Family Life

My Taylor is rich … and her revenge is swift

Apart from the wealth and the fame maybe Taylor Swift and my daughter have much in common ...

When I’m in a writing frame of mind, in the minutes before I actually sit down at my computer desk everything feeds into the words that will follow.

My writing mind is a blender, and everything I see, hear, touch, smell and even taste is thrown into that perspex and steel Satanic mill.

Old thoughts and new refections, yesterday’s complications and this morning’s fresh sensations all whirr around together … faster and faster.

But blenders crush, whip and lacerate, and every ingredient is soon caught up in the tornado effect generated by the violently spinning stainless steel blades. Each separate element is barbarically shredded and stripped of its individuality as it combines with all the others in one spineless, colourful gloop that gathers beneath the blades and is pushed up around the sides of the appliance.

To be consumed.

I’m a pottering and a pondering as I clean up last night’s debris in the kitchen and prepare my cereal, toast and coffee.

The Sunday supplements are always there, begging to be picked up in order to put off the writing. Even though I can’t wait to get started …

This morning, just before my coffee I picked up an article on Taylor Swift. Now I cannot name a Taylor Swift song, just have some half-formed ideas of songs snarking at old boyfriends, her vast army of swooning gal pals, often famous too, and presenting herself as some kind of post-feminist power girl. Or something. And she’s in Dublin soon.

Here it all was in one easily digestible article, so I could first of all see if I could give enough of a f### about said Taylor to get beyond the first paragraphs.

The article, in the Irish Times’ Ticket magazine, by a Jennifer Gannon, held my attention, and as well as analysing her music, of course, I read about all sorts of  choreographed feuds with the likes of Kanye West and Katy Perry (wasn’t she married to Russell Whatsis-Booky-Wook-name … yes, Brand?), and her skilful use of social media to bypass the usual press and PR shiteology.

So far, so narcissistic. Gannon talked about Swift’s obsession with her image, and despite all the wealth and the fame, how she still persists in painting herself as some kind of victim, always being treated unfairly by certain people.

My old smiling French pal Joel years ago told me one of the few phrases he remembered from his English classes as a child was: “My tailor is rich”

This Taylor certainly is anyway, and it seems her revenge on those who would offend her is Swift too!

It all sounds so typical, self-obsessed selfie generation stuff, but unbecoming, Gannon suggests, in a now 28-year-old superstar.

And of course I thought of my own teenage daughter.

Feuds and manufactured conflicts? So many things going for her, and still the victim thing? Selfies and self-consciousness beyond measure and so easily wounded but bewilderingly oblivious to the wounds she inflicts on family and other outsiders? As so many teenagers are.

Actually this is the last post in which I can refer to my daughter, and proper order.

She read one of my posts online last week, and then she read a few others. And she was incandescent.

No use talking the nuanced stuff about the articles not being about her, but about my efforts at understanding her and my failures in properly parenting her.

Why should she have to be the one to work at getting these nuances? She’s 14 and I’m not.

No- in her eyes I had betrayed her.

Writers, at any level, will recognise this dilemma of writing about people close to them. At worst, you cannibalise their lives and callously disregard their feelings. In the name of honesty and art. A strange kind of circumscribed honesty and what can we say about whether it is art or not?

More usually, like me, either through squeamishness, or wishy-washy less than honest “consideration” you couch your observations and revelations in ways that plop down flatly between the twin stools of honesty and discretion. Both in terms of my daughter and myself.

And it is neither truly honest nor properly discrete.

So far it’s been easy enough to write about our son, and his footballing endeavours. Enough meat and drink without getting into vendettas or information that would betray any confidences.

As well as his sporting prowess, I have also however, referenced, I hope discretely, thoughts around his difficulties fitting in during his first year in secondary school. And our worries around that.

Lots of acquaintances but no one friend, the one I think many of us wished for when we were young. The one who would always be there for us, who knew the good and the not so good of us but had our back anyway.

He is an individual, our boy, and another part of me, while wishing he would put himself out more and risk the possible rejection of calling on possible summer play-mates, also admires his stoic get up, get out and get on with it quiet solidity.

He trains and plays his football with enthusiasm bordering on obsession.

Again, more immediate stuff that has fed directly into this piece.

I had also read India Knight’s column in yesterday’s Sunday Times magazine. I really like her column and seek it out.

India Knight (1)
India Knight

She was writing about a woman, Claire Nelson, and how she had survived a horrendous accident hiking in the Colorado desert.

She had fallen on a boulder and shattered her pelvis. She couldn’t move and lay there for days, even drinking her own urine to survive until friends raised the alarm and rescue services spotted the flag she had made.

The ultimate theme of the piece was that old-fashioned idea of the stuff upper lip, and the value of stoicism, getting on with things. The value of endurance.

I think that is what I admire so much, among so many things, about our boy, that he is a true stoic. He gets on with things. Channels his energies into what he loves, and keeps on keeping on. Doesn’t let this lack of a much-wanted buddy stop him in his tracks.

He is grateful for the good things in his life, and it really doesn’t take much to please him.

Her is no saint and boy is he stubborn, but we would love him to find that bestie, or at least regular pal who will appreciate him for all the things we love and admire him for. We fret over it.

But, hey, isn’t all that any parent would wish for their child? That they be happy and appreciated for what they are.

Even Mr and Mrs Swift.

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38 comments on “My Taylor is rich … and her revenge is swift

  1. Your article resonates so strongly with everyone who has ever raised a daughter. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. No, thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah yes, how to write about those you know might read it… am struggling with that and the more I think about it the more ridiculously caught up I get in it all…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I know … let’s write about other people!!! He he

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Daydreamer mum

    Confession : (don’t judge me) I am a bit of a Taylor fan. She was on in Manc this week and I a bit put out I couldn’t get tickets!!
    I like your point about endurance and stoicism I think it’s often overlooked as a positive character trait #globalblogging

    Liked by 2 people

    • As I said I couldn’t name any of her songs … nada of her music. Just vaguely aware of her before and then I read that article. Millions like her so …

      Like

  6. We discussed this at a concert last night – people on other peoples shoulders were taking selfies and photos instead of just enjoying it – except I have this thing of taking photos of the people taking photos when the band first comes out – so I am just as bad but with a skewed reason for the photos…things are so different these days. Everyone is part of something but separate. The Friends thing is so important, I think. I stress to be watching from the sidelines on. #GlobalBlogger

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have a son and always thought sons were difficult. However recently I went on a trip with one of my friends and her daughter and then I realized how manipulative girls can be. I can understand your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I took the oldest to a Taylor Swift concert back when she was new and still a country singer. I was impressed with the show that she put on, even if all the music wasn’t my type. Now the youngest likes her poppy stuff. I think it must be incredibly difficult to grow up in the public eye like that, famous from such a young age. Whats interesting to me is the different phases that she seems to go through – the same as any other young girl. Having a 19 year old and a 7 year old means that I’ve seem more than a few – some that I liked more than others #triumphanttales

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You get to go to those gigs? Our girl would not be seen dead with me at a concert!!!

    Like

  10. This made me laugh! Need to read the original Gannon article I think #LGRTStumble

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    I worry that one day my children will read my blog and get upset about something I’ve written or a photo I’ve shared. I do ask them if I have any doubts before publishing just so I know they give permission at the present time. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was always going to happen … especially as our relationship has been quite fractious. But really, it was dicing with danger and she was right to be annoyed

      Like

  12. I actually managed to see Taylor Swift at the weekend. The show was amazing but I have to admit as good as she was, the recurring theme about revenge was less than subtle.

    I have stopped writing so much about my daughter now she is older as she didn’t want to be the focus of my blog anymore. It is really hard to write about her in a way that other won’t instantly know it is her so I now ask permission for her to be featured so she is happy about it. #blogcrush

    Liked by 2 people

  13. it is difficult ‘keeping it real’ whilst also keeping it private and not offending the family. I have loads of posts i want to write about my relationship with my mum and what i’ve learned. Also how its my problem how i interpreted her lessons but i worry she will take offence. I imagine teenage daughters to be harder to raise than boys – i was scared to have a girl knowing how challenging i was as a teen (although time has made my mother remember it differently these days). I had a boy and quit whilst i was ahead…. #thesatsesh

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, it was always going to arise at some point, but when it did. I had to put my hands up. I still don’t know how I’m going to get around it … week by week, I guess. I don’t know if one is harder than the other … I guess it depends, and things might also vary at different ages and stages …

      Like

  14. My MIL doesnt like that I put my life out there and tell everyone “everything.” I dont, there are some big things I dont tell, but then thats my perogative.
    It is hard to know when to not tell all when social media is so easy to post on the go!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I have to call my parents and apologize today. I was not big on drama as a teen, I lean fairly hard to the “male” tendency to tolerate things, but I’m sure I had my moments of… ugh. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Lucy At Home

    My 7yo has yet to find that “one special friend”. I know she is much younger but it is something I worry about. She is such a loyal friend and has a long list of “best friends” who don’t see her in the same way which breaks my heart a little. I hope your son finds someone soon – it must be so difficult facing the teen years without a peer to properly confide in. #blogcrush

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Oooh I read an article about Taylor Swift recently which paints her in a very different light to the ones you read – she has been treated poorly by some sections of the media because actually she is an astute businesswoman who doesn’t give away too much about her private life. Actually similar to Ed Sheeran in some ways but as she’s female, not portrayed as positively at all. It is tricky when we are putting stuff about our family members in the public domain – I do feel we have to tread carefully here and so can see why a teen girl could have some difficulty with this. #thesatsesh

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know nothing about Taylor Swift, only what i read in this article … but then she is hardly going to share the “real her” with ANY journalists. My daughter was angry at what she perceived as a violation, and if that’s how she feels, i respect that and won’t be talking about her in public again. Thanks for commenting

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Are you sure those are your kids you are talking about? Funny how similar, once again, my two eldest are to your two! I was only bemoaning my loss of freedom online due to my teenage restrictions last week in Instagram stories and then I realised she watched those too. Didn’t Hemingway crucify every one he knew in his writing and leave a trail of destroyed relationships behind him? Maybe that’s when the blender becomes a bit too personal in it’s ferocity! It’s tricky with paranoid teens though who feel that everything is about them even when it’s not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh boy did it out an end to my gallop Liberty! I have to respect she is not ready for the nuances of my analysis: she just sees criticism and there is criticism there. She is not yet in a position to see her part in problem situations and my job is more to help her reach this ability. In the meantime I cannot justify minding her as a parent while at the same time writing about her as if I am at some other kind of remove. She needs to be able to trust me. I hope you get what I am talking about! I was well aware of the cutting imagery of the blender! Basically like one of those old journalistic dictums, if in doubt leave it out

      Like

  19. Lucy At Home

    As bloggers who share about our personal lives, it can be very tricky to work out how much to share and where the boundary should be. My kids are young but this is something I think a lot about and so I purposefully don’t share photos of their faces and I have given them different names. But I know there is a good chance that even these measures won’t be enough when they get older…

    But congratulations on being chosen as someone’s BlogCrush for this post! You’re now entitled to our presitgious “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush

    Liked by 2 people

  20. So much of this resonates with me (and, clearly, with others). The Bloggers’ Dilemma – to write or not to write? Followed by Bloggers’ Remorse, where you wish you could take back something you’ve written because it’s no longer funny to the child who was five at the time but, now 10, is profoundly embarrassed – and with justification.

    We’re going through something similar with our eldest son at the moment – a little younger than yours – an academic, non-sporty, sensitive soul who has a heart of gold but can be a bit of a know-it-all too, who lacks a ‘bestie’ and wanders the playground alone at lunchtimes trying to avoid the gaze of the some of the ‘cool’ kids who are really just spoilt brats with brand new iPhones and football skills. Or, as we used to call them in olden times, ‘bullies’. My heart breaks every time he starts to talk about it and tears are choked back (sometimes his, sometimes mine). Why is it so tough to be a parent sometimes? And why does it hurt so much to care?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Tim, thank you so much for your delightful and thoughtful comments. That “bestie” thing is killing me regarding our son, a fantastic kid, but feeling the lack of a regular playmate, particularly in these long off-school summer months, but then he is selective and not prepared to do things “just to be popular” either! It is also compounded by the fact he is very young for secondary school and many of his age on his soccer team are a vital school year behind him, and are only still finishing primary school here in Ireland. These get their school holidays only around about now, whereas he has been off for weeks. He has also been blanked by many members of his old soccer team , which has been tacitly encouraged by the manager, who lost a terrific player but never properly acknowledged him when he was playing. So our boy has shown great stoicism and character also. He has plenty of acquaintances but just no-one calling regularly for him, or he for them. That’s really tough

      Like

      • Isaac is also feeling the lack of friends, although he doesn’t change schools for another year. He gets on okay with many but no real true friends. The thing is he’s okay with being academic – I was the same – but he’s a much more outgoing character than me who craves social contact, whereas I was happier to retreat to my own corner with a book. It’s so sad – he doesn’t want to be popular as such, but fears being unpopular.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, that’s very well put … it probably is more that fear of being unpopular than wanting to be part of a group, or clique. Kids are so harsh on each other, and the one that goes around on their own is a bit of a target. I would be introspective and generally happy in my own company, but that doesn’t fly so well in the school years, all group and gang stuff. Although funnily enough, at that stage i had plenty of friends. No big, big pal but plenty of guys to hang out with.

        Like

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