One of my favorite books is “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chomsky. I picked it up long before it was adapted to film, so yes, I will tout that I read it before it was cool.
But you need not necessarily have read the book to know one of the most Instagram’d, Tumblr’d etc. quotes from its pages:
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
The realistic—albeit, cynical—side of my brain says none of us deserves anything; we are born into this world with nothing and leave it the same way.
The idealistic side of me wants the good-hearted to always meet happy endings, and watch the heartbreakers step on Legos.
But often times, it comes down to the hand we get rather than how well we play our cards.
When it comes to love we think we deserve, I’ve seen these things fail more than succeed because someone wrongly thought they were entitled to something far better than they actually deserved or thought they didn’t deserve anything good at all. As a result, I’m very skeptical and slow to trust because of what I’ve seen close-up.
I’ve seen friends, family members and high school acquaintances become targets of infidelity or simply use silence as a mediation tactic.
I watched one of my friends—beautiful, insightful and intelligent, with the world at her feet—who’d began dating an equally attractive guy suddenly thrown into confusion when she failed to hear from him again after what I understood to be a successful day-long date.
I observed another acquaintance talk nonchalantly about how he’d broken up with his girlfriend of more than a year, only a few days after referring to her as the love of his life.
I watched yet another acquaintance publicly share her inner turmoil as her boyfriend at the time had recently broken up with her. Three weeks later, she began gushing about the (current) love of her life.
As for me, I told a friend with whom I felt safe several months ago things about me I shared with few others, which I never would have done had I known we’d part ways less than 24 hours later.
For awhile, it was (and still is) hard for me to trust people who told me what it was I deserved (be it something “better” or “perhaps not at such a high standard) because the things they’d say were either cliché, or I doubted whether or not it’s really true that I’m funny, worth it, “not like other girls” (whatever that means), blah blah blah.
I can remember trying to change myself in a number of situations to feel more deserving in some way.
In my general social life, I’ve tried to pretend that I’m more chill than I truly am (type A all day) or downplay some of my views on certain social issues, depending on my environment.
In a school or work situation, I might try to appear smarter than I am in hopes of actually becoming smarter, or I might downplay my intelligence for the sake of not hurting someone else’s ego.
In my dating life, I’d concern myself with not being thin enough, feminine enough, like-other-girls enough and sadly in some cases, just unintelligent enough to again, not hurt someone’s ego.
Fortunately during times that I worry I’m not outgoing or fun enough for the most important people in my life who happen to be hardcore extroverts, I’m assured all the time by them that I’m more than enough.
I don’t know what I deserve, exactly, when it comes to any sort of acceptance. Does anyone? Maybe it’s like what I said before—none of us actually “deserves” anything.
Or, if we do deserve better, perhaps it starts with bettering ourselves.
There are things I need to change about myself to get where I need to be, wherever that is. God knows I do.
But I never want to change myself so much that I don’t recognize me, or that I feel there’s no part of me that can be appreciated unless I do away with everything else.
Because at the end of the day, when I get that grad school acceptance, project or promotion, insanely awesome social life, I don’t want it to be because the person I pretended to be was more deserving of it than I was.