I’ve been keeping a blog (at one site or another) for about five years. I’ve always participated in BEDA- Blog Every Day in April/August- and it’s been an enormously helpful, if often stressful, writing endeavor. These blogs aren’t often (ever?) profound or highly meaningful in a semiotic sort of way, but the most important step in any writing is to keep doing it. I’ve been absent around here lately, and I can’t guarantee that I’ll make it here every day this month, but I’m resolving to Blog A Lot More in April. BALMA! (I missed yesterday but that was just… an April Fool’s prank.)
Several significant events have occurred in my life in the past few days, and I’m going to take some time here to discuss those things. Actually, I’m just going to talk about one thing, the Big Thing tonight. I’m composing my thoughts as I type them out, and I’m trying to find the best way to deliver this story to you as fairly and level-headedly as possible.
I no longer live in the house I’ve been renting since the summer. I’m not really living anywhere right now- not anywhere permanent.
At home on Thursday, I noticed a significant number of my personal belongings were missing: clothes, books, a picture from a frame and food from the fridge. I looked through the entire house and couldn’t locate my things anywhere. Then, my (now former) roommate’s dog knocked the trashcan into her room out into the hall. Presumably he wanted to eat my food, which my roommate had removed from the fridge and dumped all over my missing clothes, books and the remnants of my picture- which was torn to pieces.
I have no idea why this happened. We didn’t have any sort of fight or disagreement. From my end, everything was normal. I go to work, I go to school, I do homework, I visit friends… I’m a busy lady and I have lots going on. I didn’t change my routine in any way, so I’m still baffled as to the provocation for the malicious destruction of my property. When I confronted my roommate about the situation, because this isn’t the kind of thing you ignore, the only answer I received was that I am “mean” and was in a “bad mood” when we had lunch together a full three weeks ago.
I’m not here to make judgments on anyone. I’m trying to tell this story exactly as I experienced it, without swaying or skewing the details. However, as I literally did nothing different and wasn’t able to receive a solid or sane answer as to why my possessions were removed and destroyed… all I can figure is that the whole incident indicates some severe instability. And that makes me sad. I like to think the best of people, and while I believe in giving the benefit of the doubt (because we’re all doing the best we can with what we have!) I tend to expect a lot from folks. All I can think after this experience is, Are you truly no better than this?
I moved out of the house because I cannot live in what had become a volatile, unpredictable and, frankly, a financially taxing environment. I don’t have extra money to run around replacing things destroyed by misbehaved dogs and roommates. Furthermore, I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have to live in a place where my property is not and where I am not respected. I shouldn’t have to worry that my things are unsafe or that I am unsafe due to someone else’s unpredictable actions. I lived my entire childhood in those conditions, and it’s not something I willing to put up with for a moment longer in my life. Truly, I’ve broken up with boyfriends for less-crazy treatment.
Of course, moving is never easy- not even for someone with as much experience as I have. The actual moving, the removal of my property from my house to a storage unit wasn’t overly difficult. I don’t believe in owning lots of things. I have mostly clothes and books, and they all packed up in a single car trip. Figuring out how to get my furniture (enorma-bed, bookshelves, a desk, chairs, etc) was a little trickier, but totally manageable. Although, again, this isn’t something I should have had to manage at all.
The real trouble came with the lease. I signed a lease to rent this property through this summer. My roommate told me explicitly that she had someone ready to move in April 1st…but when I went to sign the sublease forms, my landlord explained that she received a call saying I “freaked out and moved all my things for no reason and there isn’t anyone to take over the lease!” …It’s been a huge mess, and things still aren’t sorted. Obviously, my trust has been severely compromised and I’m still waiting to get (sorry, this is the best way I can put it) screwed in this process. I won’t feel good until I can sign the sublease forms and turn my key into my landlord. I can’t even begin to look for somewhere semi-permanent to stay until I know for certain that I won’t get (again, sorry) screwed and forced to pay rent on a property I’m not even living in.
This whole weekend has been a huge mess of talking to lawyers and mediation services and feeling a whole lot of sadness. It’s always distressing when people prove themselves to be…well, terrible people. Some people are just bad. I don’t know that I believe in karma or comeuppance all that much. But I do believe that we are defined by our actions, even (especially!) those actions that occur in secret. Without the intervention of a hungry dog, I probably never would have discovered my trashed belongings, because no matter how frustrated I’ve ever felt at someone, I’ve never touched their things. And I (naively?) expected the same treatment. I never considered looking for my missing things in my roommate’s room because who does that? Who takes someone’s belongings and ruins them? Respecting people and their property, even when you don’t particularly like those people or their property, is a basic tenet of humanity. Even if I’d never found my destroyed things, if I’d continued to live in the house for the duration of my lease, those actions would still be reflective of an unstable, bitter and vindictive personality.
That’s the kind of personality I don’t have the energy or desire to be around. I really and truly hope this young woman finds the peace she so obviously needs, and gets a hefty helping of counseling along the way. But that isn’t my concern anymore. I’m moving on, muddling through this no-home liminal state. It isn’t pretty right now. I’ve had heavy boots this weekend. I’m, quite rightfully, saddened and disheartened by the cruel actions that forced me out of my own home. I’m letting it go.
Some people are just bad. Always stand up for yourself and your rights. Don’t let yourself be bullied out of your basic right to respect. Plus, times like these are good for learning the truth about people. There are a lot of bad people out there, but there are a lot of good people too. Maybe one person trashed your possessions and forced you out of your home, but there are more people waiting on the other side. There are more people who will help you move, feed you, share a bed on a cold night (it’s cold tonight!), and just be there for you. There are people who will immediately fill your PO Box with Cheer Up Mail when you’ve had to change your address. There are people who are good. Those people, who fill themselves with goodness and let it spill over onto you, are people who matter. It’s not worth it to waste your time or energy on the folks who fill themselves with hatred.
And bless my sweet mother for saying, “You will get through this. And you’re going to make it into a wonderful, insightful, beautiful and hilarious scene in your memoirs.”
What’s your best bad-roommate story?