Note: This is a one-time-only deal in which we ask our interns (who are almost literally infants) to talk about how young and inexperienced they are. Stephanie Haven’s mommy says she’s an editorial intern for Washington City Paper. Haven knows she’s the best journalist around town because her mommy told her that, too.

I was 12 years old when I first heard Taylor Swift.

Well, it wasn’t exactly Taylor Swift—it was Carrie Underwood or Kellie Pickler, who appeared on the fourth and fifth seasons, respectively, of one of my favorite television shows, American Idol. But they’re blonde and sing countryish pop music, too, so you know what I’m saying.

Although I can now credit Swift for fueling a freshman-year crush, my relationship with the singer didn’t begin until I was 15. As a kid, I had no idea who she, Dolly Parton, or Tim McGraw were—-nor did I care about the genre they helped define. I still don’t.

It’s been a little more than seven years since I watched American Idol, and I’m still something of a countryish pop novice.

There were a slew of classic Swift songs I knew at age 12, but never actually heard, because they didn’t exist yet—-like “You Belong With Me” (my seventh-grade boyfriend said that to me!), “Love Story” (what happens with parents before marriage), and “I’d Lie” (a very bad thing resulting in a time out).

There’s at least one good reason I had never listened to any of these songs: Swift’s first single, “Tim McGraw,” came out six years ago, when I was 13 (soooo young). But this blog post presented the perfect opportunity to share my age. After polling my co-workers to determine that I’m the youngest of them all, I stuck my thumb in my mouth, pulled up Speak Now on iTunes (Spotify is banned at City Paper), and let the office listen to the true tales of my adolescent heartache. Taylor Swift sings the songs of my soul, of course.

Although my experience with Swift is definitely not limited in scope, I’d never admit that in public. That is, until I had to write something in order to impress my boss at my unpaid internship.