I love Venn diagrams. I’m serious. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by extremes, poles, definitives, bests/worsts, and blacks/whites. Never mind the emotional and personal challenges this all/nothing paradigm has created in my life—what is this “gray area” you speak of, pray tell?—focus instead on the flaw-deficient and clean lines of the Venn diagram. Do you worship its symmetry, its organizational efficacy, its graceful simplicity? I do. I am not a middleground kind of person; I am, as Aubrey boasts, 0 to 100 real quick. I love fast and hard and I hate fast and hard and I am that annoying person who regularly starts sentences—both IRL and on Twitter—with that trite, tautological phrase, “There are two types of people in the world…”
So, you can imagine my surprise when, circa 2008, I realized that instead of living safely ensconced in one of the circles of a Venn—with their categorical partisanship and clear definitions—I was occupying that weird ellipsoidal afterthought of a space in the middle. For the first time in my life, I was both things. And by both things, I mean a wildly enthusiastic, disturbingly loyal, and tremendously well-versed fan of both Taylor Swift and Kanye West. I mean this. I mean this so much that I will fight you if you say a bad word about either of them. And don’t try to make me choose between them; I will never, ever, ever take a side. Like, ever.
I. In Which I Count the Ways I Love Kanye West
My dedication to Kanye has spanned years, states, boyfriends, cars, iPods, torrent sites, and apartments. It is panoramic in scope and Marianas Trench in depth. I could go on and on, on and on—don’t let me into my zone—but I won’t. Instead, I present to you a distilled timeline of crystalline moments that punctuate my addiction:
- I have 738 songs in my iTunes library (one of many things I have in common with Taylor is that we don’t support Spotify) that are either Kanye’s own, live/remixed versions, produced by him, featuring him, or unreleased. Ostensibly, it is close to every song that he has ever touched in some way (h/t to this and my own exhausting proclivity for completionism).
- 2006: The first time I rapped every single word of his verse, sans stutter, to Dilated Peoples’ “This Way” while driving down my favorite road in my hometown late at night with the windows down.
- 2007: Having no shit left to lose over this.
- 2009: KanyeTaylorgate at the VMAs. He would. He did. Stop holding it against him.
- I own this shirt and wear it on the reg with aplomb and to much commentary.
- “Mayonnaise-colored Benz, I push miracle whips.”
- 2010: Him rapping unreleased song “Mama’s Boyfriend” at FB HQ.
- 2012: Watching the now infamous #DONDA Twitter rant happen live and almost combusting from evangelical excitement.
- 2013: That magical little cherub, North West, and me actually saying: “I can’t wait to see what having a daughter does to his music. I’m so ready for paternal Kanye.”
- 2014: Following this Instagram, finding this quintessential video, and identifying way too strongly with Andy. Really. My anxiety is real and it is painful.
II. In Which I Count the Ways I Love Taylor Swift
I cannot even vocalize how much I love Taylor. I am convinced that, given the right circumstances, we would be friends. We both have two cats (because two cats is a party, but three cats is a cat lady), our moms have the same birthday, and we are both experiencing somewhat of a personal renaissance in our mid-20s. Taylor Swift is my spirit guide; her words have put me back together and soundtracked countless perennial moments in my happy, free, confused, and sometimes lonely third decade. I have seen her in concert twice (with plans for a third on August 29…looking at you, #1989WorldTour), I check her Tumblr everyday, and I’m subscribed to r/TaylorSwift because duh.
I’m also responsible for at least 16 other people owning a copy of 1989, 50% of whom are recent converts (just out here doing the Lord’s work, you know?). I have mobile alerts turned on for when she tweets. I have a yellow phone case that says “no its becky.” I have every single one of her songs, including unreleased tracks (h/t to this). I really wouldn’t even know where to begin with a bulleted list, so instead I’ll just leave a blank space.
III. In Which I (and You) Contain Multitudes
Now that I’ve waxed romantical to you about Kanye and Taylor, where do we go from here? What does it all mean, other than that I am a borderline stalker?
Actually, it’s pretty simple.
I wanted to be the person that falls into one circle of the Venn diagram because that’s easy and unqualified. But, as I get older (and maybe wiser?), I realize more and more that life is what happens in that awkward splice between the circles. Life is in the gray areas. These days, I’m more interested in commonalities than differences; even Kanye and Taylor’s Venns are converging. By no means am I holding my breath for a collabo effort, but I accept this fierce, contradictory love I hold in my heart because I’m getting more comfortable with myself and what I like. I am quite cozy living right smack dab in the middle of this, or any, Venn; come join me, we have cookies and Connect Four. After all, you know what they say: you are what you love. I, Hannah Mae Teplitsky, love Taylor Swift and Kanye West. To quote Angel Haze, “I am multi-faceted, bitch I do a ton of shit.”