Fireweed dots the landscape on Skyline Trail on Sunday, August 16, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Fireweed dots the landscape on Skyline Trail on Sunday, August 16, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Tangled Up in Blue: Something about Taylor Swift

I had an interesting style during my middle and high school years, to put it softly. I showed up to school photos sporting a bowl cut, mountains of black eyeliner and a “Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols” T-shirt.

I colored the bottom of my very short hair purple and sometimes put safety pins through my pierced ears. I had a particularly punk style, adored the emo band My Chemical Romance and adamantly, vehemently hated Taylor Swift.

I found it funny to poke fun at the country singing, pop hit making teen star. She rose up the charts and each step of the way, I decidedly disliked her more. When I was forced to listen to her music at school dances or on the radio, I wouldn’t hold back in lamenting how much I disliked the young icon.

Now, though, I look back at all that wasted time that I could’ve spent listening to Taylor Swift. I’ve changed, my environment has changed, and with every classic rock icon I idolized in my youth as my witness I decree, I love Taylor Swift.

Her latest album “Folklore” has been playing on repeat through my car and home speakers. I dissect the album with friends over dinner, rating the songs on a scale from “good” to “amazing.” I drove to and from McCarthy with just “Lover” by Taylor Swift to listen to.

I ordered a giant plush blanket with her face on it as a gift for a friend and I’m patiently awaiting the arrival of my limited edition, vinyl copy of the Betty’s Garden edition of “Folklore.”

I wasn’t a fan yet when “1989” came out, but thankfully, I’m out of the woods and enjoying the wonderland of great songs on her, so far, magnum opus.

I never saw this coming, but I have to admit it to myself. It’s clear as day. I was wrong.

I know that’s a hard thing to admit in matters larger than Taylor Swift, but if you had told a younger me I would be singing, “You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess,” unabashedly in my car as I drove through the downtown, windows rolled down, I would shoot the angstiest of scoffs in your direction.

But, people change, their environments change, their thoughts change, their tastes change. One afternoon on a particularly long drive, I had no choice in the music. We listened to Taylor and I swiftly became a fan.

Now, I look back at myself in high school and wonder how I could have ever owned that much makeup. I still listen to My Chemical Romance and the bands of my youth, but I do it without judgment for other bands. It turns out, growing up can be fun, and has an exciting soundtrack.

One day, you may look at the world around you and realize that everything turned out completely different, but the only thing that’s really changed is you.

While driving from Sterling to Cooper Landing this week, with “invisible string” by Taylor Swift over the car speakers, I looked at the ravaged landscape that I once loved running through, now destroyed by fires.

And I saw the growth and change. Pink fireweed covered the black ground, and the sun shone strongly onto the barren landscape, feeding energy to that change.

Whatever decisions we make in this lifetime, we’re not bound by them for eternity. And boy, am I grateful for that because I really do love listening to Taylor Swift.


For the Clarion

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