tldr: you have to live With yourself
I’m not always the biggest fan of my roommate.
When the semester started, she wanted to make this room a home for the both of us.
Last year we had gotten lost in our schoolwork, but this year would be different.
We would have each other.
But now she lives like she’s the only one here.
She sets five alarms, only to turn them off and go back to sleep.
She showers at 4am, because she swore to shower last night and the night before.
Her laundry is scattered across the floor, which she swears she will wash soon.
After she’s done with this pset,
and when she orders more tide pods,
and once she has the energy.
I’ve offered to help;
when I have the energy she wanted.
But she responds to me like she does her alarm,
snidely remarking “Why bother?”
So I often let her live in peace.
Sometimes, I try to shake her out of it.
I grab a bag and start picking up, hoping she gets the hint.
I throw all her stuff in the laundry,
so she’s reminded what it’s like to wear matching socks.
And when everything’s said and done,
I sit with her on the bed,
and I tell her that I understand that life gets hard.
But this has to change.
She always solemnly agrees.
But things haven’t changed.
So sometimes, it feels like I’m the only one living here.
A few days ago, I heard someone say “You have to live with yourself”, but the emphasis was put on the word With. They were (at least how I interpreted what they were saying) referring to themselves, past, present, and future, as different entities that take up some amount of their life. Their space. Their way of living.
After hearing this, I wrote the poem at the beginning of this post about living with my Past Self. Then, I waited. I thought over what I had written, and I waited for something to click. But there was no big revelation; no movie montage of extreme character growth. I just felt sad.
I think that’s an okay way to feel, in moderation. It was solemn. Reflective. After a few days of reflection, I got up. I showered, did some laundry, and made multiple trips to the trash chute, and then I came back to the poem.
I need to make some changes in how I treat my room.
I have no one to blame for my room but myself [or at least, my past self].
That’s what I get for living in a single.
I’ve been through this process at least three times this semester, but I don’t know why it keeps happening. I don’t know how it gets into this state of disorder. Maybe it’s just the busy-ness of MIT, or maybe it’s some amount of seasonal depression. But I read over this poem, and all I feel is confused and sad. So something has to change.
Then, I added a post-script to the poem with the following few lines.
After her latest 4am shower, in the darkness of our room, she started to silently cry.
I went over, gently wiped away her tears, and tried to comfort her.
“You aren’t alone. You have me.”