I’m trying to be bolder and more confident in 2017. Sometime near the end of 2016, I reflected on a bad roommate situation I had gone through earlier on during the year (I might elaborate on it in a later post). It was an intense experience. Long story short, it turned out that the person living with me and my friend (also my long-time roommate) had mental health issues (lesson learned: don’t look for roommates in NYC online!).
She was paranoid and started to express the worst possible opinion of me. Like the absolute worst. She thought I was jealous of her and trying to undermine her in some obscure power struggle by stealing her stuff and framing her. She was convinced that I had multiple personalities and that I was a pathological liar prone to violent outbursts. I’m not a perfect person (no one is), but I’ve never ever been accused of things this insanely malicious. Everything she said just seemed so ridiculous.
My friend (with whom I live) and I went through a hellish time while dealing with this roommate. At the beginning of the craziness, I cried a lot (like emotional breakdown-type crying). We were always stressed out thinking about her and scared to be in our apartment with her unless the both of us were there together. I struggled to sleep at night and sometimes went to friends’ places or napped in my church office on the weekends to get some rest. The roommate refused to move out, even though she didn’t seem to enjoy living with us either, and legally, we couldn’t immediately kick her out because she had squatter’s rights and was not a physical threat to us. We were at our wits’ end and my friend and I really just felt like all we could do was pray and ask others to pray for us (which can be frustrating when you want action).
The roommate eventually moved out (praise God!) and we haven’t heard from her since. But as I thought over that situation near the end of 2016, I realized that going through it had changed me in some way. I’m not saying that I would want to go through it again, but that experience subtly affected my sense of self—I think for the better. Having someone express utterly vile opinions of you makes simple criticisms or harsh comments seem so insignificant by comparison. I’m less afraid of people seeing my mistakes or imperfections. I care less about what others think of me. Rejection doesn’t seem as bad.
I’m still me, but something’s different. I’ve resolved to live my life with less fear and insecurity than before. So I’m trying to stop second-guessing myself and thinking of reasons why I’m not qualified or talented enough whenever someone presents me with an opportunity. Seek advice whenever I’m struggling. Find what gives me joy. Speak my mind and share ideas in meetings. Bleach my hair blonde. Wear that crazy outfit I’m not sure I can pull off. Chat up a stranger. Take on challenges and learn new things. Make mistakes. Tell that someone how I really feel. Live. Laugh. Love.
I’m taking baby steps, but 2017 will be a different chapter for me. I know it.