My journey with Taylor Swift has been up and down like a yo-yo like a lot of other people. I was full into country Taylor Swift. I can still proudly say that I know every single word off her first album. I also have an affinity with anyone with curly hair. I have curly hair and it’s way too often shown in media as ugly. I can’t count the number of times where the unpopular girl had curly hair and has it straightened to be popular and liked. So here is this sweet and authentic teen girl with golden curls who was only a few years older than me. It was too easy to say that she struck a chord with me.
I loved to joke that I fell off of being a big Taylor Swift fan when she started straightening her hair. But in all honesty, I was buying into how the media was selling her. Taylor was the popular person to hate. I never actually hated her. I simply allowed the girl I originally admired ripped away by words of the media. The exact same media I would defend other celebrities I adored from with vigour. There was a wall built up so high around Taylor Swift. It was easier not to attempt to scale it. So I didn’t. I let her go.
For not being a quote-unquote fan for the longest time, I know near about everything about her. It was hard to escape article after article about her. Yet I also felt this impulsive need to know everything. Like something in me was screaming to re-examine this witch hunt happening around her. My mind wasn’t allowing me to see it clearly.
I can’t lie that some of her songs didn’t land with me. Some seemed immature to me. In the documentary when Taylor mentions it is said that people stop ageing at the age, they become famous, I completely can see that. Taylor had no time to sit and grow. The carousel of celebrity she was on was constantly spinning and picking up speed at a rapid phase. She couldn’t get off.
Now I have to say that I have an obsessive personality. Celebrities I loved I truly love. Like I mentioned earlier that I’m often ride or die with too many celebrities. People I’ll likely never meet. They’ll never know how much energy and time I’m using to express positivity towards them. Everyone makes missteps in life and for someone of fame, they echo off every wall imaginable. One of many things I found so interesting watching Miss Americana was Taylor vocalizing that she had to maintain this image of the good girl. I remember feeling in many moments Taylor wasn’t helping the backlash surrounding her. It’s so ironic to me now that Kristen Stewart, who I can’t begin to describe my love for, was at such an absurd height of fame and media attention and I fought for her. I stayed interested in Taylor Swift but that was about it. The main difference between the two very similar yet drastically different women was how Kristen always felt genuine where Taylor’s sense of it was long gone for me. She was calculated and the game that was playing her was equally playing. I have called her out on playing the victim as many other people have. It was easier to think rather than fully investigating how it had gotten to that intense of a level to even think that.
I began dipping my toe in becoming a Taylor fan again around the time of her 1989 album. I can’t say I became instantly a Swiftie -who are a fandom that frankly scare me- but it was a step. I still wasn’t sure where I stood with her. Reputation, however, came along and it was a tide wave reawakening me. It was this bold and loud shift of Taylor finally taking the reigns of not only her triumphs but her mistakes. Her reclaiming the snake imagery plastered on to her as her own was an iconic moment in pop culture. She didn’t exclude herself from the narrative and instead began rewriting it and claiming it from herself. Her image was her own to mould and if people wanted to allow her to do so, she was there to begin. I was more than ready to watch this new chapter unfold. …Also, she kind of had some curl back. That might have helped a little. Can’t lie.
Lover was the Taylor Swift album I was waiting for. Her music may not always be my particular taste. I do hear and more powerfully feel Taylor Swift had grown into the type of person I’d want to devote time to in to not solely have my thoughts about her confirmed or broken by the media circus surrounding her. Instead to solely appreciate her work and experience her as an artist and not the image created of her.
Miss Americana brings us a trip down memory lane. From when I remember Taylor Swift as the curly-haired country star who was in awe of being included in the world she grew up with to the multiple infamous Kanye moments and to now Taylor using more than her songwriting to reflect her heart but her words to express what’s on her mind. The documentary provides much needed insight into Taylor’s known and unknown demons she constantly fights with. A woman finding her place and voice in a chaotic world. A world that she so desperately wanted to please and one that was so ready to turn on her at any given moment.
It took me back to being 14 years old in my bedroom listening and singing along to a talented new singer who was able to express herself so unapologetically. Now 28 and very much like Taylor, I have grown. I can see through the bullshit of the media. I can look past assumptions and slander placed on Taylor for simply being a woman growing up in the spotlight. I can once again feel the honesty I once felt upon first being introduced to Taylor Swift. Before any of the bullshit surrounding her began tearing her limb from limb.
We live in a time where we want to know every single little thing about the celebrities we love. We research, analyze and make conclusions that make sense into the stories cultivated by everyone but the actual person themself. We will never truly know Taylor Swift or any celebrity. This documentary allowed her to take a sledgehammer to many fragments we’ve had cemented into our image of her.
I don’t know how I’m going to stand with whatever music she puts out next and that’s okay. But I can sit and know that the girl I once loved and admired so much is still there and ready to proudly be herself regardless of what anyone says. No more desperately hanging on to being the good girl. I can’t help but think of the quote: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Taylor Swift has already made plenty of history but now unleashed…who knows what she’ll do?
I know I will be aptly ready to find out.