Yo. Life is hard. (Definitely not the first time I’m opening a blog post with this. Maybe I should make this my official sign-in. Sigh.)
This summer, I made what I truly consider one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I’m so used to my stress being an effect of circumstances I couldn’t necessarily control, effects of “the system.” As for this time, it was my decision that I made, although I hesitate to call myself an idiot for it, since there were certain things I don’t believe I could have foreseen. But yo. I have been stressed.
This awful decision was about my summer housing situation. Kids, y’all better learn from this.
So my college actually offers rooms to live in over the summer. But at the end of the last semester, everything about and around me was such a mess that I and my summer employers ended up missing the deadline for applying for a summer room. While my employers tried bargaining with the director of housing on my behalf, and him declaring he could make no promises yet, but would open up available rooms if there were any left when he was done doing his job, I was left to look for alternative options.
It turns out I had a colleague – not a friend per se, but an acquaintance from work – looking for roommates to temporarily live in a truly gorgeous seeming house belonging to a professor who was leaving for a while. Now, you see, I hate making decisions, especially when they involve deadlines and money, so this stressed me out significantly. The house was gorgeous yet more expensive – but guaranteed if I took action immediately. The college was familiar and somewhat boring for that fact, far less expensive, yet not guaranteed. And if I didn’t get it, as a consequence of not having taken immediate action, I would have nowhere else to go.
As is predictable of me, I moved towards the certain, immediate action, as opposed to the uncertain wait. I began to rationalize all my reasons to make me feel better:
- It was a house off campus, and it would be refreshing to be at least temporarily removed from monotonous scenery
- It had a kitchen. Several dorms on campus did not – besides, there would be fewer people sharing it.
- It had a pool! How cool would it be to have access to a pool during a hot California summer?
- It had air conditioning! Very few campus dorms did, and I’d heard several stories of students having to sleep in their workplaces or academic buildings to avoid melting in their beds at night.
Yeah. So I was thinking that with all these perks, surely it would be worth the extra money? LOL. No. (And listen, I am not trying to throw shade at anyone. I know how easily sharing my stories tends to get me in trouble, but I swear I’m not trying to throw shade.)
Honestly, I should have known better. There are facts about myself I deliberately ignored that came back to bite me in the back, front, top, bottom and all damn sides. Fam, I am an introvert. I don’t like living with people. I don’t like necessarily shared spaces. I don’t like dirt. However, when space must be shared, I like it when everyone actually acts responsible for their share. And, despite my distaste for shares paces, I do have the background and upbringing that makes me extremely uncomfortable with dirt or ugly mess. (Thanks, Mummy.) So, if the sink is dirty, I want it clean so much that I will clean it. Same with the shower, the trash can, the stove, the dishes in the sink…But Lord above, I am not a housemaid.
This was the summer that I realized that college kids really are kids. Like, kids. I mean, I kind of knew. Last semester, one of the (I assume because it makes sense) boys just kept leaving the toilet seat sprayed with urine like his hands spasmed every time he tried to pee, and also would hardly flush the toilet. And because I’m extra, I put a note on the stall door warning them I’d curse them with Ewe witchcraft if it continued. (No, I am not joking; I swear I’m not. Ask Tronomie, I sent him a picture of the note.) But what makes the difference once you live on campus is that every two or three days, housekeeping staff comes and resets the bathrooms (and kitchens) to default. If they did not exist, I am certain the state of campus facilities would have been as awful or worse than they were in that house this summer.
In summary, between the health-hazard-like state of the kitchen and a cat trying to jump into my tomatoes whenever I was trying to cook, between empty contact lens packets all over the bathroom floor and around the sink, wet clothes in the shower constantly, people I didn’t know always being present when least expected, random multi-instrumental jam sessions, a mosquito-ridden backyard, clothing items at the bottom of the pool, an unsightly pile of trash growing, AC time having to be conserved for the sake of the electricity bill et cetera…Yeah bro, I had to leave. None of it was worth anything.
Let me make this clear: in no way do I think the people I lived with were “bad people.” What they were, though, is different from me. And different people can be comfortable with different kinds of living spaces. And from what I saw, it seemed like I was the only unbearably uncomfortable one. I shall not dare to make the claim that any one of them should not have been living there; it was I who was the odd one out. As usual. It’s not our fault we were raised differently. So, yes, I had to leave.
I postponed it for so long because of guilt and financial responsibility. The situation was such that if one person’s contribution was detracted, the debt would be way higher than it already was – which was, apparently, already bad enough. And I had already been granted a significant discount on what I was paying, so it just didn’t seem fair. But most importantly, what was really trapping me was the lease that I’d signed.
Fortunately, I found out that my summer campus room was still being held for me by some sort of fortunate accident, and I would be able to move back if I wanted. But I was thinking I could be strong, stay uncomfortable in the house until summer ended. After all, several people have been through worse in life, haven’t they? But my resolve cracked in about a week, LMAO. It was making zero sense that I was putting my sanity through a destructive process when there was clearly a way out. The opportunity cost was the money. I found myself soon crying to my mother on the phone. My parents encouraged me to prioritize my mental health. And so, facing the loss of more money than I had ever lost in my life, and feeling like the most naïve, irresponsible fool for it, I moved back to campus, trying not to give two pesewas about anyone’s hurt feelings.
There were numerous, stressful failed attempts to get someone to take over my room or raise enough money to pay my debt. In the end, God came through and delivered me from financial hardship in semi-random, stunning ways (I swear, prayer works, y’all) and my quality of life generally improved at least threefold when I was living on campus again. But it doesn’t change the fact that this was one of the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn in my life about decisions, responsibility, prayer, boldness and tolerance.
Anyway, now that I’m done talking about that nightmare, a few other lessons:
- Dealing with hate. (Related: I Lost My Voice.)
I have learnt that I do not know how to do it. My best friends encourage me to ignore trolls and will go out of their way to list the ways the trolls are invalid. It’s still hard, though. I’m still bothered by things I can do nothing about. I can’t change the way people think. I can’t help that people will continuously read what they want to read and see what they want to see. And that’s depressing. And the best I can do is to keep reminding myself what my work is (definitely not fixing haters’ brains) and to keep doing my work no matter what, because that is what I am useful for, and that is how my purpose shall be fulfilled.
- I hate having to eat.
I think my least favorite part about classic adulting is just having to find food. Fam, food is expensive, cooking takes long, washing and cleaning takes longer, and even deciding what to eat at all is stress. (If you’ll remember, I intensely dislike making decisions.) Now I know why my mother has a weekly rotating schedule of what the family is having for dinner every night. It’s not now on The Day Of that you’re coming do decide. My mother is a smart woman. Anyway, why can’t I be a Twilight Vampire? I don’t freaking want eating to be a necessity. If food were a luxury that I could maybe get when I wanted or could afford, as opposed to being rendered irritable and dysfunctional without it, honestly, that would be the greatest.
- I seriously, seriously might die if life ever puts me in an 8-5/9-5 job.
This summer was the first time I’d ever experienced working full-time. And truly, I enjoyed the experience because the work was fun (or, more fun than a lot of work in a lot of places) and the people were good. Those didn’t stop me from getting bored, though. You would have thought working in a creativity/design center, surrounded by both artistic and STEM creatives would keep me entertained. But chale, the monotony of waking up every morning to go to the same building saf drained me so much. The work itself wasn’t strenuous, yet I found myself nearly non-functional during weekends, fully able to sleep for over ¾ of the day from some irrational type of exhaustion.
My God. I am such a restless spirit. If I must work for others to make a living, Lord Jesus, may I be a freelancer, or a traveler, or some sort of thing that neither requires me to be home all day or in some standard building all day. You made me this way, so You know that kind of life is not for me. So, sweet Jesus, do it for ya girl. Amen.
So yeah. Those are my lessons from the summer. =)