October 25, 2016

The Science of Taylor Swift

I don't know what's more disturbing: The fact that I can still relate to 16 year old Taylor Swift or that I still wish I had an acoustic guitar to lay in bed and cry with. BTW - I couldn't come up with a catchy blog title, so it's random and weird, I know. 

It's hard to believe that it's been TEN years since Taylor came onto the scene writing about what it was like to be uncool, lame, and passed over by all the guys for the popular pretty chicks. 

The formula was nothing new, it has played out in numerous teen flicks and coming of age stories. In music though, many of the young stars were people you wanted to be because they were so beautifully cool and unattainable. Swift switched the game up to the point where you didn't aspire to be her, you were already her! She wasn't a perfect star or figure, she was below average just like the rest us dweebs. It was truly life altering for a lot of the teens my age back then. We were past the Disney Princess age and realized love wasn't as easy to gain as TV made it out to be. Taylor gave us hope and made us believe in real life fairytales again. That we, too, could end up with the great guy and live happily ever after. If Taylor could, so could I. The marketing science was quite genius! She was a mixture of Avril Lavigne (melancholy) and Carrie Underwood (sweet country twang). 

For a few years, I was a die hard Swifty. I have acted out her music videos far too many times in my bedroom. Oh, if my walls could talk! Now the times have changed and she's no longer the Taylor I fell in love with. Today, any new Taylor gets an automatic skip from me and after 2011 I swiftly gave up my Swifty membership. Adult Taylor grew up and became something else that I just don't care for. She's not a 16 year old anymore but I'm still stuck in a time capsule, per usual. Anyway, here are my favorite Taylor Swift songs:

You Belong With Me - At the end of the music video, Taylor takes off her glasses, puts on a fancy dress and wins the guy who she's been in love with forever. Can you say superhuman?? When I take off my glasses and I'm blind. If I put on a fancy dress my brother would look at me and ask "WTF are you doing?". 

Love Story - Taylor tackles Shakespeare AND Hawthorne, can we appreciate how literary and well read she is? Romeo, Juliet, and The Scarlet Letter wrapped up in one. Forget English class, the point is Taylor fought against her parents and society for her true love. Why did Bob Dylan win the Nobel Prize for Literature when there's The Swift? Seriously, I remember crying my eyes out when I first heard this song. The feels. All the teenage feels. 

Back to December - Truly her best song, in my opinion. It reminds me of autumn/winter and running away from relationships. Two of my favorite things! 

I'm still trying to master the legendary perfect single tear drop cry, but then I lose it...

October 24, 2016

Not Fitting In and Other Things I'm Good At

I’m in a mid-20’s crisis. I’m avoiding the word millennial in this piece because of the rampant controversy and judgement that comes with it. I digress...I feel like I’m 14 all over again because I don’t know where I belong in the world. If I had to pick a clique to eat lunch with, all the 20 somethings would passive aggressively flash their “You Can’t Sit With Us” coffee mugs at me during their conversations about intersectionalism and world peace. Once I became a true and seasoned 20 something this past June, I thought things were going to be sweet. I’d get to mingle at Trader Joe’s, peruse the aisles of Whole Foods while munching on exquisite cheeses from exotic places called Mozzarella, and buy one of a kind stuff from Etsy...But, broke! I have never set foot in a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and Etsy gives my non-existent bank account heart palpitations. Did I truly believe this would happen? Nah, but it was nice to dream about it.

I’ve tried to stop by Panera Bread’s drive through on my way home using my iPhone’s GPS (even though I already know the way home). I’ve tried to sit at home for hours on end binge watching whatever seemingly deep TV show on Netflix. Excluding Stranger Things, I binged watched that awesome shit, so what? I have tried pondering life while listening to NPR and feeling like a conscious intellectual. Honestly, it’s just not me. To be fair, these are all stereotypes, of course not all 20 somethings are like this, but many of the ones who I’ve met are. After a decently pleasant conversation I get, “So, do you watch Dr. Who? Are you on Tumblr? Anime??? NPR??? The Office???? Cats??? Mason Jars??? Obscure movie references??? VEGAN??????” and when I respond no, they seem disappointed.  I guess we don’t have much in common afterall. I feel bad, because then I feel subpar. I feel like I’m not as stimulating as other 20 somethings, I’m not up there with the elites. Oh, look here I am whining about my place in the world, another stereotype!

I love nerdy people, their quirks, their intricacies because I, too, am a nerd. But what kind of nerd am I? Eye.Dee.Kay. I just like being me. I like to sing and dance badly in my car, I like to make people laugh, I enjoy good, thought provoking conversation, I love learning, imagining, exploring people and ideas. I love my blackness, my hair, my speech. I like short fiction and essays, I can read a couple books per year and be content. I like ‘low class’ shopping at Walmart. I feel like many of the nerdy 20 Somethings have formed this force field against society. Nerdy adults were probably nerdy children who were deemed outcasts due to their lack of interest in popular things/hobbies. In order to protect themselves, they have created their own little world to be with like-minded nerdy people where they can be themselves and enjoy similar interests. As with all social groups, at some point the minority becomes the majority, even if it’s only temporary. I believe people have noticed this sub-culture and are beginning to latch onto it. The nerdy, quirky, Dr. Who-ligan is the average 20 something these days. People seem to be latching on to “otherness” to feel or seem unique, in reality, like I said, the minority is becoming the majority.

I said all that to say, I’m looking for a place to belong. People say it doesn’t matter about belonging and it’s ok to go against the grain and be an individual, but at this point in my life, I want people to relate to. I can’t say I truly want more  friends because that would mean maintaining relationships, and I’m not sure if I’m ready for that commitment! I just want to be around people who are not like me and we’re ok not being like each other. Just because I'm not into something you're into doesn't mean we won't get along! Teach me about you and what makes you different, I LOVE THAT! Let's build relationships where we respect one another and don’t think differently of one another if we’re not on the same page. At least we’re still in the same book. Romantically, I’m always attracted to nerdy and corny guys, but I always fear I won’t be interesting to them because of all the reasons above. Sigh.

I know the young folks of America are an eclectic group, most of this in jest. Young people have a bad rep enough as it is, even though we are wonderful people. There’s so many different kinds of 20 somethings, I’m sure there are some that are like me and enjoy differences...I guess we’ll have to leave the comfort of our laptops and Netflix accounts to discover one another. Welp...