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I’m a Psychotherapist—Swifties Are Masking

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I'm a Psychotherapist—Swifties Are Masking

 

Swifties are chanting: “I can show you lies (one, two, three, four), ‘Cause I’m a real tough kid, I can handle my sh**,

 

 

They said, “Babe, you gotta fake it ’til you make it” and I did, Lights, camera, b**** smile, even when you wanna die”

My tears well, a connection to holding pain in my private life. I feel it for myself, and for the hundreds of women I’ve sat with as they process how they really feel behind their mask.

Now it’s a power anthem.

Swift describes turning it on, pulling up her mask with raging resilience and creative fire. She gives us a glimpse of what it feels like to be both proud and burdened by her ability to show up the way the world demands.

She’s sharing how she could hide her pain without anyone noticing. Clinically, we call this masking. Women do this all the time, they show up for others before themselves.

They show up for their kids, their partners, their coworkers. Taylor does it for her fans.

With a funhouse tone she sings about depression “I’m miserable and nobody even knows.” Most women from every generation know this feeling. But masking is actually a complex mental health term.

Some describe it as a way to fit in that takes up emotional and physical energy.

Lindsey Mackereth, MA, LPCC, LADC, an expert on Highly-Masked Autism defines masking as “any conscious or unconscious planning and use of implicit or explicit strategies to meet societal expectations.”

She goes on to say, “we minimize any detection of not meeting societal expectations to prevent ourselves from further social discomfort, exclusion and/or trauma.”

Katie Larrowe, 24, is a Swiftie and skincare specialist, taking care of women through facials and education about skin care.

She tells me about a memory from 8th grade of her mask formation.

Feeling the isolation of the middle school social scene, she said she made a decision to be “the girl who is always happy.” Larrowe says “I got so caught up in that mask I would get mad at myself for feeling any other feelings other than happy.

It’s something I still struggle with, ten years later.”

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