Taylor Swift has been known in the past year to have a lot of negative life events from her sexual assault court case, losing lots of friends and surrounded by playboys as described in her "reputation" album, and recently receiving backlash for announcing a political endorsement for Democratic candidates in her home state of Tennessee. Through these mishaps, Taylor reminded us again that she is not only a star but just an ordinary person.
Distracted by the whirlwind of college applications and broken friendships, it wasn't until the middle of my senior year of high school that I started listening to her new reputation album. As I started listening, there were some of the concepts I didn't understand until a couple months after my life had fallen into shambles beyond my control. I then realized the magnitude of similar things Taylor and I had gone through and how listening to the reputation album helped me get through the hardest times in my life. It taught me lots of life lessons I will never forget.
1. Play the Game
Life is all about playing the game, hence "The Game Of Life." Have a plan for anything that comes your way.
2. People will be intimidated of you constantly
It seems easier than ever for people to be intimidated or perceived by others as threatening. Therefore, people will do and say anything to hurt you, exclude you, and seem superior. This intimidation can prevent you from making meaningful relationships by your self-identity such as, what you wear or how put-together you look. In return, this can make some people jealous and make condescending comments that try to lower your confidence. In high school, I felt people were always intimidated of me by the nice clothes that I wore to school or driving a nice car. This wasn't imagined, it was noticeable. I come from a middle-class family, who is now split and has to take out loans to pay for my college. I want people to know there is much more than what you see on the outside. Since going to college, I haven't been stereotyped as the rich girl or put on a pedestal for that title and it has been one of the most relieving experiences. I feel like an ordinary person and the result is really great.
3. It's OK to be yourself with a squished reputation
Currently, as a society that has chosen profit over morality, people feel like they shouldn't have feelings. For example, people gossiping about others to an extreme point where people are afraid to be themselves, toxic relationships, and a consistent worry about what people are saying about others. You are allowed to be yourself and have feelings no matter how bad life gets. For me, it was going to therapy to get over several bitchy choir girls that attempted to spread false rumors about me to my entire high school, which made my senior year unbearable. Too many changes and negative experiences in my life came too soon and I didn't know what to do. Find support where none is given and don't be ashamed to get help from a therapist.
4. Just because someone hurt you, doesn't mean you have to hit back twice as hard
You may have heard this once before, but it's the little things that make a difference. That doesn't necessarily matter but could make a difference in forming your opinion. Decide what is worth acting on and the tough comments you have to swallow or move on. Everything isn't a competition or a power struggle. Two wrongs don't make a right. It is important to always be the bigger person.
5. Be done with playboysKhoman Room x Rahkeem photo by Khoman Room (@khomanroom) on Unsplash
It's a phrase ladies have heard time and time again, but this time I mean it indefinitely. In high school, I was always a playboys focus of coping homework, being cheated off of, or texting, Snapchatting or calling at the last hour. Playboys are toxic because they never take you seriously and always manipulate. Personally, I've encountered enough manipulative people in my life where I don't have time to wait until the last second to reply to something. After I lost all of my friends my senior year of high school, I began talking to a guy I added on Snapchat one day. One thing led to another and we began FaceTiming every night. I slowly realized I was being manipulated by him asking what I was wearing and everything about what I was doing. At the time, my confidence was at an all-time low and I finally gained enough to cut off all ties with the guy. I blocked his number and on all my social media accounts. Now that I'm in college, life moves fast, and developing deep, meaningful relationships are important to me. There is nothing deep and meaningful about playboys. Know your self-worth.
6. Toxic people are doneStreet, mask, creative and man HD photo by Dmitry Ratushny (@ratushny) on Unsplash
The best songs on the reputation album that describe this point are, "So It Goes…" and "Getaway Car." Time's up for toxic people. People stay so long in toxic relationships because they think it will get better, and it never does. Life is too short to indefinitely with people that hurt you because you think that no one else will help you or be willing to make new friends. I shouldn't have stayed with a couple of my friends that kept excluding me from gatherings out of the blue. I shouldn't have kept talking to that one guy that insisted on knowing every detail about me life. I shouldn't have kept talking to that guy that insisted I sit on his lap in my high school physics class. I shouldn't have kept talking to that guy that put a condom on my desk and said that I should have sex with another guy in my high school physics class. In all of these cases, I should have left earlier, thinking that these people would be better than the other toxic people I ran into. Once you decide to all-time, you cut all ties. There's too much that we tolerate to make ourselves think that we are winning the game, when really its all about civility and respect. We all deserve more.
7. Continue to search for genuine, nice, and respectful people
This is easier said than done. Continue to search for genuine, nice, and respectful people. If we don't keep searching, we will feel that we have failed in making relationships. We must continue and make an effort towards people when all we may see are our own problems. I assure you there are nice people in this world, even though you may feel that everyone has failed you. We must be resilient.
8. We all need to care less about what others say about us
Taylor Swift's song, "Call it What You Want" relates to this point. In a nation full of ethical and unethical commentary, perceptions and opinions, it may seem hard not to care what others are saying about you constantly. However, when developing personal relationships, we expect people to talk about us a little at the least. But when this talk becomes gossipy and dangerously negative, we are forced to care a lot about what is being said. For example, I used to care a lot being said about me until I realized it was up to other people if they believed what was said.
I hope Taylor Swift's music has helped heal others and has created a more positive generation of role models. For these reasons, she will always be my spirit animal.
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