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Community (taylor’s version)

We all have our communities. I found mine at the Eras Tour
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Kirana R.

Amidst the crowd of bejeweled, beaded, and slightly manic fans, I stood in disbelief. Dressed head to toe in purple sparkles, friendship bracelets weighing down my forearms, I was faced with the bustle of 60,000 other Swifties united under well-anticipated glittery gaiety. “Welcome to the Eras Tour,” read the sign-up ahead. I had never felt so at home.

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour was the highest-grossing tour ever, boasting, an estimated 4.35 million tickets sold. With the recent international tour dates gracing Australia and Singapore, Swift has welcomed dozens of members of the JIS community to her shows as well. While my love for her borders on the side of a fanatic, the concert was an experience for old fans, new fans, and sort-of fans alike, all dressed up, all excited to see Taylor Swift, and excited for one another. The
show itself was three hours of pure emotion; however, the community and the feelings of belonging I felt that weekend were perhaps just as remarkable.

For newer fans or curious folks, the Eras Tour includes a set of traditions, most notably the making and exchange of friendship bracelets. They signal your Swiftie-hood to others and act as an excuse for fans to interact. It was by far my favorite part of the pre-show experience. From the airport, to my hotel lobby, the metro, and the hours spent waiting in line, I took a moment to trade with fellow fans. And while talking to strangers on the metro in an unfamiliar city is not typically recommended, trading bracelets was an excuse to do so under the guise of concert tradition.

Between pleasantries and eager squeals, fellow fans and I would gush over album rankings and the infamous Reputation (Taylor’s Version), as we rummaged for bracelets, our dexterity impeded by excitement. Speaking with such confidence as we discussed the intricacies of a subject I know and care so much about was refreshing. I felt a sense of pride I had not experienced anywhere else before.

Even for new fans, the camaraderie exhibited that weekend was evident. Newer fan Maya K., who experienced the show in Singapore, can speak to this experience, expressing that “friendship bracelet [trading] made everyone seem a lot more welcoming.” Maya beamed as she gushed on about the people in her section, saying “During the performance, the people around me made the show more meaningful… it felt like a nice community.” Taylor Swift fans have offered sanctuary in acceptance. Still, much of the joy found that weekend was sparked by a sense of belonging, not merely due to the presence of Taylor Swift.

According to psychotherapist Angela Theisen, humans have formed communities for centuries, often in an attempt to grow feelings belonging from the seeds of common interests. Theisen cites some familiar groups to exemplify her claims: for example, sports teams, political organizations, and religious institutions have sparked feelings of belonging for many and reduced loneliness. The Swiftie community is where I find acceptance, but any group on which a commonality is based can be effective. The basis of a community is not as important as the positive emotions it can invoke.

Junior Juliana T. attended the Eras Tour the same night I did. She acknowledged that she did not know every song on the set, admitting, “I’m not a hardcore fan.” Yet, that clearly did not detract from her experience. Juliana expressed admiration for her fellow concert attendees, saying that, “It was obviously a core memory for a lot of people.” While Taylor Swift may not induce the same feelings of home for Juliana as it does for more hardcore Swifties, she was able to respect the comradeship around her, having experienced similar feelings of refuge in the art world and the Filipino community. By connecting the love shared among Swifties to her own experiences, Juliana was able to better understand the bond they shared and had a fun time at the show.

While different communities can be based around anything—art, football, God(s), and beyond—the essential commonality between them is that members feel like they belong. Swifties are that community for me. I feel at home discussing Travis Kelce with strangers on the metro or while sitting on my best friend’s floor, wrapped in letter beads and cardigans as I do so. Any group that can evoke those feelings is beautiful, and deserves respect. In the words of Taylor Swift, “I want to be defined by the things that I love.” So, consider me a tortured poet as I proudly bear the title of Swiftie. I have found a community where I feel like I belong—and it’s golden.

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About the Contributor
Brooke A., Layout Editor
Still fascinated by the world around her, Brooke continues to make writing a priority in her life. However as a third-year veteran and newly appointed layout editor of Feedback, Brooke is eager to flex her writing skills in combination with her editorial duties. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends or staying in with her dog, a sweatshirt, and a movie.