Everyone is guilty of changing themselves when they start dating someone new. It’s usually with something small, something that seemingly has little significance in day-to-day life. Often, though, that insignificant stuff can be representative of a much larger problem.
Did y’all ever see Runaway Bride? Julia Roberts plays Maggie Carpenter, a serially monogamous but commitment-phobic woman who became known for ditching her fiances on their wedding day. I watched it a few years ago, and while I still swooned over Ike, I found something much deeper within a steroetypical romantic comedy.
Maggie Carpenter didn’t know how she liked her eggs because she changed her “favorite” to accommodate the man du jour. Scrambled, over easy, poached, whatever. She comes to realize that she has no idea what her favorite eggs are. She’s simply always had what her then-partner is having, and to be agreeable, it became her favorite. She has a moment in which she begins to question how well she knows herself — if she changes something as small as her egg order to suit each man she’s loved, what else has she changed?
I’m guilty of this.
100%, no defenses guilty. That’s me.
But my eggs were cigarettes.
Which sounds much trashier than eggs, and I can completely recognize that and hang my head in shame and smoke, but hear me out. I changed something I did on the whim of each guy I dated. Substitute scrambled for Parliament, over easy for Camel, and I was a chain-smoking Maggie Carpenter. We both completely lost ourselves and what we thought we liked for what our significant others liked, and it started with something as small as eggs and cigarettes. Starting with small changes, we had no idea what we actually liked when the man was gone and we were forced to make real decisions on our own.
Granted, Maggie Carpenter had a moment in the movie in which she sampled every type of egg ever and made a decision on her favorite, while I just quit my “eggs” all together because it was gross and would probably end up killing me, but there is still a point to be made here.
The point is this: no matter what the medium — eggs, cigarettes, beer, music, whatever — don’t change yourself to suit your suitor. Figure out who you are and what you like. You can’t divorce yourself and you can’t escape yourself. You’re the only person who is guaranteed and bound, with no way out, to have to deal with you and your own crap for better or for worse. You had damn well better make sure you know that person.