She sits on the couch, staring blankly at the screen in front of her. Beside her, her boyfriend gasps and drops his head into his hands, groaning in near agony. She glances at him, then back at the screen, where players in colorful jerseys are romping across the field. She doesn't like football. The violence is dumb, and she worries about the players getting hurt.
But every time she mentions this, he'll tell her she just doesn't understand. That she can't see the game for what it was. So he asks her to watch with him every Sunday, even though she always asks questions and tries to not to listen. It's their quality time.
For every crush I had in high school, I tried to adopt their interests, to give us something to talk about, something in common. From watching anime to reading their favorite books, I was willing to explore the things that they loved so that I could love them as well. I even listened to the whole Hamilton soundtrack and learned the words for my current boyfriend, because I wanted him to think I was cultured, that I was someone he could hang out with. But none of them did this for me.
Not once did a boy try and watch Disney movies for me or ask for book suggestions.
You know why? Because I was already doing it. They didn't need to adapt to me when I was so ready to adapt and shape myself for them.
You might be thinking that all of these things are minor, that at least I didn't change my hairstyle or stop wearing makeup. But here's the thing: those are cosmetic. I can always put on or take off makeup. I can change my hair with a pin or a hair tie. But our interests make up our time. They are what we are willing to do continuously, to incorporate into our routines and our lives.
I was willing to make time for these people, to incorporate them into my routines, but apparently what I liked, but apparently, I was not worth their time or their energy.
So I'm telling you to stop. I'm telling you to stop watching football if you don't like it, to throw his book across the room, to stop listening to his music unless you sincerely like it. You do not have to change yourself to get them to like you. You do not have to change yourself so that you guys have something to do together (a fun thing is both adopting a new hobby together). Listen to him when he talks about it, but you better assert yourself and talk about what you like for just as long.
It is time that we as strong, independent women or men or people realize that we do not have to put this much investment into people that are unwilling to do the same for us. Stop changing yourself and carving your time out for them, when you could both carve out time for each other. Don't shape yourself to fit their mold. You are worth more than that.