The Hero of Your Own Story

I would LOVE to think of myself as an ex-mean girl, but I know that is still absolutely not true. I’m only human and all I can say is that I was actively working on trying to better myself for my mental/physical health, and to improve my relationships with those who are close to me. Though I have been consciously trying to shed my unquestionably shallow and vicious demeanor, I can still be rude, nasty, and self-involved.

If you’ve been keeping up with my personal drama, I was reprimanded by one of my roommates for this blog post, in which I expressed my true feelings about having to collect my roommates’ Amazon packages several times a day because I work from home.

To summarize for those who don’t feel like going back to that entry:

I explained in the post that because of my depression and anxiety, it can be extremely difficult for me to get out of bed, work, and go outside. Yet, one of my roommates was frequently ordering packages that would come throughout the day. By the time I wrote the entry, I was suffering from feelings of stress that I would have to be ready to get both of my roommates’ things when they arrived so they wouldn’t get stolen or ruined in bad weather. I felt very guilty for not wanting to collect the parcels, despite being home all day. I felt like there was no good way to bring it up, so I silently and begrudgingly kept doing it to be nice, and decided to write a blog entry to work through my conflicted feelings.

Then my roommate read my blog.

She angrily texted our roommate group chat saying that she would have the packages sent to her office instead. She claims that I could have just come to her with my feelings, but I wonder today if there was any “correct” way to approach someone with, what still seems like an unfair request, to please stop ordering so many things because I have a life, too.

I believe the result would have been the same; the roommates would be annoyed with me for being home and complaining about having to collect their packages. I didn’t want anyone to order less things, I didn’t want anyone to send their packages elsewhere. I did not know how to bring it up in the first place, hence, the blog post.

I was berated for being passive-aggressive and not directly speaking to my roommates about other things as well, usually related to keeping the apartment clean. I would clean an area and leave a post-it note asking them to please keep it tidy afterwards, for example.

Before this issue was brought to my attention, I realized that the post-it notes were a rude way of asking for help equally maintaining the cleanliness of our apartment. I started texting about things instead.

Last week, I took out boxes of paper recycling that were blocking my path for days, and the next day, there were new, un-broken-down boxes in the same spot. It was annoying to me, but I realized that whoever left those boxes might not have known that they were in my way, and that wasn’t the spot we normally put paper recycling anyway. I texted about it, and I was cleaning all of the common areas that day, so I took care of the boxes myself despite my roommate stating that she would do it when she got home from work.

Was that passive-aggressive, too? Yes. I admit it. But, to me, it didn’t make sense to clean the dining room, the kitchen, the living room, the hallway, and my own room, then leave a pile of boxes in those newly organized areas when I could take care of it myself in a only a few minutes.

I agreed with my roommate, who was speaking for my other roommate as well by this point, that my notes were passive-aggressive. She said that I couldn’t give them a chance to rectify a problem that I had if I just took care of it myself after asking them to do it.

And I agreed with everything up until the point a few moments later when (clearly from a place of anger) I was lambasted by the same roommate for making the other two feel like they were “encroaching on my space” whenever I put away their dishes, or asked them to clean up a space that I spent time cleaning in a “passive-aggressive way.” She told me that I act like this is solely my apartment and they were just invading it by being present, or having things around.

While I agreed that my methods of asking the roommates to try harder to meet my levels of cleanliness were inappropriate, I absolutely disagreed that I was the one making them tiptoe around me, when they so clearly have many other issues with the apartment that I truly consider my home.

I became indignant.

I told her to just move out then.

My second roommate finally chimed in and said that he would end up doing the same.

I said that it worked for me.

I think that if they frequently complain about the noise, about my cats playfully going into their room, about having to do their fair share of cleaning, and now about me, then they should move out.

If you hate it here so much, why not save your money until your lease is up and move into a quieter apartment, where you will feel less pressured to keep an area tidy, and where you won’t have to live with someone who you have been griping about to each other in secret?

This conversation happened two days ago, but I still want my roommates to move out. I don’t take it back.

I want to put roots down here and I want to make this place feel like a home.

I don’t mind the noise from the club around the corner, or the neighbors’ footsteps above me. I contact the landlord whenever there is an issue with something. I’m the one who is home, but I work from home, and I’m the one who loses out on work the day or days that someone has to be here to let the super in and take care of a problem that affects all the roommates (such as a leaking ceiling, or a broken dishwasher.)

I insulate the balcony and AC in winter. I clean the common space AC filter in summer. I do things for the entire apartment that my roommates don’t even think to do because they don’t respect this apartment as their home.

If you act like this is a transient crash pad, while I act like this is my home that I want to keep comfortable for everyone by cleaning and keeping up with everyone’s share of maintenance, then maybe this is not the apartment for you, but it is definitely the apartment for me.

I want to stay here for as long as I can because I love it here and I’m not ready to leave.

I liked living with my roommates as well, until they ganged up on me and made it seem like I was making this place a living hell for them, when I am the one who is here all the time living with their clutter when they are too tired, too lazy, or too busy to keep up with one-third of everything that should be done to maintain harmony and help the flow of positive energy through the apartment.

Positive energy cannot move through negative spaces that stay stagnant in clutter.

I compromise on how clean and organized I’d like the apartment to be because I know there are not many people that even come close to the same level of neat-freak as me. By the time it got to the point when I felt the need to write a post-it or a text message, it was because hours after deep cleaning something, there would be shoes on a freshly-mopped floor, crumbs in the kitchen after sweeping, stains and dirty dishes on the stove after wiping it down. This happened multiple times and eventually I spoke up, albeit not in the most constructive manner.

Everyone has a lot of things. I have cats. We all make a mess. There is always clutter, but I apparently cannot touch my roommates’ stuff “anymore” or put it away because it offends them.

I let this go over and over and over because I know that they do work and they are tired and they can get too busy, but why is it that the clean people are always the ones who suffer? I either have to live with everyone’s mess, clean it up, or get insulted for trying to clear our shared space.

You cannot have a clear mind if your space is not clear. You cannot keep a clear space if your roommates will not let you.

It isn’t fair.

And if you think that I am marching around, bullying my roommates into tidying up things that they might consider menial, that is just they way it is being spun to make me the villain in their traumatic living situation.

If you want to talk about a traumatic living situation, how about not being able to walk, or chew, or make any noises around a roommate with misophonia, who will flash you several dirty looks while you are simply eating your dinner normally, or text you about the neighbor’s conversation (which you don’t care about,) or call the neighbor a fat-ass for walking up the three flights of hallway stairs in the building “too loudly”?

Yes, you have misophonia. How many times are you going to remind me about this sound or that sound bothering you?

Are you listening to me work? Yes. Are you listening to me going to the bathroom? Probably. Do you make other people feel awkward and uncomfortable in their home, too, because you’re always listening and reporting on every sound that irritates you to anyone who hasn’t gotten sick of hearing you tell them? YES.

Is it your fault? No.

You have a problem, I get it. Everyone around you gets it, because you make sure they feel just as uncomfortable as you feel. Is complaining about every sound that bothers you solving your problem? No. So maybe you should do something else to help fix it, like a well-adjusted person does when they realize they have a debilitating mental issue.

What about feeling like your other roommate is only acting as your friend because you have a mutual friend? When you feel like you can never talk to them because they so often come home stomping, sighing, with an air of unhappy, angry, exhausted energy that sends a chill down everyone’s spine. Is that directed towards me existing in your space, or did you have a bad day at work? I can’t tell.

No one wants to feel like they are under-appreciated as a roommate, but it hurts even more when you feel completely unappreciated as a friend.

I feel like you only talk to me when you’re drunk, or when you’re angry at me, but I didn’t realize how much you hated me until you decided to take up arms with our third roommate against me.

I want to say more, but to be perfectly honest, I am afraid of you because you always seem so angry. If you’re reading this right now, I’ll bet you’re seeing red, citing my blog, and telling everyone how horrible I make you feel.

Ironic, no? Since you had a huge problem with me not coming to you directly about the package situation, but you brought others into a confrontation that should have been between us (according to you!) See: Texting about your issue with me in our roommate group chat. See: Telling our mutual friend how I scorned you with the blog post — it’s obvious. See: Hypocrisy. See: Never considering my feelings about ordering so many packages in the first place.

“Sorry for ordering so much stuff,” is not a big enough blanket for hearing the doorbell ring 4x a day while you’re working, or you seeming annoyed at me when I say I can’t get them right away, or having me go out in the rain to collect your things, or having to get up for your stuff when I need a day to just be in my bed.

I doubt you will see it from my point-of-view, though, considering how you trivialized my explanation of how those things genuinely affected my often-fragile mental health.

You read the blog post and got mad. Do you mean to tell me that you wouldn’t be annoyed if I told you that the packages were adding to my depressive/anxious thoughts? You would be irked, take the extreme measure of having the packages sent to your office instead, and make me feel like my mental problems were a joke. The same way you did on Monday after reading my blog.

Okay, I am being unfairly harsh about my roommates because I felt attacked by them. Those comments are coming from a place of anger. To reiterate: I am not perfect. I’m not a victim, but I am hurt.

The last thing emotionally-charged thing that I’d like to say is that I don’t feel like I need other people to defend me when something is going on between me and another person/other people. There is right and wrong in every situation; that is where the idea that, “Everyone is the hero of their own story” comes from. You have to remember that if you are the hero, then you are writing someone else as the villain. I know that I am the villain in my roommates’ story because I did something they disagreed with, but these cases are more nuanced than they seem when you hear them from a single source.

I vent on my blog and to my friends because that is a way that makes me comfortable. I know my roommates vent or complain about me to people who know me (and now to each other.) It hurts my feelings that they both go running to other people to share only their side of a story and paint me as a bad guy, or an idiot, in some cases.

I trust the people I vent to because they often offer me a different perspective on a situation, rather than automatically taking my side about something.

Everyone needs support when they are dealing with a negative situation, but if you are only connecting with people who will stand by you no matter what, then you’re just being a bully and trying make yourself seem “right” to as many people as possible when sometimes you are definitely wrong. Sometimes it’s not about being right or wrong. Sometimes there isn’t any fight to win.

If you can’t keep the confrontation between you and the person or people you’re having a problem with, then why would you get mad if someone is writing a blog post? Isn’t it worse to surreptitiously rant about that person to a mutual friend/acquaintance in an attempt to make them look bad, than to openly express your feelings about something in a journal for the world to see?

Let’s be real, not that many people read this blog lol.

There are many other things that I want to say that are so cruel. They’ve been infecting my thoughts all day like poison.

I want to write them here. I want to text them to my roommates. I want to say it to their faces. I want to go for the low-blows (lower even than now, or in this blog post that I maliciously sent directly to them yesterday,) but I truly do want to be better than I used to be. Even if it’s just better than I was yesterday, or better than a few hours ago when I was enraged and started writing this.

I felt like I was trying so hard to be better than the bitch I was before, and no one could see it. I felt like I was being nicer, and then they took advantage of my cleanliness, my conscious kindness, and my being home all day. Still, they expected mean, and found it in the form of passive-aggressiveness. I guess I wasn’t nice after all? Or… I was nice, got annoyed that they were taking advantage of me, and retaliated with passive-aggressive post-it notes and stuff. That makes more sense.

See? Writing down your feelings is the best way to work through them. Ha.

They don’t want me to write how I’m feeling if I am feeling bad about them. But they talk about me when they think I don’t realize.

The hypocrisy makes me want to revert to being that ruthless, merciless young woman who thought she was better than everyone else. Unfortunately, that is what I become when I write from a place of contempt.

I’m not better than anyone in this situation. I admitted what I did wrong, but I feel like I didn’t deserve to be singled out for making my home uninhabitable. I definitely don’t deserve to be rallied against, and have other people brought in to judge this drama without hearing my side of the story, too.

This is my side of the story.

You can call it a problem with communication, but I think it is a problem with incompatibility. I want to grow and change and stop fighting with the people I live with, and I see now that it isn’t going to happen.

I can’t stop eating food. I can’t force someone to be friends with me. I can’t keep cleaning up after people, but I can’t keep living surrounded with clutter and hatred. None of us will grow as people if we are forced to live that way.

If they want to avoid me because they think me putting the dishes away is them obtruding my personal space, I am going to start acting like this is my space, though I didn’t see it that way before. I’ll keep taking care of the apartment in a way that it deserves.

Your home is an entity. It protects you. You should respect it enough to keep it clean and safe and comfortable for everyone inside.

It’s one thing if you don’t want to be part of a family, but it’s another if you’re actively trying to assemble against the person who loves this apartment the most.

While I want to express how I’m feeling towards my roommates with more cold-blooded blog entries and text messages, I think I’ll just try my best to let it go.

I know this post achieves the opposite, but when I started writing I thought that I hated my roommates now. I realize now I just hate being considered a villain in their story, though, truthfully, I’ve certainly painted them as such tonight.

It won’t be a perfectly peaceful next 5 months, but I really do hope my roommates are making plans to save their money and find a place to stay where they feel sheltered and at home. Awkward as it has been at times, this apartment has never not felt like home to me, and that is why I think I deserve to be the one who stays.

I am going to keep trying to focus on balancing the mind-body-soul trifecta and actively avoid conflict. I won’t be aggressive, and I can try not to be passive-aggressive. Even though the anger and unkindness have come naturally to me for the last twenty-something years, and it takes a long time and a lot of work to un-do. At least give me some credit for wanting to be better.

I’m not going to stop writing how I feel, though. I’m not sorry for my thoughts and feelings. I’m not sorry for exposing my truth, even when it admittedly gets ugly. I don’t blame my roommates if they feel angry about what I write, since we’re all entitled to our own feelings and our own truths.

The only thing I can do is try to become better. Not better than my roommates, but better for myself, so that my truths will stop being so ugly every time I write about them.

May we all find balance and peace somehow.

As above, so below.
As within, so without.

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