June 18th, 2015
Better Than Revenge
This past week was absolutely amazing. My 18-year-old cousin came to spend the week with me to celebrate her high school graduation!! Celebrate we did! We had beignets every day and walked the city every night. It was such a great time.
It was really fun for me because it was like hanging out with a version of me from 15 years ago. It was cool to see how some of my personality traits back then look to me now as an adult. It reminded me that some things never change. It also showed me how many things have.
The cool thing about hanging out with someone who has known you for so long is that they can remind you of things about yourself that you have long forgotten.
It is no secret that I absolutely love Taylor Swift. One of her songs that I find particularly creative is titled “Better Than Revenge.” I’ve always enjoyed this because to me the title implies that she is better than revenge, above it even. However, the lyrics of the song suggest that she is actually so good at revenge there is nothing she does better. I love that creativity.
I thought that I had always loved the song until it came on the radio during my cousin’s visit. As soon as the song came on my cousin said “I remember the first time you played this song for me and you hated it.” I was actually pretty shocked. Not only do I not remember a time in which I ever hated it, I also had no idea why I would have hated it. Turns out, there is a reference to a “mattress” and at some point in life I didn’t appreciate a sexual reference in a Taylor Swift song.
It is so intriguing how your views on things can drastically change over time, sometimes without you even realizing them!
On the other hand, sometimes things about you change over time through a conscious effort. For me, that was lying. Integrity is exceedingly important to me and for the past decade I have done my best to tell the truth at all times. However, I wasn’t always this way.
When my cousin was a young girl, I had taken her and her sister’s to Walt Disney World. The older girls really wanted to ride on Big Thunder Mountain – a roller coaster. The youngest sister was terrified of roller coasters and had made it clear that she did not want to ride any. We had somehow convinced (lied to) her that Big Thunder Mountain wasn’t a roller coaster, but rather a train ride and she would love it.
After waiting in line for over an hour, she sat next to me in the car. As soon as the train left the enclosed line area, we realized it was raining pretty hard outside. The rain hitting our faces felt like revenge for lying to her. That was until the train got stopped on the way up to the big drop. There we were, on a stopped roller coaster with rain pouring down on us and the youngest crying. At that moment, I knew that lying in that situation was truly the wrong way to go.
Even a decade later, we were still talking about that story when the girls and I went to a theme park by their house. That day, we decided that the youngest (now a teenager) didn’t have to go on any rides that she didn’t want to and I spent time on the swings and other low intensity rides with her while the older girls tackled some roller coasters. There was one attraction none of us had been on before except the youngest. She really wanted us to try it with her. She said it was an indoor ride, the kind where you sit in the car and it moves through a theater-type setting and plays movies.
We were all ready for a little break and thought that sounded really nice, so we all joined her together. She was telling the truth. It was inside, you sat in a car and it moved through a theater-type setting with little movies playing around you. However, it was also a roller coaster. The rest of us were completely unprepared for this. There was pitch-black darkness, extreme drops, high speeds and an ending with a near crash into a semi-truck with lights on and horn blasting that is sure to get your heart racing.
When it ended, we congratulated her. We were all terrified, we had no idea what was coming and we thought she had really gotten us back for the incident ten years ago. The craziest thing was, she wasn’t even trying. To this day, she still doesn’t consider that ride a roller coaster because it doesn’t go upside down and you can’t see the scenery outside to know that you are actually really high up in the air. To her, it was just a fun little ride she wanted us to experience.
I’ve come to realize that always doing what you think is right and letting karma take care of the rest is really better than revenge.