going back

I have made a little project of reading my older journals and making notes about all of the roommates I've had over the years. I have a sort of dim view of writing some kind of humorous rant book, even if only for myself and my friends. And then, perhaps, world domination.

Right now I'm deep in the journals from my grad school days, my first time living alone, my first time living in a city. When I found that I couldn't really afford my own apartment on my teaching assistant stipend, I moved in with a friend from college. It was such a weird, heady time of my life, back when I was just discovering dive bars, when General Foods international coffees were (to me) the height of coffee sophistication, and Killian's Irish Red was my idea of "fancy" beer.

My world expanded so much in such a short amount of time - coffee shops! craft beer! art museums! like-minded intellectuals! feminist magazines! - that it took my mind and my emotions a bit of time to catch up.

In the midst of this, I was dealing with a lot of bullshit from my roommate. Because she had been a friend, she knew just how to push my buttons when our relationship started to deteriorate, so I can honestly say that I have never been as consistently angry as I was then. I was so excited about the world as I was experiencing it, but underneath was a layer of boiling rage, like lava, waiting for an opening. God, it was just constant.

It's interesting, reading all of this angst from a distance, as a calmer and slightly more mature person. There are ghost emotions popping up from every page of my journals. The ghost of outraged indignation when my roommate decided to start a fight with me about the phone bill, the day after my grandmother's funeral. The ghost of the disgust I felt when, instead of apologizing for using up all of my shower supplies, she said that I was just jealous of her because she had a man and I didn't. The ghost of the twisted glee I felt while writing a ranting, insulting journal entry that I knew she would read as soon as I left the apartment.

Yes, I am shaking my head at the immaturity I often come across in my old journals. All these years later, I can admit that I certainly made mistakes in my handling of the situation. I went from bottling up my emotions to exploding at Every. Tiny. Thing. There was no middle ground, because it was WAR... even if all she'd done was use my dish scrubby to clean the bathtub (yeah, several journal entries about this).

Now I wish that I'd spent more time examining how I felt about my grad school classes, or my perceptions of all of the art shows I saw. As fun as roommate rants are - and they still are kind of fun - I have learned not to fill my journals with just the bad. I want a much more complete view of my world.


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