I’ll never admit this to my 11-year-old daughter, but until recently everything about Taylor Swift irritated me. I didn’t have a legitimate reason for the intense feelings of dislike that washed over me every time I heard her music or even her name. I simply couldn’t stand the superstar. Not one bit.
A few months back, I was watching one of the bajillion music award shows, when the cameras focused on Ms. Swift as she danced enthusiastically while another group performed on stage.
Rolling my eyes I huffed to my husband,
“That girl bugs. I mean would you look at her … drawing all that attention to herself as if she doesn’t get enough of it already … seriously, just look at her bopping around, waving her arms, wearing that red lipstick …”
The answer hit me. I knew exactly why Taylor Swift annoyed me and it had NOTHING to do with her and EVERYTHING to do with the condition of my heart.
I was jealous.
Good gracious that’s a painful sentence to type. But it’s true. Envy green as grass covered me, but it was hard for me to recognize it at first. It was easier to rename my jealousy as “righteous annoyance” and assign the blame to Taylor Swift. Not being able to readily pinpoint the root of my jealousy also made it more difficult to identify the ugly feeling. I didn’t covet her fame and I’m too realistic to even dare aspire to her level of wealth, so what was it?
Her ability to live in the moment and embrace what she loves and who she is without apologizing for it later.
Confidence without arrogance.
The belief that I’m worth enough to express my opinions, ideas, and dreams even if other people think they’re wacky.
The ability to be less tucked in and more bold.
The strength to kick shame in the gut and not second-guess every decision.
The courage to not apologize for being the woman God created me to be.
And why in the world did it take the red lipstick to help me piece it all together?
Because back in the 90’s my lips looked fabulous in the shade of candied apples. I’m not sure what changed, but the older I get the subtler my lipstick gets. This has nothing to do with self-doubt. It’s a matter of fact: my face looks better when highlighted with softer hues.
I don’t begrudge Taylor for being able to carry off a color that used to look good on me, but the lipstick reminded me that I’ve spent the better part of 40 years editing my true personality instead of embracing it. I was jealous that at 25, Taylor Swift is allowing herself the freedom that I refused to give myself at that age.
That’s what bugged me.
Not sweet, free-spirited Taylor Swift who loves her fans and her mama (whom my daughter and I are praying for every night), but my own fears I avoided facing for far too long.
Ironically, I was jealous of the very thing that I could have all the time if I didn’t do such a stellar job of talking myself out of it.
This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” – Isaiah 48:17-18