As you all know, “1989” came out a few weeks ago, and it’s breaking records all over the place. Whether you’re singing it loud and proud or you’re in denial from hating yourself, at least one of Taylor’s new songs is stuck in your head all. the. freaking. time. And yet, part of you inexplicably, absolutely cannot stand this girl. You say, “I hate Taylor Swift” out loud to everyone who will listen, both because you hate the person you believe her to be, and because you hate how catchy her music is. You hate that stupid I’m-better-than-you smirk she always has, even though she’s incredibly awkward and can’t keep a guy. And of course she’s made billions by singing whiny songs about guys who don’t call her back. Yes, Taylor, you’re so special. You must be the only girl who’s never been called back. Bitch. You hate her elitist attitude and how she always puts on this “I’m perfect” performance, even though her songs suggest she’s anything but. She’s also completely batshit crazy. There’s just something about her that you can’t put your finger on that reminds you of someone you hate.
That person you hate who Taylor reminds you of? Yeah, she’s you.
“What? No. I’m nothing like Taylor Swift,” the white girl says while she dances awkwardly in her car and checks her phone 12 times a minute to see if a boy has texted her back. The thing is, as women, one of our strongest natural talents is to identify other women who we recognize as similar to us, single them out as competition, and then absolutely annihilate them. We see this in sports, rival sororities, careers, and almost every other aspect of life. We hate these women because they remind us of the things we wish we could forget. They put their flaws–our flaws–out in the open, and there is nothing more uncomfortable than seeing someone celebrate something you’ve tried to keep hidden for 21 years.
We hate Taylor Swift because she brings our issues, our fears, and our insecurities to the forefront of our lives. You say Taylor is pathetic because she’s always heartbroken about the guy who doesn’t want her back. You say she’s a slut because she’s always out with a new guy. You say she’s ugly because she’s gangly and can be awkward. You say she’s crazy because she puts all of these flaws out there for the world to see. Conversely, you hide your heartbreak while lying in bed, you don’t go on dates with guys you don’t see a future with, you try as hard as you can not to be awkward, and you always put on a perfect face for everyone to see. You’re doing it right…right?
The only difference between Taylor Swift and you is that she puts it all out there for everyone to see and judge. You probably tried this at a young age and failed, like when you wrote a Myspace bulletin about your crush, or when you got rejected by the guy you thought would be your first love, or when you were made fun of for your appearance in middle school. You learned the hard way to bottle up everything and keep it inside so you wouldn’t get hurt. All of a sudden, here comes Taylor Swift to ruin everything you’ve worked for–and to make it look good along the way. You hate her because she reminds you of your failure and brings all the pain to the surface. Well, no more.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from hating Taylor Swift, it’s that I only hated the parts of her that I hated about myself. As I learned to take risks in life, I started to hate Taylor just a little bit less and less. Yeah, I’m awkward and I have no idea how to dance in public. But I do it in my car, and I’ve found it’s a lot more fun than having no technique. I started telling guys how I really felt. I got rejected several times and it really hurt. But eventually, from speaking out, I found a pretty great love that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t put it all out there. When I started living, I started relating to Taylor a little bit more. Sure, I may have been keeping up appearances, but I was going through life half-lived. You only get one shot. So be awkward. Make mistakes. Tell boys you love them. Dance like a lunatic. Have fun. Don’t care what anyone else thinks. Maybe you’ll even find a new Taylor Swift song you actually enjoy dancing to along the way. .