For tweens and teens on the Autism spectrum, music can play a big role in their lives. Music can be more than just soothing, it can tell stories. These stories are commonly known as “social stories” in the autistic community. This is where I come in. So, hello I’m Maggie. I’m sixteen and I was diagnosed with high functioning autism in July of 2013 (boy can I say, that took forever to get to that place). Taylor Swift has made an impact on my life ever since I got her CD for Christmas when I was ten years old.
Taylor’s debut, self-titled album told a lot of stories about her in her earlier years. “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)”, which was actually about her neighbor’s story and experience with love, made me believe in love. My parents are divorced, so it used to make me feel love was less reachable. But this song made me change my perception on love. There was the doubt of falling in love, the falling in love, the fight, and then triumph all in one song. It showed that love is still out there waiting for me.
Taylor’s sophomore album taught me to be what the title was: Fearless. I cannot tell you how many times I watched White Horse, Love Story, and You Belong With Me on the TV. My brother can vouch for me on that. All three of the songs and videos told a story. “White Horse” taught me that I should not put up with a guy that does not treat me right. “Love Story” taught me it is okay to love people regardless of what others think. You Belong With Me taught me it isn’t abnormal to fall for your best friend, because honestly for the longest time I really thought it was wrong.
Taylor’s album Speak Now was the turn around era for me. When was it right for me to speak up? Should have I spoke up then? Those questions ring through my mind even to this day. I think I relate most to Sparks Fly on this album, because she tells a story about a fantasy about a mystery guy. She makes it seem that it’s okay to have a fantasy about a guy, even if you know it won’t happen (gosh darn it, Sam Woolf). Mean was an excellent story telling on Taylor’s part. People really are mean out there, but the best way to get revenge is to rise above them, because one day I’ll be doing something bigger and better than the bullies, just like Taylor.
Finally I come to Red. The story telling in this album was fantastic. But the song I really want to highlight in this album is “Everything Has Changed”. This song describes how you see someone and you say “hey” and they hold the door for you, and maybe get a little smile in there., and you magically think you’re in love. My mind has gone to that place and then goes off fantasizing, but then I’m telling my mind to come back to planet earth. At the very end of the song Taylor sings “all I know is we said hello / so dust off your highest hopes” so sometimes I realize I have to face reality. Not just in love but in other social situations as well.
I honestly could name so many more songs on these albums that have described social stories. Every single Taylor Swift song means something to me, and has helped me in some way. Whether it brightened my day or taught me a lesson, Taylor Swift really changed my life. I would not have some of the social skills, values, and beliefs that I have today if it weren’t for her. My mom even has noticed it in me.
I’m writing this article to share my opinion on Taylor Swift’s music and it’s impact on me, not to convince anyone to listen her music or make her their idol. I hope someone on the spectrum could relate to this article, or maybe a parent find this helpful. My life is truly changed. Thank you Taylor Swift.