How did this story slip by us several weeks ago? This is the question I asked myself immediately upon stumbling across it on the Internet today. Of course, I went through the writer struggle — do I write an article on something that happened more than three weeks ago, or do I chalk this up as a loss and just allow myself to be touched by the story without sharing it with the Country Music #CMchat community?
Then, I realized … It would be a complete disservice not to bring this to all of you; not only from a sentimental perspective, but from an awareness perspective. In fact, it would be downright wrong not to take any and every opportunity presented to address the effects of bullying on a platform as wonderfully widespread as the one we have here.
Teenage fan, Hannah, reached out to Taylor Swift on Instagram, explaining the bullying she was facing as she was heading into her freshman year of high school. The emotionally driven statement read:
Taylor, why are people at school so mean? Why do they always try to bring me down? I’m sitting here crying while I write this. I don’t know what to do anymore. No matter what I do, it’s never good enough. There’s always something that I do wrong. I get made fun of for having big dreams or what I wear or things that I like. I just want to know why they do it Taylor. Why do they do this to me? Why do they torture me and hate me so much? I’m starting high school wednesday and I was actually pretty excited but now whenever I think about it I feel sick. I just want to feel wanted for once. I wanna feel like I belong. I just want feel better than I do right now. Taylor please help me I need it desperately. I need a hug. I love you lots. Love, Hannah
Taylor, who clearly did some research on her young fan before responding, came back with an extremely thoughtful and inspiring message to the young bullying victim:
Reading this made me so sad because I love seeing you in your videos and photos being so happy and wide eyed, like the world isn’t as harsh and unfair as it actually is. I hate thinking about your pretty face covered in tears, but I know why you’re crying because I’ve been in your place. This isn’t a high school thing or an age thing. It’s a people thing. A life thing. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t end or change.
People cut other people down for entertainment, amusement, out of jealousy, because of something broken inside them. Or for no reason at all. It’s just what they do, and you’re a target because you live your life loudly and boldly. You’re bright and joyful and so many people are cynical. They won’t understand you and they won’t understand me.
But the only way they win is if your tears turn to stone and make you bitter like them. It’s okay to ask why. It’s okay to wonder how you could try so hard and still get stomped all over. Just don’t let them change you or stop you from singing or dancing around to your favorite song.
You’re going into high school this week and this is your chance to push the reset button on how much value you give the opinion of these kids, most of whom have NO idea who they are. I’m so proud of you and protective of you because you DO. If they don’t like you for being yourself, be yourself even more.
Every time someone picks on me, I’ll think of you in the hopes that every time someone picks on you, you’ll think of me… and how we have this thread that connects us. Let them keep living in the darkness and we’ll keep walking in the sunlight.
Forever on your side, Taylor.
Taylor could have ignored it. She could have simply made this a promotional tool for her new single “Shake It Off.” Instead, Taylor did what she does with her music and poured her heart, soul, and every fiber of her being into her written words, proving once again how genuinely beautiful she is as a person.
As someone who was bullied incessantly in middle school and the beginning of high school, I applaud Hannah for reaching out and speaking up, and bow to Taylor for taking time out of her incredibly hectic schedule to provide love to someone who clearly needed it at that time. Say what you will about Taylor Swift, folks. She continues to make you eat crow.
Follow me on Twitter @JenSwirsky
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