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My Long Overdue Apology to Taylor Swift (that no one asked for but I still felt compelled to write)

All right, buckle up, it’s been over a year since I last posted and that last post was (you guessed it) also about Taylor Swift. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but felt embarrassed/ashamed to write it.

“All these people think love’s for show”

I’ll try to keep it simple: Back in 2016 I developed a theory involving Taylor and one of her exes. I clung to that theory for a long time and wrote thorough posts with all of my evidence (aka confirmation bias). The last one I wrote was as recent as last summer, though, that one strays a bit.

Someone once told me I only became interested in Taylor Swift when people started to tear her down, that I joined the mob. I felt defensive because the truth was it was because of how much I liked her that my theory arose.

“The devil’s in the details”

I wanted to believe she was one step ahead of us, that she was laughing at the pitchforks and torches from up high on her tower-of-intelligence. I wanted to believe she’d found someone who was willing to pull the wool over all our eyes in the midst of her tornado. It was unfathomable to me that someone as intelligent, talented and so obviously kind-hearted could be put through such hell….so I just assumed she had it all under control.

Four years later I know I was wrong. (And, tbh, part of me could tell I was wrong quiiiite a while ago but my confirmation bias would not stop).

She told me in her Rep letter, she told me in London Boy, and she told me in Peace….she told me in the empty picture frames scattered throughout her videos, in the stars around her scars and in Miss Americana.

I’m sorry Taylor Swift, for being another voice who spent more time caring about your boyfriend than your art. I’m sorry for writing about it. I’m sorry for clinging to it for so embarrassingly long when you were clearly going through it.

“But you’ve got a friend in me”

And I know it comes across as juvenile, but I wanted to share some pics that show I was a fan pre-2016 apocalypse. In the spirit of the Lover journals, here are some glimpses into the past…

This journal was with me through my own intense years of growth. From moving in with my then-boyfriend (now-husband), to quitting my job to try my hand at self-employment as a writer, to starting to write my romance novel (lol embarrassing), to dreaming big for our Europe trip, to planning our wedding:

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And here are some tweets from when I used to feel safe’ish on social media and actually tweeted stuff:

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One of the reasons I feel so connected to Taylor’s story is that in April 2016 I wrote this blog post, “Rebuilding that Confidence like an OG” which reflects on how I was looking at older pieces of writing and wondering where that “care-free” version of myself went. And it features this bit of writing. You’ll see why parts of Miss Americana really. resonated. with. me:

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And so when she sings “You knew it still hurts underneath my scars / from when they pulled me apart” I FEEL THAT.

Listen, I’m not sitting here saying that I’m the world’s biggest Swiftie…that crown fits better on so many other breathtakingly devoted fans. But as a writer and a romantic and a sensitive individual, as a “skinny white bitch” (other’s words, not mine) who grew up trying to be good and please everyone, as a woman who has learned to stand up for herself and to try her best to ignore criticisms, who is learning to be fearless…I am the biggest fan.

I’m now a mom, I’m working full-time, I’m working on a novel (lord help me), I’m trying my best to be a good partner and friend and family member and I know a big part in growing up is apologizing even if you know it might not be heard.

I apologize for my dumb past blog posts.

I thank you for your sharp pen and thin skin. 

 

 

 

 

Taylor Swift Predicted Her Own Future When She Wrote “The Lucky One” in 2012

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to Instagram it, does it make a sound? – Taylor Swift, Oct. 2108

A handful of summers back, I found myself on a boat on a large river in northern Idaho. As we motored along the water, someone pointed to a large brown home that sat at the water’s edge with pastures and a beautiful barn. The home had a breathtaking steeple roof, divided by large glass slats—you can just imagine the warmth of the sun streaming into the living space.

“Shania Twain lived there.”

The pre-teen ghost of my past squealed in my heart, though my exterior just casually said, “oh cool.”

But seriously…the Shania Twain?

I have no idea if that home ever belonged to Shania Twain (something tells me no). But, over the years, I continually think of that spot along the river in quiet Idaho when I listen to Taylor Swift’s song “The Lucky One.”

For those a bit unfamiliar with Shania Twain’s story: she was a huge. massive. monumental success in the late ‘90s/ early-2000s. She was the darling of the country world. With songs like “Man I Feel Like a Woman” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much” dominating the charts, she was like a firework of stardom.

But exhaustion quickly set in. And she discovered she had Lyme disease, which resulted in devastating harm to her vocal cords. Then, her husband of 15 years left her for her friend. Needless to say: this talented songbird needed a break. All in all she took a 15 year hiatus from the music scene.

So when Swift decided to “disappear” after the pain points of 2016, it held echoes of Twain’s own run-from-the-spotlight. And it reminded me of song number thirteen off her 2012 album, Red.

“The Lucky One” made sense when it came out. It made sense Swift would be inspired to write about someone showing up and transforming themselves for stardom, then doubting others when they tell her she is lucky. And this was no different than when Britney Spears sang “She’s so lucky/ she’s a star/ but she cry, cry, cries in her lonely heart” twelve years before in her song Lucky in 2000. The two songs have many parallels.

The part of “The Lucky One” that stands out like a candle lit in a dark room is the bridge (and we all know Swift loves a good bridge!).

It was a few years later, I showed up here
And they still tell the legend of how you disappeared,
How you took the money and your dignity, and got the hell out
They say you bought a bunch of land somewhere,
Chose the Rose Garden over Madison Square,
And it took some time, but I understand it now
‘Cause now my name is up in lights,
But I think you got it right,

Guys, homegirl basically saw into her own future. The song makes just as much sense in the light of 2019 as it did seven years before.

In her Reputation song “Getaway Car” Swift says “I left you in a motel bar/ Put the money in a bag and I stole the keys / That was the last time you ever saw me (go!).”

Swift took the money and her dignity and got the hell out. She chose a rose garden. She chose flowers and nature and quiet and love.

The music-lyrical house she’d built over the years was not torn down. “Actually,” she tells us, “I just built a bunker around it.” But, luckily, that bunker didn’t have to be all stone walls and cold moats. It can also be a place of lush nature and tranquil quiet and love. She was the lucky one—to surround herself with grounded people who loved her.

You don’t have to search far to see what the other side of the coin might look like. We all watched in horror (and painfully detached, foam-at-the-mouth-gossip-blog-awe) when Britney Spears unraveled in 2007. I think it’s tempting to forget just how scary it was to witness that event unfold—and how the outside world, and its demand of her, contributed so directly to that situation.

It is not easy to quietly step back. It is not easy to say, no, you do not get to take my picture right now. No, you do not get to be part of my blooming young love. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to Instagram it, does it make a sound?

I feel so thankful that Swift was able to trade Madison Square for her rose garden. Or, as it was described in the recent Vogue interview, “A human-scale basket that is short of shaped like a cocoon.”

As 2012 Swift would tell today-Swift: “It took some time, but I understand now/ I think you got it right.”

And now, we are the lucky ones. We get to glimpse inside that cocoon with the upcoming release of Lover. Come August 23rd, thousands of people will point to their deluxe editions with pages of Swift’s personal diaries and they will say “Taylor Swift lived here.”

PS: If you want to read a few other similar pieces I’ve written recently’ish, see below.

Why Taylor Swift Can’t Simply “Get Over It” & Why That’s Okay

Talking About Dating Anxiety + Love on GROUP Podcast

When Rebecca Lee Douglas first reached out to me to ask if she could interview me for her podcast, GROUP, my knee-jerk reaction was to politely say “thank you, but no thank you.” I sometimes don’t even answer the phone when it’s people I love, what makes you think I wana jump on a call with a stranger?

Actually, I don’t even think I responded to her first email.

Rebecca Lee Douglas is the founder and producer of the podcast GROUP, which focuses on mental health. She brings experts in and discusses important mental health issues in a relatable, empathetic, and often humorous way. There are episodes on thought distortions, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and even emotional support animals. She’s amazing.

Buzzfeed recently named GROUP as one of the 27 Podcasts You Need to Start Listening To In 2018. In other words: Yas Qween!!

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So when she said she wanted to talk with me for a mini-Valentine’s Day episode my inner-voice-slash-confidence-that-I’m-still-working-on-everyday was like “nah, she doesn’t actually want to talk to me.”

But guys, Rebecca Lee Douglas is the coolest.

And my admiration for her (and acknowledgement of my own insecurities and fears) overshadowed my desire to avoid her. I’m so glad I took the chance because it was like talking to an old friend.

We chatted about love, dating, intimacy, and of course inappropriately timed digestive complications that can arise whilst trying to be romantic. She is honestly the loveliest person and I am so lucky to have been part of her show.

Click on the image above to listen. And subscribe to the show at the official GROUP podcast site, on iTunesStitcher or Acast.

She’s going to take over the podcast world and I hope we all cheer her along in the sidelines. In a world that continually breaks out hearts it’s vital we steer our eyes and hearts towards the people out there doing good.

GROUP, and Rebecca, are doing so much good. Thank you.

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Rebecca Lee Douglas

Rebecca Lee Douglas is a freelance journalist and multimedia producer.

Her stories focus on mental health and intersectional feminism.

She has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which is sometimes super crappy, but is usually ok with therapy, sunshine, exercise, and friendship.

Besides talking about mental health and feminism, Rebecca enjoys the following things: all types of cheese (except for blue cheese – ew), dogs, napping, being outside, comedy, sour gummy candy, and horror films.

Follow her on Twitter @RebeccaLDouglas.

Taylor Swift Calvin Harris

Analysis of Lightning Bolts & Taylor Swift’s “…Ready for It?”

Let’s go back to the lightning bolts.

But first, I need to acknowledge how amazing this one theory is and how much it’s helped me put some things in perspective. This beautiful and insightful theory, by Fearlesslove13 & @shesdeads (brought to my attention via Buzzfeed) dove into the idea that the Taylors in the video are not good vs. evil. But instead, she is training. YES YES YES.

In their post they say:

this means that the darker taylor, the one in the hoodie, represents all of the old taylors, and the media’s perception of them.  she’s the one that recognizes the world is cruel, and trains the caged taylor because she wants her to be able to survive.  and by sacrificing that version of herself to protect her, she gives the now freed taylor the opportunity to start fresh, and maybe not end up the same way she did.

What I particularly love about this is their insight into the concept of “rebirth.” On how Taylor made the choice to redefine herself. In a sense, she knew she had to burn it all down in order to rise anew.

We are met with a “naked” Taylor who goes through multiple evolutions (basically, shedding one self for the next and the next). She tries to build armor, defend herself, fight back, look like “a bad guy” and when that doesn’t work she tries to be the pure white knight in armor atop of the white horse. But when that isn’t quite right either she has to return to just her bare bones/naked self.

In This is What You Came For we are introduced to Taylor and the lightning. “Lightning strikes every time she moves.” This, as pointed out in earlier posts, has to do with her inability to make even the slightest movement in 2015/early 2016 without the media attacking and striking her down/illuminating her every move.

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calvin harris / this is what you came for

BUT, she discovers the power in this. In …Ready for It? We literally see her discover the potential of all this power, the power in the lightning. And how they can define her reality. And we see her look around and notice the countless orbs of power around her (all the different alternate realities). We see her reaching out towards one…literally picking her own reality.

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Discovering the power, yo!

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Literally reaching out for that new reality!

 

THEN we see her harnessing that power. This is when she (and, according to my theory, CH) decided to use the power of the media —and all of us salivating conspiracy theorists—against us. They self-imploded, put up smoke screens, crafted fake narratives, disappeared into the night and allowed themselves to be alone in their newly formed reality.

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Learning how to harness that power, before breaking free.

The Taylor at the end of …Ready for It? is once again raw, naked and vulnerable JUST like the Taylor we are seeing in the clips from Call it What You Want. She’s returned to a more honest and naked form. But, it was at a price, which is why the Taylor at the end of …Ready for It sheds a tear. There are a lot of sacrifices you have to make and pain you need to go through to have privacy and to live as you wish.

Before TS & CH broke up they were leaving us clues about the lightning bolts. They were right there in front of us from the start. And when the drama queens and liars were tearing her down, she decided to at least do one thing right. She harnessed that power, held her love close and returned to her true self.

NOW GO PAINT SOME MORE PAINTINGS IN BED, GIRL. xo

 

 

cover image cc: @taylorswift instagram

A Note.

For the past few weeks it has been hard to breathe.

This blog post sharply diverts from the usual theme, tone, and message of my blog. But, as a writer, this is how I try to make sense of what I feel shifting in the air. Thank you, in advance, for reading.

I believe a painting is attempting to be crafted right in front of all of us.

But just like all great works of art, when you are too close you do not see it for what it is. This? Well this is just a playful splash of red paint. And that? That there is simply a delightful use of black and gray shades.

Sometimes we are unable to see clearly what the entire picture is showing us because we are afraid to step back and look. While I am afraid of what I have seen in the past few weeks, I’m even more afraid of (to use a phrase that is already becoming stale) certain rhetoric becoming normalized.

The problem is that we are internally at war with ourselves. We were raised to be empathetic, compassionate, and critical thinkers. We were taught that no one person can be “all bad” and no one person can be “all good.” Shades of gray cloak us all.

So, of course not every individual who supports Trump’s rhetoric is racist. Of course they are not all misogynists, anti-Semitic, against woman’s rights, in denial of global warming, etc. We are taught that labels, blanket statements about individuals, are usually incorrect over-generalizations.

And I believe this.

I believe this as firmly as I believe family members had to have difficult discussions with children and grandchildren in the shadow of World War II, trying to explain how certain members of their bloodline wore swastikas on their arms. How good people did terrible things and how this shouldn’t be a commentary on their own seemingly predetermined path in life.

But just as we hear voices of former Germans saying they didn’t know at the time, they didn’t know, how could they know, well maybe we suspected but if we had known, of what Hitler was up to, what he was capable of…and we hear echoes of it today. Give him a chance. It can’t be that bad. We have checks and balances. Things take time. There are reelections in a few years.

When I was a teacher of English and composition at the college level my fellow instructors and myself saw a sharp disinterest in the written word. Students did not understand why they were required to take a writing course. And though I emphasized the importance of critical thinking, of questioning what we are told, of being able to clearly communicate our own perspectives in a clear and respectful manner, few students seemed to enjoy my courses.

Today I feel more grateful for my liberal arts degree than ever before. I am thankful I had teachers who shared with me stories from history. I am thankful for the novels, poetry, and paintings that emerge from shifting political landscapes and political pain. I am thankful I learned about The Milgram Experiment, which looked at the ways people can do horrible things in the name of “obedience.” I am thankful for The Stanford Prison Experiment showing us how power, authority, and deindividuation can escalate more quickly than we could ever imagine.

I do not believe every individual who voted for Trump is evil. This is not possible. We are all humans who are doing our best to listen to our hearts.

But I do believe this:

I believe his rhetoric is evil.
I believe his rhetoric pulls from a historical echo chamber of relying upon fear.
I believe his rhetoric thrives on the feverish hunger of lies.
I believe his rhetoric is allowing others, others with harmful rhetoric, positions of power.

I am afraid.

Let us work.
Let us not be the frog who doesn’t realize he is being boiled since the water is only changing temperature ever so slowly around us. It’s really not that bad, we might tell ourselves. After all, for right now, I’m still able to breathe.