Taylor Swift and I both broke up with our boyfriends recently.
You may be thinking, “Wait, you had a boyfriend?”
And I don’t blame you, because the relationship was so short that I didn’t have time to tell a whole lot of people about it.
I keep trying to write about my feelings on the situation so I can heal but for some reason the words just aren’t coming out. I think this is because there is one version of this story that I am comfortable talking about, the one in which I believe whatever I need to in order to feel okay about things – the one in which I believe whatever he says – but there is another version that I could barely even think about until now.
That’s the version in which I realize that I still do not have the full story, and the full story probably isn’t going to make me feel okay about anything. The full story is probably full of half truths and lies of omission and someone who doesn’t care even half as much as I thought he did (which was already only about half as much as I do).
The full story is someone who kept trying to make things work (me) and someone who gave up because he didn’t think I was worth that much effort (him).
The full story is that I wasn’t worth breaking up with in person.
The full story is breaking down at work because, somehow, I just realized that now.
I can’t seem to turn that into anything more meaningful than simply just stating the facts.
Wrapping my head around that is understandably going to take some time, and I keep telling myself that I’m just too sad to write about this yet, but there is another reason why I didn’t write about it even when things were great – fear. Not fear of how other people would react (I already know that other people think I talk about my feelings way too much), but fear of how he would react. Typically, people don’t like being written about, even if it’s favourably (I’ve never understood this because all I’ve ever wanted is for someone to care about me so much that they would do something like that). It’s embarrassing somehow.
Ordinarily, I just do whatever I want, thinking, well, they probably won’t even see it anyway. But in this case, I played it super safe. I didn’t want to risk anything. He adored me, treated me well and had long-term potential. I finally found someone who was more important to me than this (and it turned out that I wasn’t more important to him than anything).
In all fairness to him, there was absolutely no indication that he would care about any of this. So if he adored me so much and treated me so well, what was I so afraid of??
I don’t think I can say it better than Taylor herself, so I’ll let her do the talking (plus, I feel like this is the kind of content she’d want people to be sharing, rather than pictures of her and Calvin Harris with jagged lines down the middle):
As much as I joke about being the Taylor Swift of blogging and being a professional oversharer, I don’t actually believe that there are any negative connotations about those things. I think that’s what other people think and that’s why I joke about it (à la Taylor in “Blank Space”), but I never feel like I’m oversharing until someone else tells me I am. I never feel like I’m overexposed or vulnerable until someone else tells me I am (either directly or indirectly through their own behaviour).
In this case, I didn’t care what other people thought, but I cared what he thought. I didn’t want him to think I was oversharing or overemotional or give him any ammunition to call me his “crazy ex-girlfriend” should we ever break up down the road (of course, I did anyway in the end, spending hours writing him a long-ass message full of nice words when meanwhile he didn’t give a fuck about me).
I wish that shit wasn’t seen as “crazy” or over-anything because I don’t think it is. While I recognize that others perceive it as such, I think it’s beautiful. And in most circumstances I would appreciate it if someone did the same for me.
So when I see people making light of Taylor Swift’s recent breakup, to be honest it kind of actually hurts. Of course it hurts because I am a fan of hers and I recognize that she’s a real person, and I’ve seen her talk and write songs about how hurtful that kind of thing is to her, but also because it hits too close to home. It reminds me of me.
No one is writing tabloid stories about me or starting hashtags but it is telling that none of my friends take me seriously anymore. In those tabloid stories and hashtags I can see my friends rolling their eyes thinking, “Oh brother, another breakup.” No one has ever actually done or said that (to my face), but one friend did say about this recent breakup, “But it wasn’t sad, right?”
Why? Why would you ever assume that a breakup isn’t sad? Just because I’ve experienced a lot of them does not make them less sad. Just because the relationship wasn’t very long doesn’t make it easy (though it is easier than a longer one, obviously).
If anything, the more of them I go through the harder they get, because the idea that I will never be treated any better than this is just hammered into my head further and further.
Someone also recently said to me that I must just expect it by now, like I’m used to it. I’ve been a huge proponent of the idea that just because someone is in tune with and expresses their feelings doesn’t make them weak, but I think it’s worth adding that it doesn’t automatically make them exceptionally strong because they’re “used to it” either.
I will never get used to this, nor should I. It is hard enough overcoming the message that I’ve been sent over and over again – that I don’t deserve better – and I don’t need other people in my life reaffirming that. I am just like anyone else with a broken heart; I need my friends to support me and spend time with me, not tease me or make assumptions.
And Taylor Swift is just like anyone else with a broken heart too, just with a lot of money and security.
I know, not just because of her music but because she said these two things – two of my favourite Taylor quotes that I often turn to when I am sad:
“Hang on. It gets easier, and then it gets okay, and then it feels like freedom.”
“Knowing your worth sometimes comes without any proof at all. You’re worth more than flaky friends and people who dismiss you, or underestimate you. Sometimes it seems like that’s all you get, but it’s not all you’ll ever get. Believe that.”
I try. And now, in honour of Taylor and so that I have an outlet to audibly express my own feelings, a cover of one of her most underrated songs, “Cold As You”, from her first album.
Chelsea Ricchio is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the SPEAK OUT blog. She is also the Communications Manager for Healthy Minds Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 2015 with a BA in English Literature and Book & Media Studies. She was the former president of the student group Active Minds at UofT, which hosts SPEAK OUT events on campus (from which this blog takes its name). She was diagnosed with Dysthymia and Social Anxiety. She is 23 and lives in Toronto with her cat Genie.