Both of us are human. Both of us have flaws, insecurities, and room for self-improvement. Let's not forget that both of us have worth and living with you often made me question if I was worth anything at all.
When I moved into college, I was excited to meet you. I often heard of how roommates become lifelong friends, of how random roommate assignments are often successful, of how a roommate can enhance your acceptance and understanding of different lifestyles.
Yet, I was aware the situation may not be ideal. I did not grow up sharing a room with somebody, especially a stranger, so I knew I had to cultivate skills to help me cope with habits that seemed strange to me. I believed I was open and tolerant, willing to accommodate whoever would occupy the room with me.
I first met you and believed that I had met a perfect match. You seemed sweet, academically focused, and willing to share and make the living arrangement as pleasant as possible. I was thrilled that I now had a friend at a large university and I was thanking my lucky stars that I was paired up with you.
Until I realized that my lucky stars were never actually shining.
Only a few weeks in, I sensed that you blatantly disregarded that I, too, lived in the room. You would mock me with friends over FaceTime, while I was right there, about my trivial habits. You would lie that "guy friends" were coming into the room to study when they would actually commandeer the space in the room and have sex with you in the bed. Growing up, I was always submissive and struggled to speak up for myself but I had confronted you. You promised me that these incidents would never occur again. Since you seemed so sweet and remorseful, I believed you.
I should never have believed you.
This situation quickly descended into a living nightmare. You stopped speaking to me. You were so taciturn that I was terrified to speak up, afraid that you were volatile and would harm me if I said anything.
Yet, you continued with your antics.
I was embarrassed to hear you laugh with random boys that I was weird and my sleeping body looked like a dead corpse. I was disgusted that you left condoms on the floor, spoiling food all over the furniture, and garbage dispersed everywhere. I was terrified to hear deep voices and sexual noises at ungodly hours of the night only to discover that there were actually older boys staying in the room.
Sometimes, I thought that these sounds were part of a realistic nightmare only to discover that it was 4 A.M., I was fully conscious, and I was treated as if I did not exist.
It was then that I felt as though my feelings were not important and my presence was not validated.
I turned to higher authorities to mitigate the situation but I felt double-teamed. As if they were your allies and my complaints stemmed from my "ignorance" and "misunderstanding." I was treated as a villain, an inconvenience, an inventor of nonexistent problems. Even in the mediation, I was treated as though I was just a fussy roommate who had strict rules for the room.
I apologize for any way I may have hurt you. Perhaps I may have damaged your sense of self-worth the same way you demolished mine and I didn't even know. Maybe I was ignorant and maybe I should have spoken up more.
But I want you to know that I never wanted to force a friendship. I just wanted the respect to be reciprocated so I would feel as though I was human. I never banned you from bringing guests into the room. I just wanted to know if they were going to sleep over and I expected them to respect me as any decent person would. I never tried to be intolerant of your lifestyle.
I just wanted you to know that some of your habits did infringe on my ability to feel safe and content in the room.
Despite my unhappiness with the situation, I learned.
I learned that I may have to venture outside the confines of the room to foster new friendships at school. When I did not rely on you to be my "college friend," I went out to meet some pretty awesome people who have helped me grow as a person.
When I was faced with this situation, I learned to collect the strength to advocate for myself. When I recognized that not everybody will come to my rescue in these situations, I learned to rescue myself and escape the toxicity of the situation.
Even though you failed to acknowledge that I was moving out of the room as bins were full of all of my things, I hope you remember that I was willing to pack all of my worldly possessions to escape. I hope you end up living with somebody who understands you and your lifestyle better than I ever could.
Your first college roommate