Yes, hate is a strong word. And, no, I don’t really mean it. It’s sort of like when you’re young and you have your first crush, and you think this must be love. Then the guy turns out to be a big jerk so you decide to hate him even though you love him, and the line gets really blurry. What? You never felt that way? Yeah, me either.
Hubs liked Taylor Swift from her very first song. And, no, that’s not why I hate her. I did tease him though, saying he only liked her because she was a cute girl. He’d always deny it, saying, “No! Her songs are cute.” I’m pretty sure a man’s not supposed to admit that.
Then the Girl started listening to her music, and I bought a CD for her. I even offered to let her leave it in my van so she could listen to and from school. You know, ‘cause I’m a good mom. Sometimes I’d just let it keep playing even after the Girl got out. And sometimes I’d even sing along. I don’t know, perhaps a “woman of my age” isn’t supposed to admit that.
Then, I found out that she writes her own music, and I started listening more carefully to the words.
If you’ve ever read any writing advice, then you’ve likely seen or heard the “write what you know” mantra. This is not to say that you shouldn’t branch out, research and really delve into a subject matter. It’s just saying that there’s something about being able to put into words exactly what you feel in a given situation, because odds are you’re not the only one who’s felt that way. Often, the most moving words are the ones that just flow from you. The ones that seem to ebb out like breath.
Fair warning: this is about to get really wordy and mushy and girly …
I remember vividly sitting in the parking lot of Dixie Café, where MorganMorganMorgan and I were meeting for one of our marathon lunches, and making her climb in the passenger seat to listen to a few tracks on Speak Now before we ate. Somehow, I knew I could count on her to share my appreciation. And now every time I hear “Long Live”, I remember the tears in my eyes as I drove away from her house the day she told me she was moving out of state:“will you take a moment, promise me this / that you’ll stand by me forever / but if god forbid fate should step in / and forces us into a goodbye … I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you”
Swift definitely has a knack for writing what she knows. That’s why she appeals to her fans: she writes what she has felt, and all those tween and teenage girls who scream at her concerts and want to meet her and be her can relate. So what’s my excuse? I don’t know, maybe I’m emotionally stunted.
No, it’s not that I relate to her music; although, I’ll admit that I’m not too old to remember what some of the “sad beautiful tragic” was all about. No, I appreciate her talent for words. And it’s because of that talent that I hate her so much.
I recently bought her latest CD, Red … for the Girl, of course. After listening to the whole thing one day, I came home inspired and impressed, and depressed and envious. “I love her and hate her at the same time,” I said to hubs. I’m pretty sure he’d decided then and there (a bit belatedly some might say) that I’d completely lost it.
Her latest creations, in my opinion, show a level of introspection and understanding not all that common in young adults today. Yes, many in their teens and early 20s are self-absorbed, thinking the world revolves around them. That’s a phase of growing up. But self-absorption and introspection are two different things. She may very well be self-absorbed but her songs, while about her experiences, don’t seem to just be saying, “Let me tell you about me.” Rather, she’s asking, “Haven’t you felt this way too?”“this is the worthwhile fight / love is ruthless game / unless you play it good and right”
**“once upon a time, a few mistakes ago”
**“yeah, we’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time / it’s miserable and magical, oh yeah”
**“and I guess we fell apart in the usual way / and the story’s got dust on every page”
**“I’ve been spending the last 8 months / thinking all love ever does / is break and burn and end / but on a Wednesday in a café / I watched it begin again”
Even “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (about which someone posted on FB that they hoped it was never ever getting back together with her ears) makes me shout and dance in my seat while driving down the road.
And that red love.“faster than the wind, passionate as sin, ending so suddenly … like the colors in autumn so bright just before they lose it all”
She weaves figurative language into conversational, catchy lyrics in a way that makes me wish I’d written them. And that makes me feel giddy and young, and ridiculous and depraved all at the same time. She’s so young and look what she’s done! I’m not talking about the celebrity and the mega-millions; I’m talking about the words she’s shared with all the world for all time! I’m nearly twice her age and what have I done?! I know the words are in me like breath I’ve been holding my whole life and God knows I just want to exhale.
Why can’t I?
Why don’t I?
As my numbered days on this earth count down to zero, what am I waiting for?
What am I scared of?
Oh … yeah.
I guess she really is Fearless. And that’s the real reason I hate her.