Another thing weighing on my mind today:
I’ve had some bizarre college dorm roommate experiences, experiences I’ve actually needed to see a therapist over. The traumatic, self image altering kind of roommate experiences.
I’ll start with the craziest first. One girl became convinced I was obsessed with her. Which confused me, because in reality I thought she was boring, ugly, and stressed out all the time. She said I was “always staring at her” and “touched her in her bed.”
Let me break those things down for you.
“Always staring at her.” Once I was in bed and I heard sounds and movement. I rolled over to see what was going on. I didn’t have my glasses on, but I saw a vague blur across the room near the wardrobe. I figured, “Oh, she’s getting dressed,” I rolled over, and I went back to sleep.
“Touched her in her bed.” Once she was making choking sounds in her sleep. My Dad used to have breathing problems, so I got scared. I went over and shook her shoulder, asking her if she was okay. She woke up, flinched away from me, and made a frightened noise.
These two incidents combined convinced her that I was obsessed with her, and she began waking up three hours earlier than she would have otherwise and hiding in the library just so she could avoid me in the mornings.
She scolded me for not getting out of the room enough. What was she, my mother? What business was that of hers? I never brought people over, I never made any noise, and I was usually faced completely away from her at my desk.
She scolded me for staying up too late with my computer on, so I hid under the covers with my computer so that my computer light didn’t bother her. This, too, seemed to have no effect.
She scolded me for being dirty. I kept all my stuff to my own space, and kept the room fairly clean. I mean, I’ve had messy roommates – I definitely wasn’t one. Maybe things were kinda dusty and the floor could use a vacuum once in a while. That sort of dirty. But this girl was obsessed with cleanliness. Once she took out the trash at eleven o’clock at night because it was slightly full. Not full to the point of being overflowing. But slightly full. Then she scolded me for not taking out the trash earlier, assuming that I clearly had tons of free time on my hands being in the room all the time, completely ignoring the fact that I was usually doing homework or creative writing in my room and was therefore just as busy as she was.
But then there are two other girls.
Another roommate wrote up, independently, cleaning schedules for all the other girls in her room. She sometimes commanded me to vacuum because she could “feel hair underneath her toes.” She threatened to cut me if I touched her stuff, but she would touch my stuff. I would go back into the room to find she had rearranged my shoes in color-coded order and reordered my cereal boxes to be proportionally perfect without my knowledge or permission.
She compulsively made beds. She would go into friends’ dorm rooms, and make their roommates’ beds – even if she’d never actually met the roommates in question. She seemed genuinely confused as to why this would bother people.
I once accidentally left a pad out on the sink. Once. Accidentally. She left me a note full of swear words – the word “fuck” must have appeared three times – and then she yelled at me so loud her face turned red the next day.
The third girl was a terrible gossip. She could change faces faster than anyone else I have ever met. These girls were all friends. They would get together and talk about what a horrible roommate I was behind my back, or make up new rules while I wasn’t there – but then here’s the kicker.
They’d come back to me, admit they’d been gossiping, and tell me their findings. Like that was normal. And okay.
There was a point in my life where I couldn’t go a day without thinking of the shame, embarrassment, stress, and tension this long string of roommates had given me. I’ve been through therapy, it’s been several years, and I’m much better now. But sometimes I’ll come upon an occasional day when bad memories will come up and my mood will still go sour.
It’s just something I have to deal with.