so make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it

I did it. I saw Taylor Swift. I kind of can’t believe it happened??

If you know me from fandom, you know that I love Taylor Swift, by the fanfic alone. If it’s not the title coming from her lyrics, it’s her lyrics at the beginning of the fic to set the tone. She is the inspiration, she is the muse, she is the moment. Her first album came out when I was nineteen and I remember I brought it to a summer camp I was counseling at and played it constantly. I can’t extricate the Speak Now album from my grad school experience. I associate Red with falling in love with my partner, and 1989 came out the week we got married.

Lover came out on my birthday and the sisters Folklore and Evermore carried us through the beginning of the pandemic. Her eras are my eras. Her art is my comfort, my pain, my joy, and constant companion.

But concerts are… difficult for me. To attend would cost a lot of energy and I would pay for it in pain. Concerts are too crowded, her shows are so expensive. When she announced the Eras tour, I sort of wrote it off. But then, I got a pre-sale code, and entered the lottery for tickets, thinking I would get waitlisted at best. But then I didn’t. My partner convinced me to go for it and they were the one who ran the ticketmaster gauntlet and sat in the queue for hours texting me constant updates. I reassured them if it didn’t work out, I would be fine. That it was too much money anyway. That it didn’t matter.

ANYWAY, we got tickets in the fall and I was… elated, surprising even myself. The tour started in March, I think, and our date was late July so it was AGONY watching the livestreams and clips on tiktok, knowing my date was so far off. The absolute heartbreak of hearing her play a surprise song that she wasn’t going to play again and knowing you missed it. My favorite Taylor Swift song has long been Treacherous, and she played that so early and it hurt. Cowboy Like Me sailed by me, and Death By A Thousand Cuts and Ivy, boy, that one stung.

My fear was not that I was missing out on surprise songs, but that she would play songs I didn’t even care about. That she would play the song I wanted most on the Friday show when I was going to the Saturday. By the time our date rolled around, I was so mired in the whole tour, the community, the communal elation and devastation, the charts women were keeping of what songs got played and what was left. One woman on tiktok was crocheting a blanket of surprise songs. A line of a color representing each album the song was from. Genius.

And then it was my turn. I made the friendship bracelets. I got the sparkly dress and the shoes. I got the clear bag and the phone charger, which I didn’t even use. (My phone is champ!) And as I was sitting in the seat, waiting for it all to start, I realized it didn’t matter what surprise songs we got. I was in a stadium, filled to the absolute brim of people who loved what I loved. Who were wearing their best sparkly dress or cosplay or clever pun. They were trading bracelets and taking pictures of each other’s outfits and it was all so joyful.

I stood for over three hours. I screamed every word. I jumped and danced and pumped my fist in the air. I loved the surprise songs and I loved the agony I saw online, citing how lucky my city was to get what we got. Because every city was lucky to get their surprise songs. We were lucky to get tickets. We were lucky to feel that much condensed, intense, euphoric glee at seeing someone we love put on one hell of a show.

I’m really glad I went. Yes, it was difficult. Yes, I’ll pay for it in pain for several days. But yes, it was worth every penny and I’d do it again, if I could.

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