We spent our Wednesday night at the Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour. I can’t remember the last time I was at a giant concert like this, if ever honestly. But it was fun to go with my girls and their friends.
Still, when I got home and tucked the girls in hours past their bedtime, I asked one of them if she had fun.
“Yes, it was fun. I’m glad we went. But I’m okay if we never go again.”
This could be why:
Our seats were high, you guys. So high that once we sat down, we vowed to never get back up again for fear of tumbling down the stadium onto the stage.
Some people love the crowds, the lights, the noise. And then others are just old souls even though they’re only eleven and they’d just rather stay home and watch a show and snuggle.
Truly, I’m glad we went. And as the night rocked on, I couldn’t help watching the whole thing like a writer.
As a writer, my job is to pay attention to the world around and within me and then to write what I see. My dad calls it connecting the dots. It’s actually the job of every artist and maybe, one could argue, every human.
While it’s true this concert isn’t one I would have gone to on my own, I was fascinated by it. The evening was a story and she was the narrator. I thought she told the story well as a performer with a hopeful message.
I’ve honestly not followed Taylor Swift’s career much so I can’t speak to her decisions overall. But I remember reading somewhere that she said she seeks to surprise not shock.
For now, that’s a filter for her content. Every storyteller must choose a filter. For example, my goal in this space is to help you create space for your soul to breathe. Everything I write here goes through that filter.
I won’t write about my messy closet or my frustrations over politics unless I can write about those things in a way that will help create space for your soul to breathe.
Having a content filter helps you make decisions, choose direction, and cast vision.
Whatever your opinions are about if Taylor is doing that well or not, I thought it was a great filter for a pop star. Surprise, delight, entertain? Sure. No need to shock. I like that.
Whatever your opinions are about her personality, her music, or her business decisions, the woman has managed to handle fame without falling apart. And that seems like an accomplishment worth noting.
The human soul isn’t made for fame, isn’t designed to carry this much attention. To have hundreds of thousands of eyes on you? Shouting your name? Night after night? This is not normal.
But it also serves as a reminder that even with the amount of attention, admiration, and praise our celebrities receive, it isn’t enough. If it were, Hollywood would be the most peaceful and satisfied city in the world.
They would all be filled with joy, peace, and a profound sense of belonging. But that is not the story the magazines tell.
To me, the celebrities who tell the best stories are the ones who don’t believe their own myth. They refuse to allow all that cheering and attention to be their deepest truth.
Which also, in turn, means they cannot allow the bullying or negativity from their critics to be their truth, either.
Instead, they have a single-minded focus to tell the story they’ve been given, to trust the story enough to follow where it goes without getting in the way, and then offer it as a gift.
What the reader, listener, or audience member does with that story is not the storyteller’s responsibility.
The artists who struggle the most are the ones who are obsessed with how their work is received. This becomes their full time job and one day they discover they’re no longer making art because their profession as an Opinion Manager takes up all their time.
What a wonderful lesson for a writer to learn. And while I’m sure there’s a shake it off reference in here somewhere, I can’t bring myself to make it.
That’s a good lesson for a writer, too. You don’t always have to make the joke. Amen.
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