To be honest, I’m just being dramatic—Taylor Swift’s new image is not as tragic as I’m making it seem. Still, I can’t shake the feeling I got the moment I realized that this could be a metaphor for my life, and maybe even adulthood in general. The happy-go-lucky 13-year-old that I was when I started relying on Taylor to cater to my hormonal delusions of love is gone. The precious and innocent music videos that I grew up watching have changed into angry grabs for attention, accompanied by lyrics that wouldn’t have cured my 15-year-old heartbreaks.  

I understand that artists need to grow and the media did a good job of showing us that she clearly went through something big enough to lead her to this point. My issue is not with her growth, or even the direction she’s moved in. Her new, cynical and legitimately vengeful persona was comical at first, and maybe even cringeworthy. “Look What You Made Me Do” caused some serious discomfort, but I can admit that it wouldn’t have bothered me as much if the song had been released by someone else. I would even go as far as saying that “...Ready For It?” is an alright song. It’s mostly just the shock of Taylor’s abrupt shift in image that put me off at first.

I’d like to think that I understand why she felt the need to make it known that she isn’t just the sweet girl-next-door that writes tell-all songs anymore. She may not be as sweet as she appeared publically, and perhaps she did get what was coming to her. However, we as the public have no idea who artists are outside of what they choose to show to us. The point is, we don’t know and we really don’t get to make those assumptions on our own. I never concerned myself with what she was doing in her private life, as I liked her because of the music she was creating. I never cared that it was basic, because it was exactly what I needed.  

Even though teenage heartbreak seems trivial to the rest of the world, I think we all know that it doesn’t feel trivial while it’s happening. I always appreciated the lighthearted aspect Taylor Swift brought to most of her breakup songs. Songs like “Mean” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” obviously have a story behind them, and even though the context of the songs may be unpleasant, she was able to spin them in a positive way. And if she could, it meant that I could too.

This piece became a little deeper than I was expecting it to, especially because I never thought of her as my go-to—she was always just there. Even now, I wouldn’t put her on the list of my favourite artists. I never went to any concerts or actually purchased her CDs. Yet, she was still always there when I needed her, saying just the right words that I needed to get through the “heartbreak” of the week. Perhaps I took it for granted, considering how unsettled I’ve been towards this. I never thought of the possibility of her expanding and changing, as most artists that I grew up with have done already—albeit less drastically.

I can say that I am truly looking forward to seeing what reputation (2017) brings. From a completely optimistic standpoint, this might be Taylor’s chance to break out from the boy-crazy box she’s been in, and honestly that might not be so bad for me either.  

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