Once upon a time in a far-away land called Manhattan, there lived a man.
He was a favorite at his firm, the comedian of his group of friends and the best uncle he could be to his nephews. He was attractive in the most all-American of ways, chiseled and fit, and blue-eyed with hair that curled at the ends. He had no trouble courting and finding women to share his bed, and several tried to claim his attention too. But that — that was the one thing he couldn’t do. As wide as his mind would open as he traveled the world and as big as his checks grew over the years to the charities he admired, the one part of his life that wouldn’t grow was his heart. It had grown weary after a bitter breakup right after college, and as he approached the big 3-0, he was happy and satisfied with all he had made for himself, but love just wasn’t in the cards. Sure, he thought about it occasionally — when he had one too many whiskeys with his colleagues or when he suffered through an unimpressive date with another tall, thin-someone from somewhere, who didn’t do much more than turn him on with her looks. He remembered the days when he wanted a family, and sometimes finds himself jealous of his siblings who seemed to of mastered the home life without much consideration for their career.
He was smarter, he thought. He had focused on the right things and didn’t let something as silly, as transitional, as fleeting as an attractive broad shake his priorities. He made the right choice — if it had been a decision at all, that is — and without a doubt, he’d be running the company before the next decade was over. And that soft-something to come home to? It’d be a nice blanket of cash to rest easy on, and to give those around him all the monetary needs to be happy. He’d be a great uncle. He’d be a game-changer in his industry. He’d have an amazing apartment in midtown. He would always have incredible sex. But love? He could do without it.
Or at least he thought.
She was always the odd one of her group of friends. A little distracted by her dreams instead of living in the here-and-now. She didn’t realize her beauty or depend on it to get her where she wanted to go, as many women do. Loveliness drenched through her body, all the way to the soul — she always captivated those who knew her by the depth of which she cared. She was successful in her own right, but in a way that wasn’t typically considered remarkable. She didn’t fret though – she had come a long way and if she made any difference in the world, she hoped it was by helping someone else. She loved to draw and missed the girly-girl gene, often sporting casual attire that suited her lifestyle, but wasn’t what most would call trendy. Independent to the bone, she went backpacking through Europe, spent a year in Australia just because she could, and skipped the Ivy League college to study art via the streets of Venice. But she was brilliant. She soaked up the energy of those around her and men often fought to win the upper hand. She never let them – while she believed in love and knew one day she’d wed, she was in no rush and felt like it should just work itself out. It would be easy. She knew what she was worth and that she would know when she met someone who knew it too.
For him, she was the girl who changed it all.
They met in an ordinarily, extra-ordinary way — by chance. The chemistry was unmistakable, those passing by would have sworn the couple had known each other for years. They felt it, too. Instantly. She was careful not to give too much away and he hungered after the chase because he finally felt alive. That spark that had blown out so many moons ago, started to ignite and he couldn’t deny it. If there was to be love, if he was to love, if there was such a thing called fate after all, it had to be with her. Because she arrived, he could arrive at a different decision. His entire life changed course – now things like family, romance and nights-spent-in cooking and making love throughout the early hours of the morning were far more enticing than working longer or going in on the weekends. Her art had never been better – she felt inspired and warm, almost in a constant state of awe that she had found him. He counted his blessings every night she fell asleep in his arms, naked and entranced that he really could be one of those guys who found the girl who made him a better man. A girl who changed everything.
This is a storyline you’ve heard before. It’s one you’ve watched, one you’ve read in books with pages you couldn’t stop turning. It’s the story you’ve believed with all your heart from the first time you heard it. It’s the same story you tell yourself when you’re unsatisfied with your relationship but really want it to work out. So you wait. Because you can be the girl who changes the man. You can be the sparkling, captivating, irresistible woman who changes a darkened man into a lighting bolt. Who can change the one who refuses love into the one who seeks it. The gal who can not only mend a broken heart that’s been down for years, but you can give it a new life. You can make it better than it was before. We all want to be the one who changes a toxic bachelor into a hopeful romantic, simply because we are so wonderful.
Because if we can do that – if we can be that girl we’ve watched and read about then we must really be something. We must be glittering with golden specs, eliminating the black-and-white and bursting with color. If we can be that intoxicating, if we can break the mold and break in the man, then we’re really that remarkable.
I’ve wanted to be that girl.
I’ve believed I could love someone so much that they would change their heart and love me just as much in return. I knew if I could do anything, it was being kind and understanding. It was being so alluring, so entrancing, that no matter what – a man would come out of his shell, out of his own standards and see that he had to believe in love, because he believed in me. If I could get a man – a man I loved – to see me like that, then maybe I really was something special. I was determined to be the one who could make everything sensible for someone else until I realized I was already the girl who changed it all…for me.
I have been brave enough to try things that truly terrified me – from moving to New York to falling madly in love. I have been strong enough to change my mind, even when I didn’t know where my new direction would take me. I have changed my style, my opinion, my home and my attitude time-and-time again, without worrying if it was right or wrong. I have healed my own heart so that love can find it again. I have opened my eyes to see the truth, instead of getting lost in make-believe. I have become something special, without any validation or any approval from any man, or anyone.
I have been the best me that I could be, without ever needing a man to change me or to prove to me that I’m great. So while my life may one day become even more of a romantic comedy than my friends say it is — if I do happen to meet someone who decides to give love another go, just because of me – then I’m happy I could help. But I don’t need a man who needs me to change it all for him to make me happy with the path I’ve picked and the me I’ve become.
I’ve already become the girl who changed it all, by changing myself.