Taylor Swift. Taylor, Taylor, Taylor Swift. Swifty ole Tay-tay.
Dear, sweet Taylor Swift. You’ve taught us so much about men and break ups and bleachers. But you still have so much to learn — as do we. And we’ll all figure it out together. Don’t dismay, dear Taylor. We get you. Lots of us have been there.
In an interview with Wonderland magazine she said: “I have no idea if I’m going to get married or be single forever […] Relationships are like traffic lights. And I just have this theory that I can only exist in a relationship if it’s a green light.”
I had to double check every single episode of Sex and the City to make sure that Carrie hadn’t already used that simile. Aiden’s light was Kermit green. But Big’s light was yellow. And I didn’t know how long I could sit in traffic.
None of us know but most of us know that none of us know, you know? I went to a palm reader once and she told me a man was going to buy me an apartment and that I used to be Marilyn Monroe. She didn’t know. And I knew it.
There’s a certain excitement and wonder that comes with not knowing who we’ll meet or fall in love with or marry or when. And there’s also a certain dread and fear about it. And I think most of us fall somewhere in between — that is, those of us who want to find love and want to get married, because not everybody does. Does it seem like society forgets this? Does it occur to anyone that maybe the reason Taylor Swift always seems to talk about her love life is because everyone always asks her?
I think a lot of young women of our generation don’t feel pressured to get married just yet. I think the main pressure we feel is from our parents to move out of their houses and find “real jobs.” Whatever, dad, majoring in playwriting seemed like a great idea at the time. I was living in New York in the village; it would have been stupid not to. (While typing that sentence, it took me three tries to spell playwriting correctly, true story.)
So I don’t feel pressured to get married. But I do feel pressured to find love and claw my way out of singledom. And I feel that pressure is from one person only — me. And I don’t know why. I don’t know why I can’t be 100% happy with myself. When I have a job I love, I’m frustrated with my love life. When I’m single, I’m frustrated with my career. Why do I link the two? What the hell is wrong with me? My friends say I should act my age. What’s my age again? What’s my age again? (I think the problem is that I break out into Blink-182 lyrics, even in writing.)
Dear, sweet Taylor: who cares if you’re single forever? I mean that in an empowering way. Why do people care? Stop asking Taylor Swift about her relationships. SHE TELLS US HERSELF. She tells us in every song.
The goal shouldn’t be to get married or to avoid being single forever. And I think Taylor realizes that. I think we all realize that, but sometimes we forget. We forget to stop looking forward and take a look around us where we are, right now. We don’t know what will happen and we don’t have to know. Repeat after me: we don’t have to know. And just a reminder that as hackneyed as it is, single or married, we should love ourselves just the way we are.
Nina Leen, Bill Ray, J. R. Eyerman, for LIFE Magazine.