I'm Just Saying

Ed Sheeran & Harry Styles

music heartbeatI am definitely one of those people who have so many feelings that sometimes I just have to be like: just this song. This song. Listen to this song and feel what I’m feeling, please. Listen to this song and you will understand.

Actually, I can pretty accurately break my life into musical phases.

If I had to name the musical phases I’ve been through this year, well, considering the title of this post it shouldn’t really come as a shock.

Ed Sheeran kicked off the year for me. 2017 held so many promises for me, and Ed edSheeran seemed to be the only one who truly understood what all of those promises were. My days were filled with his songs. His songs accurately portraying everything I felt, somehow touching the deepest things I was experiencing.

I think I died and got reborn all at once when his new album entered my life. I will say with absolutely no shame that I listened to “Perfect” on repeat for probably two weeks. (Though “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” and “How Would You Feel” snuck in for several days during this time.) I’d never had an experience like that before. It was like Ed just knew. He knew everything that was going on in my life and decided to contribute to my newest discoveries.

As 2017 ages, I don’t want to say that Ed lied.

perfect lyricsBecause I honestly don’t think Ed Sheeran is capable of lying.

(In fact, on a completely nonrelated note, I’ve decided that someday I need to write some sort of official essay on the cultural phrase “cinnamon roll”. For those of you who don’t know what this phrase refers to, quite simply it refers to a person who is a cinnamon roll to the human world. Very pure, very good. Genuine hearted. In this official essay, or maybe even a dissertation who knows, I will use three examples of the human cinnamon roll: Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.)

I heard once that if you are doing the right thing, your path will always be harder. If perfect lyrics 2you’re doing the right thing, it will always be uphill. I guess there is comfort in that, but still. Why do you suppose it has to be that way? Actually, don’t answer that. I know the answer. I’m just complaining.

The next phase of 2017 was, you guessed it, Harry Styles.

Now I could probably write a very lengthy post about all of the things that I used to think about Harry Styles. Back when I was doing my “I can’t do what everybody else is doing just because they are all doing it” thing. (I’m still working on that, by the way, and getting better.) In fact, earlier in the summer my roommate and I were driving around. I distinctly remember driving through Wendy’s to get a chocolate frosty, and she tried to turn on a Harry Styles song.

I distinctly remember saying, “Is this Harry Styles? Bleh. Turn it off, please.”

Karma, ladies and gentlemen, has been a close companion of mine this year. And it hasn’t always been fun.

HarryNevertheless, Harry Styles and I are on good terms now. I’ll avoid the specifics of my enamored feelings there because this post is actually supposed to be about music. So let’s continue.

“Sign of the Times” broke my heart wide open. Thanks, Harry. I honestly think I just cried when I first heard it. And then another time, my roommate and I went for another drive, and she played “Ever Since New York”.

I seriously doubt that she expected me to burst into tears and wail, “Who did this?? Who hurt him?? Why would you ever, ever, ever hurt Harry Styles??!!”

I’m not sure what it is about that particular British gentleman, but literally everybody I know has the fiercest urge in the world to protect him at all costs. Like, if I could protect Harry Styles from all of the bad things in the world then I wouldn’t have to worry about anything ever again.

Oh, right. This post is about music.

Anyway, after Ed was no more, Harry Styles swooped in to two hearts lyricsave the day. Harry’s new album is quite honestly just gold. Don’t even get me started on “Sweet Creature”. It is too pure for words.

Because my emotions are so intense, I have to find periodic times when I can give myself an allotment of feeling. “Two Ghosts” is usually the song I listen to. You may think I’m kidding but I’m not. I sit in my car, turn on that song, and say to myself, “Self, you may have all the feelings you want for the next three minutes and forty-nine seconds.” About…5.5 times out of ten it does the trick.

two ghostsOkay, but am I the only one who hears “Two Ghosts” and just dies a little bit for Harry???? I just want to be like, “Bro! Go after this woman! Go after her! You’ll remember how to have a heartbeat, I promise! Go get her!”

Alright, if this post has taught me anything it is that I obviously need to write a separate post detailing all of my feelings about particular songs by Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles. Maybe that’ll be coming your way soon.

I have been writing my novel fiercely the last few weeks. And if I keep at it, I’ll be finished with it very soon. That’s both exhilarating and frightening. But I can’t wait. Someday you’ll have to remind me to tell you what music I listened to the majority of the time that I wrote this book. It will blow you away.

And now I’ve come to the end of this post. Go listen to some Ed and Harry.

For Laughs

An Open Letter To One Direction

Dear One Direction,

carI did not fully appreciate you until you were gone. I wish there was a way for me to explain how this happened. I wish there was justification for my actions. But there isn’t. Just like Zayn, I threw away an incredible opportunity to be a part of something spectacular. I’m trying not to be haunted by this fact. This letter, while a deep window into my soul, must be written. I can’t contain this anymore.

I’m going through the phases of loving you in ridiculous amounts, being angry at Zayn, loving you more without him, and being sad that you’re gone all at once. And oh, so much later than the rest of the world. It’s actually quite beautiful in all of it’s tragic too late-ness.

I’m watching X Factor things years too late. I’m watching interviews years too late. Enjoying music years too late. I’m falling in love with Harry so much later than everybody else. (Which doesn’t diminish the love itself, Harry, I’m just saying.) But it’s just all too late. Much too late. If I tried to count each instance I’m sure it would feel like infinity.history

It has taught me a valuable lesson. It’s taught me that for some things, it’s never too late. But it has also taught me that when something good is right in front of you, you have to grab it and never let go. It’s taught me that sometimes it can be too late. And that you can’t pass by the wonderful things that life hands you. Maybe we all say it too much, but we should never give up. If you know something, go for it.

Perhaps if I had jumped on the One Direction bandwagon years ago with the rest of the world, I wouldn’t enjoy everything you all did as much as I do now. Perhaps it would’ve have the same influence as it does now. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as special.

In any case, I need to thank each one of you individually for your contributions to my life in the last few months. You’ve all contributed to a rather interesting time in my life in your own unique way.

suitsLiam: You’re such a drama queen. I love watching you in music videos, because you just pour so much of your soul into it. Thanks for teaching me that about life.

Niall: You’re just…perfect. And so cute. And so loveable. Just so Irish. You make the world a better place with your happiness.

Louis: You have a special place in my heart, Louis. You have such kind eyes. You really are so pure. Like a cinnamon roll. You make me believe in the purity of the human race.

Harry: We’ve got to stop meeting like this. It’s more than I can handle most days. That’s really all I can say for now.

Also, I would like to issue a blanket thank you to all of you for the following songs, which light of my life, comfort my heart, and speak all the words I wish I could speak:

  • Still the One
  • End of the Day
  • You and I
  • Infinity
  • Rock Me
  • Steal My Girl
  • A.M
  • Kiss You
  • Little Things
  • Better than Words
  • If I Could Fly
  • No Control
  • Perfect

Oh, these are only a few. Truly. But these are some of the special ones. The ones that have little thingshelped me through some hard times, which I honestly can’t be held responsible for. Just thank you. Thank you for making me happy, for helping me know that there really are words for how I’m feeling, and teaching me lots of life lessons. Lots of little things.

Probably the most important life lessons you’ve taught me are that life is meant to be lived, that we need to follow our passions, and that love is much too precious to let slip away.

Many thanks.

Love, Jordan

I'm Just Saying

The Things We Learned Last Summer

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetFrank Sinatra has a song entitled, “The Things We Did Last Summer.” Of course, music being what it is, he’s not the only one who ever sang that song, but as we’re all aware he’s the most important.

I’ve had the title of this song on my mind for quite a while now. You see, the last four months or so of my life have taught me a lot. Particularly the last two months. And for some reason, every time my writer mind tries to make sense of all the lessons I’ve learned this song title comes to my mind. But with a twist. And I’ve decided that if I were to ever write a book about everything I’ve learned in the last two months, I’d title it, “The Things We Learned Last Summer.”

I personally think it’s a pretty great title. It would also be a very good book, too, for that matter.

All of you are aware that this blog has been an interesting place lately. I, Jordan, the queen of keeping my readers in the dark about what’s going on in my life, have been very, very open about my recent heartbreak.

My life just came to the point where I truly and honestly did not care anymore. Every decision was prefaced with a, “Well. Why not?”

So all of you got to see very clearly and deeply into some of the blackest moments of my life. Congratulations. I’m sure it was thrilling for you. (Please note the sarcasm, I’m sure it wasn’t that fun.)capacity

But goodness, I’ve learned a lot. God has been super enthused about teaching me lessons, and I’m doing all that I can to absorb them like a sponge. Tonight I’m feeling a little more introspective than usual, which can only spell disaster to be honest but we’ll roll with it. I’d like to here record a few of the lessons I’ve learned. I’m doing this more for myself than for any of you, so I apologize for that, but hopefully you can take something from this post and not have to learn through experience the way that I did. So, here we go.

The Things We Learned Last Summer:

  • The only one who knows exactly how you’re feeling is God. He knows every aspect of your life, and He’s right there for you. No matter what type of heartache you are facing, He understands. He gets it 100%. I can’t even count the number of times I sat crying and felt Him right there, or the number of times I was suddenly assaulted by memories that caused a jolt of pain and heard Him whisper very love is powerfulsimply, “I know.” He knows. I promise.
  • As scary as love is, it is absolutely worth it. I spent such a long time being terrified of love, and swearing that I’d never let anybody in so far that they’d have power to destroy me. But that’s what love is. You let somebody in further than you even let yourself in, and you give them all of your love and trust. Every single infinite wave of it. And sometimes it hurts. But it is worth it because at the end of the day, love is absolutely beautiful. And it conquers all. It really, really does. Love comes from many different places, and in many different forms, but it can heal wounds and transcend all hurts.
  • Never give up on anyone. Including yourself. God will never, ever give up on you. And you shouldn’t give up on others, either. Or yourself for that matter. We are all going to make mistakes, we are all going to do things that hurt others. We’re human, that’s just the way it works. never give up
  • But we forgive. We forgive because it is the right thing to do. We forgive because we want to be forgiven. We forgive because it is the only way to heal. Forgiveness requires love. They go hand in hand.
  • Listen to God. I’ve been taught this so, so much over the last year or so, and it has really been driven home the last two months. When you receive an answer from God, when you know what you are supposed to do: DO IT. It doesn’t matter how crazy it seems, it doesn’t matter how ridiculous. It doesn’t matter how hard. JUST. DO. IT. If He has given you the answer, He will also provide a way for you to accomplish it. Just listen. Just do it.
  • Be patient. Life is a process.
  • Avoid slamming doors. Literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, slamming doors is just not good for them. In a figurative sense, it is not good for you or others. Believe me, my personality is the queen of slamming doors. It is a defense mechanism that I may or may not have expressed pride in before. I’m quickly learning it’s not something to be proud of. When something horrible happens to me, my very first instinct is to slam the door as hard as I can right pathand run away as fast as I can. To get rid of anything and everything to do with that situation, to treat it as though it is dead to me, and completely move on as though it never existed or occurred. This is not only very complicated (you have no idea how irritating it is when you think you’ve gotten rid of all the evidence of something only to find more evidence weeks later when you aren’t as angry and can’t decide what to do with it) but it’s just not really healthy. And doesn’t promote growth and learning. Most of the time, you’ll be slamming a door prematurely and burning a bridge that wasn’t ready to be burned. And then it takes a little bit of time to reestablish things all because you got a little too hasty to run away from what hurt you. So just don’t do it.
  • Stay creative. It fills a lot of empty spaces, and enhances the full ones.
  • There are, in fact, some things that Frank Sinatra can’t fix. I know. I was just as shocked as you are. For years and years and years I not only wholeheartedly believed Frank could fix anything, he always had fixed anything in my life. No matter what I was going through, it was nothing that Frank Sinatra couldn’t fix. Not this time. Not this time. I tried it, believe me. I played his music and willed it work away the grief, to pull away the emptiness. But it didn’t. Not this time. I even angrily asked him about it and his picture seemed to answer back, “I can’t fix it this time, baby. I’m sorry.” hands of god
  • Never stop turning to God. I needed to learn the previous point in order to better understand this point. My love for Frank Sinatra has brought a lot of happiness into my life, really, and despite how melodramatic I can be about it I’m very grateful for it. His music makes me happy, and I enjoy sharing facts about him. It’s always been a blessing. I have a firm belief that God gives us things like this to enhance and brighten our existence, to help us in good and bad times. But these interests that fill the corners of our lives are not a substitute for God. They make us happy, they are wonderful, but at the end of the day it isn’t our passion for cooking or our love of black and white film that will save us. It is God. Never stop turning to Him. On good days as well as bad, talk with Him. Tell Him everything. Review the plan of your life. Let Him know how you’re doing on the things you’ve agreed to do. Give Him a report. Make sure you’re still doing what He wants. Thank Him. Praise Him.
  • Trust your own journey. God has a different plan for each and every one of us. Nobody’s story is the same. What works for some people won’t work for others. Everybody has a different journey because we all need to learn differently. This is why it is so, so incredibly crucial to stay close to God and to listen to Him when He waygives us answers and direction. To be faithful.
  • Believe in happiness. Never, ever let go of hope. Never let go of love. In the darkest pit of despair, remember that you are never, ever alone because of God. If you can’t see the sunlight, and can’t remember how it feels to have it shine on your face, if happiness is so far away that it is only a cruel memory, just have hope. Hope that you’ll feel it again. Hope that it does exist. Believe that whatever you’re going through will be worth it one hundred times over when you feel the happiness awaiting you. Because when we get to that darkness, complete joy and happiness are closer than we think. Just around the corner. And when the sun finally comes out again, it will be worth every moment. I promise.
  • We all face hardship, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, and telling people that you need it. There is no shame in sleeping on lots of couches or spending too much time with your friends if that’s what it takes to bring you into a new day. Take advantage of the love and support that you have around you. Gather those people around your heart and let them love you. You’ll be able to return this love someday.never walk alone
  • Discover new interests, and rediscover old ones. Like I said, God gives us these things to enhance our lives. It is such a great experience to make room for a new talent or hobby, to feel that passion starting up in your life again. Take advantage of the beauty the world has to offer. Rediscover something you love. Pretend you’re seeing it for the first time. (Frank and I are on good terms, by the way. I’m listening to him right now and all is well. So, there you go, proof of the rediscovery process.)
  • Believe in goodness. I have this personality flaw where I sometimes say that I hate people. And when I say that I usually think I mean it, but somebody very close to me recently let me know that this isn’t the case. I don’t really hate people. In fact, I love people. I love humanity. I love every aspect of what makes us human. I love being human. And I have this overly optimistic view of what that means. Honestly, I do. I love to believe in the better side of people and things. It really takes a lot for me to just think of somebody as downright horrible. I love to believe in beauty and goodness. I love to believe in the good. That’s just who I am. And it is honestly a blessing. We are surrounded by enough negativity as it is. We face enough hardship and sorrow as it be stillis. Just choose to believe in the better side.
  • Don’t look back. When you’ve gotten your answer from God, no matter how scary, ridiculous, or insane it might seem and you decide to just jump and go for it, go all the way. Jump and do not look back. DO NOT LOOK BACK. God has got it covered. He’s led you to that cliff for a reason, and given you that answer for a reason. And He will not let you fail if you just have faith. There will be no hitting the bottom. You’ll jump, and you’ll land in happiness. I promise. Don’t look back. Not for one second. Jump.
  • Trust God. This is just a lump way of summing all this up. Just trust Him. I know it can be hard. Believe me, I know. I’ve got a rich history of trust issues. But He is God, and He created all things. He will not give you answers you cannot follow. He will not let you cry tears He can’t wipe away. He will not give you wounds that can’t be healed. He is capable of ALL THINGS. And through Him, we are capable of ALL THINGS. So no matter what, stay close to Him. Believe Him. Listen to Him. Trust Him. He’s got it under control. Just believe me. Follow Him, talk with Him, and trust the path He sets before you. He wants you to be happy and He’s got a plan to make that happen. Trust Him.

 

I'm Just Saying

All The Broken Hearts

heart-noteThere is a five year old child inside of me that gets really, really into 80’s music. This is, of course, because I was raised on 80’s music due to the fact that I have very wonderful parents. On the days when nothing seems right, when I can’t get any of the pieces of my life to fit together, when I can’t figure anything out, there is always Journey, Boston, and Def Leppard. To name a few of the greats.

Every now and again, my sharp wit and sarcasm get me into a world of trouble.

Seriously, the only time I ever make huge, glaring errors in life is when I say exactly what I’m thinking. Most of the time it’s not a big deal and I can be the funny one, other times I get snarky and…well.

I’ve done quite well over the past few years at limiting this type of thing. I have worked very, very hard on thinking before I speak and this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me too much anymore.

But it happened last night. And even though I apologized and everything is okay, I’m still shaking off the feelings of guilt and shame.

And you’re probably thinking I’ve said something absolutely horrible to rend the relationships of my life, and truthfully I have been in that position before and it was just the worst, but this isn’t what happened last night. In fact, on a scale of 1 to Oh-My-Gosh-How-Do-I-Have-Friends-I’m-So-Cruel, it was more of Oops-I-Could-Have-Said-That-Differently-Sorry.

But I’ve been doing this thing lately where it’s like I’ve never learned anything or had any balancebouts of self discovery ever and all the sudden I’m relearning all the things. I’ve been torn between optimism and pessimism, despair and hope, happiness and sadness, caring and indifference. I’m just going to say it: balance is hard. Not only that, but it’s never been my forte in…anything.

I’m an all or nothing type of person, and totally not into this half way crap.

Last night I was driving to my apartment from my sister’s house, this was before the incident in which I forgot to think before vomiting my thoughts, and I was feeling rather lost. The truth is that my mind can be a little bit of a scary place but I frequently get lost inside of it, and as a result I turn into a philosopher who get easily overwhelmed. (And I’m not even a coffee drinker which poses a problem because I’m pretty sure that’s some sort of necessity for people who dare to get lost in their own mind.)

At this point, the wonderful band Boston decided to remind me to Hold on Loosely. Bless their hearts, they always know just what to say. And this isn’t a joke because I’m really, really good at clinging to things and spiraling out of control as a result. (I have an entire, really awesome blog post about this that you are more than welcome to read if you so desire. All you have to do is click here.)

It could possibly be because I’m 21 and in a phase of life, but life has decided to teach me about love recently. Recently meaning the last year especially. I’ve written quite a few posts about my findings on love, but one thing I’ve never talked about is how I’ve come to realize that love is love no matter what. You could be talking about romantic love, familial love, or the love you feel for your favorite food. Love is just love. And because that is the case, it encompasses everything, it connects everything. Love is the undercurrent of our lives.

heartWhen I was a little girl I used to think that a “broken heart” could only be the result of a romantic relationship gone wrong. Life very quickly showed me that this isn’t the case. Broken hearts happen all the time, with many different things. Sometimes we break our own hearts, sometimes our friends or family break our hearts. Sometimes we want a bowl of cereal and there’s no milk. The possibilities of heartbreak truly are endless.

What intrigues me about heartbreak is that it is the surest sign that you felt something. It is the surest sign that you did the purest thing in the world: you gave of yourself and you poured your love into life. Being heartbroken, then, is quite possibly the most noble thing to be. Especially when you keep on loving anyway.

And as I come to the close of this blog post in which I’ve talked about a plethora of different subjects, I think that all I’m really trying to say is that sometimes we do things we regret and we need to apologize, and sometimes we get our own hearts broken, and sometimes the only wisdom we can find is in the songs we grew up listening to. But I guess that’s coffee-less philosophy.

Thank you for exploring my thoughts with me today.

I'm Just Saying

Give It A Little Soul

platoToday I want to talk about something very important to me. Something that I’ve talked about a few times, but nevertheless it’s a huge part of my life and today I just want to share a few more of my thoughts about it.

Ever since I can remember, music has been the background noise of my life. Music of all genres and eras. Music is attached to every special memory I have, music brings sounds and smells and emotions I could never describe. As a writer I’ve often been a little jealous of the ability that music has to say absolutely everything without saying anything.

I love music because underneath the lyrics or the instrumentals there are always a millioneverything layers of other meanings. I love music because when I have a bad day and I turn on my favorite music a feeling of peace and calm instantly washes over my soul and I let out a very deep breath of “everything is alright now”.

In fact, this happened to me last night. After returning home from work I was feeling a little bit stressed about a few things and I turned on some of my favorite music. That wave of peace and calm was instantly there and all of the sudden the stress was gone. It’s the small moments like this that make me grateful for the creation of happy things.

And I love music because it is through music that I have had some of my most profound answers from God and special moments in life. Just recently I was reminded of how amazing God is, how much He knows me, simply because my sister showed me an up and coming musical artist that I have completely incorporated into my existence as if his music was always there.

piece of artAnd how simple is that? I’ve been struggling a little bit the past couple of weeks, and how simple that finding a new musical artist gave me the kick start I needed? This gave me not only an even deeper appreciation for the role of music in my life, but helped me realize that it truly is the small things in life that weave our happiness. I didn’t need anything grand or incredible, just a couple new songs and my life was instantly a brighter, happier, and more creative place.

I'm Just Saying

Not-So-Secretly

real farm tetonsI am currently going through this phase in my life where I’m just really into practicality and honesty. I’m loving how cut and dried things can be. If you don’t like bananas, don’t eat them. If you don’t want to go out, stay home. If you don’t agree with something, then don’t follow the crowd. If done in a respectful way, honesty is completely and totally liberating.

So today I’m going to be honest about something that I’m usually really vague about, particularly to my family.

I grew up on a huge farm in the middle of nowhere. My earliest memories are running around with my siblings in the mud and fields, looking at an absolutely breathtaking view of huge mountains and rolling hills growing wheat and potatoes. pivot

And for as long as I can remember, my imagination has taken me far past those fields and mountains, constantly pulling me “out there”. Since graduating high school and leaving home something I get asked often, mostly by my family, is whether or not I consider myself a country girl. Or in other words, do I claim my upbringing?

My interest in travel and longing to study European history has long been in my heart and has done great things for me. What I did not expect it to do was take me away from my amazing home long before I actually left. What I didn’t expect from my dreams and goals was that they distracted me from how wonderful life already was.

wheatEvery time I got asked the question of what I considered myself, I’d always kind of laugh it off. It was almost as though I was embarrassed to admit that my heart is tied to my home, family, and farming. I was embarrassed that it wasn’t easy to try and follow my dreams. I didn’t understand that it didn’t have to be one thing or the other. I didn’t understand that all of this fits inside of me, so therefore it will fit in my life.

I find it completely amazing that I’ve been thinking about this A LOT lately and then the daily prompt brought hit it right on the head. So, to summarize what I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days…

So what is my secret?

I grew up on a farm. I am a country girl. Nothing smells better than ripe wheat and lovenothing is more incredible that summer nights with dust in the air and country music blaring on the nearest radio.

It’s true that I have dreams and goals, places I want to go, but it’s also my vow that I’ll stop forgetting the wonderful things that make me who I already am.

I'm Just Saying

1989: What Taylor Swift’s Latest Album Taught Me About Starting Over

1989 coverI’m not sure why what I’m about to say feels more like a confession than anything else. But bearing that in mind I’m going to say it anyway because I’ve had these thoughts on my mind for a while now.

I am a Taylor Swift fan. Not only that, but I have been since the days of Tim McGraw. Since the very beginning! I would not go so far as to say that “she’s my queen” or anything of the major-Swiftie nature. I simply love Taylor Swift and her music, and probably always will. One of the things that I love the most about her music is that every single album comes right from her soul, but along with that they always seem to speak directly to mine.

No matter which album she released, it was always perfectly applicable to my stage in life. fearlessIt was just what I needed to hear at the right time. For example, the song Fifteen, (Fearless album) a narrative about beginning high school and what to keep in mind during those impressionable years, was released months before I entered high school. The song Long Live (Speak Now album) is about her relationship with her band and how they conquered so many things together. It came out the year that my drama/speech team and I defied odds and had major success.

The negative talk that has been about her has been going on since Day 1, and you have the right to think what you want about her. All I am saying is that, for me, Taylor Swift has been a huge part of my growing up years.

Her latest album,1989, was released while I was serving my religious mission and because of strict rules on the music we could listen to while serving I wasn’t able to listen to any of the new songs until the album was about six months old. I will admit that at first I was very nervous to listen to it. I was afraid that Taylor had deviated from who she was because she had crossed over to pop. I was afraid that the relatability I had always experienced was gone and that somebody I admired had gone a way I didn’t agree with.

album titlesAnd while I will freely admit that the songs on 1989 weren’t what I was expecting and surprised me, they completely blew me away with how real and raw they were. It was clear from the beginning that Taylor was playing around with her creativity, but had also reached a new level with it that you had to really look for in order to understand. Like all masterpieces, there is a lot under the surface.

Interestingly enough, 1989 was another classic example of Taylor’s music ringing true in my own experiences and somehow matching up with my life. If you listen to her talk about her newest album, she often tells about how she was ready to go to a new point in her creative process and do things that she’d never done before. She was ready to challenge herself and, in a way, start over.

Coming home from my religious mission, I too was at a point where I was ready to take all the good things I’d learned and begin again. I was ready to stretch myself, discover new things about myself, and start over. And as I made those first steps, I did it with the songs of 1989 playing in the background. Today I just wanted to share a few of these observations and experiences with you:

  • About a month after I returned home I was having a really bad day, being bogged down with some very emotional and sensitive issues. I remember that at that long livemoment I was listening to the song Clean on repeat as I drove aimlessly around. The lyrics seemed to match perfectly with what I was feeling and over the next weeks I found in my own process that I was slowly getting rid of old baggage and becoming clean.
  • Have you ever noticed how the basic beats in the songs: Style, Wildest Dreams, Bad Blood, and Clean to name a few, sound like a heart beat? Powerful songs, messages, and emotions coming right from the heart.
  • Welcome to New York pretty much floored me from the first time. A song about getting to a new place, physical or emotional, and changing your perspective entirely. It is a song about hope.
  • When I first heard Out of the Woods I was a little skeptical. The repetition wasn’t typical Taylor and I had a hard time finding the art in it. To be totally honest, I didn’t realize until fairly recently the artistic value of this song. One of my college professors often asks us what the purpose of repetition is in learning. The answer is simple: so that we learn the material! The more I listen to Out of the Woods the more I realize that it is a song about mistakes, redemption, and fighting for the future.
  • One of the things that I love most about 1989 is that you are tempted to think of it as just another list of love songs…until you look deeper. You realize that Taylor uses the popular, and relatable, theme of love to illustrate different and maybe even bigger issues. I Know Places at first seems like two people in love just wanting to be alone, wildest dreamsaway from the spotlight. But as you listen to it more fully, you realize that each of us have moments when we want to escape everyday pressures and demands and people that drag us down.
  • I really enjoy the song You Are In Love, mostly because of one thought in it, “And you understand now why they lost their minds and fought the wars, and why I’ve spent my whole life trying to put it into words.” It is specifically talking about love here, but it also hints at other things we can’t explain, the deepest feelings of our souls that creativity has yet to find words for. This is a song about discovering things that are so important and crucial to you that the only place you understand them is in your heart.

The more experience I’ve had with 1989, the more I realize that it is an album about changing your life and your perspective, but still maintaining the best pieces of who you are. And in a time when I needed those very things, it was the background music of my life.