Friday, May 19, 2023

Thoughts on Taylor Swift

 I’m definitely not an average fan. I ‘discovered’ Taylor Swift and her music not even a year ago, and besides that, I’m seventy-five. You won’t find me climbing up to Section H, Row 32 in any stadium. But I’m a writer, I love words that rhyme, and I like music. I’m also a counselor who senses that Taylor Swift is a nice person. At this point, I still don’t know which of her song titles go with which of her songs, but I’m learning. Her talent is amazing. It’s obvious that her sexy moves and glittered leotards are just window dressing for her incredible, multiple talents. Her song writing, her story telling, her catchy musicality, her stage presence, her physical movements, her connection with her fans—each of these are skill sets, and they’re extraordinary.

        That Taylor Swift is thirty-three years old with a seventeen year career is an incredible achievement. That she is filling 70,000 person stadiums night after night, presenting a forty-five song, three hour concert, on stage constantly moving and emoting and singing, without a break, is ground-breaking enough. The reviews I read and the video clips I see have catapulted her fifty-two city Eras Tour into a generational once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. Taylor Swift has released over two hundred songs and her legion of fans know the sing-along words to all of them. 

            I should add that her phrases and images are also extraordinary: ‘They told me all my cages were mental/So I got wasted like all my potential…,’ ‘They say all’s well that ends well, but I’m in a new hell every time you double cross my mind…,From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes…,’You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath…,’ ‘You call me again just to break me like a promise…,’And if I get burned, at least we were electrified…”Cuz there were pages turned with the bridges burned, Everything you lose is a step you take…’


            These are words from an observer and a participant in life; from someone who knows how to frame and share images that we all understand.


 The Eras tour began with Taylor Swift snugly in her almost seven year relationship with Joe Alwyn, or so it seemed. For all that time, this couple kept their private life and relationship private, a remarkable feat for the performer of the Century (Century, not decade.) The breakup, announced on the opening night of her filled stadium in Tampa, was a shock to Taylor’s fans, who were quickly concerned about how she was doing. With a thumbs up from the stage, she made it clear she’s doing fine. Word has it that 'Taylor and Joe' actually decide to move on in February, and she’s looking forward to being more open in her personal life and relationships. She’s confirmed this so far by hanging out publicly with friends in New York City, more than once, and, as of two weeks ago, enter the rocker, Matty Healy.

            I don’t know any diehard Taylor Swift fans to check with, so I only have my own opinion, but only three months after ending a seven year partnership, and dealing with all the emotional feelings and fallout in leaving someone you truly loved, and jumping quickly into another relationship, isn’t usually the healthiest or smartest thing to do. Surely Taylor Swift knows this, because she’s smart and introspective and observational. Yes? So, what’s going on?

            Certainly, I have no idea. I have no agency into the private life of Taylor Swift. But do I think there’s some cause for concern? I’d say yes to that. It doesn’t help that the press and paparazzi are all over the Taylor-Matty story. There’s good evidence that she’s keeping herself pretty busy. That’s often a good coping tool to get through a break up. But also, major life changes need time to percolate. Even when a breakup is mutual or expected or healthy, all kinds of feelings come with it: attachment/abandonment issues, loss, old wounds, triggering  memories, outdated beliefs, old and new fears. A sudden jump into ‘dating’ again, and especially intimate dating, doesn’t allow time to process all this, and a guy who by all reports has been a ‘bad boy,’ who’s publicly made racist and homophobic statements, seems, well, a surprising choice. My guess is many (most?) of Taylor’s fans expected (hoped?) to witness a strong, amazingly talented woman rebuild her life as now-single and independent, with determined courage to move forward, on her own. 

            It’s so presumptuous of me to question the decisions of a woman I have never met, and whose relationships I know nothing about. So why am I writing this? Honestly, probably because, for what it’s worth, I have (unsolicited!) advice. I’m holding up a flashing yellow slow-it-down light. It’s my experience talking, just in case.  Don’t rush, Taylor Swift. Take your time, alone, and with your family and friends. Have fun. Breathe. Feel. 

            But don’t let passion drive you, not yet. 



  1. I agree. It took me 5-1/2 years after Gary's death to even venture out, and I was not looking or even open to a relationship with another man. I needed those years of deep grieving, as painful as it was. When least expected, along comes my widowed, younger lover. We have our Dead People and we allow space for them. We are still healing each other four years later. Our bond is deep. One book has nothing to do with the other. There is no comparison; one is not better than the other. One is The Past, and the other is Now. We choose Life😘😘😘

  2. Awww Deb, I followed your grief when you lost your precious Gary, when you didn’t know that life could or would be rich and full again. I am so glad for you. Shake it up, baby! 🥰😂🥰 love kj

  3. Well, since she uses her past relationships for song fodder, perhaps she is just looking for new material : )

    - 8thday

  4. 8, I wonder why she doesn’t expand her ‘subject matters,’ but then I think of country music and it’s all about loves and lost loves. She’s extremely talented and prolific. I wonder about the cost for that….

  5. "I’m also a counselor who senses that Taylor Swift is a nice person."

    I don't know enough about Taylor Swift to talk about her. However, the above statement inspires me to inquire regarding your basis for believing that counselors have notable insights into other people's character. I do understand that one can only become a counselor following years of formal study, but my pessimism in this regard stems from the fact that I have known a great many counselors, among them lovers, best friends, and people I have seen professionally, and it is my considered conviction that they are not better--if as good--at judging human nature as is the average person. It also seems to me that if someone is convinced of his or her insightfulness then that person is then at risk of being closed off from reality. By way of comparison, trial judges often believe that they are exceptionally good at spotting lies, yet when tested, this has not been proven to be true, so imagine being a defendant who appears before a judge who thinks you are lying and you coming to realization that there is nothing you do or say to reach that person. In the case of counselors, this can go even further in that they sometimes imagine that they know other people better than those people know themselves.

  6. Hi snow, there’s a theory in counseling that a trained therapist can evaluate a person’s issues in the first 10 minutes of meeting. Sometimes, in my experience, that’s true. My ‘training’ and years of experience helping people means that I am able to identify and help with trauma, depression, anxiety, grief, etc. there are a lot of different kinds if counseling-unsighted oriented, behavioral, etc, but the approach doesn’t matter as much as the counselor’s caring (yes, no training needed for that) and competence (no substitute for that.) I would tell you that the majority of the folks I’ve worked with have benefited from the our counseling relationship. Skill absolutely matters. It sounds like this hasn’t been the case for you. I wouldn’t be surprised if your own strength and conviction overpowered a number of helping professionals. Sometimes there’s not much anyone else can do about that, because in some way, a person has to accept the offering of insight and support. In any case, I feel that I’m a pretty good judge of character.

  7. " some way, a person has to accept the offering of insight and support."

    I can't argue with that, although it reminds of a joke that therapists used to tell (and I'm sure you've heard), which goes: "A therapist can change a light bulb, but the light bulb has to be ready to change."

    I was a young teen when I read In Cold Blood. In that book, one of the condemned men saw a psychiatrist to help him deal with his fear of being hanged. At the time, I lived in rural Mississippi and had never laid eyes on any kind of a counselor, and so I jumped to the conclusion that, "Oh my god, a shrink who can make a man feel good about having his neck broken in the hours before dawn is a freaking god." When I afterwards went through the increasing angst of adolescence, I was convinced that a shrink could say magic words that would fix every problem I had.

    Years later (when I was over thirty) I began to meet counselors of one stripe or another--and became intimate in one way or another with a number of them--I observed that their lives went no better than other people's lives, and that they showed little if any ability to follow the advice that they gave to their clients. This led me to conclude that their advice was superficial, and to wonder if they had only gone into the profession in a failed attempt to solve their own problems. This doesn't mean that I've never known people who believed that they benefited from counseling, or that I've ever questioned your own professionalism. From all I know of you, I think you're a fine person.

    I've had a number of surgeries--and I know that you've traveled that road also--and one of the things I learned is that many surgeons are either callous or incompetent, and I believe that the same is true of counselors (by definition, half of the people in every trade or profession are below average), but the difference between a counselor and a surgeon is that surgeons operate on your body while counselors get inside your head--which can, depending upon the situation, be even more scary--and I no longer trust anyone to do that. Maybe the day will come when something so horrible will happen in my life that I will be forced to do it, but I think I would be more likely to avail myself of psilocybin therapy first.

    1. Snowbrush, Counselors don’t get inside people’s heads, people let them in, which should not be the case. Counselors are mostly listeners, they don’t solve your problems, you do.

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  9. …and here I am, I don’t know any Taylor Swift song.

  10. Why have u not written since May, kj? Please write again soon!

  11. I'm grateful for the positive influence your blog has had on my personal growth.