You Don’t Always Have to Be a Boss 

I’m a tiny Asian girl—five feet tall at 20 years old with the face of a baby. My friends say I have the Napoleon complex: I have to act larger than I am to make up for my size. I’m the loudest when we’re out in public. I’m more vulgar than any adult who knows me would probably suspect. I stomp when I walk to announce my arrival. And I hate being called cute. Cute is sugar and spice and everything nice. Cute is what you call little girls you can run over.

That ain’t me, yo.

I live with a group of six girls. Up until two weeks ago, four out of the six were in relationships. Then B broke up with C. I was in my room, wrapped in a towel after stepping out of the shower, when V started pounding on the locked door.

“What?” I yelled. “I’m naked!”

“No Lindsey, this is an emergency, the committee needs to fucking convene!”

We came to C’s room as a mass. Five girls, all bearing candy, like the Three Wise Men bestowing gifts upon baby Jesus. C cried. We bitched about what a bitch her ex was. C laughed.

“I love you guys so much,” she sniffled.

The camaraderie in the room that night was excruciatingly adorable.

V’s boyfriend dumped her the following week. I held her tight in my arms, desperate to save my beautiful roommate from heartbreak. The others trickled in slowly throughout the evening.

“I know I’m going to be okay,” V said. “I knew it last week when this happened to C. I knew then I’d always have you guys to rush to my side.”

Back in January I had a similar experience yet I didn’t convene the committee. Instead I walked around campus by myself. It was a little after 10 p.m. I sat down on a bench by a fountain and cried alone for awhile, my toes frozen to the point where it later took them a good hour to thaw.

Eventually I texted my best friend in Virginia what I was doing and where I was. My phone rang almost immediately.

“Why didn’t you call me?” she demanded.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I knew you’d call me if I texted you and I just felt less pathetic if you called me.”

Tonight I lay on V’s bed, face half-hidden by my fuzzy blanket, hands pressed tightly over my eyes. She crawled onto the bed to lie next to me, arms thrown around mine.

“I don’t even know why I’m crying,” I said. “This is so dumb, really. I’m sorry your roommate is a blubbering mess.”

“It’s okay,” she said. “You don’t always have to be a boss.”