I sat back and looked at my computer screen in disbelief. What the fuck is going on. 32 applicants. No, not for some scholarship or job opening. 32 applicants to take over my lease. That's a great number, right? Except, all of them have ghosted or have been rejected.
I've been hunched over my computer all day, sitting in my childhood room, back in my parent's apartment. What the hell is going on. I felt cursed. The apartment office told me someone was approved to take over my apartment. Turned in my keys, emptied and cleaned my apartment, and said good-bye to North Carolina, driving two days feeling dejected as I made my way back home to Dallas with no job and no money.
Nope, as soon as I got back to Texas I called the office and asked when I could expect my security deposit. "Oh, we didn't tell you?" said the girl on the other line, "She backed out". I could have screamed. The same girl that said I was good to go now tells me I'm responsible for this month's rent and still have to find someone to take over the space, a million miles away. It was a kick in the face as I was already down.
I had been a news reporter for the past year. I got paid $14 an hour to "work" 40 hours a week but it ended up really being 80 hours. No overtime, or pressure not to clock in for overtime pay. And I wasn't doing journalistic work, just busy work. Get up at 7AM, find a story, get ready for work - putting on makeup and clothes that were too expensive - and then rush to the morning meeting. Pitch a story and then get right to work. Make sure to hit the 5PM deadline and if you don't have a story well then you practically failed for the day. Find anything, just make sure it's a minute and thirty seconds. Fire station got a therapy dog? Great, that goes in the 5 o'clock newscast. Soup kitchen having a fundraiser? Great, make sure to book that interview. I didn't feel like a journalist, in fact I felt like a failure. And then at the end of the day, find another story for the next day. Text people, call people, message people on social media. Colleagues complain about their day but social media tells a different story. I started running red lights and forgetting to lock my doors, not on purpose. My brain was so fried and felt foggy partly because all I ate was cheap junk food. I used to run half marathons easily, but then gained twenty pounds over the course of the year.
I couldn’t take it anymore. So I broke my contract, potentially risking black listing myself in the industry. I got pretty lucky, or so I thought. I was able to find someone to take over my lease. And that’s where we’re at right now.
The front office now says I’m responsible for rent until I can find someone to actually take over the lease, which is about $1,220 a month. This is without an income or savings. And that’s partly why left, the job I had was driving me into debt. But I took it because I was desperate, desperate to start my career as my life practically begin during the pandemic, graduating in May of 2020.
Well, here we are, back at square one except this time I’m looking at the barrel of a loaded gun. I sat down on the verge of tears, practically cursing my life. I'm a good person, right? I've worked so hard, right?
But then, it hit me. For the past several weeks I constantly complained, moaned, griped, and felt like my world was ending. "Why me?" I would moan to myself and to my parents. I spent practically the entire month of November complaining about "these people", asking my parents, "Are they okay with just ruining someone's life like this?" and "Do they truly not care that someone's entire life can be affected, how can they get away with this, they told me I was good to go!" I would call multiple times a day, trying to get the apartment people in contact with someone I met on Facebook, on Zillow, trying to sublease my place, again. But each time there was something...either no response, or someone got rejected, or someone ghosted. I couldn't believe it, thinking these people just weren't doing their job.
And here's where we get real. As much as I complain and condemn the people I've charged with ruining my life, I had to think back on the past year. I had to leave my job because I didn't like the person I was becoming. I was rude and resentful. I saw most relationships like transactions. How can I practically use this person and their role in the future? If I didn't see any benefit in speaking with a person, I wouldn't invest my time in the relationship. I mean sure every now and then I would do one or two things simply from the goodness of my heart, but that's after selfish incident after selfish incident would rack up and poke my conscience, but truly it made no amends. If this is my penance, me having to deal with this apartment issue, if it's just a monetary penance, then f. If I'm going to be real I have to admit I've been kind of a selfish bitch this past year with my short temper and my talking shit about other people. I don't know maybe I needed this, a slap in the face to say, "Yeah, this is a shit situation but how many shit situations have you created? Not so great, huh. Don't be part of the problem."
Some people do well with "gratitude practices", I'm sure many people in my situation would tell me to count my blessings. And it's true, I have a lot. I have a family to fall back on, I have a dog. My health (that one I am working on). But for some reason, if I'm going to be "real" (which is one of the things I've always been proud of, my tell it like it is attitude), then I have to be real with myself, and the truth is sometimes we have to experience shitty situations to double check our own ego and our place in the world.
It took me a month to get to that realization, after this issue continued to swirl in my head, round and round until it made me sick. Now, here we are. Looking at my computer screen in my childhood home, jobless with an apartment five states away. Although I don't know what's next in my life, I do know I'm not going to be that shitty person in an effed up situation.