Janet and I have discovered a mutual love for Taylor Swift. Justina, who is about the same age as Taylor Swift (I think) is pretty much horrified by this. I believe the word she used was "trite." What I see, though, is sweetness in Taylor Swift's songs. The subjects of her songs are so simple: liking someone who is dating someone else, wishing for the happy ending that wasn't to be, or just being into someone with your entire heart. There is something alluring about that. I think we all remember when those things were utterly consuming and important. I for one have taught myself to suppress it, or at least learn to concentrate on other things, for the sake of becoming an über-productive member of society. Perhaps that's a result of woman's empowerment, no longer being defined by our relationship to one partner. But there's something really alluring about Taylor Swift's vision of the world in her songs, where being with one person is the definition of happiness. Anyone who has been in a relationship knows that past the part where you get with someone, comes all the hard work. There's none of that in her songs, just something easy and pure, the way you always imagine it will be when you've never dated, or never been kissed.
Maybe this is just a stage to pass through, when we let go of that vision, with some longing. When we recognize with a bit of shock that actually, relationships are extraordinarily difficult, especially if you want them to be happy forever. I read an article in the NY Times about married couples' lack of sexual activity, but what really struck me was all the people commenting in it about how they'd married people who they now felt completely disconnected from, and totally stuck with. It was terribly sad, with a few bright lights of people who said they had found a lasting fire and love for their partners.
This weekend my mom said to me, "you know, you don't really ever have to get married. It's all a societal expectation anyway." But in recent weeks I've come to really appreciate the mutual understanding they have, and at Anne's wedding a couple of weekends ago, I saw some wonderful partnerships of people who were incredibly happy and comfortable together. While it is true that there is no rush, I don't doubt the benefit of finding someone you can be with. And while at that point, you may never be able to have a Taylor Swift song as your life, I imagine there still is some kind of near-blind faith and trust in the other person, how they understand and talk to you, and the other person's spirit and rightness for you that makes it work.
It's been a while since I've done this much soul-searching, and I know it's long from being over. But this awareness is so real, that even its painfulness is welcome.