Bad Boys, and Change

They often say that girls like bad boys. Well, I have my own version of the ‘bad boy’. While they don’t drink too much, skip school, or act defiantly towards figures of authority, they were still ‘bad boys’ because they were bad for me (no offense, exes). I knew it, but I always fell for them for the very same reason.

Through my life, I have found myself drawn or attracted to guys who think that they could change me. Ultimately, it is the reason behind the relief I feel when the post-breakup fog has lifted, and I have cried all the tears. I tell myself — he didn’t love me for me, he was constantly trying to change me. But I recently realised that it was the change that I was drawn to. I am so afraid by it, but I am so taken by the potenial of change. The way your life could turn upside down, how you could throw everything away for something new. How you could become a better person. And when a guy comes up to me, tells me directly that I can change, and that he wants to help me change — I’m hooked.

This may sounds strange to most, especially to girls who have always been independent and confident of themselves. The thing is, I have always hoped to be something that I wasn’t. I wanted to be the self-assured girl who spoke her mind, the one who was constantly surrounded by friends, the one who got the perfect grades. But I wasn’t any of them. Through adolescence I battled with self-esteem issues and bad acne and older siblings who did very well for themselves. I’m at times shy, I think 5, 6 times before and after I speak, and I valued my free time too much to spend it all on something as trivial as grades.Yet, I was uncomfortable with these traits, and never felt like I was good enough with the traits I had.

Here, as I lay in bed, in a hotel room in San Jose — the furthest I’ve ever been to home — I thought about an ex. At the time, I was going back and forth with finding a place where I belonged, and I was toying with the idea of being a writer because I loved to write in my free time. He tried to convince me to try out for a writing competition, where the top prize was a chance to be a journalist covering the London Olympics. He thought it was perfect — I wanted to write, and I’ve always wanted to go to London. Why not give it a chance?

I protested, saying that I neither knew anything about sports or liked it. In fact, I never watched the Olympics except when it’s on the TV at the nail salon and I have no choice. He said that that was a small issue, and the main thing was I at least try to work towards what could possibly be my goal. Ultimately, we both knew the real reason why I was saying no. I feared the uncertainty, I feared change, and I feared failing. The idea of staying in the UK for months covering this great event frightened me more than it should have excited me.

I eventually won that battle, but months later we broke up.

Since then, I have done so many things that I ever excepted I would do. I have gone bungee jumping, I have (finally) taken that trip to the UK, and I got a job as an editor and tech writer. Part of the latter included me travelling to the US on a week’s notice to attend the launch of Apple’s iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. Granted, my short repertoire isn’t the most extreme of things, but it has been the biggest two years of my life, and what I have done and achieved in these two years astounds me.

Here in a hotel room halfway across the world from home, I thought back to the events that happened today, and I compared it to the person I was when I was afraid to even enter a contest. Two years ago, I would not expect to be here, having just covered the biggest media event I have ever attended. That girl would have fainted, and then get stressed out, and possibly fainted again.

I am with someone who finally doesn’t see any need to change me. In fact, he likes the flaws I hate — the shyness, the over-thinking, deck in pajamas til late into a Saturday afternoon. But he also sees the strength in me, and instead of telling me what I should change, he tells me that I should stay the way I am. Which made no sense! But the strangest thing is that with his support and his accepting what I could not, I had the courage to find the change within myself. In his non-efforts to change me, I made the changes I always wanted to, and pushed myself to do things that I had always been afraid of even dreaming about. And in the course of that, I achieved.

In this hotel room, I dreamt up a strange moral — that you should never expect change to come from others. As drawn to change as I was, I feared it more when forced upon me by others. But when initiated personally, it is more liberating and exhilarating than anything. I am still who I am, with the same flaws and fears, but I know what I must do. I have a game plan now. Having someone who supports me in my endeavours definitely helps push me out the door when I’m reluctant, but he will never be the end-all-be-all. The end-all-be-all is still me.

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