On Liberty

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The only freedom deserving the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.

John Stuart Mill, 1806-1873, On Liberty


The life and times


It’s really strange for me to think of how far I’ve come.  It was six weeks ago that I told my roommate I wanted her to move out.  I can’t believe six weeks have gone by so fast.  The other strange thing is that I don’t miss her.  At all.  I had some sadness at the beginning; I was mourning the loss of a friendship that never really existed.  She was mean to me.  She threw adult tantrums and swore at me until I backed down.  Having someone to do laundry with does not make a friendship.

This whole experience has really showed me how important it is to rely upon one’s gut.  Back in the winter I knew I didn’t want to sign another lease with her, but she assured me things would be different, she assured me things would change.  Change, they did not. 

It was such a huge step for me to even ask her to leave.  I know it’s cliche, but I finally stood up for myself.  It wasn’t okay for someone to treat me the way I was being treated, and it was sticky because we were friends.  But that’s the thing; we weren’t.  I don’t/didn’t need to have a ‘friend’ who thought it was okay to talk/treat me that way. I have enough people in my life that actually care about me and of who I would consider true friends to not need to take any more of her brand of friendship. 

It all boils down to this.  I had to change my text message tone on my cell phone because every time it beeped my stomach would drop and my heart would pound.  I had been conditioned to expect a fight via text message every time I heard that noise.  Her messages were so vitrolic, all of the time, that I had become accustomed to something that caused my body to react in a negative way. This small example is such a summary of my relationship with her; her toxicity was eventually too much to bear.  So out she went.

Six weeks later I am so much happier.  The constant complaining is gone.  The pile of dishes is gone.  The pile of personal items in our common space; gone.  And it it’s place is a sweet, caring, considerate person whom I actually like and have respect for.

I never thought I’d have to write about my feelings on ‘standing up for myself’ – but here I am.  The bully in the playground is gone and I’m the one who banished her forever.