Let me begin by saying that I have shocked myself by wanting to write this post.
I have never been a Taylor Swift fan. In fact, I have gone on angry diatribes about her inability to sing and her lack-of-countryness-despite-winning-umpteenjillion-country-awards. I have mocked her popularity, and I have dismissed her as an irrelevant tween-pop bimbo. Granted, I have only really done this to my friends and family when the subject has come up, but still, I’ve said some harsh words.
Taylor, I am sorry for pretty much every negative thing I’ve said about you, and here’s why:
1. You are still so young. I guess I either didn’t realize that, or didn’t care until recently. I remember my early 20s with an unfortunately eerie vividness. Don’t get me wrong–I had some good times, but I was also a clueless, overly-dramatic, self-involved lunatic most of the time. I made some huge errors in judgement (most of which only hurt me, but some that hurt others, too), and I have relatively little to show for my early adulthood years as a result. You couldn’t pay me to be 23 again unless I am being granted a complete do-over armed with the knowledge I have now. Those young-adult years can be a tough time in life, especially for sensitive-types (which it certainly seems like Miss Swift is), and it’s really unfair to judge someone at that age against mature adults. So, I’m sorry for doing that. I can only imagine what haters would say about my choices at that age.
2. You are so unapologetic about sharing your mind with the masses. This is a girl who is taking her thoughts, putting them into song, and then showing them to the entire world. The “entire world” is not even an exaggeration. She is such an unbelievable mega-star. I was always aware of her popularity, but I guess I didn’t quite realize the extent of it. A quick glance at her Wikipedia page should suffice to explain exactly how many people listen to her music. That is literally like allowing everyone on the planet to read your diary. Despite being publicly ridiculed a LOT, she continues to write personal and autobiographical songs because she says it helps her work through stuff. It makes sense at her age that she would draw inspiration from examples from her own life–it’s just that most people would be too afraid to put all that stuff out there to be judged. She seems unafraid of the response. Perhaps she has such confidence because she believes her fans are rabid and will buy whatever she sells, but her interviews certainly suggest otherwise. She seems to have an understanding that all this fame and popularity could end at any minute. I don’t know. I’m sorta convinced that she has a bravery most don’t. It’s ballsy and not for everyone, which is why it’s admirable. I’m sorry I acted like what you does is easy. I can see now that it most definitely is not.
3. You are very normal for your age, and you are going through the normal ups and downs that most people go through. Unfortunately, you are going through it in front of the entire universe (see above). Add to all of that the fact that she exists in a business that is so cut-throat and superficial… Hollywood regularly chows down on the innocent and naive and spits them out broken and/or dead (example: Lindsay Lohan or whatever the hell Miley Cyrus is doing right now). I can’t imagine being famous–I have so many regrets from my days in and shortly after college, but I am so infinitely thankful that I can pretty much bury that within my own mind and not have to explain it to anyone. I feel fortunate that Facebook did not exist back then, so the only real evidence of my terrible behavior is in my head and the others who were there. I can pretty much guarantee that no one remembers any of it completely accurately, including myself. I don’t know how I’d get through it if I knew that everyone was tuning into every little aspect of my personal life. Yeah, she may be dating a lot, but many beautiful 23-year-olds do that. She may have an overly hopeful/romantic idea of what relationships really are, but there are a bunch of those in the world (that’s why we have romantic comedies, duh). She may take pleasure in “revenge dressing” or publicly taking subtle digs at her exes through song, but again, she is unapologetic about it. She is not an insecure mess (at least, not publicly), and that’s a huge step for someone her age. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but young women should take note. Despite being sort of a serial dater, she is a role model of keeping-her-s***-together-ness. I’m sorry for mocking your emotional roller-coasters. They are so freaking normal and not at all mock-worthy. Honestly.
4. You are a philanthropist. And like, a major one. The girl is worth nearly 60 million dollars and she is constantly finding ways to give back to causes she believes in. I’m sure it’s nice for her to know that she can buy anything she desires and that her family is set for generations to come, but she seems to be always generous to those in need. I get really frustrated about wanting to give back and not having the means I wish I had to do it properly (another topic for another day), so I get really warm-hearted when I see those who have the means doing their part. There are many celebrities out there who are generous–she’s not on a pedestal here or anything–it’s just nice to know that she’s part of the “good guys” club and not the “greedier than thou” club. I’m sorry for saying you aren’t deserving of your millions.
5. You are firmly against using auto-tune or lip-synching. As a singer, I admire that. She knows she doesn’t have the best voice in the game and she knows she misses the mark sometimes. She doesn’t lie about it and she doesn’t perform in places where perfection is a must. She (again) is unapologetic about it, takes lessons to improve her voice, and continues to sing in order to get her message across. To think that I’m even too embarrassed to sing in the shower when no one’s home most of the time… well, it just makes me that much more proud of the girl. I’m so so sorry for knocking on your voice. I should be so lucky to have that kind of confidence.
So there you go. I was an outspoken jerk about her, and I have come to realize after giving her a chance that there is much for me to learn from her. I even listened to her new album today. Is it my favorite album I’ve ever heard? No. That said, it’s not even a quarter as bad as I imagined it would be. I honestly enjoyed most of the songs, and now will probably check out her other albums.
She never knew I mocked her, and she will never know that I’ve completely changed my mind about her, but putting a little extra love into the universe can only help things, right? And for those of you out there who were once like me–about Taylor Swift or anyone else in the world–I just encourage you to take a second look today. See if there are any kernels of good you may have missed.
Have you ever changed your mind about someone for the better? Let’s hear about it.