“Tied Together With a Smile” is the seventh track from Taylor’s 2006 self-titled debut album, Taylor Swift.
Many of Taylor’s early songs are about guys. This one is about a girl – a gorgeous, popular girl who had an eating disorder. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Taylor said:
There’s one on the album called ”Tied Together With a Smile” that I wrote about one of my friends, who is this beauty queen, pageant princess — a gorgeous, popular girl in high school. Every guy wanted to be with her, every girl wanted to be her. I wrote that song the day I found out she had an eating disorder.
Three common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating. All of these disorders can distort a person’s body image, damage their self-esteem, and negatively impact their health.
Seems the only one who doesn’t see your beauty
Is the face in the mirror looking back at you
You walk around here thinking you’re not pretty
But that’s not true, cause I know you
The girl who Taylor sings about doesn’t see herself as pretty even though everyone else thinks she is. All the guys want to be with her. All the girls want to be her. Despite the star-type status that she has in the eyes of others, when she looks in the mirror all she sees are imperfections and flaws.
Baby you’re losing it
The water’s high
You’re jumping into it
And letting go
And no one knows
That you cry
But you don’t tell anyone
That you might
Not be the golden one
And you’re tied together with a smile
But you’re coming undone
This chorus describes the girl and thousands of others like her who appear to have it together on the outside, but are falling apart inside. She’s holding on to life, but she’s losing confidence in herself and losing hope that she will ever be loved for who she truly is. She doesn’t let anyone know that inwardly she’s giving up. No one knows that she cries when she’s by herself. Because everyone believes the girl is perfect, she feels ashamed to let anyone know about the disorder she’s struggling with. So she goes on smiling and pretending that everything is okay, but her heart is cracked in a hundred different places and she’s slowly becoming undone.
Too many people suffer from eating disorders and other unhealthy conditions in silence. They are often surrounded by family and friends, but no one knows they are struggling until it’s too late to get help. We all have different problems that we grapple with, but fighting those problems alone is a sure way to fail. We are stronger together, even in our struggles. If you know someone who has an eating disorder, speak up for them and speak now. Help them see themselves how God sees them. He says, “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” Our looks do not affect His love for us.
Visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org to see how you can get someone the help and support they need today.
Read the full lyrics on Genius. Listen to the song below: