I was still upset about my roommate situation this morning when I came into clinical, and so I told my friend J. all about it, hoping for sympathy and wisdom. J. is one of my very favorite people in Baltimore, and I really trust her opinion on things, so I was a little surprised when she listened to my story and plans for handling the situation (get a kitten despite my roommates having said no, learning to play concertina (a process I imagine is akin to learning to play bagpipes as far as annoying people in the general vicinity) and told me that she was sorry things hadn’t gone well, but not to let my uncomfortable living situation change me. Don’t let it change me? I immediately felt ashamed, like I had revealed some dark part of myself, my small, petty, passive-aggressive self, and she hadn’t realized and didn’t want me to become something that I already am, which is awful. I’ve already been worrying that this is just another example of Bad Caroline rearing her head (because nice people don’t get into these situations. Coincidentally, the last time I found myself living with people who disliked me my room was also at the top of the stairs, and disappointingly small (I was Residence Life in college, a position that did very little for my popularity in the house. The small room wasn’t a big deal, but I was a senior, and it was the smallest room of my Smith experience)) and causing Drama. I was instantly contrite, and vowed to reconsider my plans (upon review I decided that I want to learn to play concertina because it’s pirate-y and awesome and probably easier than the accordion. The kitten thing was tricky. I genuinely want a kitten because they are rad, but I have some mixed feelings about bringing a cat into this contentious situation where it will be a permanent source of strife. Can I in good conscience bring an innocent animal into that position? Stay tuned to find out!). The not letting things change me stuck in my mind though, so I approached J. later in the day and clarified that while I was upset I wasn’t so angry that I was going to turn into a horrible vengeful person (I already have the capacity to be that person, but A) I’m not going to give into those urges, and B) she’s a new friend, she doesn’t need to know about my Dark Side just yet). Because she is a sweet, wonderful person, she reassured me that she didn’t mean I shouldn’t stand up for myself, she just meant that living with the kind of hostility that I’m dealing with can change people, and then she told me she sees auras, which is how she knows about the damaging effect of roommate drama. So living here is ruining my aura.

I wanted to ask her if she could see my aura right then, and if she could, what did it look like, but I didn’t because it seemed like a touchy subject. She told me about the aura thing with some embarrassment (hence the initial instead of her name. I have lots of J friends), and while I don’t really cotton to the idea of auras I adore her, and so would be willing to go with it if she told me it was orange or something. The thing is, I half wish there was some real way of detecting that kind of thing. There’s a part in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close where Oskar wishes that people turned colors according to their feelings, so you’d know not to yell at someone if they’re green, or to pat a pink person on the back and tell them “congratulations!”, and while it would be impractical (I’d rather my roommates not know just how hurt and angry I am- I want to seem cool and collected, not rattled and upset), it would also make things easier. Of course, that’s assuming people would show empathy and not act like jerks, and I’ve recently been reminded that that isn’t how people operate. If J. could really see my aura she would be able to tell that I’m sometimes Bad Caroline, and that would mean she had decided to be my friend anyway because I’m also sometimes Good Caroline.

These kind of situations always shake me up and make me worry about every failed relationship I’ve ever had. I don’t want to be a bad person, and until last night I felt pretty kickass and like a good person, but it can’t always just be that other people are jerks. If J. can see my aura I hope it’s a good one- I could use a Character Barometer right about now.


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