If you've read parts one, two, and two and a half, you'll know that I've had my fair share of strange and/or undesirable living situations. During my junior year of college, all of that bad apartment mojo was about to change...sort of.
Living Away From Home Year 3
My First Real Apartment
(A Tale of an Awesome Apartment, and a Bad Place)
Towards the end of summer, I miraculously found a great newish two-bedroom apartment that was only 2 blocks from campus, had central air, had a parking lot, had laundry in the basement, and was a comfortable size. I don't know quite how I managed to pull it off, but I did, even with Roommate Jessica 2 time zones away on her mission trip. The owner of the 6-unit apartment building was kind of a kooky old gentleman, but sweet enough and never gave us a hard time -in fact, when I asked if he was ok with my ferrets living there, his exact words were "as long as it's not a mountain lion, I don't really care." The superintendent was what one might describe as "blue collar" or as others might describe as "white trash." But, I was not about to judge, since he was a competent handy-man. I put down our deposit, and through the miracle of fax machines got the lease signed by both myself and Roommate Jessica, and it was a done deal -we had an apartment.
On the celebrated day of the move, after I had left Creepy Roommate Mary's place far behind and my mom left town to let me settle in, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I had a two-bedroom apartment all to myself for almost 3 weeks, (until Roommate Jessica returned from her mission trip) I had my ferrets living with me again, and I still had almost a month until fall classes started! Unfortunately, for someone who has not-properly-treated clinical depression and an undiagnosed social anxiety disorder, alone-time is probably not the best medicine. Roommate Jessica had told me once that she saw how healing my ferrets were for me after The Imp ended his emotionally abusive hold on me, so I thought as long as I took my medication and spent time with my ferrets I would shake off whatever this strange cloud of doom was that plagued me. It was a stressful time in my life. It was that time in your life when you aren't really a kid anymore, but the world doesn't yet see you as an adult, and you're not quite sure where you fit in.
I continued to make poor dietary choices, and drink a lot more liquor, thus, I was gaining some weight and not feeling healthy. I had poor self-image and I withdrew so much, that my professors/directors jokingly nicknamed me "the phantom auditioner." I would sign my name on the audition sheets, but then I would fail to show up for my audition times because I was too depressed to leave my room, or because I would have a huge attack of poor self-esteem and tell myself that it wasn't worth auditioning because they wouldn't cast me anyway. Then, afterwards, I would feel guilty for not trying harder, and then that guilt would start a downward spiral of more guilt and self-esteem issues, topped with depression and anxiety. This would pressure me to give in to the temptation to eat poorly and drink more. I tried to tell myself I was fine.
I tried dating a lot of different guys. Most of them were nice, but were all wrong for me. I can't even remember most of their names. I missed a lot of classes, and my grades started to suffer, which just perpetuated the guilt/depression cycle. Roommate Jessica passive-aggressively tried to "help" by posting bible verses all over the apartment, which, even for someone who grew up in a Christian home, was not helpful. My skewed depression goggles viewed Roommate Jessica as judgmental and condescending -something I definitely didn't need. That too helped perpetuate the vicious guilt/depression cycle. I don't like to have regrets, but I do regret a lot of my junior year of college because I didn't seek out the help I needed when I needed it. I almost let the depression beat me that year.
I'm sure due in part to my behavior, but also due to Roommate Jessica's renewed spirituality/high-and-mightiness, we started drifting apart as roommates and friends. Living in the apartment with her started to feel cold and uncomfortable, much like living with Creepy Roommate Mary. But, it was an issue I didn't know how to fix seeing as how I could barely take care of myself and my inner demons. What friends I still managed to hang onto in that time jokingly called me "Beastmaster" or "Crazy Ferret Lady" because of how much time I invested in my furbabies. What most people don't know, though, is that my ferrets truly are the ones who saved me from myself at that time in my life. They gave me a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to try harder, a reason to be. So, for that, I will be ever grateful to them.
Gigit & Boomer
Dustifer "Dusty" Boots
(Afterthought: When Roommate Jessica and I moved into the Awesome Apartment, the first floor of the building contained a print shop. A year prior, the print shop had been a music store. Before Roommate Jessica and I decided on the House From Hell, we had talked about actually moving to the Awesome Apartment building instead, but The Imp talked me out of it saying we shouldn't live above a music shop. I sometimes wonder how my life may have been different if we had moved to the Awesome Apartment that year instead of the House From Hell.)