Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” elicits long-forgotten feelings Swifties from different generations know all too well
I was 18 when Speak Now came out. It was the beginning of a long, arduous path towards my pursuit of love, which always seems to elude me, even now at the age of 30. At the time, I was starry-eyed and naïve; I believed in love that was being stored for me like an inheritance. I was presented with a fairytale-esque kind of love, the kind they made films about, the kind you read about in storybooks.
You believed the best in people, yet nobody really prepares you for the reality of dating. The first time you get your heart broken, you actually feel like all the joy in the world is gone. Then you ground yourself and realize that every single person has gone through this baptism by fire. Taylor Swift was the first person who told me it was okay to wear your heart on your sleeve.
This young woman—bless her heart—wrote so truthfully about love, even if everyone around her was telling her she was too much for it. Ironically enough, men are praised for the same kind of behavior. They are considered conquerors; meanwhile we, as women, are thought of as promiscuous. Tabloids presented Taylor as a mad woman, as someone who gave herself away so easily, when they were just intimidated by the idea of a woman owning her autonomy.
View this post on Instagram
Listening to Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) allowed me to revisit long-forgotten feelings, most especially the innocence that comes with being so idealistic. This was an era when we could just fall into love without thinking about a life partner, a wedding and the possibility of children; when we didn’t have to think about the repercussions of our actions. We were free to love whoever without a set timeline because “our biological clocks are ticking.”
Written by Taylor Swift from the ages of 18 to 20, the singles from Speak Now were “marked by their brutal honesty, unfiltered diaristic confessions and wild wistfulness.” Enchanted was there every time I met somebody new and felt the intense possibility of it all—when I lived so fearlessly, ignoring the fact that I might actually get my heart broken for the nth time. Back to December embraced me when I was suffering from love lost and didn’t have it in me to begin again. And Sparks Fly gave me the courage to try again.
View this post on Instagram
In her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, the master storyteller shares, “There is an element to my fan base where we feel like we grew up together. I’ll be going through something, write the album about it, and then it’ll come out, and sometimes it’ll just coincide with what they’re going through—kind of like they’re reading my diary.”
At 30, I’m still single, having actively dated for the last two years and simply exhausted. Though there are plenty of days when I catch myself being so resentful of love, I tell myself that there’s a girl with her guitar who believed so much in it that she actually made it her life’s work to tell anyone who would listen: love is worth it. When I’ve let go of all these ideals, I return to love. Love is as love does. Love is evermore.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver