Listening to: “All Too Well” (10 minute version). That’s a lie. I’m not actually listening to it at this moment. But I have exactly thrice since it dropped, which is the equivalent of an episode of television. (Side note: Imagine a Taylor Swift Show. Everyone wears plaid mini skirts, writes love notes in quaint cafes, and makes out in the rain. It is unbearably saccharine, yet irresistible.)
My mixed feelings for Taylor Swift date back to the “Tim McGraw” days. I even used her as an example in a recent piece of fixtures of the zeitgeist I’ve half-avoided. It never seemed worthwhile to explore or elaborate because my feelings were never strong enough in any one direction to make a case. And I think that’s the “case” in itself: she’s felt artistically noncommittal, and that elicits indifference from me. But this whole (Taylor’s version) release piqued my curiosity, and I think I’ve concluded that I am kinda-sorta-a-little-more-than-halfway Team Taylor.
I’ve come to find something endearing and relatable in her ongoing identity crisis. Every version of Taylor has been a visible stepping stone to who she is now, each a little shaky in their outward manifestation. You can tell that beneath the enormity of her celebrity is truly this woman who’s very much a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. And sure, she’s predictable, at times corny and platitudinous, but she fosters an everyday hopefulness that makes for objectively good pop, kinda like my man John Mayer. Wait, didn’t she date him? Anyway...
So I guess yeah I like Taylor Swift or whatever. It’s worth noting that I was partially resistant because she reminds me of the thin, rich, puritanical, AP calculus, field hockey girls from high school who were rude to me. But I refuse to let those bitches take any more from me than they did at 16. Taylor Swift makes me feel good. I want to feel good. Do you?
Listen to my (work in progress) Taylor Swift playlist “Bro, do you even have that James Dean daydream look in your eye?” on Spotify.
Feeling: Liberated, at least temporarily. I have deleted social media from my phone for the week, maybe longer if I’m feeling radical (still using Twitter on my laptop so I don’t go into full withdrawal). I know, we all hate the hiatus announcement. But maybe this will inspire you to clear your head.
I was home all weekend, nursing my sweet puppy who just got neutered and had stomach surgery. With him sedated by my side, my period cramps too violent to exercise or do much else, I found myself mindlessly scrolling more than ever.
Suddenly my explore page was filled with plastic surgery/aesthetic injection before and after shots. I couldn’t walk by a mirror without analyzing everything that’s wrong with me, everything that could be corrected for a handsome $10,000 and a 2-week fast. I’d also somehow managed to slide down a hidden rabbit hole of billionaires' daughters—these non-celebrity, non-influencer, literal teenage/20somethings of extraordinary wealth and beauty who party in Monaco and attend elite boarding schools in Switzerland. At this point, my head’s buzzing like I’m on the least fun upper known to modern pharmacology. I am desperate to come down. How did I even get here, this new frontier of shame and hysteria?
I think at a base level, we should do things that make us like ourselves more. So when I do this very easily avoidable thing that has a profoundly opposite effect, I am apt to say I should not do that anymore. Of course, my mood toward being online varies from week to week, i.e. sometimes I’m like “fuck it we ball” and scrolling doesn’t faze me, and sometimes I’m like “oh my god I can’t possibly consume any more content.” This weekend, I hit my worst extreme of the latter. Pulling the plug for a bit felt like the only viable option to take back some mental clarity.
Just Purchased: So, how do I overcome the urge to change myself while still being indulgent? I go on Sephora and get my skin in W I N T E R M O D E. I reupped two trusty products that I was out of: the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid. Then I snagged the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate because it’s about to get flaky in this bitch and mama needs oils. And lastly, I bought the Drunk Elephant A.M. Routine kit, solely because I love the C-Firma (which I know many find tacky/smelly/breakout-inducing). I was going to buy Youth to the People’s highly rated Vitamin C, but then I realized it’s not about what other people like! The Drunk Elephant gave me the brightest, firmest skin of my life and that’s a high that stays with you forever.
Just Watched: Dr. Strangelove. This is only my 3rd film in the Stanley Kubrick catalogue, but what a fun trip. I’ve been making a concerted effort to watch more movies lately. They do something wonderful to my brain.
Loving: Rachel Rabbit White and Nico Walker. I still haven’t read the veteran turned bank robber turned prison cell author’s breakout novel, Cherry, but I’ve been recently enraptured by their love. White is a poet and a former NYC escort. She’s been profiled by Vogue and Vanity Fair and I just love her commitment to decadence, all the lavish sex parties and glamour.
Nora Ephron long maintained that “everything is copy.” White ended her Vanity Fair piece, “Everything between us is sex.” She and Walker’s combined aesthetic and philosophy evokes a kind of 60s free love/hedonistic joie de vivre that I will never not want to read. And how metal is it that they’re currently living in Mississippi because Walker legally cannot travel north of Jackson? I plan to read both Cherry and her poetry book, Porn Carnival soon.