Contrary to popular belief, I wasn’t always this cool — I mean, at least if you think someone who listens to music older than they are and wears “hipster” glasses with band shirts everyday is cool. You would never be able to guess that my first favorite album ever was … Fearless by Taylor Swift. That’s right, I was totally down with the T-Swizzle when I was 10 years old. She was my savior and for some unknown reason, my dumb 10-year-old feelings — whatever those were — would be nurtured whenever I popped that CD into my purple radio.

I wish I could tell you that my actual first favorite was something from Green Day or Led Zeppelin or The Temptations — anything other than an album by the sweetheart of country pop — but I can’t. Fearless was the first album I spent my own money on, it was the first album art I taped on my wall and it was the first album I knew every word to. Oh, the nostalgia.

I grew up around girls who matured faster than I did. They all started to look 13 early and I just started looking 13 when I turned 16. The curse of a young face is awful until you’re 30, probably. But my friends got the attention from every boy I had a crush on and I would go unnoticed. My little pre-mature heart couldn’t handle it, and Taylor Swift was the only one I could empathize with.

I remember specifically when I had a crush on my friend Avery. He was the heartthrob of fifth grade. We were the best of friends, but he liked Andriana because she was the first girl in my class to wear a bra. Every boy loved her. She wore bows in her hair and her mom even let her wear mascara. Then there was me, with my dinosaur shirts and ugly glasses. I had never personally identified with a song more than when I listened to “You Belong with Me,” because Andie wore “high heels” and I wore “T-shirts.” I thought I was the only girl to know Avery — like really know him — and Andie just wanted him because she wanted to make everyone else jealous. How rude. Like, didn’t she know me and Avery were in love?

Avery and I were in the prime of our relationship. We had just confessed that we “like liked” each other when Andie decided she absolutely had to have him, so “Forever and Always” became my favorite song. My heart exploded when I heard Swift sing, “This thing is breaking down we almost never speak / I don’t feel welcome anymore.” It was like Swift understood what a 10-year-old heartbreak felt like.

Every song on Fearless like “Hey Stephen,” “Breathe” and “White Horse” spoke in volumes about childish unrequited love, and I couldn’t get enough of it. So, now you know my secret. Let’s keep it between you and me, OK?

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