There are only two things that you need to do in this life in order to be a good person – be honest, and don’t think you have any say over any one else.
That’s it. That’s the key to life, to happiness, to finding love, to being a good member of society. Hell, those two things are the keys to making a better world. So why aren’t we all happy and loved and comfortable with ourselves? Because most of us can’t do these two things.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy or something in between or neither, or straight or gay or uninterested in sex or bisexual or prefer to have sex only with yourself. You’re wonderful, just the way you are. You don’t need to change for anyone. Be a writer, an artist, a math teacher, an auto mechanic, a librarian, an accountant – they’re all good careers. None of them is any more special than the others. You’ll be successful if you find something that you love and you work very, very hard at it, and if you can do that, you’ll make your job special and yourself special, regardless of what your job title is. Wear dresses, high heels, jeans and tshirts, chucks, boots, a lot of makeup, no makeup, style your hair or shave it off – it doesn’t matter. You’ll be who you are supposed to be, and someone out there will be attracted to you, if that’s what you’re looking for.
You don’t have to pretend to be anything other than who you are. Not one bit. Not at all. In fact, pretending to be someone else is probably what’s keeping you from being happy.
See, we get stuck in this idea that we have to be something in particular to be loved. Then we find a mate who wants that thing, even when we’re not that thing, we’re just pretending. Or we find someone who’s close to what we want, and we think, “Oh, well, with a little work…” and set out to change them, a tiny bit at a time, into what we want them to be. Why do we do this? Fear, pretty much. We’re afraid we’ll never find the right person, we’ll never be loved, or move out of our parent’s house, or have enough sex, or whatever it is. We get impatient and we get scared and we settle for someone who’s not quite right and we’re not quite right for.
It’s OK if you like sappy romantic movies, and it’s OK if you want to spend your weekends painting Warhammer figurines, and it’s OK if you like anything else that most people would consider geeky or strange or boring. There are people out there who like the things that you like. Go find them instead. I guarantee you that not only will you find these people if you’re open and honest about what you like, but you’ll feel more comfortable, more at home, being around the people who understand and accept you than you ever did squishing yourself into relationships with people who didn’t share your interests.
When I say be honest, I mean completely. It doesn’t work if you tell people that you love Michael Bay movies but don’t mention that you think that if someone really loved you, they’d put your needs first all of the time. It doesn’t work if you find someone who also loves camping during the summer, but don’t mention that you think monogamy doesn’t really work and that you can’t see yourself only sleeping with one person for the rest of your life. Whatever you think, whoever you are, put it out there. Display it, wear it, be proud of it. It’s who you are, and there’s nothing wrong with you.
The only thing that’s wrong with anyone is the desire to control the people around us. You don’t get to decide if the person next to you is “really” a man, or a woman. You don’t get to decide if two people should get married, or shouldn’t. You don’t get to decide that your spouse has to spend more money on you or clean the house on Saturday mornings or your parents have to be more supportive or your friends have to stop liking some tv show or stop drinking red wine at your dinner parties. It’s not up to you.
All you can decide is to be honest. If something’s not working for you, say so. If it’s something small and simple, like “I don’t like the smell of your cigar smoke so I won’t tell you to stop smoking but could you do it on the porch or let me know when you plan to smoke inside so I can use that time to run errands out of the house,” then talk about it, and make that compromise. If it’s something that can be fixed, great. If not, if the only option is for you to get your way or be miserable, then you leave. Done. End of story. That’s the only power you have. Because lying about your needs is a trick you play on your partner, where you pretend to be happy but really aren’t, and that unhappiness seeps into everything else that you do together. And trying to control the other person to turn them into who you want them to be is laziness, because it’s easier for you than going out and taking the time to find the right person for you.
How is that love?
If you’re in a relationship where you can’t be honest, there’s a problem. If the only way for you to get what you want, to be truly happy, is to lie about who you are, or what you’re doing with your time, then it’s a relationship that needs to end. If you’re only going to be happy if you can get your partner to stop having certain friends, or stop going certain places, or get a different career, then you’re never going to be able to turn your back on them. You’re never going to be able to trust them. You’re never really going to be happy … and that’s playing a pretty mean trick on yourself. If the only way to make your relationship work is to take abuse, to change things you liked about yourself, to be told (often) how wrong/bad/stupid/useless/not-good-enough you are, to give up your friends … then honey, you’re hurting yourself. You deserve to be with someone who loves you for you, and if you haven’t found that person yet, then being alone is better than letting the wrong relationship keep you from meeting the right person.
Be honest. Be open. Let the wrong people go, let the right people in, and be happy. There’s nothing wrong with you, but there might be something wrong with the friendships or relationships you’re currently in.