Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Letter to the Taylor Swift Generation

Dear Sisters,
When I think of Taylor Swift I think that she is beautiful, talented, passionate about women, and an influential figure in the lives of girls in the teens and twenty-somethings.  When I was in college she was just emerging on to the music scene with some sad songs dealing with break-ups and some really sweet and happy songs about being in love.  As I watched her career evolve I have seen her shift from the hope of a fairytale romance to writing a songs dedicated to a nameless ex-boyfriend who did her wrong and at first I enjoyed with glee as I too have wished to rip and ex apart in such a public way.  But the more she went on to write a song about yet another ill-fated romance the more I started to cringe.

I started seriously dating at 21, which is really late by most standards.  But I was pretty shy and a bit of a late bloomer so it took me that long to feel confident enough to put myself out there.  Also as a Christian girl I felt very aware of the fact that in order to maintain my purity while dating I needed to be strong in myself before entering such a confusing and emotionally charged stage of life.  I found my husband by the end of my 23rd year, but I crammed a lot in those years.  One thing I can say as I look back on those years is that I was Taylor.  Every time one of my dating relationships ended I didn't write a "pay-back" song but I did verbally eviscerate every one of them.  Tearing these guys to shreds believing myself to be justified because they had "done me wrong" in some way.  I was really proud of myself too, no I wasn't making millions with my fiery words, but it felt good that I could just say whatever I wanted and never have to see them again.

Taylor Swift said in an interview with 60 Minuets that she believes she is responsible for "raising the next generation" through her music.  Which don't get me wrong much of her music is positive and lovely.  But I have a problem with these "revenge" songs.  My problem is how being like this makes you feel later.  Years later. I look back on all the conversations I used to be so proud of and I am so ashamed and dissapointed with myself.  Because those bad habits have made their way into my marriage.  When my husband and I have an argument my vicious tongue comes out and I can say some hurtful things.  The problem with that is that I love my husband and it's not like I'm not going to see him ever again, I live with him!

What I wish I would have done when I was dating is be graceful.  Not in like a good coordination kind of way but in offering that person a forgiving hand.  (Or in the very least kept my mouth shut!)  Because dating is what it is, you get hurt and you also hurt others too, not matter how hard you try not to, it's the risk you take when you're looking for love.  However, you hurt and get hurt when you're married too.  It's not like that goes away! And there is always going to be an opportunity to handle being hurt by slicing down your spouse or handle your hurt with grace.  I will tell you that giving grace feels so much better and eviscerating leaves you both hurting later.

As I prepare to have a daughter in just a few weeks I know that I am responsible for guiding her as best I can to be a beautiful person on the inside out.  I just want her to learn from my mistakes and forgive and offer grace all the time.  We all need to be forgiven, we all need understanding from others because we are all constantly making mistakes.  Girls, dating is hard.  I get that.  I know what it is to be cry like a baby in your mom's arms at 21 years old.  But for your own well being and for the health of your future relationships, don't be like me, have your cry but hold your tongue and give grace instead of a biting word.  Hugs to all!