Taylor Swift’s “cabin in candlelight” version of her new song “cardigan” carries a good whiff of Lana del Rey influence. I’ve read Taylor say she loves Lana’s lyricism. When I first heard T. Swift’s song earlier this week, I chuckled to myself about the marked influence and thought I wouldn’t be too moved by the song. Taylor trying to do Lana? Nah…
Wrong. By Saturday morning, I was bawling my eyes out to it over my own piano keys.
The song unlocked something in me. The soft keys, the stripped production, Taylor’s emotive vocals, and the lyrical imagery caught up with me. I don’t cry often. I really don’t. But it’s such a good sign for me that I was able to really sob and release so much pent up emotion in one sitting.
I had been thinking about the past, and truthfully, an early lover of mine. One thing he used to do kept running through my mind all week, leading up to this cry. When we spoke, when there was conflict, when we needed to communicate, he had a particular style of communication that was very effective, and I hadn’t consciously realized it until now, years and years later. What he did was he spoke firmly, calmly, and concisely. He stated things clearly and without fuss. He didn’t chitchat a bunch about the issue. He didn’t overexplain, if he explained at all. He said more by saying less, and I listened.
Then this Swift song. She pulls up images from the past. A past lover. Lost love. Fleeting youth. Pangs of youth. Feelings of youth. And the vast, barren chasms of loss that widen and widen and fill up with the busy tidings of time.
So the crying… I cried to process my own loss of that early love, and all the love since. It swelled up in me, from deep, deep down. It came out of hiding. It came out of the old, dark, red, stale, forgotten but still tender chambers of my heart.
The thing he used to do gave me strength this week. It reminded me that we can set boundaries with others by voicing simple statements, and we need not overexplain or even explain ourselves to anyone or anything. We can be firmly who we are, plain and simple.
I have been feeling safer and more protected emotionally these days, perhaps more than ever. It has felt easier to muster the courage to be firmly who I am, plain and simple. As I sat at my piano in the creative alcove of my room, and the southern California sun poured over my lap, over the keys, and into my heart, I let my mind go, and I let go of thought. I gave way to my body and all the feels brought on by Taylor’s song. And it felt so, so good. To feel that strongly again, the way I did when I was younger, but this time feeling so much safer to express myself and let myself process the enormous mess of feeling that existed inside of me all that time.
I am so thankful for this song and for that wide, wide opening.