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.