Alternatively: A Bad Roommate Enumeration
This word vomit is opening a lot of old wounds I forgot I had, so if unladylike words pierce you like an old bobby pin with the rubber feet popped off, now’s your chance to bail.
At 24 years old, more than anything in the entire world right now, do I want to finally just live on my own, already. It took me 5.5 years to get my bachelor’s degree, which encompassed 2 universities, 2 vehicles, 6 addresses, and 15 roommates. To be fair, 6 of those roommates were grown ass adults, including my dad. They weren’t so bad, I guess.
There is nothing more frustrating than being a month away from having the means to live on my own– and still being a month away. I remember when I was still in high school, sitting across from my friendly neighborhood confidante/life coach/church mom, she told me “you need to have roommates, you need to learn how to live with people. Otherwise, you’ll never be sociable.”
I don’t think she worded it like that, exactly, but I remember what she was trying to tell me. At the time, I hated people. A lot. Crowds of people, interpersonal relationships, sleepovers, most things were just too exhausting and too complicated for me to expend energy on (most people know this as “being an introvert”).
I took her advice. When I left the university in my hometown after attending and living at home for two years, I was out on my own, away from my dad and his wise wisdom and support, parrying all the shit life threw at me– and damnit, I got roommates. I was going to be sociable and learn how to make friends, or whatever. I was going to expand my horizons and build healthy, long-term relationships with more people than just the friends I’d had since grade school.
The first roommate I ever had was my dad, which is, well, normal. He’s incredible, and the greatest person to ever exist in my life, and the human I look up to most and want to do everything in my power make proud. My dad could fight your dad.
The first roommates I had outside of family (#s 2 and 3) were not the type of roommates I wanted. I still never want to have those kinds of roommates again.
#2 was inconsiderate and purposefully ignored me– though, looking back, I guess she reminds me a lot of myself. I definitely wasn’t a good roommate, either, and was equally disagreeable. But at least when I talked shit, I didn’t do it in the house where anyone could hear.
#3 talked to herself consistently under her breath, even while I was clearly curled up in my bed on the other side of the room, trying to sleep at 3 AM. God, wow, what a mess. I think I called my dad every day, or every other day, and 9 times out of 10 it was in tears. 0/10 would not recommend, like, ever, if you can help it.
I am happy to say, though, that after bailing the hell out of there the second I could, my next roommate (#4) was 600x more pleasant. She was a grad student, though, while I remained only a sophomore/junior, so maybe she didn’t exactly qualify when it came to “things bad roommates usually are.” (18, previously wealthy, self-centered).
I spent most of the time in my room while staying with her, which is why I concede that I myself am certainly NOT a good roommate, particularly for anyone who’s looking for companionship out of the people they live with– but hot damn, was I depressed off my ass. The angel that was roommate #3 was my breath of fresh air in the fiery pit that was my life. I hated that I’d ever moved away from home at all, I hated who I was, I hated my job, I hated my classes. I was ready to graduate and just get on with it, already.
Roomates #5, 6, and 7, were a mixed bag.
#5 was cool, had a good head on her shoulders, was down to earth and knew about life. I liked her. I should find her again on Facebook. I hope she’s happy and has achieved all of her goals.
#6 was messy, and was engaged to a manchild who I can only describe as “terrible.”
#7 was a goddamn disaster, and seemed to have just the hardest time locking the front door whenever she left and/or it was the middle of the night and we were sleeping. This was particularly disturbing/inconceivable seeing as there was a GD stalker/sexual prowler on the loose in our neighborhood at the time. A drunk girl sorority girl even walked into our house in the middle of the night, once, because of #7’s negligence, and relieved herself on our kitchen floor.
I started living with my 8th roommate while still technically on the lease for the previous house, because I couldn’t take roommate #6 anymore, and had been sharing a room with her. She’d stomp around while I was trying to sleep, snoozed every alarm that went off in 15-minute intervals starting at 5 AM until 9 AM, and did I mention her fiance was just the worst?
We were at the grocery store once, where I grabbed a half-gallon of skim milk, and he actually tried to convince me I didn’t know what I was doing. As if I were just a confused chimp, accidentally landing a grip on a jug after flapping my lanky arms around against the glass dairy fridge. Buddy, please. People don’t just start drinking skim by accident. You have to train your palette to even stomach that.
Anyway, I digress. Roommate #8 was actually my best friend at the time, and I ended up just slowly moving all my stuff into her parents’ place (#s 9 and 10), while her parents were preparing to move to another state and leave their house to her daughter and me to live in in their wake.
I loved living there, once they were gone and I could move into the master bedroom. I had my childhood cat living with me at the time, too, and everything was picture-purrfect, like those 100k-noted tumblr posts consisting of a room with messy sheets on the bed and fairy lights on the windows.
Actual documented proof of this temporary heaven on earth
But all good things must come to an end, and that friend found her future husband, later even marrying him. I moved back to my hometown for the summer, after her parents then called to tell me they were going to be renting the house to my friend’s aunt instead.
This is where roommate #11 comes into play, and I only have one thing to say about them: it’s my stepmom, and she’s evil.
At this moment in time, right now, I’m currently still living with 12, 13, 14, and 15. #12 was good friends with #8 and I for a long time, before a weird falling out happened between us– even so, she and her family offered me a place to stay when I was essentially homeless, and for that I will always be grateful. They’re the first people I’ve lived with uninterrupted for longer than one semester, and what a blessing they are.
I still spend most of my time hiding away in my room– whether that’s leftover from my antisocial childhood tendencies, or trauma from my previous living situations, or simply because, as a thriving introvert, at the end of the day all I want is to be by myself– but at least in my current household, I don’t hate going home. I don’t hate bumping into them when I’m scalping leftovers from their fridge or walking in through the door after a long day at work.
These days, though, I’m ready to be on my own. Even if more than half of my monthly paycheck will go toward rent and utilities, damn am I ready. I’m ready to have my own space, to cook in my own kitchen, to have my own rules and listen to my music without headphones. Since the day I moved away from home to this city four hours out of my comfort zone, I’ve been looking forward to this. I knew that the day I was finally able to support myself with my own paycheck, without having to split the rent, without having to call my dad for food money, everything would be ok.
Even if with rent, credit cards, and students loans sucking away the majority of my paycheck, the fact that I’ll still be able to live relatively comfortably on my own is really just– can I say I’m proud of myself? Is that alright? Cool.
I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself for sticking to it, for staying in school, for taking risks and doing things I didn’t want to do. I suffered a lot, I was miserable for a long time, but I learned so much and now I finally get to reap the rewards.
There’s a phrase my dad used to always say to me when I would complain about something I didn’t want to do, and it’s become my life motto: Sometimes, you have to play the game.
Whether the game is 9 AM classes, working a job in retail, living with people you otherwise wouldn’t associate with, sometimes you just have to keep playing, because the trophy at the end is totally worth it.
In this case, my trophy is being 100% independent. And finally being able to adopt a cat.