Contemplate the soundtrack to your life. Does it scintillate with a techno sizzle, or linger with an acoustic roar?
Music and lyrics hold a special ability to transport us someplace else, as memories are simply buried alive until that certain chord conjures them forth. But could that internal playlist be hampering your ability to listen?
I do exalt what indie cred I can scrape together. However, I openly admit my taste sometimes aligns more closely with a teenage girl's.
Taylor Swift, with her winsome combo of sugary angst and ambition, shines a light onto those teenage transgressions. Whether you're only four, or 40, years out of high school, Swift’s songs about longing, heartache and possibility are remarkably relevant to her gay fans today.
One tune, entitled “You Belong with Me,” stands out to your author for not-so-obvious reasons. Despite my inability to escape it at malls, inside cars and online, “You Belong with Me” belongs to me because of its gender-neutrality.
Yet, it's what Swift doesn't do that stands out more.
“You Belong with Me” isn't about a crush between friends – it's about Swift’s crushed ego. Instead of trying to understand why her best friend dates an unsavory cheerleader, Swift turns up the volume of her infatuation. The self-affirmations become so loud, it's a wonder she can hear herself, or anyone else, at all.
From Swift’s perspective, a cheerleader antagonist keeps the singer’s best friend wrapped around her French-manicured finger. Sadly, Swift’s unisexual T-shirts and sneakers cannot beat the cheer captain’s short-skirts and high heels for his attention. So she suffers silently as her best friend dates with danger.
Even still, it's Swift that gets her best friend’s jokes, listens to his music, and hangs out inside his bedroom.
“She doesn’t get your humor like I do,” Swift observes.
But, there's so much more to that.
He also tells Swift about the dreams he apparently doesn't trust his girlfriend with.
Essentially, Swift has transformed the pains of gay first love into a mainstream hit.
So, it doesn't surprise me to see Ms. Swift squished alongside Lady GaGa and Britney onto the playlists of men at D-List, the gay-equivalent of MySpace. Only the artist herself though can tell us if the bromantic vibe is purely incidental or not. Until then, “You Belong with Me” remains the subliminal anthem of the frustrated gay best friend.
But for all their time spent together, why can she not ask where his smile “that could light up this whole town” went? “I haven’t seen it in awhile since she brought you down,” Swift laments.
If they are allegedly so close, then it shouldn't be such a tough question.
Fantasy, if left unsupervised, blurs the line separating romantic love from lust, and causes us to lose sight of ourselves. Unfortunately, that uncontrolled infatuation creates a rift between friends that no lifeline could possibly bridge.
“Can't you see that I'm the one who understand you,” Swift implores. “You, you belong with me.”
Rather than trying to rescue him from certain disaster, Swift expects her best friend to realize it, and reel himself to shore. She might as well be giving a recent amputee the thread and needle to reattach their own severed limb.
Simply put, obsession is not a substitute for self-awareness. You cannot help others if you are not a critical listener to the soundtrack of your life.
Pay attention to triggers, and confront them before things become too fantastic. Focus instead upon friendships you neglected, or volunteer your time to combat problems bigger than yourself. Plant ideas for others, and reject indulging false hopes.
Just ask him “why” they are still together, and that should cause his self-introspection to simmer.
Even if they do stay together, accept the tune you cannot change. Harmony exists elsewhere in nature.