an open letter to Taylor Swift: you kinda, sorta played a hand in destroying my self respect

The first song of yours I’d ever heard was Teardrops on my Guitar. I was 14 and suffering from my first heartbreak and you crooned the words like you took them from my soul, and I believed the words you sang because you were beautiful, and you were everything I wanted to be and you put words to the pain I couldn’t and by damn was that tune catchy.

I’ll be she’s beautiful
That girl he talks about
And she’s got everything
That I have to live without…

She better hold him tight
Give him all her love
Look in those beautiful eyes
And know she’s lucky cause…

But looking back now, I hear how deranged those words sound. Putting so much pressure on someone else by basing your happiness on whether or not they love you is stupid. It’s vile, and beyond that, it’s insulting. Implying that the only reason this guy loves this other girl is cause she’s beautiful.

You really got into stride when I was in high school with You Belong with Me.

Again with the derogatory remarks towards other girls. Again with the snide references to being a guys girl like these kind of girls are just sooooo much cooler.

Cause she wears short skirts
I wear T-shirts
She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers.

Dreaming about the day when you wake up and find that
What you’re waiting for has been here the whole time
If you could see that I’m the one who understands you
Been here all along so why can’t you see
You belong with me

You gave me the idea that if I held on long enough, eventually the guy would come chasing me. Eventually he would realize that I was what he wanted.

You made me believe that in order to be loved I had to be the perfect guys girl. I had to be this asexual-non-interested-in-clothes-or-make-up-or-looking-even-remotely-feminine version of who I really was. You made me believe that I had to be the pathetic girl next door best friend who always forgave despite how much of a dick my best friend at that time was to me.

So because I believed you, I believed in this flawed logic… forever more, in all relationships, I pined. Wanting the so-called unattainable.

Self-respect self-destruct.

And then you came up with the drivel that was Superman.
You crooned about how this utter dick of a guy was perfect. And yea, I get it, nobody is perfect, everyone has flaws, even superheroes. Smart. Really deep.

Tall, dark and superman
He puts papers in his briefcase and drives away
To save the world or go to work
It’s the same thing to me
He’s got his mother’s eyes, his father’s ambition
I wonder if he knows how much that I miss him
I hang on every word you say, yay
And you smile and say, “How are you? ”
I say, “Just fine”
I always forget to tell you, I love you, I love you… forever

I watch superman fly away
You’ve got a busy day today
Go save the world, I’ll be around
I watch superman fly away
Come back I’ll be with you someday
I’ll be right here on the ground
When you come back down

Tall, dark and beautiful
He’s complicated, he’s irrational
But I hope someday you’ll take me away and save the day, yeah
Something in his deep brown eyes has me sayin’
He’s not all bad like his reputation
And I can’t hear one single word they say
And you’ll leave, got places to be and I’ll be OK
I always forget to tell you I love you, I loved you from the very first day

And I watch you fly around the world
And I hope you don’t save some other girl
Don’t forget, don’t forget about me
I’m far away but I never let you go
I’m lovestruck and looking out the window
Don’t forget, don’t forget where I’ll be
Right here wishing the flowers were from you
Wishing the card was from you
Wishing the call was from you

But you know what? I believed your words! And because I did I had no shred of self-respect. Falling in love with any boy at the drop of the hat. I finally realized how stupid and pathetic this was when the last guy I dated turned out to be exactly like your Superman.

I realized this last night, when I was at a club where my friend was DJ-ing and as I was leaving, I saw him making out with a girl I thought was my friend.
I realized how little respect I had for myself when I was dating him, and I realized how little he respected me because he said hi to me earlier in the evening, so he clearly knew I was there, but still, he chose to have his one night stand anyway.

I can’t blame him for the way he treated me because I literally threw myself out there for him to trample all over. He wanted the girl he saw in your words, and when he realized that I had this little thing called self respect because I refused to play nice on his birthday party when he expected me to show up and celebrate and act like all was fine when he hadn’t called or texted me for 2 days after I delivered dinner and cake for him to his roommates on his actual birthday because he was busy and though he was the one who said we were “clearly dating”, he decided that I was over-dramatic and psycho and made me feel bad about myself for knowing how I wanted to be treated, and knowing that I deserved to be treated better than that.

I’m not blaming you either. I can’t blame you. Not for my interpretation of your words.

But I hope that other little girls who grow up listening to you can read between the lines as I never could when I was younger. I hope they learn that there is more to life than having someone love you. I hope they realize that when the guy loves you, he won’t treat you like you’re invisible. He won’t be a dick, even if he inherently is. And I hope they realize that when he’s an ass, it’s through no fault of their own. It’s because he doesn’t respect himself or love himself either.

And it took me a hell of a long time to come to this realization, but it is my fervent hope that after a while, others will learn that their self worth shouldn’t be measured by how well they can measure up to your songs.

Ok, fine, maybe I’m blaming you a little because of how much I hated myself in puberty.
But you know, I hope you learn to respect yourself too. And the guys you write about.

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