When I posted a while back that I am close to ending this blog (or moving it, but most likely ending it), this was one of the last posts I wanted to do. I am just now getting to it.
When I went to Chicago almost 2 months ago to visit my sister, we talked about some of the problems her youngest child is having with his siblings. I am also the youngest child in my family, and her youngest child and I are remarkably similar. I don’t think it’s necessarily a birth-order thing since, although I am the youngest child, I have more characteristics of someone who is an only child and I do usually feel as if I’m (and wish I were) an only child (except, for as everyone points out, I’m “spoiled”…and, to me, an only child ought to be spoiled, too).
Anyways, my sister’s youngest child shares a room with his sister, which I think is stupid because they are both a little too old to be sharing a room and not be the same sex. However, my family’s weird logic was to give the oldest child, a boy, his own room because he’s the oldest. The girl is a pre-teen and is developing her own life, so she kicks her little brother out of the room all the time and neither of his siblings want to spend time with him. He has made the basement kind of his own room because he doesn’t really have anywhere to go.
My sister also described how he gets bossed around and how his siblings get mad at him when he won’t do what they want. I tried to remind my sister that she did the same thing to me, but she was completely shocked and has no recollection of this. My sister and I also shared a room for quite a bit of my life growing up. I don’t particularly remember getting kicked out of the room, although I’m sure I did on some occasions. But I do remember making the living room my own room.
I’m starting to really realize that not liking people and not wanting to be around other people much is weird to most people for whatever reason and that most people feel a need to socialize. And I can point to several different reasons why I don’t like most people and prefer being left alone. But I realized after that Chicago trip that one of the reasons I don’t like being around people is because my parents made me share a room with my sister for years, making being alone pretty challenging. For years, I was robbed of my own space to enjoy as I wanted to without dealing with anyone else and robbed of my own privacy. When I finally got my own room, I loved it. I always knew I was going to college–and going away to college–and the one thing I dreaded about going away to college way in advance was having to share a room. And today, I would say that was hands-down the worst thing about college–having a roommate every year (except senior year when I finally got a room in a single-room dorm). Way worse than exams, even Chemistry exams. I vowed to never share a room again, and when I went to Michigan for law school I had my own room all three years.
And those experiences with roommates and my sister are part of the reason I live with my parents. When you’re single, it’s hard to afford to live by yourself. Most people you see either have roommates or are married or live with a boyfriend/girlfriend–they don’t live alone unless they have a pretty good job (which I don’t). Being that I am nowhere near marriage or dating, the options really do come down to living with family or living with roommates. Plfff. Parents all day, and I don’t care how old I am or what other people think about it. I get my own room and don’t have to deal with some idiot to whom I’m not even related and all their selfish nonsense.
See, I know from experience that when you share space with someone there is sacrificing to be done–and usually one person sacrifices more than the other. And that person is usually me. When you share a room with an older sibling, you have no power and no rights when it comes to the room or what happens in it. If you’re sharing with an older girl, you’re going to sleep when they get ready to. You’re sitting there listening to every dumb phone conversation. You’re listening to whatever music she wants to listen to, and you’re watching whatever dumb TV show she wants to watch. And this is not even mentioning how you’re treated, which is never good, as my nephew is learning. That’s why the living room became my room, and I would have slept there if I had been allowed to.
College is not altogether different. Most people–though not I–seem to believe in fully making themselves at home wherever they go, regardless of who is around. So, I had roommates who played music whenever they got ready to, gave our dorm room phone number to every Tom, Dick and Harriett until I just wanted to throw the phone out the window and who wanted to watch ABC soap operas when I wanted to watch CBS soap operas. The worst part? These chicks would have friends over whenever they felt like it, including friends sleeping over from their home state. Bitch, I don’t even want you here; what makes you think your friends can come over whenever you please?
I’ve kind of wondered since college if it would ever really be possible for me to live with a romantic partner and be happy. I’m really not sure if I could. It’s hard to believe, but it has been over 10 years since I last shared space with someone who is not actually a blood relation to me, and I am not any closer to wanting to share space or having to consider anyone else in what I do when or having to deal with someone else who needs to make our space uniquely theirs in their own way. Plus, my romantic relationships are always, again, skewed towards what the other person wants or needs (gee, I wonder why), which ultimately makes me unhappy, pissed and resentful. I think living with someone would turn out much like it always has, then.
So, I have advice for parents who have several kids or people who plan to have kids: make sure you have enough money for a house with enough rooms for each kid to have his/her own room, and if you don’t just keep your damn legs closed. Sharing a room is torture for at least one of the kids. It was so bad that I try to forget I even have siblings now and would have to get a place big enough for my wife to have her own room if I ever got married. 😉