It’s not fun to admit, by any means.
Hopefully, I haven’t been a toxic person recently, but there is one long, drawn-out story that still physically hurts me to think about. The entire situation hurt. Coming to terms with it made me feel better. Then realizing that I was definitely part of the problem, was like heart burn for the last 5 years.
So, grab some tea and/or popcorn, and relive with me the worst experience of my adult life.
Once upon a time, there were 3 college students: myself, C, and T. I met C through an online “find a roommate” thing our campus set up. So I hung out with her over the summer, and, in the end, we decided to room with different people. I roomed with E, and C roomed with T (which is how I met her.) So, first year of college was a breeze, minus the occasional spurt of rudeness from C. She once made a joke in front of E, a “yo mama” joke, which would have been funny had E not 1) been autistic and she just politely laughed but didn’t really get it 2) she was also an orphan, so when we got back to our room she asked if C was making fun of her for not having parents (who, sadly, were both sick, but they seemed like really awesome people. I can’t imagine losing your parents before you start college.) Other rude instances dealt with anytime I was around C’s boyfriend. He was an awesome person and we were friends. We played video games, that’s all we did. He came out to hang with me, then went to see C, and that was that. I feel she may have been super paranoid because we were hanging out, she thought she heard him calling me pet names (like honey. But we were at Chipotle? Something was misheard), which was tragic because I had no romantic interest or intent in him.
Truthfully, I develop crushes on everybody I meet. It just has happened with me. Whether or not I act out on those crushes? It’s all contextual. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, he and she had been dating and were grossly in love, and I was in a relationship (struggling with depression that had not yet been diagnosed, but was exacerbated by C during my second year, which you will read….)
First year, otherwise, was a breeze. (for some reason I wanted to spell breeze, brease.) I became super close friends with T, who was half white and half Japanese, similar to me, which lead to a lot to relate to, on the home front, I rarely found in friends before.
Second year. The summer of (second year), C, T, and I (as in me, not a new character) were talking about being roommates. E (my first year roommate) had found a group of friends to get a 4-plex with. We talked about whether or not we wanted to do a triple room (for 3) or anything else. What it came down to was C wouldn’t mind being in a single or double, but did not want at triple, T did not want to be in a single, but wouldn’t mind being in a double or triple, and essentially, I shared the same view as C. So, what happened was, we roomed in the same dorm, on the same floor, C got a single, and we shared a double.
This is super important to the rest of the story.
So, I suppose I slightly lied when I said First Year was a breeze. I gained 80 pounds, and then found out I had an diagnosed and untreated thyroid (hypothyroidism). I have not since lost the weight. So, my self-esteem tanked. But, T never said anything shitty to me, nobody did, and that was something I hadn’t experienced in a long time. Being away from home was really a blessing in disguise. So, while I was coming to terms with my 2nd year, a new series of medication, and all that, T and I became close friends. BFFs. Shared everything (except close, because she was a 4 and I was a 20? And that would be weird.)
However, it may have seemed imposing on C, who lived down the hall. So, while T and I are getting to become best friends, C would come by and knock on the door. Every. Hour. For. Days. Like, anytime she had free time, she would come and knock on our room’s door and usually T wasn’t there. After about 2 months of this, I had developed a very triggering response to doors knocking. It might seem stupid, and I felt it was stupid, but any time the door knocked, shook, was in my line of sight, I panicked. I knew it was her. It was a Pavlov’s Dog response: whenever the door knocked, C would be on the other side, asking for T who was definitely NEVER there. You’d think that after 2 months you’d have your friends schedule down or something?
I talked to T about it. It was giving me crushing anxiety. And me, an introvert, who wanted to be holed up in my room, now had nowhere to go. So she told me she would tell C to call before coming over, since she was looking for T and never for me. That makes sense, right? If T was in the quad or in the cafeteria, and she got a call from C, C would just go there.
But, no. That didn’t work.
What happened was, and it seems manipulative to me still, C would call T. And whether T picked up or not, C would knock on my door. Which, you would think, “Oh, if she doesn’t answer, she might be in class I should call back?” Wrong. That wasn’t how it worked. I had a feeling she knew she was getting to me. She wanted to see me snap. There had to have been some reason. Because, even though I didn’t want to tell her, I repeated what T said, and I got this snide, “Oh, she already told me that. I do call.” (but if you do call… why isn’t she here after you call?)
This entire time, I had been seeing the school therapist. She sent me to the psychiatrist who gave me my first dose of anti-depressants and she LITERALLY said, “I am so surprised you hadn’t been on some form of anti-depressants before, since you were 12. I am so sorry it took this long.” My 2nd year of college, I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I felt I had had depression and anxiety, but PTSD was what soldiers get. Boy, did I learn a lot that year. [Save that for another post].
So, after finally starting the anti-depressants, I was high as a kite. Whatever my first one was, didn’t work and I felt no change after 2 more months, the 2nd one was on the Zoloft side of anti-depressants, so I was just happy as a fat clam. I was so chill. But I had to call it off after 2 weeks because I did not do any homework at all. It didn’t stress me out that I wasn’t doing any homework either, which was going to prove a problem if I did not decide to switch. By the end of December, I was good.
Our college has J-Term (January Term), so the entire month was free. When I got back, the beginning of February, I’d thought the whole door knocking thing was over.
THANKFULLY, it was. On very rare occurrences, and only when C had something to rub in my face, did she ever stop by. It didn’t phase me.
So, while everything is going smoothly, I get a tumblr for the first time. It was primarily used to read horror manga, which I am a die-hard fan of. T introduced me to it, and I became obsessed. I don’t know how, but one day the RA shows up and I am being accused of bullying and harassment to C. I’m like, “What?” and the RA brings C along who tells me that, basically, I insulted her on a “fitblr” and said some shit to her through the site anonymously. I admitted to having a tumblr but I had no idea what the hell a “fitblr” was or what posting anonymous was. If it had nothing to do with Horror Manga, I had no idea how to do it. (I learned that months later when I finally expanded after exhausting my horror manga resources).
So, this next part is hard to explain. I have this tendency to repress memories of things that happen to me, in the negative. I can see flashes of me, the RA, and C in MY DORM room, and C is playing victim to herself. It was about the knocking. And at one point, C said to my face, “T didn’t even want to room with you. I told her to.” Which hurt me to my very core. However, after much analyzing, I realized that T made her own choice, and she could’ve chosen to room with different people completely, since I stated earlier, the single/double/triple scenario played out in a way that worked best for all of us. But I told the RA, probably again, about the door and phone situation. It cleared up, finally.
So, at some point in March, T and C has some falling out. I was pleased, after having spent the remainder of my energy worrying about whether or not I’d be expelled for bullying somebody I didn’t actually bully. C thought that I had made T choose. T chose. C was getting too much to handle. I can’t remember details. But I remember C came by to make up with me. There was something I had to tell T. It was important. Well, C told T this important thing. I remember sitting in my room crying because this was not how it was supposed to happen. T walked into my room after class, she told me C had confronted her on her way back from getting mozzarella sticks…
That’s when I turned to a toxic strategy.
I told her to choose. I told her it was C or me. After all of this, C refused to maintain this non-knocking without phoning, anxiety inducing truce. I told her, that after everything involving this stupid dorm room, if she chose C, I would leave. I told her C told me she made T choose to room with me and it wasn’t on her own terms. T denied it, and I believed her, but I was so livid.
In the end, she couldn’t choose. So I made that decision for her, and I left.
I moved out of my dorm over the course of the week. Dealt with the bullshit the Housing Administration tried to give me, they eventually had to refund me a shit ton of money because they kept fucking up my case, which I blew on the rest of my school year.
I never spoke to T again… until our final year of school.
The difficult thing was, we were both English Majors. So, we had the same exact classes, basically. I saw her, like a ghost. I missed her so bad, I physically hurt. I cried for months. I would have dreams where we were friends (and even now, I do during times of extreme stress) and wake up feeling unfulfilled, an intense longing, agonizing, sharp pains.
I grew terribly sick due to weight related reasons. I went to India in January 2013. I lost weight due to being incredibly sick (which all came back) and during our English Senior Seminar in September 2013, at some point, after much thought, I wanted to talk to her and apologize.
She had blocked all communication from me. Did not respond. I stared at her in the face during our Senior Seminar for a while and just cried inside. Until:
A glimpse of hope? I did think a lot about what happened. I did take note in my own behavior. I came to realize how pathetic C was, but I had possibly been just as equally pathetic.
So we spoke. Mostly about her study abroad semester in the Netherlands where she stayed with some of the rudest people I’ve ever heard of (for home stay) and only briefly mentioned what happened. And I thought we could be friends again. But, aside from group projects, we never spoke again. It was our last class together. It was the last time I heard her voice.
And, even now, 2 years later, I still live under the false impression that someday we will speak together again. Anytime I think about her, I try to contact her somehow, by E-mail, FB, again. I’m so pathetic, I even have her number still saved onto my phone, under her name. And it kills me every time I look through my contacts.
And by that simple act, I’m pretty sure I am reinforcing that toxic person. Me, needing her to actually tell me to never contact her again. She could be triggered every time I send something. I haven’t in months.
But whenever I wake up from a dream, we are just talking for hours and hours, like we used to do. I don’t have many friends, I can just talk to like that. Over nothing, everything. Online, sure, but I haven’t grabbed a coffee (or tea, since coffee gives me shits) and spoke with somebody since college ended. I did have friends I did that with who I am still friends with now, but we’re all so busy. We’re all losers with midnight bedtimes, and jobs to go to.
Anytime something happens, I wish I could just tell her.
Like I said before, I had never had a friend like her before. And I never will again. Supposedly, I’m supposed to cherish the memories. They were so intertwined with that negativity. Could I have handled the situation better? I know that I handled it as best I could under the situation and circumstances I was in and given, up until the point I just left. It doesn’t hurt any less. I acknowledge my role as the toxic person.
To feel like such a hypocrite and be in such pain, knowing there’s nothing I can do now that will improve the situation, puts me in a powerless position. And that’s why this all started: a power struggle. Power is still something I struggle with. I do not have money, but I can have influence and power.
Not being heard has been a struggle my entire life. It is also the problem of my people, the minority communities, POC/WOC, the like. The screaming and being ignored. But I find comfort in these groups where I cannot alone, in spite of the fact the same thing is being triggered. This is just one instance of me being able to acknowledge my own crappy self.
That is a post, however, for another day.