I apologise a lot. I include 'just' in my emails way too much. I find it incredibly painful to let someone know if they've slightly inconvenienced me. I'll gladly put myself out just to avoid an awkward conversation. I suspect it's a hangover from my British parents, but more so, from being a woman. I also suspect that Taylor Swift was the same way – accommodating to a fault – but not anymore.
On the advent of her ninth studio album, Taylor Swift has stopped apologising, stopped conceding on her artistic vision, and no longer keeps quiet about the inequities she perceives in her industry, all the while knowing the heat she'll cop in doing so. This new attitude, picked up somewhere between reputation and folklore, is working for her.
There are no winners in 2020, but if there was, Taylor would at least get an honourable mention. Two new albums in less than six months, the metamorphosis of a new indie-folk sound, a documentary (yes, Miss Americana was this year), an Artist Of The Year award and another no. 1 single to add to her Wiki page. Regardless of how you feel about her, Taylor's had an impressive year.
That's the beauty of Taylor Swift's story thus far. There's lessons in perseverance, yes, hard work, absolutely. But also, the evolution of pop's biggest star reveals the power in letting go of the need to please. Tell people when they've upset you, question perspectives when you need to, and stop prefacing everything with 'just'. (I'm still working on that one.)
I'm not setting New Year's resolutions this year (who needs the added stress?) but I will vaguely aim to bring a little more Taylor energy into my next orbit 'round the sun. At the very least, I might be more productive.
Written by Alice Griffin, editor of this very site. It first appeared in MTV Australia's weekly newsletter. Sign up here for more exclusive MTV content. (And win a new Rolla's wardrobe while you're at it.)