Shortly after Taylor Swift’s 6th studio album “reputation” dropped, a foreword in the front of her Target exclusive magazines were printed. “Here’s something I’ve learned about people.” She says, “We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them they have chosen to show us.” It’s been a year and a little over 3 months since the album was released and what Swift has said still sticks. When certain people think of Swift, they think of all their complex feelings being put into words. With others they think of music in general. But a true artist goes beyond their canvas, because what Taylor said isn’t a lyric in a song, it’s the truth we’ve known all along just printed in a magazine.
We often find ourselves surprised when someone close to us does something we think is out of their character. It can be as simple as your best friend complaining about a band, and then going to see their concert the next night with a different group of friends. Or it can be as complex as them leaving, and leaving behind no explanation. We see these things for what they are, and we endure the pain of these actions. But what we don’t realize is that when we come across a problem that we can simplify into one sentence, we are trying to simplify people. A person cannot be simplified because you don’t know them in their most complex form. This isn’t someone who has multiple personalities and the one they’re showing you is less true than others, it’s when perspective comes into play. My mother sees me in a different light than my friends do. My best friend sees things in me that my life long acquaintances would never. You could take 1 person and gather up the most important people in their lives and if you ask them all the same question you will never get the same answer. Someone sees passion where someone else sees ignorance. Someone sees love where someone else looks at it as overbearing. We will never be who we say we are, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Taylor Swift was right. That face you passed on the street today with her head down and a coffee in her hand was just another person who happened to be in the same place you were. But that girl is the muse of another. Her lover writes that her eyes hold the depths of oceans, and when she sips coffee her nose wrinkles, and her smile is the closest thing to heaven. But when you passed her on the street today you saw another girl drinking coffee on another Tuesday afternoon. Social media is a mask of all the things we would want strangers to see to make us more appealing and to make us stand out. But if we’re all doing it, who’s really standing out? Our profile picture of us under a light that bring out our greatest features doesn’t compare to the picture we have on our ID. Even then, we aren’t our appearances. We can’t speak of someone and only talk about the slight cracks or freckles we have on our face. I’ve heard that all writers are the sum of their experiences, but doesn’t it go for everyone? We are what we love, what we’ve seen. We are what we talk about over coffee with a close friend on a Sunday afternoon.We are the stories we tell over and over again, and the jokes we crack at inappropriate times. We are selfish and selfless and a fine mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are the people we choose to spend our hour of free time with, and we’re the way we dance on the beach under a full moon. We’re every sunset and every sunrise. Every argument, every smile, every tear, every song we sing at the top of our lungs. It is that fact, that a person cannot be simplified because we don’t know them in their most complex form. Taylor says “we are mosaics of our worst selves and our best selves.” We are nothing short of complex, a kaleidoscope of colors that only shows one color at a time.
How frightening to think that the relative, the best friend, the lover, the stranger all have sides to them we have yet to know. How lovely it is to get to know them. As we think of those we know and those we don’t and who we are and who we are not, it’s nice to meet you.