Thank You, Taylor Swift, For Being The Big Sister My Generation Needed

Thank You, Taylor Swift, For Being The Big Sister My Generation Needed

"I wish I'd known that at fifteen."

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The first time I heard Taylor Swift, I thought nothing of her. She was just another "grown-up" singer my seven-year-old self paid no attention to when an icon such as Hannah Montana was there to bop to.

Soon after, I would think much differently. I would go out of my way to buy the physical copy of each of her albums (even when it was free on Spotify.) I would find out what shade of red lipstick she wore so we could match. And I would even go so far as to get bangs in the same style as hers.

Years after my obsessive fangirl stage fizzled out, Taylor has become somewhat of a friend, if not a role model. No, we are not catching up about our crazy lives (her more so than mine) over a cup of coffee, but I feel as if I almost know her.

In times when the world was uncharted territory to me, Taylor had already explored it.

She was the one to tell me what it felt like to fall in love.

She was the one to tell me what it felt like to go through heartbreak.

She was the one to tell me I sometimes have to be the one to say "sorry."

She was the one to tell me I still had time to grow up.

Sure, she has her rough times, but don't we all? We would be fooling ourselves if we pretended we didn't all go through the iconic breakup stages of grief, anger, and pure envy. Taylor is just more comfortable sharing her experiences with these things.

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I have recently heard of parents preventing their daughters from listening to Taylor's music because of the less-than-model-citizen content in each song. I respect this decision. In fact, if I were a parent, I would likely do the same.

Even so, I think there's something to be said about how her public self-improvement can be a helpful image for girls of my generation, as well as those younger.

When Taylor was singing about "never ever getting back together," I had yet to even go on my first date. That didn't mean I wasn't taking notes on her experience. I saw her mistake in going back to a bad relationship, and I knew I should avoid such a situation when I did begin dating.

Much like a big sister, Taylor went through the murky waters first, making the path a little clearer for when the rest of us followed behind. This is not to say the trail of heartbreak was nonexistent, but it was traveled along with fewer problems. And when trouble did come, I was not alone. Instead, I had big sis Tay's playlist to drown out the drama of my teenage life.

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Over the years, I have watched as Taylor's image and music evolved from one of dissatisfaction in relationships to one of hope in herself as an individual, friend, and potentially a girlfriend. In a way, I feel as if my fellow college girls and I are taking a similar path, finding who we are before trying to find someone else.

At nineteen, I can now look back on most songs and relate it to a past experience. (I don't know if it's just me, but "Teardrops on My Guitar" just screams "seventh-grade crush.") At the same time, I look at songs like "New Year's Day" and "Delicate" and dream of the day when I will feel that way about someone.

Taylor Swift has changed a bit over the years, but so have I. Much like her, I have let the bangs grow out and learned there are lipstick shades other than "firetruck red." I have had a boyfriend, and I have been alone. I have learned to lean on my own "girl squad," and I have decided I have better things to do than draw hearts around some guy's yearbook photo. (Don't pretend like your middle-school self never did it too.)

Most importantly, I have learned I can always bounce back.

Heartbreaks are going to happen.

Friendships may get ugly.

Life may hit me out of nowhere.

But no worries. Taylor got through it, so I think I will too.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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