Taking a Page out of Taylor Swift’s Book


Real life is a funny thing, you know. I think most of us fear reaching the end of our life and looking back regretting the moments we didn’t speak up. When we didn’t say ‘I love you’. When we should have said ‘I’m sorry’. So there’s a time for silence, and there’s a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you’ll know it. I don’t think you should wait. I think you should speak now.

The above is an excerpt from Taylor Swift’s Speak Now tour speech and it’s something that stuck to me after all this time. In fact, even her entire letter on her Speak Now album resonates with me. I’m adding her entire opening on her Speak Now album because it’s something that I think people should read – regardless if they’re a Taylor Swift fan or not. Honestly, it’s something I try to remember when I find myself shying away from opportunities or conversations just because I want to project an image of myself that I think I should be, and not who I really am. It helped me stop over-analyzing and over-thinking every single thing and maybe it’ll give you something to think about.

‘Speak now or forever hold your peace’, the words said by preachers at the end of wedding ceremonies all over the world, right before the vows. It’s a last chance for protest, a moment that makes everyone’s heart race, and a moment I’ve always been strangely fascinated by. So many fantasize about bursting into a church, saying what they’d kept inside for years like in the movies. In real life, it rarely happens.

Real life is a funny thing, you know. In real life, saying the right thing at the right moment is beyond crucial. So crucial, in fact, that most of us start to hesitate, for fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. But lately what I’ve began to fear more than that is letting the moment pass without saying anything.

I think most of us fear reaching the end of our life, and looking back regretting the moments we didn’t speak up. When we didn’t say ‘I love you’. When we should’ve said ‘I’m sorry’. When we didn’t stand up for ourselves or someone who needed help.

These songs are made up of words I didn’t say when the moment was right in front of me. These songs are open letters. Each is written with a specific person in mind, telling them what I meant to tell them in person. To the beautiful boy whose heart I broke in December. To my first love who I never thought would be my first heartbreak. To my band. To a mean man I used to be afraid of. To someone who made my world very dark for a while. To a girl who stole something of mine. To someone I forgive for what he said in front of the whole world.

Words can break someone into a million pieces, but they can also put them back together. I hope you use yours for good, because the only words you’ll regret more than the ones left unsaid are the ones you use to intentionally hurt someone.

What you say might be too much for some people. Maybe it will come out all wrong and you’ll stutter and you’ll walk away embarrassed, wincing as you play it all back in your head. But I think the words you stop yourself from saying are the ones that will haunt you the longest.

So say it to them. Or say it to yourself in the mirror. Say it in a letter you’ll never send or in a book millions might read someday. I think you deserve to look back on your life without a chorus of resounding voices saying ‘I could’ve, but it’s too late now.’

There is a time for silence. There is a time waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you’ll know it.

I don’t think you should wait. I think you should speak now.

Love, Taylor

I decided to share this on my blog because I’ve been thinking back to the past years of my life. On the things I have said and I should have not. On the things I haven’t said and I should have. On the things I did and should have not. On the things I didn’t do and should have.

On the times I should’ve said ‘yes’ but instead said ‘no’ because I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting. On the times I should have said ‘no’ but instead said ‘yes’ because I don’t want to come across as lazy or selfish. On the times I said ‘maybe next time’ just because I don’t want to step even an inch away from my very small comfort zone. On the times I said ‘I’m fine’ even if I know that I really am not. On the times I didn’t say ‘I love you’ because I think I’m too cool for it and because no one else is doing it. Now I feel so awkward saying it because I’m just used not to. On the times I said ‘No, thank you’ when asked if I want this or that just because it’s been drilled into me even if I most certainly want some. On the times I haven’t said ‘Sorry’ because I prioritized my embarrassment over forgiveness. On the times I haven’t spoken up when seeing a wrongdoing because I’ve been told to keep my head down and avoid trouble. On the times I brush off compliments on my achievements because I don’t want to look arrogant. On the times I intentionally hurt someone with my words just because they have hurt me at one time.

What I’ve learn is that I regret most of the times that I haven’t spoken up and decided to keep my head down; or the times I have spoken up with a malice intention. I regret following the social norms that tells you to do this even if you want to do that. I regret turning a blind eye on some instances because the majority do it, too. What I’ve also learned is that it is not too late to start doing it now.

I’ve learned to be vocal on my thoughts and opinions now. Though it doesn’t come with that small voice telling me to just lay low. I’ve been in arguments with friends just because of different views and even severed off some ties because I realized that I no longer need toxic people in my life. I give away ‘thank you’s and ‘I’m sorry’s so frequently and I haven’t felt lighter in my life. I’ve spoken out against conductors who insisted that my seatmate paid 20 when it was 50 even if it end up with me getting the stink eye. I’ve told people that they have hurt me instead of just shrugging it off.

I can still count how many times I have said ‘I love you’ to my family but I’m working on it. And heck, maybe one day I’ll be the first to say ‘I like you’ to a guy when it comes that point.

What have you spoken up about lately?

xoxo, Richel V.

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  • Reply
    April 15, 2016 at 12:25 PM

    i can absolutely relate to this point. like you said though. it’s not too late! thanks for sharing and inspiring others to do the same 🙂

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 15, 2016 at 12:39 PM

      You’re welcome! Glad you could relate to this. Never to late too speak up! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 15, 2016 at 9:55 AM

    This applies to doing things too. Like saying no to opportunities but you’re just not ready for it. Sometimes we miss things because of fear. I have learned to just jump into chances instead of running away from it.

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 15, 2016 at 11:17 AM

      If I feel like I’m really not ready for something, I just take a step back and wait until I am. Or if I have no choice but to do it, I make sure to do the best I can and have no regrets. There are days I let fear win, but I think everyone of us has those days, too. I like the days when the fear loses, though. Those are very good days.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2016 at 1:54 AM

    While I am not Taylor’s biggest fan, she sometimes get my approval for some of the things she does. One of the rare times is when she does something positively influential that younger kids follow. Like this one, to speak your mind.

    For the times we regret that we said one thing but really meant another (regardless how the person we’re saying it to would react), well.. regret is a tough pill to swallow, and there’s no use crying over spilled milk. We can only hope to do better next time if the opportunity to do that presents itself again.

    As for me, I think you already read one of it. That’s one thing I’ve decided to ‘speak up’ about lately. 😉

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 15, 2016 at 11:21 AM

      She really speaks up about things that are influencial and positive. People don’t even have to be a fan to learn something from it. Too bad the media prefers to write about who she dates, or how she looks more. Hehe.

      I agree with that. We just move on – regardless of what we did. But I think the best part is learning from it and avoid it from happening again.

      Haha. Yes, I did. Loved reading that post and all the comments on it. I prefer ‘speaking up’ that’s backed up with one’s reasons/opinions rather than just saying things just because. 😉

  • Reply
    April 15, 2016 at 12:51 AM

    This is beautiful post.
    I have so many things in my mind I want to speak out. But no, because I try to avoid confusion, misunderstandings, and argument 🙁
    I have to speak my mind sometimes, or I’ll lose it.

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 15, 2016 at 11:09 AM

      I used to be like that. I had all these thoughts and opinions but nothing came out of my mouth. It took me a while to speak more freely, but I’m tired of keeping silent just to avoid conflict. I especially hate it when people step over me or try to take advantage so I had to push myself to be heard. And now I am. And yes, it results to conflicts, but I like this better than being a quiet little girl. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jeini Relova
    April 14, 2016 at 9:57 PM

    This book is just amazing. Taylor can not only make songs that can really captivate a heart and mind but she can really use words to inspire others. Kudos to her. 🙂

    Spices + Everything Nice |

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 15, 2016 at 11:07 AM

      That’s why I’ve been a fan for more than 7 years now. I liked growing up with Taylor. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 14, 2016 at 3:30 PM

    She’s such an inspiration right? Nice post dear 🙂


    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 14, 2016 at 5:13 PM

      She is. Thanks, Chels. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 14, 2016 at 8:51 AM

    I love Taylor’s thoughts on speaking up!

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 14, 2016 at 9:55 AM

      She had a lot of these quotes from the past few years – all preaching to speak up and be heard. xx

  • Reply
    Taislany Gomes
    April 14, 2016 at 6:02 AM

    Such a great post!

    Hope you’re having a Fabulous Day! Kisses,

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 14, 2016 at 9:41 AM

      Thank you, Taislany. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 14, 2016 at 1:53 AM

    I love this post. Taylor is such a Queen. What a fantastic young women she has turned out to be. I am basically in love with her and so glad she has gotten so big !

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 14, 2016 at 9:53 AM

      She is! I’m glad I got to grow up with her; it feels like her speeches and songs are reflective of her age and since we’re only years apart, I get to learn from her a lot. She deserves all the success she’s having – haters can zip it.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2016 at 1:50 AM

    What a well written post! I enjoyed reading it 🙂

    New post on GIRL ABOUT TOWN BLOG

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 14, 2016 at 9:40 AM

      Thanks! Glad you liked it. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 10:59 PM

    love taylor swift so much!

    Daniel x
    The Daniel Originals

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 14, 2016 at 10:02 AM

      Same! I’ve been a fan since I was 13. xx

  • Reply
    Augustin Ra
    April 13, 2016 at 12:42 PM

    This is really an eye-opener! It somehow touched me in a nice way and I felt a lil bit guilty for not speaking of what I should speak and speaking the things I shouldn’t have said. I shared this on my Twitter and FB account so that people may change in a nice way that it’s their time to speak now rather than keep all the thoughts inside.

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 13, 2016 at 12:46 PM

      Thank you for sharing this on your social media pages, Augustin! I also felt guilty when I was reflecting while writing this post. The important thing though is moving forward and how we’ll react at the future, rather than what we did in the past.

  • Reply
    Linda G. Kendall
    April 12, 2016 at 5:26 PM

    Amazing post 🙂

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 13, 2016 at 10:03 AM

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply
    Leta (@TheNerdyMeBlog)
    April 12, 2016 at 2:18 PM

    This is such a beautiful post, Richel. I love the words Taylor used to give the message across, she’s such a wonderful person. I surely need to speak up more. I usually tend to stay to myself and stay quiet because that’s how I am. I like to keep my opinion to myself. But I really need to learn to stand up to myself and speak up about the things that I should have done in the past but didn’t because I was afraid 🙂

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 12, 2016 at 3:49 PM

      She did! I guess that’s one of the reasons why I felt this message so deeply. I love how the words she used made it more relatable to everyone else. I’m a quiet girl, but I tend to speak up if I know someone’s taking advantage of me. Not all of the time, though, and I’m still working on that. I’ve learned that people will step on you as long as they can get away with it so speaking up is really important! 🙂

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