I can't believe I'm sitting here writing the story of how I met Taylor Swift. I honestly never thought I'd find myself here. She's been a huge inspiration to me since I was 14 and 7 years later I can finally say the day has come and gone. Thinking back if you had told me not only would I meet Taylor but I'd eat pizza with her in her NYC apartment and get the chance to hold her cat and talk with her dad I'd probably think you were insane. This has been a dream of mine for so long and there were times I cried over how much meeting her would mean. It's hard when the person you adore, who's been there whenever you've needed her is a worldwide superstar loved by a million others just like you. I never felt any different from any other fan. I had no extra special story that went with why I love her, I just do. My explanation would be exactly the same as most fans so meeting her was a far off, maybe someday kind of dream for me. When I saw her tweet out the promo for the live stream I went to the website immediately to enter. I had every doubt in my mind that I would be picked. These are the kind of contests that I don't win and I never thought I would. I hoped and I prayed but in the back of my mind I kept telling myself there was no way this would work out in my favor. The application itself was torturous due to the fact that we had to say in 500 characters why we love Taylor. Mine, to start with was over 1, 850 words. It took me some time to cut it down and it was completely frustrating. I ended up throwing it together and sending it in, afraid I would forget. All week all I kept saying was "My paragraph was so dumb, I'm not going to get picked." I wasn't impressed with what I wrote, so why would Taylor Nation notice me out of the thousands of others? I hoped my age would help considering you had to be over 18 but I was still in denial.
The contest ended Wednesday and all day Thursday I had knots in my stomach. I was working all day at camp so I kept my phone out afraid I might miss the call. At one point one of my campers told me someone was calling me and I could feel my heart drop. I froze, registering what she had just said, composed myself and ran over to my phone. It was just a bunch of tweet and text notifications, but no call. I sighed and once again reminded myself that my chance of winning were extremely slim. Although I continually told myself winning was not in the cards for me I found myself constantly checking my phone to see if I missed a call, and every time I stared at a blank screen. I worried so much about getting a call or not getting a call I started to regret even entering the contest in the first place. When I get anxious my mind becomes consumed by the thing that's bothering me and I started to feel silly for bothering to enter at all. What are the odds that I would win? Why did I chose to put myself in a stressful situation? As the day came to an end I started to accept the fact that a call would not be happening for me and I started to relax. I also had work at my second job that night and at that point I had given up hope. Before I walked out to the front of the store I put my phone down. I started to walk away and then I hesitated. I still had a glimmer of something inside of me. Something was telling me I should keep my phone on me, just in case. The night rolled on as usual; I dealt with customers and did the routine cleaning. I began to slowly relax some more. Then I glance up, My phone was lighting up. I was getting a call from a number unknown to me from New York, NY. My heart picked up speed as I grabbed the phone and ran to the back of the store, forgetting to let my coworker know I was taking a quick break. I answered the phone with shaking hands and was asked if it was me speaking I said yes as I waited for the person on the other end to say what I'd been waiting to hear all day. He told me I had been chosen to attend a special event with Taylor "so congratulations for that!" He then went on to say I had to answer a few question to start and I agreed. The first was to confirm that I would be in NYC all day on Monday August 18th from 1-7. I hesitated. I knew I had work all day and being my worried self I explained I didn't know if I could do it. He then went on to tell me it wouldn't work and my spirits deflated.
Once again I was giving up an opportunity because I wasn't thinking of myself. I was thinking how this decision would affect those around me. I wasn't thinking clearly because I was being offered a chance for something I'd been waiting seven years for. Not long after we hung up I realized something: this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. How many people could say they got a call from Taylor Nation inviting them to be at an exclusive Taylor event. What was I thinking denying that opportunity?! I started to panic, afraid considering I had already said no that I would no longer be allowed to attend. I figured the best plan was to call them back and hope for the best. I called the number that called me back and got the voice mail. I left a message, terrified I had lost my chance. Three minutes later my phone started to ring. They were calling me back! I answered and the woman on the line said she just listened to my message and asked if I had any questions she could answer. I clarified that when they called me originally I said no, but I had changed my mind and was wondering if I could still go. "Of course!" she said enthusiastically as I sighed heavily with relief. She began to give me the information I needed and the call lasted about 10 mins. She made it very clear that none of the information she had revealed was to be given out. I wasn't allowed to tell anyone what she had told me or even that I was attending. I agreed to everything and at the end of the call I repeatedly thanked her. My voice was shaking and she asked "are you excited?" I responded "so excited!" as she laughed. She clearly enjoyed the complete and utter fangirling happening on my end of the call. We hung up and I had to get back to reality. Not the easiest thing in the world when I was running around like a maniac and couldn't even explain myself.
After all the excitement all I could think was "How am I going to get out of working on Monday?" I was internally freaking out for the rest of the night, afraid my boss wouldn't be understanding, it didn't feel right to me to lie to her. I would tell her it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that was important, to me anyway. The next morning I went into her office and started to explain myself. At first she thought I meant another job opportunity and she started to say no. I explained myself a little better and when I told her I almost said no she thought it was silly of me. When I knew I was good to go I could finally relax and start counting down until I was in the same room as Taylor and closer than I ever thought possible.
I was sent an email Friday night reiterating that everything discussed on the phone was confidential and attached was a media release form I needed to sign and bring with me that Monday. It was really happening. I was going to see Taylor on Monday. Was I meeting her? I wasn't sure. The thought had been running through my head since I got the phone call but they didn't tell me much of anything. I was determined not to get my hopes up to avoid being disappointed. I was curious what would be happening all afternoon however. What could we possibly be doing for seven hours besides the 45 minute live stream? I did my best to not get too inquisitive but I couldn't help but wonder what they had in store. To add to my perpetual curiosity however I received an email from Taylor's team again on Sunday afternoon which explained the time was being extended to 8:30. The anticipation and unknown happenings were tantalizing.
Monday morning I woke up early, of course, and couldn't eat I was so excited. I looked up the address of where we had to meet as well as train times in order to make it into the city when I was expected. I got myself ready and by 11:15 I was leaving for the train. At the station I waited about 10 mins and then I was on my way. I turned my phone off to save battery and forced myself to eat a peanut butter sandwich. I was hungry but the anticipation was keeping me from having an appetite. When I finally got to the city the maps on my phone got me a little confused but I figured it out and was soon on my way in the right direction. When I arrived I didn't realize I had to go in right away but I did and found a line and a table. I was there and today was happening. It was real, but it still hadn't sunk in. I immediately began a conversation with the girls in line. Everyone I talked to on Monday were the nicest people. We were all there for the same reason: we all love Taylor. It was comforting being surrounded by people who understood how much Taylor means to me. Once I signed in I headed upstairs with a group of others to wait on yet another line. As I got towards the front they gave me a bag to put all my things in and after I had a security check I walked into a room lined with tables filled with other fans who had won. I found one with an empty seat and sat down. It was nice to have people to finally talk with about this secret event. Keeping that secret was a difficult task to say the least.
For the next two hours I got to know some really wonderful people whom I now share amazing memories with. As everyone settled in Taylor's people told us we'd be there for a while. One thing I clearly remember them saying was "This is so exciting because most of you have never met Taylor before, right? I turn around and across the table two girls are crying. And then the tears stream down my face. This is what I've been waiting for. This day. For seven whole years. And it was finally happening. Everyone had on a bracelet with a number so they put us into our groups and had us get to know each other. Once we all introduced ourselves and why we love Taylor, Taylor's team had us get our nerves out by singing and dancing to 22 as well as a bunch of other Taylor jams. They took videos and we all just had a blast taking every moment in. They took pictures of each group and eventually they started taking us from the hotel across the street to where the live stream would be taking place. Let me point out that we had no idea what would be going down. A bunch of us asked at different times would we be meeting Taylor and things along those lines and we were given the same answer "you'll have to wait and see" or "I don't know what you're talking about." We were just as clueless about the album and the single and the music video as everyone else around the world was.
When my group finally left we walked across the street into ABC studios. They gave us a quick snack before we headed up to the loft turned studio and then we waited some more. Once everyone was settled they explained that we would be on tv so we must not look into the cameras, smile a lot and just enjoy ourselves. This was a big deal for all of us so all we had to worry about was having a good time. They told us when the clock said 17:00 we were live. We had no idea whether or not Taylor was coming in before or after that so we were all very anxious and excited and completely freaking out. Perez Hilton arrived at some point and a few of us waved but he was ushered away. Finally it was time. We started to countdown and we all had our eyes deadlocked on the entrance door. Taylor appeared on the screen and as soon as she came through the door I couldn't contain my happiness. I reached out my hand as she walked by and she held it as she strutted towards the front. I couldn't believe it was actually happening. I couldn't see very well for most of the chat but Taylor came right over to where I was various times while getting her groove on. I don't care how awkwardly she seems to dance, girl has got some serious moves. I couldn't keep my eyes off her the entire time. I loved the single, the album name/artwork but especially the video. I myself am a dancer, a ballerina to specify and when it opened up with ballerinas I couldn't help but smile.
When the live stream ended the music was playing extremely loud and Taylor couldn't hear a thing. "I don't know what's happening! Can you turn the music down." I remember her shouting. Once the volume was lowered she was like "Hey do you guys want to hang out after this?" We all screamed excitedly and she was like "I have to do an interview first and then we're going to get pizza, we have a place secured." Taylor left to get herself done up and before she returned we saw Scott and Andrea standing in the back. They said hello to all that they could and Scott even gave out some picks! Taylor then came back in and sat down for the recording of the GMA interview. Afterwards each group got together and took a group photo with Taylor! When it was my groups turn I said "Taylor you are so beautiful!" She looked right back at me and said "Thank you, so are you!" I love how tall you are!" I replied "I'm on my tip toes now" and she said "Well you're still tall!" We got together for the picture and after she said "I'll see you guys later!"
We were told we were getting on a white bus as we were escorted out. I found a seat near some familiar faces and all we could say was "Did that really just happen?" We excitedly talked the whole ride to the unknown location which most of us assumed was a pizza place that somehow would fit us all. It took us about a half hour due to traffic and we speculated the whole way there whether or not we were headed to her apartment. We turned onto a street and I saw a sign that said Tribeca. I turned to another girl and said "Are we going where I think we're going?" Soon enough we all realized where we were and everyone started to scream. We were going to have pizza with Taylor Swift in HER APARTMENT. Taylor's team calmed us down and reminded us we'd be heading into an apartment building. "We know you're excited but keep calm!" As we got off the bus and headed up the stairs all I could think was "I'm walking up the steps into her apartment building. The building I see pictures of her walking out of everyday. " Waiting to make our way up the stairs all I kept saying was "This doesn't happen! This is not real!" We made it up stairs and if you want to know how Taylor's legs look the way they do it's probably from climbing the flight of stairs up to her apartment. It took about 20 minutes before I actually made it into the apartment. Why? Because just like I imagined she would Taylor was at the entrance greeting and talking and hugging every single person. As we were waiting one her team asked what the wait was for another said "She's hugging everyone." It melted my heart to know she was doing exactly what I expected and I said "Of course she is" with a huge smile on my face. At one point we heard people start screaming and I heard Taylor say "This the most amazing..." We found out her song was playing on the radio. It was the first time she heard it and she was geeking out more than we were! Getting closer I spotted Meredith in the distance with her signature pout face and I even passed by a drawing of a hand by Scott. While waiting I heard Taylor say "I love your pictures on Instagram!" and watched as the girl freaked out. It was the cutest thing. I glanced around while waiting and saw some familiar shots of Taylor and her friends that she's posted on Instagram as well as a close-up of Ed Sheeran with his middle finger to the camera. That made me laugh.
When it was finally my turn I went up with a girl and a guy and Taylor hugged each of us saying "Thank you guys for coming!" I was like no, no it's fine. I couldn't believe she was thanking us. We told here where we were all from and then the guy next me thanked her for being a great role model for his little sister because she's turning out to be a good girl. Taylor being the modest girl that she is said "That is so nice thank you!" and then explained that if she's a good girl shes's a good girl and basically that she had nothing to do with it, but she appreciated him saying it. It was my turn. I said "I just want to say something." She looked right at me and I said "You commented on my dance picture on instagram..." Immediately she said "Yeah! It was beautiful!" Me: ...in the red dress. Taylor: You have such good form! Me: I just want to thank you for what you said. You mean so much to me...*and then I started to blubber and tear up*. I looked right at her after that. She was watching me the whole time I was explaining myself. She never looked away. She was really listening. Taylor: Thank you! *in the meaningful way she says it all the time* She then mentioned my height again and I said "I actually don't really like being tall but because of you I don't care because we're the same height! She then went up on her tippy toes *she was barefoot by the way* and said "Now we're the same height" with a smile. She then made a point of saying "You are beautiful!" And the way she looked at me, the way she said it..I could tell she wanted me to know she thought I was beautiful. She wanted me to believe it. She knew how much I loved her and she made a point of telling me. After she hugged us all again and said "I'll see you guys in there!" The guy next to me on our way into the next room also said to me “You are beautiful!” which was very sweet of him.
As I walked into the next room, which was a big living room, I grabbed a slice of pizza walking around in a daze. I had just spoken with Taylor Swift. She remembered my picture. She knew who I was. I was shaking and starving and so happy. I walked around a bit looking for a soda and exploring her apartment. I found the kitchen which was in the next room. I grabbed a sprite and headed back into the living room. I found some others that I talked to earlier and mentioned my interaction with Taylor. Soon I made my way to a little den on the other side of the kitchen and I found people holding and passing off Olivia. I got my turn and she was the softest, cutest, sweetest cat I've ever met. I held her like a baby and her head was laying back looking upside down over my arm at those around us. I passed her off and walked into the room where Scott was talking with some others. He was explaining how amazing the new album is and I said "I don't think I'm ready" He replied like such a proud, mind blown dad and basically said "You guys don't even know what's coming." He talked about how Taylor is just like us and I thought to myself "Sure, just like us" I believe someone was saying how great of a person she is and Scott then brought up how when they visit hospitals there is no publicity, they don't even call ahead the night before. They ask her who she wants to see first, she asks how many there are and then says she'll see them all even those in the psych ward. She volunteers to go there first. Scott is just as impressed by her as we are. Scott kept insisting we didn't want to talk to him, we should go find Taylor. I think she gets her humble personality from him. I said "I've been wanting to meet you and Andrea as much as Taylor." He brushed me off modestly and mentioned how we should get Andrea here, she should come have some fun with us. I walked around some more as I finished my pizza and soda. Taylor has a grand piano off in a little room by a window. She had awards scattered and fan art placed throughout as well. Soon I found everyone was gathering in the kitchen. Taylor was in there eating pizza and we all crowded around. We talked about the music video and she asked if any of us recognized anyone. I told her I knew a face and she said "You know them from twitter and instagram?" I told her my favorite part of the video was when she was break dancing ballerina and she was like "I'm glad! I didn't think anyone saw that at the end!" Someone realized the song was playing again on Z100 so Taylor ran across the room and turned it up. We all then proceeded to have a dance party in Taylor's kitchen to Taylor's song with Taylor herself. Unbelievable.
After she yelled across the room if they where the Polaroid camera was and if someone had it, They yelled yes and we all filed out of the kitchen to take pictures. There was a huge crowd surrounding her so I decided to make my way to the back to give her some room to breathe. I became aware that we were only taking group photos so I made it my mission to be standing next to her in my picture. As the crowd got smaller I moved closer to her and I found one of the girls I had befriended earlier. She had already taken a picture but she wanted to be standing next to Taylor as well. We held hands and stood right behind Taylor before our picture. Success! We made it next to her and I got to hold her Grammy for Fearless aka my absolute favorite album of hers! After the picture she turned to us and Sam said thank you for everything and started telling her about how we all freaked about coming to her apartment! She was like "I didn't know that!" I was like yeah we never thought you'd have us come here! She said "That's a cute story thank you for telling me that!" I was asked to pass the Grammy on so I did and then I moved on so they could take the next picture. Soon enough everyone was filing out. When I got to her I was handed a goodie bag. She looked right at me and smiled while pulling me into a hug saying "Hi babe." I said I love and thank you so much! She looked right at me and said "You are so talented!" I was like thank you but me?! Look at you! You're so talented!" She smiled and said "Aw shucks!" I said bye and followed the girl before me down the stairs. We freaked out together and made our way on the line to leave.
We made our way out of the building and on the bus we got all our stuff back. As soon as I got on twitter my notifications were blowing up. Everyone was so happy and supportive and kept saying I deserved it. It means so much to me that so many people were so excited for me. It means the world to me that I could share this with so many of you. Thank you for the happy thoughts and love and sharing in my joy. I love you all.
Never forget the essence of your spark!