I'm a die hard Taylor Swift fan. I listened to Fifteen on my first day of high school, nervously tapping my feet to the lines; "Take a deep breath as you walk through the doors/it's the moment of your very first day." I listened to Never Grow Up before spending my first time alone at summer camp. Mean was my mantra when I was dealing with some callous girls at school. So I remember quite vividly when I first saw Taylor Swift in concert.
To me the concert wasn't a mere destination, but a journey that had to be perfectly plotted. I had prepared for weeks, listening to all of her songs on her album, making sure I knew every chord, every word, every beat. I even watched her documentary, Journey to Fearless. Finally the day arrived - July 20th. As my dad dropped my sister, my cousin, and me, off at the front entrance, I was definitely apprehensive; I wanted this to be something I would remember for a lifetime. Although four hours later, complete with thunderstorms, torrential rain, and lighting (which was most definitely not the kind of 'electricity' I had been hoping for), I was fearful that the only thing I would remember was how hard the floor I was sitting on was as I waited the entire storm out.
But fortunately, the concert eventually did restart. Do you know in a movie where you hear that ominous music and know something is about to happen? As I heard the low drum roll and the crescendo of the high-pitched screams, the lights slowly dimming, I knew. This was it. Taylor Swift. Apologizing for the rain, Taylor began playing the notes of her first song, the same notes I had spent so much time memorizing. At first I was paralyzed - that wondrous girl I had been listening to on the radio was standing right in front of me. Frantically, I reached for my light blue, well-used, camera and began to record her. This, I decided, was a surefire way to remember the entire concert.
Let's just say when I set my mind to something, I do it. I captured everything on that camera, and I mean everything. I kept looking at the concert through the tiny screen, alternating quickly between Reality Taylor and Digital Taylor. The worst was that my camera was extremely finicky and would also randomly die, but still I persisted, clicking away. Finally I heard the song I had been waiting for, I Knew You Were Trouble, which was very appropriate at the time considering my camera was giving me a lot of trouble. Pressing all the buttons and bashing it against my hand, while simultaneously trying to still see what was going on, I missed Taylor's inconceivable quick changing from a white, wedding style gown to a leather, lace, mini dress, the apparently 'coolest thing ever' according to my sister.
Another thing you should know about Taylor Swift is that she loves her fans. She constantly switches stages to let every audience member have a good view and even invites fans backstage with her. But what Taylor is infamous for is that she walks around part of the arena. This meant that she would be literally three feet away from me. Three feet. This was, of course, my largest photo opportunity yet, so I tried to push my lenses through the throng of people that were gathering towards the aisle. However, Taylor was walking pretty fast, so I was only able to get one measly photo where you can see a single lock of her renowned curly hair and the back of her Taylor Swift for Keds shoe. When I looked up to actually see her, she was long gone.
It was then that I decided to give up on the camera that didn't get me what I so badly wanted. But, the grand finale was spectacular in itself with fireworks, dancing, confetti, beaming lights; it basically looked like the grandest party ever. Ed Sheeran was also dressed like a carnival clown to Taylor's ringmaster - how was I not to take a picture of that? Finally, as Taylor gave her last bows (click), the concert quickly ended, it started to drizzle, and we began to tumble out of the stadium, half deaf from the roaring noise and half blind from all the bright lights. Luckily, our parents spotted us and were able to direct us to where the car was.
After the concert ended, I felt slightly crestfallen, although at the time I couldn't figure out why. The concert wasn't a let down by any means, our seats had been great; I had just gotten to see Taylor Swift! So why was I upset? I assumed it was probably just because it was all over.
But looking back on that concert, I finally understand. I had been so focused on capturing the moment, I hadn't lived in it. Yes, that girl is still me; the girl who has to take videos of all the rides at Disney World and take pictures of her baby cousin's every move. But unlike during that Taylor Swift concert, I now try to appreciate the present, as well as the power of immersing myself in the moment, because a camera can't capture the energy in the air, or the unifying power of one high-pitched, ear-splitting scream, or the thrill of singing along with the actual person that you listen to on the radio. Those are the moments that I want to remember.