Renowned singer/musician Taylor Swift. (AP Photo)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Lori Cashdollar is a standout Edwardsville High School graduate and former top-notch student-athlete. She was a state qualifier in both cross country and track and field for the Tigers and a star college athlete in Chicago. This was a viewpoint she shared earlier this week after Taylor Swift's announcement as Person Of The Year.

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At a time I feel like I’ve needed it the most, I’m seeing so many women on a daily basis coming together and being role models I can look up to. I don’t always remember it being like this. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize history when you’re living through it, but I truly feel the narrative for women is changing right in front of my eyes, especially this year.

Lori CashdollarI’ve never really considered myself a feminist nor do I typically gawk over people in the spotlight, but this particular article was truly incredible. After reading it, I felt so emotionally and physically empowered. In this day and age with violence, pressures of social media, costs of living a normal life, etc., sometimes it makes me feel like I’m simply just surviving. It’s easy to get lost or create a negative narrative, but nobody is perfect.

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There’s a reason why Taylor Swift is Person of the Year. This interview gave me a much-needed reminder that even through illness, injury, heartbreak, stress, etc., it’s pivotal to be brave, grow to be the best version of yourself, put your best foot forward, and find time to give back to those who have supported and given to you. She makes sure not to leave out that it’s ok for your heart to break and to not let anyone tell you your wounds are invalid or you’re crazy for feeling the way you’re feeling. Everyone has a story to tell. Whether it be good or bad, keep going. Never stop being inspired.

Although I may never be famous or use a platform to speak out very often, one goal of mine that has always been constant is to lead, inspire, and empower those around me. Be that person who walks into the room and sets the standard, the tone. Find the good in people and use those characteristics to help shape yourself.

You don’t have to be a Swiftie, but it’s hard not to respect arguably one of the world’s most influential artists ever. Her mastermind and graciousness are truly admirable.

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