Taylor Swift’s Lexicon Changed My Life

April 07, 2021
a young woman with long hair in front of a beautiful purple-pink sky
Art by Kim Salac

“Wow, Chloe sure is being dramatic right now.” Let’s face it: maybe you like Taylor Swift, but that’s probably what you’re thinking based on the title of this piece. But, hear me out. Life is hard, and the last year has been especially burdensome for everyone. Taylor Swift, out of the blue, released two albums. These two albums felt like they were written for me, composed with my exact situation in mind. And, of course, they weren’t. 

Taylor Swift helped me process my emotions. With every resonant lyric, she reminded me that other people felt the way that I did. And on top of that, she pretty much shouted “You’ll be better than okay some day.” There is not a single artist out there that has made me feel as seen as Taylor Swift has. Her ability to morph words into phrases that feel like warm arms wrapping me in a burgundy blanket is unmatched. 

 

Taylor Swift helped me process my emotions. With every resonant lyric, she reminded me that other people felt the way that I did. And on top of that, she pretty much shouted “You’ll be better than okay some day.”

 

With that in mind, I pinned one (or two… or three) songs of Taylor’s to the last ten months of my life. Each both eerily, painstakingly, or happily true to the happenings of that specific month. The lyrics were also picked with care, as not every word in each song perfectly fit the feelings of that month. Sometimes, the bridge was what kept running through my mind. Occasionally it was the first verse, or the last. Here lie the last ten months of my life: written by Taylor herself. 

 

 

June 2020

“Lover”

My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue

All’s well that ends well to end up with you

Swear to be overdramatic and true to my

Lover

 

July 2020

“This Is Me Trying”

Pulled the car off the road to the lookout

Could’ve followed my fears all the way down

And maybe I don’t quite know what to say

But I’m here in your doorway

I just wanted you to know

That this is me trying

They told me all of my cages were mental

So I got wasted like all my potential

And my words shoot to kill when I’m mad

I have a lot of regrets about that 

 

August 2020

“Gorgeous”

You make me so happy, it turns back to sad

You are so gorgeous, it makes me so mad

 

September 2020

“Exile”

And it took you five whole minutes

To pack us up and leave me with it

Holding all this love out here in the hall

I think I’ve seen this film before

And I didn’t like the ending 

 

October 2020

“Evermore”

I replay my footsteps on each stepping stone

Trying to find the one where I went wrong

Writing letters addressed to the fire

And I was catching my breath

Staring out an open window 

Catching my death

And I couldn’t be sure

I had a feeling so peculiar

That this pain would be for

Evermore

 

November 2020

“Cardigan”

To kiss in cars and downtown bars

Was all we needed

You drew stars around my scars

But now I’m bleeding

‘Cause I knew you

Stepping on the last train

Marked me like a bloodstain

And when I felt like I was an old

Cardigan under someone’s bed

You put me on and said I was your

Favorite

 

and the bridge of “Death By A Thousand Cuts”

My heart, my hips, my body, my love

Trying to find a part of me that you didn't touch

Gave up on me like I was a bad drug

Now I'm searching for signs in a haunted club

Our songs, our films, united we stand

Our country, guess it was a lawless land

Quiet my fears with the touch of your hand

Paper cut stings from our paper thin plans

My time, my wine, my spirit, my trust

Trying to find a part of me you didn't take up

Gave you too much but it wasn't enough

But I'll be alright, it's just a thousand cuts

 

December 2020

“Illicit Affairs”

Make sure nobody sees you leave

Hood over your head

Keep your eyes down

Tell your friends you’re out for a run

You’ll be flushed when you return

Take the road less traveled by

Tell yourself you can always stop

What started in beautiful rooms

Ends with meetings in parking lots

You showed me colors you know I

Can’t see with anyone else

You taught me a secret language

I can’t speak with anyone else

 

And “Out of the Woods”

Looking at it now

It all seems so simple

We were lying on your couch

I remember

The rest of the world was black and white

But we were in screaming color

Looking at it now

Last December

We were built to fall apart

Then fall back together

But the monsters turned out to be just trees

When the sun came up you were looking at me

 

 

January 2021

“Tolerate It”

I wait by the door like I’m just a kid

Use my best colors for your portrait

Lay the table with the fancy shit

And watch you tolerate it

If it’s all in my head tell me now

Tell me I’ve got it wrong somehow

I know my love should be celebrated

But you tolerate it

I made you my temple, my mural, my sky

Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life

Gain the weight of you then lose it

 

February 2021

“Hoax”

Your faithless love’s the only hoax

I believe in

Don’t want no other shade of blue

But you

No other sadness in the world would do

 

As well as “Last Kiss”

I do remember the swing of your step

The life of the party, you're showing off again

And I roll my eyes and then you'd pull me in

And I'll go

Sit on the floor wearing your clothes

All that I know is I don't know

How to be something you miss

And I hope the sun shines and it's a beautiful day

And something reminds you you wish you had stayed

You can plan for a change in the weather and time

But I never planned on you changing your mind

 

And a special guest appearance from “Cardigan”

A friend to all is a friend to none

Chase two girls, 

Lose the one

When you are young they assume you know nothing

 

March 2021

“Clean”

You’re still all over me

Like a wine stained dress I can’t wear anymore

Hung my head as I lost the war

And the sky turned black like a perfect storm

Rain came pouring down while I was drowning

 

and “Death By A Thousand Cuts”

I dress to kill my time

I take the long way home

I ask the traffic lights if it'll be alright

They say ‘I don't know’

And what once was ours is no one's now

I see you everywhere

The only thing we share

Is this small town

You said it was a great love

One for the ages

If the story's over

Why am I still writing pages?

Okay and “Right Where You Left Me”

I swear you could hear a hair pin drop

Right when I felt the moment stop

Glass shattered on the white cloth

Everybody moved on

I, I stayed there

 

 

I’m grateful that Taylor holds my heart in the way that she does. I hope that the next few months feel like “Daylight” to me. I want, in the approaching year, to define myself by “the things that I love, not the things I hate, not the things that I’m afraid of.” 

 

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