Dear Taylor Swift-
My 8 year old daughter Emily and I attended your concert this weekend in Dallas. It was her first ever concert experience and I fear it was a mistake to bring her. You see, now the bar is set so high for performances that she will likely never reach it again.
I want to thank you for being a class act. I am an overly protective mama, and I can feel comfortable encouraging my daughter in her love and adoration of you. I can (and do) say to my girls ‘Look how pretty she is. And look at her clothes and her make up. She is pretty without being inappropriate.’ Thank you for going against the grain of the rest of the modern, oversexualized culture targeting preteens. Free piece of advice: Don’t screw that up.
I also want to thank you for giving me this night with my girl. She will never forget being there and watching her hero out there singing. You were her main event. I bought a ticket, too. But, Taylor, while I enjoyed your performance very much, my main event was watching my daughter watch you. She won’t forget that night because of you, but I won’t forget that night because she and I shared that delightful time together. Thank you.
This year has been a tough one for my girl. Third grade has been the tipping point for what is ‘cool’. It is no longer cool to be the nice girl. It is no longer cool to stay out of trouble. It is no longer cool to be polite and respectful. So for a very sweet ‘good girl’, this was the year her peers seemed to turn on her in a lot of ways. It has been tough to watch her navigate it.
Third grade also is the year when it is hard to be different. Before, being different meant that your peers ask questions truly out of curiosity. Now, differences are seized by peers as chances to be critical and sometimes cruel. I understand why. At this age, the playground is a kill or be killed environment. It always will be. If you are picking on someone else, it reduces the chance that someone will pick on you. I don’t mean bullying (in my opinion that word is WAY overused). I mean the small catty, cutting things girls (and not too few boys) say. Being different means giving them a topic to talk about.
So it was a particularly hard year to be identified as having dyslexia, and having to participate in a pull out group with a special teacher each day. She never complains about the extra work, she just doesn’t want to be different. ‘I wish I could go to a school where everyone has dyslexia,’ she has told so many times. Then, it became a difficult year to be the only kid in her class to get braces. It has just kept piling on. It has been so….. difficult.
And so, Taylor Swift, when you broke out singing ‘Mean’, I am sure you probably wondered who was singing so very extra loud on the front row of Section 327. It was Emily and her Mama, singing our guts out, releasing our frustrations at this rough, tough year. Thank you for being the soundtrack for her life.
Someday, I’ll be, living in a big ol’ city, And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Someday, I’ll be, big enough so you can’t hit me, And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Why you gotta be so mean?