On Taylor Swift and Butterflies
I wrote an email to a friend this morning. One of those long, meandering emails about what it means to be truly alive, to live our best lives, to navigate this tricky business of existence.
You know, typical light Wednesday thoughts. 😐
Anyway, somehow, in the middle of the email to my friend, I found myself writing about Taylor Swift.
I like Taylor Swift. I have ever since her earliest country singer-songwriter days, and I’ve happily gone along for the ride when she pivoted into full country, and then full pop.
Now, I don’t know that I qualify as a superfan or a Swiftie, as Google tells me they’re called. I’ve never seen her in concert, I have no idea who she’s dating at any given moment, and I still don’t understand what was up with the snakes. However, I do get pretty darn excited every time she drops a new album.
Lately, most especially, I’ve found myself intrigued by her remarkable ability to be constantly evolving. In her music, Taylor’s gone from twangy singer-song writer, to full-country, to full-pop, to whatever Reputation was, and now back to sugary pop (I don’t mean that as an insult, I’m pretty into “ME!”)
She’s also a bit of a chameleon when it comes to her look/style, and her ever-changing look often matches her latest album aesthetic. We’ve seen her with long curly hair, a sassy bob and red lipstick, edgy waves and dark lipstick, and so on.
In other words, regardless of how you feel about Taylor Swift’s music, her person, her views, you’ve got to give credit where it’s due: she isn’t afraid to remake herself, sometimes dramatically.
I like that.
I’ve assumed for awhile now that life is a butterfly/caterpillar situation. For example:
As an unhappy cubicle worker, I was the caterpillar. Then, deciding I wanted to love my life, I quit my job, and pursued my dream job as a romance author. And thus became butterfly. Ta da! All done! Dream life achieved!
I’ve assumed butterfly is the goal, and I think I’ve gotten it all wrong.
Now I ‘m wondering if the real goal isn’t change.. I think there’s a reason that butterflies only live for about a month, and humans live for much much longer. It’s because we get tired of being the butterfly; we’re not meant to be the butterfly forever.
I don’t think we’re meant to have one glorious transformation and call it good.
Maybe we’re supposed to be more like Taylor Swift than butterfly. That we’re supposed to change, not from caterpillar to butterfly, but to from caterpillar to butterfly to owl to wolf to chipmunk to scorpion to jaguar to hedgehog to tulip to unicorn.
I’ll admit that for awhile now, I’ve very naively been thinking that people who continually reinvent themselves were a little bit lost, and simply struggling to figure out who they really are. Um, judgy much, LL?
Not to mention, dead wrong. New mindset:
Let’s all be honest enough to admit when we’ve outgrown ourselves, and brave enough to discover ourselves in a new, wildly different light.
I’ve felt something sort of large and important brewing inside me lately, and I thought something was wrong, but now I’m convinced it was exactly right.
I’m simply in the cocoon.
And I can’t wait to see how I emerge.