I was the guest on an episode of Swoonstep this week.  It’s a podcast where women talk about their musical crushes, which is cool because I have a million of those, and it’s run by some people from The Singles Jukebox, which I blurb for sometimes.  I haven’t listened to the episode because I’m pretty sure I don’t need to hear my anxiety voice, and because I forgot to mention Brantley Gilbert.  But you can listen if you want.

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On Saturday I was walking up McGill College and saw a team of workmen putting lights on all the trees in the median.  Not for Christmas, for the end of Daylight Savings.  I like those lights, they make the it’s-dark-at-five business less soul-sucking.

On Halloween evening I went for a run, realizing a little ways in that it was maybe not the best idea to go out at trick-or-treating prime time.  But I was mostly on deserted streets, and when I wasn’t there were all these adorable youths.  One was dressed as a bottle of hot sauce?  Also plenty of Frozen characters.  I got back to my apartment and checked my phone to find a text that said ‘Did you know Halloween candy is already on sale at Super C?’ so I immediately left again and got some.  FITNESS IS A LIFESTYLE

But for real, it’s nice to be able to run again; I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago which was a less-fun time.  Having an injury made me feel like a real jock.

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let’s get sincere about taylor swift

Origin stories?  The beginning?  I am sixteen, sitting in the back of a summer-camp van, and when a song comes on the radio a dozen teenagers groan.  “What is this?” I asked, and they all said,

“Taylor Swift.”

Then I’m the kind of 17-year-old who reads thinkpieces but I don’t really care because I just want to watch the “You Belong With Me” video a bunch and listen to it on repeat as I defrost the freezer.

And a couple years pass, it’s spring 2012 and one night I want to watch some music videos and that’s how it starts for real.

Six months later, I’ll send Shannan a link to “All Too Well” with only the line ‘taylor swift is getting sadder and I LOVE IT.’  I hadn’t listened to most of Speak Now at this point, forgive me.

Summer 2013 and I’m crying in my kitchen listening to “Last Kiss” because that’s a cold-summer song if ever there was one.  And–I tried listing some places I cried to Taylor Swift but I mean–it was all the places.  It was all the songs.  I still can’t bear to get all the way through “Sad Beautiful Tragic.”  I’m not so much a crier these days but ‘you’ve got your demons and darlin’ they all look like me’ makes me feel like my heart is shutting down.

The thing about Taylor Swift The Artist is her pain is your pain, but sometimes her joy is your joy.”  That’s it, that’s why I haven’t read any reviews of 1989, why I’m not even interested in what the music writers I follow have to say.  The first time I listened through the album was with Rebecca and we were both mostly catatonic with love and I said some really dumb stuff, like ‘This album sounds familiar because it’s been living in my heart,’ like ‘This makes me want to take risks and live my best life.’  But it does, and I do!

Taylor said that 1989 was the album that comes when you pick yourself up and you’re okay, and not to be all that’s-my-life, because there were no breakups here, but.  I’m okay and I am finally clean and big sweeping chords, I got that red lip classic thing that you like, I really do, we’re too busy dancing. It’s wistfulness removed from the old pain and what a relief it is to know that you were in pain but you’re not any more.  Like ‘This Love.’

And maybe it’s ridiculous to feel so attached to an album that’s so huge, biggest sales week of the year, Taylor Swift is a corporation, but she only became this popular by connecting with people (and writing brilliant hooks) so it would be a disservice to lie, and pointless.

Mostly the way I’ve put it the past couple days–or weeks I guess, since “Out of the Woods” came out–is I’m losing my mind.  Once I wrote a poem with that line and it was very dark because I thought I was actually losing my mind but this is nice, this is like my head is drifting off my neck out of sheer joy.  Last month I was answering ‘What celebrity would you like to meet?’ and I started to say Taylor and then changed it because I don’t need to meet her; it feels like I already know her.  Maybe that sounds creepy but she’d get it, she’d know I mean I lived with her words and her voice and let them into my heart, she’d know I love her music with the purest kind of love, the love you have for something that saved you.

1989 is amazing, let’s listen to it together instead of talking.

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Last Sunday I was out on a lake in a canoe and I wrote a haiku.  It went like this:

at least the geese know

where they belong in the world

and how to get there

The syllables are off now, I see, but I didn’t have paper at the time, I just told the girl who was with me in the canoe and then hours later we tried to remember it.

I spent a lot of time over the summer trying to figure out what people’s ‘things’ were. Like a thing about them that allows you to figure out other parts of their personality, like a key. A personality key. It was a way to pass the time.

Mine was easy; it was sadness. My thing was that I was always sad so I looked for things to distract myself: books, pop music, asking acquaintances about their hopes and dreams.

But now I’m not sad and I don’t know what my thing is anymore. Actually, it’s become clear that there is a lot I don’t know about myself anymore.  Introspection, lack of self-awareness, etc etc etc, but: do you ever just think, who have I become, and what will I be next?

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Last year I wrote “Maybe sadness is the longest relationship I will ever have.”

But I am not sad now, so in this break or perhaps break-up I wanted to make a list.

Things Depression Has Given Me:

one million sadness lipsticks

a streamlined cleaning regimen (stopped washing my face in 2011. stopped washing my hair for a couple months this year.)

loss of emotions that used to take up the wrongest space in me, like bad vanity

a couple half-finished young-adult novels

better listening skills, better empathy, better sincerity

so much practice going to therapy

the ability to stand at the automatic hand-dryer until my hands are absolutely dry

many ‘…and then I started crying’ anecdotes

a lot of black v-necks

the desperation to take far-away jobs in the hope that sadness is geographical
it’s not

Big Time Rush, iCarly, Vin Diesel, One Direction, Sarah Dessen

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I am ready to swing for the fences.  I’m ready to be a body and a mind, to own all the parts of me that are embarrassing or ugly, and I’m ready to admit that most of me is not embarrassing or ugly and I deserve a life that isn’t either.

The thing is that Ryan Adams only reminds me of Elizabethtown, but I didn’t hate that movie the first time I saw it and I didn’t hate it the tenth; actually I love it.  A swing and a miss is still a swing.

I’ve said before that beginnings are the scariest part, that I don’t like to write about them while they’re happening because it’s too painful to look back on, at the end.  So you can just imagine it all here, the feeling of reemergence, fear and giddiness, a heart pumping blood.

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A few days ago I went for a run along St Antoine, through St Henri and then past it, where the road merges with St Jacques and goes up a hill and you can look out at the tangle of highways.  It was late evening and the view was incredibly moving, so much more beautiful than I expected.  And then I walked through NDG some and took the metro home.

A bunch of nice things have happened.  I’m having a good week.  It’s unsettling, even though most all of my weeks are good these days.  The only times I’ve cried in like the past month were when I was thinking about how sad I used to be.

It was so hard, and now it isn’t.  I went on a field trip last weekend and it wasn’t even that stressful, after a while, and I got to sit in a canoe and write some haikus in someone else’s notebook, and people laughed at my jokes, because I can make jokes.  I feel nervous a lot, mostly about the future, but also hopeful, and the hope makes me more nervous.  That’s it.

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