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Excerpt From "The Roommates" by Stephanie Wu.

Excerpt From "The Roommates" by Stephanie Wu.

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Published by OnPointRadio
Excerpt From "The Roommates" by Stephanie Wu. Copyright 2014 Picador All Rights Reserved. Reprinted With Permission,
Excerpt From "The Roommates" by Stephanie Wu. Copyright 2014 Picador All Rights Reserved. Reprinted With Permission,

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Published by: OnPointRadio on Aug 18, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Excerpt from
 The Roommates
True Tales of Friendship, Rivalry, Romance, and Disturbingly Close Quarters
By Stephanie Wu
including three classically trained opera singers
 but none of them were as horrible as my high school experience. In my junior and senior years, I went to a residential arts school to study creative writing. My roommate was a girl
I’d met during a summer program, also for creative writing, at the same school. It was fine at first, but it didn’t take too long for things to go really, really bad.
 My school was a very isolated environment, with two hundred kids living under one roof. There were only about fifteen people in the creative writing department, and you saw everyone for
hours every day. I can’t remember when it all started falling apart, but suddenly, I was the target
of a group of eight girls
 —and my roommate was one of the ringleaders. Art school kids aren’t  just mean, they’re creatively mean. They’re almost better at assessing your character and the
things that will bother you than kids at a typical high school. I think they chose to bully me  because I was easy to pick on
all my clothes matched, like a big pink blazer with matching
 pearl earrings. It was clear that I was bothered by their bullying and didn’t stick up for myself.
That made it more fun for them to torture me. They were mean to others as well, but I think my suffering was unique because of the close proximity. The worst part was, I had to see these girls every day. It was especially hard during workshop time, because we writers were always sharing personal
stories, and I knew they’d be able to use
my stories against me. And my roommate was a compulsive liar 
we took a poetry class and she told me that she made up things that had never happened to her. She once wrote a poem about how, when she was cast as a p
rincess in elementary school, someone said, “How could there be a  black princess?” Everyone else thought it was such a moving poem, but it was all made up.
 The girls did things like taking an unflattering photo of me and setting it as the background on the school computers. When I went home for the weekend to see my parents, my roommate and her friends stole my food, slept in my bed, and went through my makeup. I found swipes of their fingers in my lip gloss and eyeshadow. They also started stealing things from me, like one shoe  but not the other. They wore my clothing when they went downtown, and then took photos and  put them on Myspace for me to see while I was home. When I was in the shower, they went on my computer and combed through my instant messages and sent them around to one another.
By the end of the semester, my mom was really upset. She spoke to the people in charge of residential life and told them my roommate was stealing and breaking my things. Their best suggestion was to take photos of my ro
om before I left for the weekend, and they said, “If anything has been disturbed, we’ll handle the situation when you get back.” As soon as I went home, my roommate wrote on her LiveJournal, “It’s too bad my horrible roommate’s Bose speakers went missing.”
 My mom read this and called the school, and of course the speakers
hadn’t been touched— 
they were messing around with me. I went to my writing teachers
in art
school, they’re almost like your parents because you see them so much— 
and they told me to tough i
t out. “Girls are mean sometimes,” they said. I remember they took my pads and taped them to the mirrors and wrote next to them, “What is this, a jumbo plane?” I had a sign of my name in my room, and they wrote swear words all over
it. They stole at least
a hundred dollars’ worth of my stuff. I even spoke to a therapist a few times. At this point, all the friends I’d come to school with had teamed up with my roommate, so finally I decided to sleep on the floor of a friend’s room until they moved me to a di
fferent room. My problems with that group of girls persisted throughout senior year, but at least I had a different roommate by then. The girl who moved in with me was the first opera singer I lived with, and she acted like a diva, even though she was only fifteen. She got up at seven every morning and played one of two CDs, either Renée Fleming or John Mayer. I always woke up to her singing along. She was also very high maintenance
every night she painted her fingernails to match what she was wearing the next day. She had a portable bowl hair dryer that she sat under, wearing a gold brocade blazer and opera diva clothing. She bought her prom dress at a
secondhand store for girls who can’t afford expensive dresses. She lied and told them she couldn’t afford
a dress, and then bragged about how cheap it was. Of course she became friends
with the group of mean girls, but she didn’t go out of her way to make my life worse.
I don’t know if there was one worst thing the girls did to me, but they had a huge effect o
n my overall confidence. Despite the fact that I knew what they were doing was mean and wrong, a  part of me always wondered if it was my fault or if I was asking for it in some way. I still have
moments where I’m very self 
conscious because I’m wondering w
hat people will think or say about me.
I’ve had a ton of crazy roommates since then— 
my college roommate listed her number one interest as Everclear, the drink, and named her fish Sushi. She liked to party a lot, and during the first week of classes started sleeping with a male cheerleader on our floor. One night they were having such rowdy sex that my friend in the next room over, who shared a wall with her, fell off his bed.
One summer in college, I did a homestay in France. That’s where I had my second op
era singer roommate
this huge, six-foot-three guy with bright blond hair. I assumed he was gay
he told me he was an opera major, he loved Kelly Clarkson, and he worked at Sephora
which partially explained the makeup I saw on his dresser and the fact that he wore mascara. When we climbed
stairs, he said, “These stairs are working my thighs like a Hungarian shot put.” Then one day he came into my room and said, “Hey, your friends are cute. Do they have boyfriends?” I was
completely speechless.

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