How I Started Healing My Inner Child with Taylor Swift
Streaming Mignights by Taylor Swift made me realise how healing it is to my inner child to listen to her as an adult, after being embarrassed to as a teenager.
So for those of you who aren’t raging Swifties, this might come as a good reminder that Taylor Swift’s new album Midnights came out earlier today. Say what you will, but from Karma, to The Great War, to Vigilante Sh*t, the album is pure TS perfection. As David Levesley said in an article for Soho House, Midnights is a “perfect continuation of the ‘Taylor’s Version’ era” by engaging with her influences, but also evolving and adapting to encompass the stylings of her contemporaries. She’s a sagittarius after all (with a few water placements, for sure).
But what we’re here to talk about isn’t what our favourite songs are on her new album, or what they reminded us of. We’re actually here to talk about inner child work… it’ll make sense, promise.
These experiences- celebrations, let-downs, jitters and pain- remain with us through adulthood whether we remember them or not. It is, after all, human nature to want to protect yourself from pain you’ve experienced before.
So this is sort of where Miss Taylor Swift comes in.
Take yourself back to your early teens. The Fearless, Speak Now, Red era. You might have listened to “I Knew You Were Trouble” or “You Belong With Me” a few times, but at the end of the day it was drilled into your head that it was ‘embarrassing’ to listen to Taylor Swift and she’s so ‘pathetic’ for always writing about guys she dates. So you stopped. You exhale a light giggle and look down when someone says she’s coming out with a new song. Someone behind you whispers ‘she must have broken up with whoever she was dating’.
And now, over a decade later, as an adult, the experience becomes vastly different.
Being misogynistic is no longer ‘cool’. Scrutinising emotion is no longer ‘cool’. Calling a woman who’s channelling her emotion and pain into art pathetic is no longer ‘cool’.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a die-hard Swifty either. But there’s something about blasting the new-era Taylor Swift on repeat without a shred of shame so freeing and so healing.
I feel like my inner child is finally free of this sense of emotional shame which was so deeply instilled in me, and starting to embrace the intricacies and complexities which come with being a highly emotional and empathetic person. The songs aren’t necessarily sad, but this realisation has made me very teary eyed.
In a recent tiktok posted by Emily Ratajkowski, she talks about how we subconsciously love to fetishise (and sometimes vilianise) female pain and female emotion. In this case, Taylor who never fetishised her feelings through a male gaze, but rather always said it how it is, was extremely vilianised and never taken seriously, while her male counterparts were always praised for singing about similar ideas. It’s a tale as old as time.
And growing up with this notion, it’s natural for the same ideas to have translated in the ways you, yourself express emotion. Or rather, suppress that emotion. As a writer, I grew up believing that writing about romantic experiences was a pathetic cop out, and I had to find other inspiration. As an actor, I grew up fearful of serious roles and wasn’t able to commit to showing that kind of emotion, which might be why I feel the need to throw in a joke whenever I try to talk about something more serious. As a person, a woman, I grew up suppressing any kind of vulnerability for a very very long time because I thought it was weak, embarrassing and pathetic.
Years later, listening to these songs again (Taylor’s Version, obviously), as well as her new work, I feel like I’m truly starting to heal my inner child, and I’m crying happy tears for her, because I can’t believe I made her believe emotion in all its forms- sadness, happiness, pain, mourning, anger- was something to be embarrassed of.
Anyways, if you feel like you have a lot of emotional shame pent up from when you were younger, we absolutely recommend listening to Taylor’s new albums & re-recordings as some long-overdue healing work. It’s a beautiful experience.
Scream it with me besties, KARMA IS MY BOYFRIEND, KARMA IS A GOD…