52. Taylor Swift: From Seeking Approval to Setting Boundaries
Mary: Let’s talk boundaries. Today we are discussing Taylor Swift. Hey, Chime!
Chime: Hey, Mary! I’m very excited to talk about Taylor. I am definitely a Swifty these days.
Mary: Oh, yeah? What makes you a Swifty?
Chime: I’m very into her music. She’s so good. I was talking to a friend recently, cause we both like Adele, but she’s not that much of a Swift fan. And I was like, listen, Adele is like a fine French dinner. She’s very refined and lovely, but you can’t have her all the time. Taylor Swift is like a street taco. You always want a street taco. She’s so perfect. So good.
Mary: Awesome. Well, Taylor Swift is big in the media right now. Tell me what, why you think that is.
Chime: Well, because she’s just the queen of pop. And now the queen of pop is going to some football games and everyone’s talking about it. But I think really, she’s had an incredible year, Mary. It’s been amazing. Her tour is just like, been astounding of how popular it’s been. She’s got this movie that’s coming out. She released a new album this year, and it’s been soaring. So I mean, she’s killing it.
Mary: She is killing it. And we love Taylor Swift. Taylor, if you’re listening, we love you.
Chime: And Taylor, if you’re listening, I really, really love you.
Mary: I think that’s actually how Travis Kelce got to meet her was because he said he loved her on a podcast and tried to give her a friendship bracelet and then realized that you know, she doesn’t meet people before or after her concerts. And so somehow they worked that out. So maybe this could be your new BFF Chime.
Chime: Oh, we could be BFFs.
Mary: Yeah. Maybe you already are her BFF.
Chime: She just doesn’t know it yet.
Mary: All right. Well, because Taylor Swift’s been trending and I had some thoughts about how Taylor Swift has showed us her journey around seeking approval and learning some boundaries, chime and I decided to talk about Taylor Swift today and boundary lessons in her life and story. And so we watched this movie called Miss Americana, is a Netflix movie from 2020 and it is a documentary that Taylor participated in, kind of sharing her life and her story, and it was so interesting, the boundary lessons that I saw there.
Chime: Yeah. I mean, she starts the Miss Americana movie with this quote saying, my entire moral code as a kid, and now is a need to be thought of as good. It was all I wrote about, it was all I wanted. It was a complete and total belief system I subscribed to as a kid. So that is where she started in terms of her life and her career and music making.
Mary: Yes, and she showed lots of kind of approval seeking, what I would consider approval seeking behaviors. So around, like, looking for approval through the cheering of a crowd or receiving an award or Approval through her media engagements, and then what happened?
Chime: Well, I think we all kind of do that a little bit, like we’re all looking for some sort of approval. I think in Taylor Swift’s situation it was really extreme. I mean, I think she was really doing a lot and really twisting herself to try to get all of this approval. And at the height of that approval, she had just won a second album of the year for 1989. She had sold out tours. You know, as far as like a female in the music industry, she was like talked about as this like beautiful woman and beautiful body and all of these things. So she had done all of the things that she was trying to do for winning approval. She had gotten approval, and all of a sudden it just all came tumbling down. Like, the media totally, like, crapped all over her, and there was this trend on Twitter, Taylor Swift’s party over, and she just got all of this hate for She was too skinny. She was too good. She likes attention. She’s fake. She’s opportunistic. She works too hard. She’s this. She’s that. And it was just kind of crazy to me. I felt like… You know, we’ve done some podcasts recently about kind of similar themes. And I was like, this is the same song, just a different tune, right? Like it’s the same, like she had “should” all over herself. I should be a good girl. I should be really thin. And actually she was anorexic. I should make really good music. And she did. She won two albums of the year. I should, I should, I should, I should. And when she actually did the unobtainable thing, all of the crazy things that she’d “should” all over herself, then they still hated her. That’s just crazy.
Mary: And it seems like after she won that award, she got to this place of like, okay, so I’ve Been a good girl. I won the award. I’ve tried really hard, done my very best. In fact, almost like a perfectionistic kind of pursuit of approval and She said, I didn’t have anyone to share it with and I didn’t have any self care. Yeah. So she had some reflection and she decided to take some time and really be introspective and take some space and really focus on building her self care and her relationship. So let’s talk a little more about that.
Chime: Yeah. I mean, I think she really reevaluated her life, which I think is like the best part. I mean, it’s the best part of this story. It’s the best part of any story. It’s the best part of our own personal life stories. Like we have this moment of reflection and re evaluating who we are. I think it’s unfortunate like we tend to do it in crisis, you know? I think that’s what happened. She was in crisis, you know? She had been the perfect model of who she thought she should be, who she thought the media was telling her to be. And it’s still wasn’t enough, you know, and so she had this big moment of reevaluating.
Mary: Awesome. And she took some space for like almost a year, right?
Chime: Yeah. Wow. Yeah, I know. I thought was really interesting in this miss Americana documentary, she talks a lot about having to reinvent herself, which I think a lot of famous people kind of talk about, like she felt she needed to reinvent her image, she needed to reinvent her music, she needed to be something that the masses would still find interesting, like it was like this pressure that she had on herself to reinvent who she was. But I think when she took that year off, she really reinvented herself, not for the media, but for herself, which was really beautiful. I mean, she like let herself figure out who she wanted to be, not who she should be and what was important to her and to like align those things together.
Mary: Yes. And that’s where I start seeing the boundary growth here is kind of taking the time to decide what’s okay for me, what’s not okay for me, what am I willing to participate in, what I’m not willing to participate in. What are my values? What does alignment for my values look like? Feel like? How do I actually want to show up in an authentic way here? And so she took some time, which I love that she took some time to figure that out. And that worked for her, right? Not perfectly, not perfectly, but it did work. I mean, it wasn’t exactly smooth, which is what I see happening sometimes with my clients is they expect that it’s going to be completely smooth and it wasn’t completely smooth for Taylor either but it did work.
So let’s talk a little bit about what I saw as kind of the test of her boundaries. And that was really around like ultimately when it came upon election time and she was really deciding those guidelines for herself around what is she willing to participate in and not willing to participate in. Does she make any kind of statement about her politics? Does she not make any statement about her politics? And in the past she had been really quiet and kind of taken to this notion of like, shut up for fear of being canceled right to her political opinions.
Chime: Well, I think it was so black and white to this good girl image. You know, a good girl stays a -political, a good girl doesn’t talk about what your, how you should vote or your political views, right? Like it was so black and white of this is what a good girl does, and this is what a girl doesn’t do. You know, there’s a lot of other shades of grey in this good girl image, but that one seemed very concrete. So, I think that that was a really hard one for her to get over, because it was black and white.
Mary: Yeah. But ultimately, she decided that she wanted to speak about kind of her political opinions. And really the reason why she chose to do that was it kind of came down to human rights, right? So she wanted to vote for human rights. She wanted to decide that human rights were important to her and she wanted to encourage people to go out and vote. And she wanted to be clear about like who she was voting for and why. And I really saw that in the film as the shift where her boundaries got tested and she chose to follow through with the boundaries that she had set.
Chime: And when she talked about it in the film, two things really struck with me. One was even after all this growth, there was like a moment where she was having a discussion about wanting to do it. And there were a few men in the room, I don’t know exactly who they all were, who were trying to talk her out of it. And one was her dad. And I, there was like this moment where she’s crying. I mean, she’s actually crying to her dad and says, you’ll just have to forgive me for doing that. I’m doing it. And I thought that was really poignant that it was still very real to her this like disappointment that she perceived she’s going to have for doing this thing, you know, coming out as political. But I also think it was really interesting that like, once she did it, when she posted that social media information about the politics. She was just like, released it, you know, it was fine. Whatever happened after that was fine. Like the big difficulty was just doing it, you know, to living up to those boundaries that you have with yourself. And then once she did it, it didn’t matter what the outcome was.
Mary: Yes. And I think that is something I see in my boundary work as well, is that when Taylor decided that she was willing to make some comments about her political opinions, and she was willing to speak up for the reason of human rights, that she understood that she might lose approval from some people and that she was willing to lose approval for some people. And what I see is that sometimes people will say to me like, well, I want to honor my boundary and I want to set the boundary and I want to follow through with the boundary, but I don’t want to lose the relationship or I don’t want the relationship to change. And you have to be willing for things to change in order to follow through with your boundary. And this was an example of that, that Taylor showed us in, in this film.
So let’s talk about takeaways. What are some lessons that we learn from the life of Taylor Swift?
Chime: Well, You know, she followed through with that boundary. She did some other things. I mean, during that time, she wrote a whole album about not being a good girl, reputation and breaking that. I’m sure it was more for herself than for anyone else. Cathartic just to write how she’s no longer gonna be a good girl. She stopped being anorexic. She had a healthy relationship for several years. But I really think the, the best part that we have seen from the media and from that movie is like, she just really seems to own who she is now. You know, I think the pre Taylor really just wanted to own who she thought she should be. And now the post crisis Taylor really is just happy with who she is. And I love that. And I think like, I find her more relatable. Like I am a deeper fan because we’re all like that, right? Like we all have different facets of ourself that is our own boundaries or are important to us. And it’s so beautiful when we can all collectively as humans, just own it, own who we are and not “should” all over ourselves.
Mary: Yeah, it does seem like we’re able to connect with Taylor Swift and a more human level because she shares her stories through her songs, and she shares her story and her life through this documentary, and she shares her life and her stories through the media, and I really love that. So, what’s next?
Chime: Well, what’s next is she’s still killing it. I mean, still killing it. She’s like more loved now than she ever was before. Lemme just tell you a 33 about Taylor Swift. ’cause I’m so in love with her, Taylor.
Mary: She really is killing it for her age.
Chime: Right? But she’s still only 33. I mean, so she’s the first woman with four albums in the billboard chart top 10 simultaneously. She’s the most number one albums by a woman in history. She’s the only artist in history to claim all 10 entries in the Billboard hot 100 in a single week. She’s the most attended concert by female artists in the U S and they’re expecting her to be, this last concert, the heiress tour to be the highest grossing concert tour of all time. She’s the youngest ever artist to receive album of the year. She has the most American Music Awards in history, 34. She holds the record for the number one hits in digital chart sales. She broke the record for video music awards. And she’s broken the internet twice. Spotify Temporary crashed when Taylor Swift dropped Midnight’s. And Ticketmaster crashed in the air as presale Tour, which has now like put the whole company under scrutiny.
Mary: Good job, Taylor. I know.
Chime: She’s a boss.
Mary: She totally is a boss.
Chime: She is such a boss. Yeah, I love that. And my favorite quote of the whole Miss Americana is at the end when she says, There’s no such thing as bossy, just only a boss.
Mary: Oh, there’s no such thing as bossy, there’s only a boss. It’s such a good quote. I agree.
Chime: I know, I know. Totally agree.
Mary: So to the folks out there who are joking about Taylor Swift putting Travis Kelce on the map, because obviously he was already well known in his own right. I kind of think maybe there’s something to it, like there’s something to the fact that Travis Kelce is getting a lot more notoriety, fan base, acknowledgement, awareness, because he is now dating this amazing woman who totally is a boss and that the, you know, the NFL doesn’t really know how to handle such a cool person.
Chime: And let’s see if Travis Kelce knows how to handle such a woman. We don’t know that yet.
Mary: All right. Well, we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. Are you going to go see the movie?
Chime: Already got my tickets today. I’m going to go see her again. Taylor I’ve already seen you once in Atlanta going again at the movie, October 21st at noon.
Mary: I love it. And I love how you wore your red lipstick for this, for this podcast interview, Chime.
Chime: Of course, for Taylor.
Mary: So listeners, put your red lipstick on, show up like a boss, and shake it off. All right. Take care.