Somewhere between Chill Girl and Football Fanatic, I finally found myself.
Everyone tells you not to change for a guy. Romantic comedies preach that you’ll find someone who will love you for you, as long as you stay true to yourself. The trope is not only cliché, but tiresome—because the truth is, people do change.
The second episode of Joe Swanberg’s modern love dramedy “Easy” explores how far we’re willing to go to impress our love interests. The episode entitled “Vegan Cinderella” follows Chase (Kiersey Clemons), who begins dating passionate activist Jo (Jacqueline Toboni). To woo her crush, Chase becomes a vegan and pretends to enjoy Jo’s outdoorsy hobbies.
Having compromised my own sense of self to impress a guy, I completely identify with Chase’s character. And just like the truth catches up with Chase, it also caught up with me. Here are some of the phases I’ve gone through to try and achieve my happy ending.
The Wannabe Sk8r Girl
In seventh-grade I became obsessed with Green Day because it was my crush’s favorite band. I listened to “Dookie” and “American Idiot” on repeat until I memorized the angsty lyrics and was able to speak them fluently in AIM away messages. Unfortunately, our time together was short-lived because he quickly realized I wanted to be friends with his mother.
The Football Fanatic
I didn’t care about sports until my freshman year of high school, when I found out my crush loved Michigan football. My dad raised me an Ohio State fan (Michigan’s big rival) so I had him teach me everything about the team so I could engage my crush in playful banter. I lost interest when he started dating a cheerleader, and as our pseudo-relationship ended, so did my love for sports.
The Film Nerd
Senior year of high school found me crushing hard on the guy I sat next to in playwriting class. I enjoyed his dreamy blue eyes and apathy towards school. He didn’t speak much, but when he did, he offered up insightful comments that made people turn around and stare.
One day, we found ourselves bonding over “The Graduate” soundtrack; I listened to him talk about Woody Allen and James Cameron and bluffed my way through a conversation about famous film directors. He invited me over for a movie night and after we made out, asked me to join him on his movie-themed radio show. I said yes, but quickly realized my mistake?—?on air, I had nothing to contribute. I was caught in a lie and he never asked me to hang out again.
The Folk-Loving Stoner
My type of guy is both artsy and damaged, so you can imagine my excitement when a shaggy, blonde haired freshman carrying a guitar and a whole lot of baggage moved into my dorm freshman year.
We hung out every night and he’d play his favorite records for me on vinyl. As we lay on his bed listening to “In The Aeroplane Over the Sea” he told me about his passion for the environment and brewing cannabis-infused tea. I came from a sheltered suburb and I had never smoked weed or met anyone who slept next to trees during environmental protests. We never hooked up, but remained friends throughout college (and he eventually figured out I was a Justin Bieber fangirl in disguise).
The Settle-Down Kinda Gal
I met my first serious boyfriend at an events panel freshman year. Everything about him screamed marriage material—he came from a good family, had plans to go to law school and was a genuinely nice person. I had never been in a real relationship before, but but looking at him made me want to take beautiful Christmas cards dressed in matching knitted pajamas, holding our gorgeous cats.
What I didn’t know at the time was that I was lying to myself about wanting to be in a relationship. I was sad when my friends would go to parties and experience college the way the brochures advertised. The idea of getting a MRS. degree was literally the furthest thing from my mind, so eventually I said “boy bye” and cried to lots of Radiohead.
The “Chill” Girl
After coming back from a semester abroad and breaking up with Normal Dude, I was ready for a new, exciting phase in my life. I enjoyed a few regular hookups, but was careful not to get too attached to anyone. Instead, I focused on transitioning into the “Gone Girl” definition of the beer-chugging, size two “cool girl.”
Ironically enough, it was during this stage that I ended up meeting one of the sweetest guys of my life. He cared enough to text me after exams and other important life moments, just to check in. I was so focused on becoming someone who doesn’t exist, I missed out on a potential relationship with a great guy.
For the last four years, I’ve been single by choice. I realized I don’t need a guy to validate my identity or my happiness. Whatever dude comes along next is going to have to accept that I idolize One Direction, engage in daily YouTube twerkouts, and have a passion for celebrity cats.
That being said, I’m not sorry I went through any of these phases because they made me the flawed person I am today. People need to change in order to find out who they are —and that change doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
If I didn’t listen to Green Day in seventh grade, I don’t think I would appreciate music as much as I do today. If I hadn’t met the weed-loving tea drinker, my mind might not be as open as it is now. We’re influenced everyday by the people we encounter and the experiences we have. Mistakes are inevitable, but I’m beginning to realize that I’m never going to become myself if I’m busy becoming someone else.