Folklore, arguably the best album ever (yes, I am quite biased towards Taylor Swift), also contains one of the most relatable songs ever (this article does not promise objectivity on this matter). ‘this is me trying’ encapsulates every thought of failure that I’ve been having lately, and I feel like it is universally applicable as many people have “been having a hard time adjusting” to this new semester. Thus, I present: “this is me trying: lyrical parallels to our lives.”
To begin the song, Taylor claims that “I’ve been having a hard time adjusting, I had the shiniest wheels now they’re rusting.” This attitude of great promise yet greater disappointment resonates with me as we step into a new year. Many of us had great hopes for the future and bright dreams that we hoped to fulfil. Once faced with reality, especially in the second semester of the year, it is easy to feel like those hopes are quickly fading away and leaving nothing in their wake.
Taylor then got real about how deep these fears ran when she “pulled the car off the road to the lookout. Could’ve followed my fears all the way down.” I think lots of us have felt hopeless and overwhelmed by our fears and mistakes. We have these moments of terror where it would be easy to just quit. But we don’t, we keep trying. But it still hurts.
Sometimes, it hurts so badly that we easily slip into unhealthy coping mechanisms. “I got wasted like all my potential” reminds us that trying does not necessarily mean succeeding. It can become difficult, too difficult to get by when you are trying so hard, but no one sees or acknowledges it.
“My words shoot to kill when I’m mad” is another reminder that it is easy to lash out when trying ends up failing. People get caught in the crossfire, and slowly it feels like life is falling apart as relationships get ruined because you feel so imperfect, and so fallen from grace that it is impossible to crawl back up to where you used to be.
“I was so ahead of the curve; the curve became a sphere. Fell behind all my classmates and I ended up here pouring my heart out to a stranger.” Things fall apart so quickly once you stop trying, once relationships are ruined and you fall behind your peers. However, despite the pain and suffering that you go through, and the shame you might feel from the battles you fight behind closed doors, it is possible to keep trying.
Another coping mechanism that is very easy to slip into under difficult circumstances is addiction, particularly drinking or drugs. “I didn’t pour the whiskey” is a powerful reminder that despite the struggles to appear to be doing well, a true victory is staying away from unhealthy coping. This is not trying, it is succeeding.
Despite the seemingly modest successes, life can just keep knocking you down. It seems like everyone is fine and having the time of their lives. But “it’s hard to be at a party when I feel like an open wound.” Trying is so hard, and then people around you appear to not just try, but fully succeed. However, keep trying to be vulnerable and allow the journey to be as fulfilling as the destination.
Regardless of all the struggles that lead to the moment that Taylor sings about, she still ends the song with repeating the line “I just wanted you to know that this is me trying” over and over, desperately trying to convey that she is doing her absolute best in the moment. Despite the appearance her efforts are making, she is really trying. In the end, that is what matters. We just need to keep trying.
Take a listen to ‘this is me trying’ and see how relatable it truly is! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bdLTPNrlEg I’m so proud of you for trying. Keep going babe!