On the Wesley trip to Washington, DC for spring break, I finally got a chance to listen to the new Taylor Swift CD all the way through. I know there’s some Taylor haters out there, but I’ve always really liked her and I love this CD. And all of us – ranging in musical loves – enjoyed listening to it, which is always a good thing. Who knew you could bond over Taylor Swift singing at the top of your lungs together?
The song that keeps replaying over in my mind is her song, “Mean.” The lyrics are below. In talking with students or youth or friends for that matter, there are so many people that have been wounded by “that mean guy” or “that mean girl.” There’s that person or people that get under our skin and say words that go straight to the heart in amazingly hurtful ways that we can sometimes remember for years.
It’s crazy how much these things can hurt. And it’s amazing to me how many people are affected by this and they never get a chance to speak up for themselves. I think about the movie “Mean Girls” and all the hate and power trips and nastiness. I know, I know, that many a time these mean folks are covering for their own insecurity, but that still doesn’t justify their uber mean behavior.
Here’s the thing. We’ve got to let go of the mean. We’ve got to let go of the rude things people have said. We’ve got to let go of the hurtful things that we remember at our lowest points or times when things feel like they’re falling apart. We’ve got to step out of the round and round cycle of drama and situations that just hurt us, and say enough! There are so many students that I see that are in friendships/relationships that are just plain stressful. Nobody needs the added stress and emotional energy that it takes to deal with unhealthy relationships that just bring you down – especially during the end of semester crunch. Maybe this Lenten season, letting go of some of those wounds and hurts is something we should think about. As we look at this season of repentance and renewal, maybe it’s time we open our hearts to the Spirit of Truth and let go of the hurtful crud.
I think about the ending of The Help where Aibeleen tells Mae Mobley, “You kind. You smart. You important.” That’s the part that broke my heart because so many don’t realize this, and it was so evident that Aibeleen wanted badly for Mae Mobley to get and feel this. I know about the “me” generations and I get that, but I also feel like often my students are reflecting their questions about themselves back to me through their questions, their hurts, their eyes. The heck with the mean ones that just want to tear you down. The heck with those that haven’t walked in your shoes and who are just hurling darts because they’re scared themselves. You are kind. You are smart. You are important.
Let’s let go of the mean…and grab hold of the good that God has spoken over our lives.
Taylor Swift – “Mean”
You, with your words like knives
And swords and weapons that you use against me,
You, have knocked me off my feet again,
Got me feeling like I’m nothing.
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard
Calling me out when I’m wounded.
You, pickin’ on the weaker man.
Well you can take me down,
With just one single blow.
But you don’t know, what you don’t know,
Someday, I’ll be living in a big old 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?
You, with your switching sides,
And your walk by lies and your humiliation
You, have pointed out my flaws again,
As if I don’t already see them.
I walk with my head down,
Trying to block you out cause I’ll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again.
I bet you got pushed around,
Somebody made you cold,
But the cycle ends right now,
You can’t lead me down that road,
You don’t know, what you don’t know
The song –
Taylor Swift talking about the song “Mean.”