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What Taylor Swift can teach us about Shaking it off

As a black woman with a universal taste in music, I often find inspiration in diverse places. Often in discussions with many of my friends and clients, I ask, "So what's your current favorite album?" or "What have you been listening to the most lately?"

I can count on one hand the number of times I've run into other Swifties in person (fans who enjoy and cherish mostly every Taylor Swift album). When discussing Taylor Swift, oftentimes conflicting feelings may come up from various folks who wish to discuss the sometimes problematic views of white feminism, and privilege, however, this is not about that. Music generally has the power to heal, inspire, motivate, and help us connect with parts of ourselves that we sometimes forget about until the right moment. Sometimes the most valuable lessons come from the most unlikely of places.

In the past few years, Taylor has single-handedly become one of my favorite artists simply because her albums have been literary fantasies transporting many of us to different times, places, and experiences that are not our own but somehow also relatable. Folklore & Evermore took me to the lake cabin in the woods secluded from time and people, much like Covid did, however, the album felt cozy just like her hit song "Sweater". Midnights created a haze-filled environment that felt like either just arriving at the club, the late-night drive home, or staring up at the stars thinking of all of the possibilities that may or may not come true. Lavender Haze, Labyrinth, Bejeweled, Snow on the Beach are some of my favorites. Most recently I started listening to The Tortured Poets Department and so far it feels intimate like lounging in your lover's white t-shirt but also emotional, like a late night of pillow talking about feelings previously unshared.

There's one thing that Taylor's music teaches us about vulnerability is that its okay to bare oneself and emotions, thoughts, dreams, and fears through our art, however we decide to share ourselves with the world. After breakups, failures, or embarrassments it's okay to find glimmers of light in the darkness and let go of who we used to be, or whoever thinks we are. As children, we could play pretend and imagine the ideal scenario that's fitting for us at the moment inspired by our creativity or making sense out of the world around us. After we've cried all that we can, or hidden away from the world we can still shake it off and find meaning in our experiences. This is why I love music and I'm thankful for the labor of love that any artist is able to share with us, the listeners and the main characters who sometimes feel like our own lives are boring or mundane. Taylor's music reminds me of how magical even the saddest of moments can be when it comes to storytelling.

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