I decided that I wanted to light everybody up. I wanted to illuminate everybody. So uh, you know one thing I love about that is uh I’m not looking out into a vast, endless sea of darkness that screams and dances that you can’t always see. I can see all the things that you’re doing. You think I can’t see you up there… that’s incorrect. And so because of this, because I can see every single one of you, it makes me start thinking about you individually and then my mind starts to wander about like your back story. Like um, like if you’re back at school yet. Or if you have work off tomorrow. Or if you’re here with your friends. Or how long it took you to make the costumes you’ve got, or how you’re like wrapped in Christmas lights. Or if you’ve got like glitter and puffy paint all over your house because you made signs. Yeah, looking at you. [Points to adorable fans in the floor seats to her left.] And then I start thinking about other things like, um, like the fact that maybe you traveled a really long distance to be at this particular show. Um, and then I think about the fact that maybe it’s a possibility that you might have listened to my music in really high high times in your life or really low low moments in your life. Because that’s what we do isn’t it? That’s why we’re all here. Because when we feel extreme pain or extreme joy, we turn to music and that’s why we’re in this arena together. That’s the one thing we’ve got in common. And um, I don’t know but looking at you it’s impossible to pick one age group, or one possible viewing to talk to because the coolest thing looking at you is that everybody is at a different place in their life. Everybody’s got different hobbies. Individual sets of hopes, dreams, wishes, fears, doubts, regrets, all of it. And I guess I just look at you and I never want you to go through anything bad… ever. And I know that’s so naive, but I guess I look at you and I know how tricky happiness can be to find in 2015. Because we have so many ways of looking at what someone else has going on and maybe feeling like our life comes up short. Or feeling like maybe the other people have it all together and we don’t know where we’re going with our life. Or feeling like we’ve got all these insecurities and feeling like we’re just walking around the world hoping that no one else can see them. Like uh, how long am I gonna be at this party before people realize I’m not cool? Um, how long am I gonna be dancing before people start laughing at me? All that stuff. And I guess what I wanted to tell you is that, God, you are not someone else’s opinion of you. You’re not someone’s comment on your Instagram. You’re so much more than that. This is coming from someone who loves the internet because it gives me a chance to talk to you, and it gives me a chance to know you even if you live far away. But the one thing I want is for you to not get hateful comments, or terrible criticisms. I don’t want anyone to ever tell you that you’re not what you should be. But, that’s how life is. And we go through it, and we try and do the best we can but all I’m saying is… there are enough people that are cruel and mean and critical of you, if you could possibly just be kind to yourself as much as you possibly can that would make me so happy. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake. Don’t focus too much on your regrets. Learn from them. I think sometimes in our heads we get this idea that there’s like this uh invisible record and we get strikes against it when we mess up, and that’s just not how it works. We learn lessons from the time we mess up. No one has a spotless life. And if you consider yourself damaged or tarnished because you’ve made mistakes in your life, that’s just not how it is. I think it’s the opposite. I think that if you make mistakes and you learn from them that makes you wiser and and stronger and it makes you braver for taking those risks in the first place. Don’t you think? I wrote a song when I was really struggling to figure out how to be nicer to myself in my own head. And I cared a lot about what other people thought about me. And to be honest with you L.A., all I care about these days is what you think about me. Not people who don’t know me. And when I came to that realization, I was in London writing with a woman named Imogen Heap, and I brought her this idea that I had written and it ended up being the very last song on 1989 and I called it Clean. So if you know this one, please sing along Los Angeles.
Taylor’s Clean speech in L.A. on 8/26/15