Let Taylor Swift be your inspiration for learning from your mistakes
There’s been a lot of Taylor Talk lately — and rightly so. Her latest album is amazing, has already sold over a million copies (record breaking!) and is the only thing I’ve been listening to in the car, in the shower, right now . . . you get the idea. But as with any celebrity in the spotlight, people have good and bad things to say about her.
Like hipsters and selfies, Taylor Swift is one of those things that is on trend to hate; and that’s because she’s an easy target. In addition to the bogus cries of “she’s not that talented” or “I’m just so over her,” it’s also possible to pick out any number of things she sang or said when she was younger that could be considered problematic. But years later, you can pick out just as many instances where she’s righted those wrongs.
In fact, looking back at some of Taylor’s old ways compared to her new, it’s clear that she is the perfect role model for making mistakes, owning them, and growing from them. Because let’s be real, we all make mistakes, the important thing is that we learn from them.
Let’s start with her biggest one: feminism.
In 2012, when asked if she was a feminist, Taylor answered,
This set a lot of people off, and for good reason. Sure she’s describing equality, but it’s a misunderstanding of feminism and an oversight of a lot of realities! I remember being really upset that someone whose music was so empowering to me was so against that feeling of empowerment, or at least didn’t seem ready to talk about it.
But then just this summer, she hit us with this:
Ugh NAILED IT.
Sometimes the changes and righting of her wrongs is a little more subtle. Many of them can be spotted in the maturing of her music and the growth of her lyrics. In “Picture To Burn,” on her 2006 album Taylor Swift, one lyric originally went “Go and tell your friends that I’m obsessive and crazy. That’s fine. I’ll tell mine you’re gay.” Not great.
But then in “Welcome to New York,” a personal fave from 1989, she sings, “You can want who you want, boys and boys and girls and girls.” Total growth and super important growth at that.
Another line people often point to when discrediting Taylor is in “You Belong With Me” when she sings, “She wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts.” This is part of a bigger theme of her early work that seemed to paint sexuality as something other or even shameful. In “Better Than Revenge,” Taylor spends the entire song tearing down another girl, repeatedly saying, “She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress.”
Her acknowledgement and support of sex is a subtle but important change on this new album that doesn’t appear in any other. Her line “I got that good girl faith and a tight little skirt” from “Style” seems to be a direct response to the infamous line in “You Belong With Me.” In “Wildest Dreams” she sings, “I said, ‘No one has to know what we do.’ His hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room. And his voice is a familiar sound, nothing lasts forever. But this is getting good now.”
Taylor embracing sexuality isn’t necessarily righting a wrong, what it is is a growing up. She gives herself the space to evolve.
Basically, Taylor’s gonna do Taylor. She’s making mistakes and learning from them, and growing up and changing her mind, just like every other human on this planet. If Taylor can do it with millions of eyes on her, you can grow from your own mistakes every single day and you have the right to change your mind about things too. Don’t worry, no matter what’s going on, you’ll be out of the woods soon.