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December 13th...

Today, 34 years ago, a girl was born that would change the world.  It cost her great amounts of money, time, blood, sweat, and sanity.  Her heart has been bludgeoned likely as often as it has been lifted up.  But she continues, she persists and now she has arrived.

What a year she has had! And not because of the awards or Travis, the fame, or the fortune but because it appears, at least to me, that she has finally arrived in a place of humble acceptance that she has always been something that the world needed.

It takes a great deal of courage to put yourself out there.  It takes a lot of bravery to dodge the slings and arrows fame beckons.  It takes a lot of moxie to do it anyway.  It takes a very tough exterior to survive in a culture that seems to destroy more than it heals.  Consumes more than it reaps. And to not let that causitic reality harden you into some smaller version of yourself.

But here she is, undoubtably at the very pinnacle of her life.  And we love her for it.  The songs, the person who had to live through the events that conjured up the songs.  And she is a force of good in this world.  She does the right thing for the right reason, almost always.  She is a good person, always has been.  And that is why we all love her.  That is why she is on everyone’s lips, insta and playlist (ok, maybe not everyone’s...)

She changed my life first by providing a forum for my daughter and I to relate when she was young and impressionable.  Later her music caused us to pilgrimage to a city far away to worship at the alter of all things Swift.

Her songs of heartbreak and betrayal guided me like a candle in a dark night, knowing that there was at least one other person who felt the way I did, who hurt like I did.

But mostly what I believe she has done is a great deal of work on herself and has risen to her full height showing us all that is possible to be a force for good in this world.  To speak your truth (now), to stand up for those that fear reprisal, be kind and to continue to open your heart, no matter how many times it is smashed to pieces.

Taylor is loved and adored the way she is because she is real.  She is a real person.  Which can’t be easy to maintain at her level of fame.  But it is her humanness we relate to, it is her heartbreak, her steely resolve, her willingness to own her more glaring defects that make her someone to look up to, someone to admire, someone to be awed by.

And fuck, her talent.  She is a poet.  When I listen to her music, I am always amazed at her craft of writing words that concisely sum up a feeling, a love, a relationship, a heartbreak, a dejection.  And she finds the words then she sets them to music which is a skill I can’t even understand.  

What I think I love most about her though is that she has walked through the fire.  She has taken the hits, the hurdles, the impediments and used them all as a catalyst to come to know herself better.  Not in an arrogant way that we so often see with the Karsashians and people like them.  No, she has been leveled, and then retreated.  Pulled back and away and allowed the events of her life to change her.  She didn’t withdraw into addiction and excesses.  I mean, I am sure she probably did on some level, but she didn’t succumb.  Whatever salve she might have used to dull her pain, it was a temporary aid that got her through to the real work of healing.

She stands before us all now as Time’s most interesting person of the year.  And, at least  for me,  she is the most interesting person because she has accomplished something that most people do not do in the whole of their lifetime...she has come to know herself well and has taken actions, lots of action, to be true to herself.  And that, from my experience, is not an easy task.  I am still struggling to do that at 54.  And she is twenty years younger than me.  But I guess when you are Taylor Swift you get a lot more target practice, and by that I mean people making you a target, than I get over here in Ojai just living my life.

She is the Phoenix that rises above.  Her path paved by women who endured and survived Hollywood so that when it was her turn to take her stand and make her name, she has been able to do that, with integrity, grace and a flare that is just contagious.

Taylor brings a level of innocence to a genre of industry that feels like it has been bled dry of the goodness of people.  She does the parties and the stuff that she must to feed the rapacious fame machine, but she says “enough” and has had the courage to take a stand and walk away when the fame threatened to take too much, so much that she was not willing to give.

And I admire the fuck out of that.  That is hard in anyone’s life.  But for someone like her, it feels next to impossible.  I do not see the wealth, fame and celebrity as good things, I see them as things she has had to survive, and make a life for herself in spite of.  So many people want to be her, but if you listen to her, being her has never been easy and is often fraught with peril (physical, emotional, spiritual).

Life is not easily lived for any of us.  We all must find our way.  And for Taylor, she seems to know who she is, what she stands for and what she is about.  And she does this all while making us laugh, delight and love her even more.

I saw her run off the stage into Mr. Kelce’s arms in Argentina...and I pray that he is the man he appears to be because his friendship bracelet offering has landed him a place next to a woman of substance and grace.  And I can only pray that he is worthy.  She will love you fiercely, all Sagitarians do.  Don’t be afraid or freak out when she runs...just stand still and allow her to circle back.  Travis, you hit the motherlode of beauty, style and fetching intelligence.  May you be worthy of her and her of you.  May this be a love story of a life time for you both.  When I say the whole world is rooting for you, I am not lying.

Ms. Swift, you have endured, persevered and shared your light with the world.  Making it a better place. Thank you, we all are better for it.

Happy 34th Birthday!  We can’t wait to see what you craft for the world next...may you forever be true to you.   And may you rest in the knowledge that you did it, in large part, on your own terms that were never easy and always painful.  And in so doing, you inspired legions of loyal, loving fans who quite desperately want good things for you.  

Thank you seems like such a poor response to what you bring to the world, but it is with a humbleness and sincerity that I say, thank you.  May the best part of today be when you look in the mirror and love who you see reflected have earned it! And your crusade to come to know and love yourself for who and what you are, has inspired others to do the same, which to me, is the only real purpose of fame. To help others. And so you do.

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