Why I’m building a death star with Taylor Swift
Your linen closet is my modeling clay, for I am an architect specializing in nostalgia. Lend me your coffee tables, dining room chairs, and coat racks. We have a blanket fort to build and the time is now.
Fond memories come to me when I think of the epic blanket forts I’ve built in this lifetime. In my early years, blanket forts were an attempt to own something—to stake a flag in the ground and say, “This space is mine.” They were the only way you could watch Saturday Night Live and late-night TV, and only because you sent in special ops forces (your little brother and his friends) to commondeer the television from the kitchen for use “back at headquarters.”
In my later years, blanket forts have been the perfect dose of nostalgia to recover from grief, write something epic, or share a magical first kiss. Blanket forts are a return to innocence. A reminder that at one point in your life, your fears, worries, and desires did not extend beyond the underbelly of your parents’ card table. Our world has gotten infinitely bigger since our early years of quilt architecture, but there has been a recent call back to innocence. That call has always been at the heart of epic blanket forts, and it’s for this reason that I have to believe that Taylor Swift must build amazing living room forts—probably multi-room, comforter palaces.
Let me explain my Swiftie theory, how metaphysics made the introduction, and why I feel nostalgia is one of our biggest motivating emotions.
My defense of Top 40 music
(and I don’t care if it makes me a “sell out”)
Back in my day—it’s impossible to write that without envisioning grandparents in rocking chairs, sitting on wrap-around porches, drinking sweet tea, but I’ll try and move forward. Back in my day (please read in grandpa voice)—before the MP3s, and the Pandora’s, and the Spotify’s—you listened to your music on the radio. Yes, there were the eclectic older brothers and sisters that always had weird, yet amazing, b-side cassete tapes (and CDs, I’m not that old), but not in my family. For me, I didn’t even listen to music until I was a sophomore in high school. Oh, I’m sure I did, but it never had a profound impact on me until I got my own car in tenth grade. That’s when the radio introduced me to Top 40 music. My life changed.
There is always a gateway drug. Whether it’s literature, film, art, dance, music, or anything else—you tried something that took you down a rabbit hole that would forever change you. For me it was the Gatsby mansion, True Romance (“you’re so cool”), The Temptation of Saint Anthony, the Nutcraker, and—Top 40 music. Sure, there’s always a heavier, more thought-provoking, esoteric experience that you can have, but it’s the gateway drug that opens you up to all of it. It lays the foundation for you to build your creative kingdom upward towards the sky. It’s the key that opens the door to an entirely new reality. And cynics be damned, you don’t call the key a “sell-out” for presenting a doorway into the palace.
Enter Taylor Swift, stage right.
How I became a Swiftie and why it took me so long
Secretly, I’ve been a closet Taylor Swift fan for quite some time. Being a listener of the radio, and she constantly showing up in the Billboard Top 40, it was a natural affair. It wasn’t until this week that I had the opportunity to dive into her entire discography, though. After hours upon hours of Swift’s vulnerable voice and understated vocals, I was able to get a better picture of her writing style and the motivation behind each of her songs. She’s a pillar of learning life as its thrown at her, reveling in innocence and innocence lost, and fairy tale endings wished for and sometimes actualized. Ms. Swift spawned a sense of nostalgia within me like I haven’t experienced in many years and actually got me to do some soul-searching of my own (which I thought I was already well accustomed to doing). So, why, after being a closeted Swiftie for so long, am I finally speaking out about my love affair with her music?
Self-experimentation is something that I enjoy. I try all the fads, diets, workout programs, get-rich-quick schemes, religions, and homeopathic practices. For me, its exciting to have such a diverse set of experiences that allow me to relate and articulate my opinions, first hand, on just about everything. It’s because of this that I showed up to my chiropractor’s office with 65 origami folded notes, all outlining various subject matter—from God to, you guessed it, Taylor Swift.
In muscle response testing, or kinesiology, the idea is that there is an innate consciousness that knows at any given second the best possible thing you could do to improve your body, mindset, and life. These things could range from books, ideas, supplements, food, or just about anything else. I’ve gone into the details in the past, if you’re interested. In a nutshell, your DNA has a quantum field that surrounds the body and helps give off and interpret energy all around you. When you have a sudden inspired thought, or intuition, this is usually your innate consciousness communicating with your linear mind. Long story short, of the 65 ideas I’d written down, only a few of them pulsed at a level 10, meaning my body consciousness is resonating strongly with those ideas, and thinks I should further explore.
Of the strongest resonating ideas:
- Taylor Swift (10)
- Stream-of-Consciousness blogging (10)
- Diet (10, I guess my innate consciousness wants me to lose a few LBs)
- God (9)
- Faith (8)
- Build a death star (8)
So, how do we interpret this? Well, first off, let’s remember that scriptures, response testing, rituals, metaphysics, or anything for that matter should not really be taken as gospel, so to speak. They’re really devices of synchronicity that allow you to have an internal dialogue with yourself, your innate body consciousness, and your higher-self. It is from this internal dialogue that we can derive meaning and it should be a very personal thing between you, Yourself, and the divine.
A return to innocence
After some deep thinking, followed by a subsequent release of all thoughts, it came to me that the narrative thread lying across all of the above bullets is finding a point of balance and a return to innocence. When I was a kid, I was on a constant “diet,” but it was never called that, it was just mom’s home cooking. There wasn’t the tendency to eat out, or grab fast food for every single meal—something that we all too often use as our default because of busy schedules, lack of energy, and lack of attention to detail.
Stream-of-consciousness is all about letting go of the linear thinking that has defined your viewpoint of the world up to this moment. Too often, we overthink things and end up talking ourselves out of amazing adventures. For six months, I struggled with whether or not I could actually leave my job at Google, but once I released all of the fear of the unknown, it was an easy decision—I want to write a book, so I left to do it. Stream-of-consciousness is all about getting back to a point of innocent perception. It’s the idea that it’s okay to look out the window and say, “Wow, what a pretty bird,” without then having to identify the species, whether it’s on an endangered list, or if it has built its nest in a place suitable for raising squabs. Stream-of-consciousness is unthinking.
It’s unthinking that allows us to discover faith, God, or a divine energy without having to understand every single component that makes it all up. I’m probably the most guilty of anyone when it comes to trying to define God. When I looked at it all through the eyes of innocent perception, though, I realized that defining divinity is impossible. So, rather than waste a life trying to explain the unexplainable, why not just enjoy it for what it is? Naturally, I will continue to draw meaning from the things that I read, the science that is uncovered, and the experiences that I have, but I have stopped using those things as a reason to not have faith. Now, faith in what is a whole other can of worms, but its the believing in anything that’s important. Spirit and higher dimensions don’t hear words, they only interpret energy, thus believing in anything that gets you into the right frame of heart and then, knowing it will guide you could be called faith.
Taylor Swift, First Dates, and Death Stars
How does Taylor Swift fit into this esoteric picture, and why are we building a death star? Sometimes it’s important for us to go back in time and remember a place where we were able to show an open and unknowing act of innocence. I have not had many of these innocent moments in a long time. The reason being that once you are aware enough of the situation to define it as innocent in the moment, in a way, it loses some of its innocence. Children rolling around in the grass don’t then get up, brush themselves off and say, “Wow, look how innocent I’m being today.”
What Taylor Swift’s music allowed me to do was transport back to a time of innocence. For the longest, I couldn’t even remember an innocent moment in my life, which was depressing. So, I stopped thinking and just felt my way into it, and there it was. My mom and I were frantically preparing food in our kitchen and throwing it into tupperware bowls, while I loaded up her chinaware and flowers into the back of my white Pontiac Firebird. Butterflies were taking up Tuscan spring in my stomach. I was sixteen and this was my first real date.
Driving up to her house—my first real date—there was a building intensity, not unlike that feeling on Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa. I was unaware that a dozen flowers on a first date was overkill—who made up this rule, anyway? She had once told me in Spanish class that she loved italian food, or maybe I just thought that sounded romantic, so my mom and I had prepared spaghetti. The scent of garlic bread filled the car and our nostrils. I took her to Prayer Mountain, the highest point in the small Texas town I grew up in, and there I had a full candlelight setting in place. Eight D-batteries lifted music into the air from a tiny boombox stereo, as a setting sun over Joe Pool Lake set the tone. After eating, we traveled down to the lake shore. She once told me she had never set off fireworks. We shot brilliant light over the water and watched it ripple out over the world. She didn’t drink alcohol, so we popped a bottle of sparkling grape juice, and sipped it as though we were at a Gatsby garden party.
We laughed, while I nervously tried to be charming. Three blocks from her house on our return, we had had a wonderful evening, but I hadn’t planned anything past the picnic dinner. How do dates work? Do I walk her to the door? Can I kiss her on the first date? Do I know how to do that? I opened the car door and we climbed the steps to her parents’ house. We hugged and I turned away, unsure how to construct a first kiss. That’s when she caught my arm and made it easy for me—we kissed.
My car was Doc Brown’s DeLorean the entire way home, flying through the air, no sense of time, space, or gravity. There was private fist-pumping, ear-to-ear smiling, and a sense of satisfaction, bliss, and excitement that I had never known existed. It was the feeling of innocence. Listening through Taylor Swift’s entire discography brought me back to that moment. To a time where anything was possible because I didn’t know any better. I didn’t have to convince myself of anything because it was all just happening. I’m trying to experience that feeling more often in my present day life and Taylor Swift, along with countless other talented artists are helping me get there.
Say what you will about Taylor Swift, I find her to be an inspiration. Being a roll-model in this day and age is difficult. Taylor says it best in her 60 Minutes interview, when she tells Lesley Stahl, “Every singer out there with songs on the radio is raising the next generation.” Her music has triggered a sense of nostalgia and reminded me about a time of innocence that I had almost forgotten about. A time when worry never came into play, because there was too much that could go right. Too many new things to experience. Too much to feel invincible about.
So, I’m building a death star. It will be my most grand blanket dwelling yet. Duvet covers, will find top sheets, which will find home sewn quilts, last decade’s curtains, and winter-coat-entry-camouflage. In it will live gunners of truth, troops of creativity, stormtroopers of purpose, and strike cruisers of innocence. We will set out to prove that gravity is an illusion, along with perceived reality. Turbolasers and ion cannons will protect against cynics on trench runs without imagination. Sorry non-believers, the thermal exhaust ports have been sealed with pixie dust. Inside we will dream the life we wish to live and then fold space into compassionate action. It will be the death of cynicism, and though we will not label it, the rebirth of innocence. Fearless.