When I was in fifth grade, I put on a horrible pink dress.
My sisters, who were 7 and 3 at the time, put on the same horrible pink dress, as did one of my sister’s friends.
Together, we sang “Love Story” by Taylor Swift in our elementary school’s talent show.
So did at least one other group. And another group sang “Our Song.” Clearly, Taylor Swift was all the rage.
Last week, as a junior in college, I got in bed and scrolled through my phone for a few minutes. At about 12:04, I realized that a new Taylor Swift song was out, and I, along with a crazy number of other people, watched the music video for “Me!” by Taylor Swift feat. Brendon Urie.
I wasn’t wearing a multi-shaded pink dress (I think I was wearing Star Wars pajamas), but had other things really changed that much?
Then, over the weekend, I went to see 'Avengers: Endgame'. I can’t even remember what the first Marvel movie I went to see in theaters was— probably 'The Amazing Spider-Man' in 2012. I went with a group of friends. In 2017, when 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' came out, with an entirely new Spider-Man, I went to see it with the same group of friends. Again, had things really changed that much?
Well, yeah, they had. We had graduated high school, for one thing, and some of us moved far away from each other. But we still met back up at home in Bowling Green to enjoy another Marvel movie together.
Same with Taylor Swift— my sister and I weren’t together when “Me!” came out, because I’m in college and she’s still back home, but I still texted her first thing Friday morning to ask her what she thought.
I realized then how much of my life story could be told by pop culture— like that “Free Fallin’” by John Mayer (yes, I know that’s a cover) was my favorite song when I started dating that one boy, or who I went to the midnight premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' with. And how I read 'The Hunger Games' for the first time while on a school trip in sixth grade— and that was the same trip that I first heard 'Baby' by Justin Bieber. Then listened to it over and over.
Maybe some of these things are embarrassing to look back on, but they’re parts of my life. And I think it’s really cool that I can use pop culture as signposts throughout my life. I grew up alongside pop culture icons like the Jonas Brothers and Rory Gilmore (both good examples of how things come back around) and Spider-Man— all three of them.