're seeing all these angles of your own life, and then you compare it to other people's lives, but you don't see what they're going through," said Taylor to her fans. "You just see the good parts of what they're going through."
She asked her fans to "change that channel in their minds," because even though the critics are mean, no one is meaner and nastier to us than ourselves.
Taylor appears to have happy life but do we, as fans and haters alike, really see what’s behind her smile and glamorous lifestyle? Perhaps Taylor has been harder on herself way worse than any of her critics ever were.
She realizes that a good majority of her fan base are young girls and teens who — as those of us who have gone through puberty and the hell of high school — are going through self-esteem issues, body issues, bullying, and anxiety about the future.
"You are not the opinion of somebody who doesn't know you," she says to the screams of her adoring fans. "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 to where you want to go yet … you are your own definition of beautiful and worthwhile … you are someone who is wiser because you've made mistakes, not damaged, but wiser."
I teared up a little watching this video because even though I'm an adult (and way past that uncomfortable adolescent stage) her words still hit home. I can't help but think that if I'd been in that audience, I would've cried listening to her words.
A little backstory: I found Taylor Swift when I was a depressed 14-year-old.
Her song "Tied Together With A Smile" brought me some level of comfort during those dark times as a teen and to this day, it remains as one of my favorites. Taylor inspired me to take up guitar lessons to take my mind off depressing thoughts, and her songs were the first ones I learned to play (it helped that they were easy — thanks, Tay!).
Her dancing is terrible but it delighted me as a teen because, "Hey, that's how I dance!" I once joked to my friends that Taylor stole one my songs because "Love Story" sounded a lot like a song I wrote about my unrequited crush. (It's true what they say — she does take a page out of every teenage girl's diary. Maybe that's why her fan base can relate so much to her. We were all teenagers once with fantasy-approaches to love.)
Maybe I connect to her so much because as she grew up and changed and discovered who she wanted to be, I grew up with her and discovered myself, too.
Taylor finished her speech with these words for her fans:
"I think that we mistake our mistakes for damage, and we think other people would judge us for them. But I want you to know that the way I see mistakes, they don't make you damaged. They make you clean."
Maybe her speech changed your mind about Taylor. Maybe it didn't.
I've had my own share of mistakes that I still pinch myself for but in Taylor's words, that doesn't mean you and I are damaged goods. It means we're human — and so is she.