My Permanent Roommates
Originally Posted: 2019
Please note that the header image for this piece is a combination of a meme I saw and the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which you should all go watch immediately.
*Insert the theme song to Three’s Company here, but in a minor key*
Allow me to introduce you to my oldest friend, Anxiety. She lives in my gut. She dresses in very bright colors that don’t match. She’s a party animal, likes to dance- and will take any of the tiniest triggers as an invitation to do so.
Had to ask for a favor? Send a risky text? Disco time.
Forgot to fill out that paperwork? Got another bill? Drop it like it’s hot.
Worried about the dancing itself? Allow me to justify your worry with a sweet ballet.
The dancing bruises and unsettles my stomach, throws off my balance, disrupts the natural flow of my breathing. And it’s never my favorite songs that she dances to. No, no. They’re the songs that get stuck in my brain and grate at my patience.
Depression is the friend that lives next door. I’m always aware that she’s home, because her lights are always on, and she’ll drop in unexpectedly whenever it suits her. She’s taller than me by at least six feet, and puts her arm around my shoulder when she walks in without knocking. Her arm is heavy and bends me in half, but she’s too comfortable there to notice. Her sweatshirt has never been washed, and there are holes in her leggings that get bigger every time she comes over.
She likes to bring me to the couch and plop sticky boots on my table. I want to tell her to leave, but she holds me and that feels good for a while. But she squeezes too hard, and I sink further and further into the couch, my clothes melting into the leather. Naked and heavy, the hours turn to days, that turn to weeks, that turn to months…
Depression doesn’t have a job, so she always stays too long. She wipes greasy hands on my arms and absently twirls my hair into knots.
Also, she never cuts her nails.
OCD is a sneaky little bitch. She hangs out in my brain, in a corner, tugging at the ropes she’s rigged to my attention.
She loves my attention. Good, bad, it doesn’t matter; she’ll take it. And all of it, too.
OCD follows me around and never shuts up. She tells me the same story over and over again. She has a spare key to every room I try to hide in, and she always checks the locks three times before she leaves.
OCD is super selfish. She wants me to love her, and only her- and she attacks anything else I dare to love. She lashes out at it with claws kept hidden inside her pockets. OCD redecorates my brain until it’s a maze that I don’t recognize and can’t find my way out of. She thinks this is funny; uses a toolbox filled with traumas, fears and screwdrivers to add more twists and turns as she stands laughing.
She is always in some extravagant costume, or otherwise nothing at all; whatever will tempt me to look. Whatever will seduce me away.
OCD whispers how she’s always been there; puts her mouth and hands on me, inside of me. She makes me feel dirty and wrong. But even when I tell her that, she doesn’t listen. She just finds new ways to taunt me.
I’m a creative person. An empathetic person. An energetic person.
I love to make people laugh, and also pizza. Rosé champagne makes me giggle. Seeing scary movies in a crowded theatre brings me a weird sense of community and joy. The color green calms me down, and pink makes me happy. I like to put my body to work and feel good when I make time to do so.
I love playing dress up, but am really most comfortable naked. Napping is amazing.
I could lie on the beach for hours in the sun, or sit in a library all day and listen to people turn the pages in their books. I enjoy cuddling on the couch and watching good TV. Whenever I don’t feel grounded, I look up at the stars. I love tiger lilies.
I am highly competitive, and being on stage feels more like home to me than any home has ever felt. I learned to keep the peace, but desire deeply to disrupt it. Music makes me feel like I can do anything. I love dogs and kids and having long conversations with interesting people.
I surround myself with photographs of these people to remind myself that love exists outside my own dysfunction.
My brain, without the extras, is a chaotic and colorful mass of twinkle lights. I have a hundred ideas and stories to tell. I want to stick around to tell my stories.
So, I’m learning to live with my roommates. I’m putting in the work to figure out how.
I’m simplifying. I’m trying to replace judgement with a sense of humor, and punishment with kindness.
Maybe one day my roommates will move out. It certainly is a lovely dream. But even if they don’t, it’s okay. This person was my home before she was theirs, and I won’t be scared away.
I know her better and love her more than they ever could.