Monday, October 22, 2012

Stagnant Pools

I'm staring at the ceiling. I'm staring at the wall. I'm watching the watchers through a cloud of perfume-laden smoke. I am the gargoyle, staring in blank observation while my brain slowly spirals down the merry path of paranoia. Strange, this situation I find myself in. I can hear the echos of whispers in the dark coiling through the canals and sinking it's icy claws into every neural fiber. Walk away, run away, hide, peek through the tiny hole in the box. Instinctual tendencies combined with muscular memory forge a path through the abyss, that from an outside perspective seems pretty well adjusted and convincing. I have absorbed enough knowledge to get by. A lot of what I know about the real world tends to appear as if it is consumed by syrupy haze that splatters to the edges of my consciousness.

I'm walking down a garden path. I'm asking questions of the universe that no one or no thing really wants to answer. I know somewhere within that it isn't anything personal. Some questions simply have no answers. Confusion loves company. Mass confusion attracts those with good intentions and while the road to hell is being paved, I can only stand idle and wish I wasn't just as bat shit confused. There are slight moments in time where I can understand the whole of everything and appreciate the state of confusion that invades my daily space. It's the only reason why I don't wake up screaming.

I am sitting on the edge of a giant petri dish. I'm on the outside looking in while at the same time staring at myself through a high powered telescope. Sometimes I converge and switch places while exchanging small but significant bits of information. Part of me wants to hop on to a different train. This train seems to be chasing the wrong rabbit.

Wake up, wake up, it's time to quit the world of slumber. Real life tends to take on the surreal quality of dreams while dreams tend to absorb the movements of the waking world. Conversations filter through conversions and end up lost in translation. The ends of my brain become numb as the lines blur and fade into patterns within patterns. I could spend a significant amount of time explaining this to people who permanently exist within commonly accepted consciousness but I often find that I can't make much sense of it myself.

A single pill here, a harmless injection there. Bad food, bad water with a side of manipulation. I'm addicted to the poison because it makes me feel alive while at the same time is contributing to my drop by drop suicide. I don't subscribe to many common poisons which I'm told makes me dangerous. In reality, it simply means I've researched the situation before diving into the pool. The problem with any kind of feel good brain manipulation is that the feeling of sublime contentment and acceptance of the universe is incredibly and profoundly addictive. Temptation points a tendril in my direction and beckons me to check out on a permanent basis. Most of the time, temptation is easy to ignore because the world I am trying to escape constrains my methods.

There is joy in flying through pleasure while diving through pain. The roller coaster is a constant reminder that time and space won't stop to let anyone breathe. There are times when I want to completely give in to the overwhelming urge to activate a permanent flight response. There are times where the whole experience seems worthwhile. The problem starts when the two sides refuse to talk to each other. The resulting mania on two magnetic emotional opposites is taxing, but I wouldn't want my universe to operate any other way.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I put up with it
All the shit I want to quit
Because maybe I'm a masochist
I want to help you
become more than just your program
your paradigm, your childhood
wrapped up in some sort of pie in the sky lie
I don't know what I'm talking about
this life has taught me nothing you don't know
Convinced, convicted, in chains
I suppose I can't save everyone
You wonder why I have no respect
why I'm cold, why I distance myself
I suppose I can't save everyone

Friday, August 3, 2012

When All I Can Do is This...

I don't hate you for having more than me. I dislike the way you make lording all you have over me a spectator sport. According to you, I am trash. I am worthless. I need to work harder. Why can't I work harder? Why can't I tow the line, be a "man," be SOMETHING other than a drain on my fellows? I was born into the absolute perfect circumstances. Out of the test tube, right into the flames of existence. Oh wait, I'm not "normal." You don't really need to know that though but it is hard to keep it a secret. The elephant in my brain makes itself obvious every time I try to pound myself into one of those conveniently located round holes. I don't hate you. Some days I thank the creator for not molding me into your image. Some days, I wish I didn't know the difference.

I wake up in the morning, and suddenly the sun is kissing the horizon on the other side. I seem to be going slower than everyone. I seem to be speeding by faster than light. I never seem to be in phase with the crowd. I am aware of everything that surrounds me as I sidestep people who can't even see me. If not for the rhythm of the bass in my ears, my mind would be lost in some sort of auditory conflagration. The colors of the day ring like a bell inside my head. Sometimes it all becomes too much.

I am well aware of how things are "supposed" to be. I am also aware of all the variations supposed tends turn into. Denying my nature was suicide but somewhere I was convinced that fitting in meant that I would succeed. It didn't take me long to figure out the truth behind the mask. I want to be angry. I want to stand up and make it rain. I want to flood the earth and start the process over. I'm not angry at the situation, though. The struggle is what I was called here to participate in. Real life spirals through the sky and breaks up in the atmosphere, blasting me with searing rock at every opportunity. I can shield against it most of the time. There are those days, those moments, where I am to the very core of my soul, tired. I want to silence the voices, block out the vibrations and just sleep.

I sleep in the traditional human sense of the word although not as much as I probably should, given the fragility of the human body. There is a state of rest that transcends the human frame, however, that I long to embrace again. It never comes often enough, although more than once a in a lifetime is a blessing of great magnitude. I know that accelerating the process will have less than desirable results. I may fail and do more damage to an already damaged body or worse yet I may succeed and face the consequences of a moment of weakness. Sometimes, the concequences be damned. It is the times where I just am too exhausted to care, the times where I actually may make a decision that could damage the universe.

Am I there yet?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I See Them...

Crawling through the debris
Floating somewhere in the peripheral ether
Silence, half a millisecond's worth
It was never real
I'm lying to myself again
Physical sensations morph from memory
or maybe it wasn't just an illusion
Pause, again the same question
Crawling through the debris
Familiar sounds are replaced with aural fuzz
I haven't reconstructed yet
Will I ever be un-fractured?
The magic 8 ball says ~No~

Friday, July 27, 2012


October 2004

I'll stare at the black lotus knowing my time
has come to a point of which I have no control
My soul cries for something I cannot explain
yearning for comfort I'll take to the grave
Moonlight betraying what I am inside
I can't explain why I am
I pray to the darkness for some sign of light
Fighting the memories I keep locked away
I can't seem to escape the past stains on my heart
Tears always flowing for the love I might have lost

A thousand deaths I still remember
Maybe I'm only dreaming
cloistered in childlike innocence and naivety I wither away
Wanting something I never thought I had
I remember
I remember
Maybe I don't want to anymore

I'll stare at fate and distant premonitions
have come to pass in predictable patterns
My soul lingers behind for some unknown reason
and I find myself burdened by unknown regrets
I know love like no one has known love before
and I am bound to it always
I pray to the light for and end to my darkness
Living in a live I could never forsake
Once upon a time I thought I had forgotten
Tears always flowing for the love I might use

A thousand deaths I still remember
Maybe I'm only dreaming
cloistered in childlike innocence and naivety I wither away
Wanting something I never thought I had
I remember
I remember
Maybe I don't want to anymore

Simple Times

I still feel this way. Circa 2006.

Simple times...
An easy paradigm to fall back upon
Things were better back then
Back when?
In an age of girls getting married at twelve?
People cannot understand how their daughters live
getting pregnant when they are only children
But something different was expected
In simple times
Society didn't support anyone
It didn't even support itself
The rich men fell and the poor lost hope
In simple times
Stealing for your life
And not for your lifestyle
Paying for the mistakes
Instead of getting paid for them
I wonder if anyone I know would make it
In simple times

Old Roleplaying Forum Fodder

An old bit of role playing back story (2006-ish) I should develop this character more...


Windwalker fell to the floor, holding back her tears with incredible will. "You need only ask for information. I have no reason to hide anything" She said between gasps as she folded her wings over herself in an unconscious protective gesture. "Where I came from is a mountain forest very far away from here. I was a member of a monastery. The monks there found me, a transformed child, half hawk half human and almost dead. The villagers in the valley had a habit of dispensing their unwanted at the monastery door. Any child who was born "different" was left to be raised by the monks. Sometimes the child was alive, but most of the time the parents didn't flee fast enough and the child was gone by the time they made the long journey. The monks would always do what they could to save the children though. When they found me, they weren't sure of my origins. There was nothing with me, I wasn't even covered with a blanket or clothing. In the rain, I guess I huddled myself in my wings to await salvation. The monks treated me as their family always and taught me martial arts and a keen mastery of staff weapons. They also taught me to use my "deformity" as a useful weapon. With time I learned how to fly and how to attack from the air using both a staff and my talons. I became a formidable hunter and earned my keep that way. At the age of 25, I stopped aging. Years beyond years went by and as the monks who found me passed on and new monks came to the order as the monastery became my life. Through meditation I learned how to control my form, I could change into a full hawk or a full human once per day. I used my powers to help the monks negotiate with towns and for scouting new hunting territories or keeping watch. Then one day..." her eyes seemed to get darker and her tears began to flow unchecked to the floor "I was deceived. Over the years the order was more and more being attacked by varying religious sects and reformers. The end was ever present but through will and strength we managed to keep it at bay. I remember the sunrise like it was yesterday" she choked on her tears and buried her head in her wing for several seconds, sobbing. Suddenly feeling eyes pierce through her, she started to absentmindedly play with a lock of her long feather brown hair and continued through tears "I saw a band of merchants move with haste up to our gate. 'Help us, help us!' they screamed as they ran 'bandits behind us, all around us! They are in the trees and on the roads...' I changed into my hawk form to scout in the direction they came from as the monks worked their magicks to try and calm the merchants down. I flew as far as my strength would allow but found nothing. It was close to sunset when I disaster. The entire place was burned to the ground. Not a soul of my order save myself was alive. Everything of value was gone, even my meager belongings. I mourned for weeks...months maybe. I lived in a stupor of loss. Everything I had ever known for centuries had been shattered in a matter of insignificant hours." She stared into the eyes of the man who came to her aid "and then one day I felt a calling deep within myself that I was unable to ignore, even though at first I tried. I started to travel, with only my staff, the clothing on my back and my traveling harness. I traveled for several moons, never stopping for more than a few hours at a time. As I traveled my strength seemed to fail me. When it seemed my strength was no more and I was begging the Goddess to take me into her loving embrace, I spotted this house and I knew..." She slumped back down to the floor, trembling. She mumbled to no one in particular "I am not sure what ails me now, all I know is that I want the misery over..."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Untitled Sorrow

I have seen the scars of battles past
Walked through the shadow of death
Fought for right and wrong
Sometimes the river flows
My path clear, a shield against the odds
Reality is a cold mistress
My hands are blistered
My boots are worn right through
Persistent thoughts of home ring through my ears
I climb the mountain, though my soul protested
My heart knows what it's after
When I approach familiar shores, I stand aghast
My home, my sanctuary, my everything
Ashes fall like pure driven snow
Ember and flame light up the midnight sky
I stand motionless, my hands trembling
My eyes stare a thousand miles ahead
My thoughts turn to eternal sacrifice
As I am swallowed by the silence of the night

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Distant Memory

I'm not sure when my brain fully made the leap from the land of dreams to reality. I was lost in some sort of abstract thought when I felt a slight tingling at the base of my neck and the distinctive rattle of electronic music pulsing through my skull. I opened my eyes and my vision was flooded with bright red fabric. Where in the hell was I? I felt a groan somewhere in the bottom of my throat as I slowly rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. The music was much louder now and even though I could hardly hear myself think, I didn't really mind. Somewhere in the distance, I heard snoring. As I pushed myself into a sitting position, I noticed my partner passed out beside me. I wondered for a second if he felt as out of it as I did. My eyes shifted from left to right and back to left again. I soon realized that I was in a tent and that the atmosphere was increasingly becoming way too warm. A bead of sweat rolled into my eye and as tried in vain to rid myself of the burning sensation, I noticed that my vision was incredibly fuzzy. I felt my brow furrow as one thought dominated all others: where are my damned glasses? I fumbled around for what seemed like an eternity. “Son of a bitch,” I heard myself say as my hand landed in a puddle of chilly drool. The icy, slime-like creature crawled over my hand at a snails pace. Even though I jerked my hand away quickly, I could still feel it's cold tendrils sticking to my skin.

I decided to venture on without my glasses. As I tugged the tent's zipper, I was slightly blinded by the glint of metal in my peripheral vision. I heard the Hallelujah Chorus mixed with heavy bass inside my head as my glasses suddenly came into perfect focus. In one fluid motion, I was standing outside, glasses in hand. In another less fluid motion, I tried to keep my legs underneath me. The world spun slightly and began to lean a little bit to the left. I was still feeling the effects of the night before. Food suddenly seemed like an incredibly good idea. Like magic, the smell of bacon floated past my nostrils. With the autopilot activated, my feet started to move in the direction of the smell. It wasn't long before I stumbled upon the source of the intoxicating odor. I approached the large tent hesitantly at first. I didn't know who the occupants were, nor did I know for sure if they would be willing to share their bacon-y goodness. My gut rumbled, an angry quake that I felt all the way down to the soles of my feet. I knew that my stomach wasn't going to let me be indecisive. As I approached, a woman called out to me, “Free bacon and chocolate cake with Bloody Marys!” I felt the muscles in my face explode into a huge grin as my feet kicked into overdrive. I'm not sure if I actually thanked the woman or if I only thanked her inside my head but I was quickly treated to a plate full of bacon and chocolate cake. For a moment, the only thing I could do was bask in the odor of the two opposing flavors. I closed my eyes and cautiously took a bite. My mouth and brain was not prepared for the sublime taste. It was salty. It was sweet. It sent my taste buds into a bi-polar fit. At that moment, in that place, I had found perfection.

After several servings, my stomach was satisfied. I thought about going back to the tent and sleeping the rest of the evening off but a voice inside my head told me that I was at the precipice of an incredible experience and that I should enjoy it while it lasted. I let my legs wander up a winding path. The sun fell on my face in spots, shadowed by the surrounding forest. I had always appreciated being away from the confines of city limits, but there was something in the air that day that made me feel completely at peace in a way that I had never felt before. I kept walking until the trail ended. I was faced with a somewhat treacherous wall of rock. Normally, I would leave any sort of climbing to the experts and turn around. This time, I was compelled to at least try to make it to the top. The rocks poked through the soles of my worn-out shoes and the palms of my hands threatened to blister but I soon found myself at my destination. Suddenly, I found myself looking down at an ocean of trees. The wind picked up slightly as I slowly looked around. My heart skipped a beat as I realized that I was on the top of a mountain. The wind hitting my face and arms, the smell of pine trees and the deep throb of loud music all combined to form one singular, all-encompassing force. I'm not sure how much of it was nature or how much of it was something inside my head. The sun's rays fell upon my skin and I felt the warmth wrap around me like a fleece blanket. At that moment, in that place, all was right in the universe.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Price of Living is Death

I had this whole thing figured out. Well, maybe not the whole thing but I do know I had several bullet points that I wanted to explore. I really wanted go into some existential frenzy about how life experience has taught me everything I need to know and that I could forge on being a rooted tree and stand my ground come lightning or rain or hurricane.
I'm finding that to be a total load of bullshit.
I'm an incredibly strong person, so I've been told. Through death, through upset, through illness and injury, I've managed to stay pretty grounded. I keep myself together most days and when I can't, I have a good support system willing to go to bat for me any time I ask. I have a life that is crazy at times, complicated most of the time, but it isn't terrible by any stretch of the imagination. I was born with a patchwork brain and I was never given clear instructions as to how it works. Some times, this is a huge problem because I have no idea how to explain it to anyone else. Some times, I rejoice in the fact that my brain sees sounds that no one else can or that I can hear in color. What is inside my head is uniquely mine. I can't say that about anything else.
So what does all this have to do with anything? I'm finally living a somewhat "normal" life. I'm not dealing with catastrophic failures or mind numbing survival mechanisms. Why do I feel so down? I think it has a lot to do with the profound fragility of life itself and with knowing that everything I have so precisely arranged could be gone in an instant. There is no do-over or reset button. There are forces in the universe that I have absolutely no control over. I try not to think about it most of the time. There are days like today where I can do nothing but think about it. I try to distract myself by pouring all my energy into creative outlets, but sometimes all I can do is sit and think about how it all could be gone in the blink of an eye.
Some people want it all to end and sometimes they succeed in their efforts. For a long time, I thought that's what I wanted too. Thinking about it now, I realize that what I really want is for the uncertainty to end. I want the axe to fall. I want the other shoe to drop. Every day I wake up feeling like my neck is in a noose. I'm trapped, feet stuck to the trap door, just waiting for the hangman to flip the switch. I feel the rope on my skin and hear it rubbing me raw.
This is driving me crazy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bus People

I love public transit, especially since I am fortunate enough to have a bus pass that only costs $10 a month that gets taken care of by school grants, so technically it is free. That being said, I don't love or even like rude assholes on the bus. What do I consider a "rude asshole," you ask? I've compiled a tiny list.

1. People that don't give consideration to disabled and/or elderly passengers. I have a bum foot so I use a cane to get around sometimes. If someone gets on the bus who needs the front seats (or any seat if the bus is full) more than me, I'll move or ride standing. If you are a strong looking teenager, don't get pissed off at me if I glare at you when you refuse to move and let my ass sit down. Along the same lines, disabled people tend to move a bit slowly. Kicking the back of my feet while in the queue is not going to make me move any faster. In fact, it may make the queue come to a screeching halt because I will turn around and bust you in the balls with my cane.

2. People who don't look before they sit. I have been sat on, as if I were invisible. I've gotten people's asses in my face as well as all sorts of bags and backpacks. It doesn't take long to do a quick scan of the area before you flop your ass down on the seat.

3. The cell phone megaphone. Talking on the phone on the bus happens for a variety of reasons. I have no problem with people using phones quietly. When the entire bus can hear how much of a cunt your girlfriend is or how much of a drunken asshole your boyfriend is, it is time to evaluate the volume of your voice. Your kinks, your bratty kids, your family drama, your eviction notice, your hernia surgery or the boil on the crack of your ass, I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT and neither does anyone else.

4. People who have no sense of hygiene. I know, some days, it gets entirely too hot. Sweating a bit and smelling like B.O. is something that just happens on a hot day in a crowded area. There is however, a difference between being a bit sweaty and smelling like you haven't showered in a year. Also, if you smell like ANY type of bodily fluid or excretion, it might be time to bathe.

5. Perfume bathers. A few spritzes is fine, the whole bottle is not. If you alone can make the entire bus smell like the bastard child of Bed Bath and Beyond and a Mary Kay outlet store, you have used too much fragrance. Please consider the nasal passages of your fellow passengers while dosing yourself.

6. Teenagers. 90% of them have no sense of shame, decorum, class or decency. When sharing a public space, a certain amount of respect is expected and required in order for things to function smoothly. Making out like you are trying out for a soft-core porno is not acceptable bus behavior. Nor is loudly making drug deals. Asking people where to get drugs isn't exactly a good idea either. Even if I knew where to get drugs, I sure as hell wouldn't be telling your punk ass. The bus is not a rolling spot to hang out. Pick a spot, go there and STAY THERE FOR A WHILE. The bus is not your bedroom with wheels. Don't stick gum on the seats, don't leave trash and don't tag stupid shit all over the bus. No one likes cleaning it up.

7. The obscenely dressed. I dress like a freak. I know this and embrace it. I have no problems with people letting their freak flag fly. However, I don't want to see your bush, your cock, your hairy ass or your incredibly ample muffin top. If I can make out your sexy bits through your clothes, consider going up a size. Also, crack kills. Wear a belt. Knowing your bare ass is touching the seat is kind of a disturbing thought.

tl;dr: People should respect others while using public transit. Don't be a tool on the bus.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review of Infected Mushroom: Army of Mushrooms

I've been an Infected Mushroom fan for a long time. I love how their music is constantly evolving and how no two albums sound identical. That being said, for the majority of their releases, they've gone with a mostly psychedelic trance sound. With the new album Army of Mushrooms, this is not the case. My verdict on the new Infected Mushroom album Army of Mushrooms: I love it. I think that adding more variety to their songs while at the same time keeping their signature sound (especially with the synths) is a good move. They sound a bit more Goth on some tracks and they even get into some dubstep (check out U R so Fucked, the song is hilarious as hell, so is the video) Psytrance purists be warned, this album is nowhere near as trance-ey as their previous releases. The track Pink Nightmares (Which isn't on the album even though it was supposed to be, it's a pre-release single) is rather "old Mushroom," however, so is their cover of The Pretender and Serve My Thirst. Pick this album up if you are in the mood for different. It may not be 100% trance but it is 100% Infected Mushroom.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I wasn't born with a pencil in my hand. I am not a natural. I spent a long time thinking my creative brain was a curse because no one told me art is a process. Someone told me once that I had the heart and soul of a poet. Ive been told I'm a storyteller. Art is suffering, some say. I have so much shit inside my head but getting it out seems impossible at times. Some days, it seems too easy. I'm a bright red spot on the beige backdrop of life yet no one can see me. I'm so bright, I'm invisible. I'm so invisible, I'm bright. Burning up the fuel until I hit the ground, nowhere to go but up.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Confessions: Part One

Part one of a series of writings to help people learn a bit more about me...
My husbandwife (yes, she is both) was born inter-sexed. I entered into the relationship knowing something was different about her, but wasn't sure what it was. In the beginning, she presented herself as a male. At birth she was gender assigned as male and was raised to believe that she was 100% physically a male. However, during puberty "he" started developing breasts. Her mother put her on male hormones, believing that developing breasts was a sign of some sort of defect. She only took the hormones for a few months but stopped once she realized what she was taking. For a long time (with the exception of performing in drag) she kept her female side a secret. This negatively impacted her relationships with women and with men. Women said she was not "man" enough, and men said that she was just trying to marginalize being gay by dressing up like a woman. When I met her, I was instantly attracted to her feminine qualities, which shined through even when she was living as a man. From a young age, I had found androgyny attractive and I was happy to have met someone at least somewhat androgynous in my small, ultra-conservative community. Honestly, I don't remember exactly when the whole subject about her dressing in female clothes came up, but I do know that we never really "discussed" the subject. As the relationship progressed, I did notice that we both liked sexy girl clothes (although I will admit I like them better on her). Even before we got married, I felt as if I was more of the "man" in the relationship and that it didn't really bother me. I grew up being a 100% tom-boy. My father ran a construction business and from a young age I felt more comfortable helping him work than sit around the house and play with dolls and kitchen sets. Before I met my wifehusband, I didn't really know how to cook or otherwise keep a house. I've gotten better, but I still am not as good at it as her. My relationships with traditional men were train wrecks because both of us were trying to be the "man." I am aroused by and enjoy heterosexual sex, to a point. I also enjoy having sex with a point. I always wished that I could combine the things I like about both and have them at the same time (yeah, I'm greedy.) Then, the most wonderful person in the world decided that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. I'll admit, I have to get used to calling her female, as she spent the majority of our relationship being male in public but other than the public switch, things aren't different. There was no revelation of "I want to be a girl," I always knew that. People in general didn't and if they don't like it, oh well. I have found the perfect person, the perfect human being, for me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Why I was late for work...

A conversation I was having with my spouse reminded me of this (now) hilarious incident from years past. Our roommate went nuts one night and jumped through the front window. He proceeded to get naked and run up and down the street yelling that he was God. The police were called and they tasered him several times before taking him into custody. Suffice it to say, I was a bit late for work the next day. We never did find out why the guy went nuts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Passive-aggressive Behavior: What I Know Now

This is a paper I wrote for a Human Relations course. This is a reflection about an interaction I had with a person. Posting this on the blogosphere may be in and of itself a passive-aggressive maneuver, and I acknowledge that. However, putting it out there may also help someone else going through a similar situation and may give them the courage to stand up for themselves.
I met Mr. X at a very transitional point in my life. I had just gotten together with my husband and I was just starting to step into a new life of school, work and other adult responsibilities. I had known for a very long time that I was a passive person, but I did not know how much my nature influenced my interactions with other people. When I met Mr. X, he presented himself as being very passive. He had many problems involving his roommates and his employment situation, but he always expressed that these problems were due to him being “taken advantage of.” Since I had experienced similar problems in my transition to adulthood, I believed his explanation even though he is a few years older than me. I did notice, even back then, that he never blamed himself for any of his problems. He always justified himself by saying that things didn't go his way based on the actions of other people. Because I am so passive with people, I have a tendency to give myself too much perceived control. When something goes wrong, I feel as if I could have done something to prevent it, even if there is absolutely no way I possibly could have. I'll go as far as apologize for other people, even if the people I am apologizing for are hurting me in some way. Through courses at LCC and therapy, I know on an intellectual level that I do not have control over the actions of others, but I still find myself fighting this aspect of my personality and that it causes conflict with others.

Mr. X became my roommate the first time because his previous roommate evicted him. Of course, he told myself and my husband a tale of woe and assured us that the problem was with his ex-roommates and not with him. Mr. X has lived with us several times. At first the situation was amicable. He paid his rent on time and was mostly conscious about keeping the house clean. I felt that he placed value on our friendship and demonstrated this by being generally helpful around the house. The problems began when he entered into a relationship. The first relationship I found out about when I came home from work on my lunch break one day and found him asleep on my living room couch with another person, naked. I was concerned because I had never been introduced to this person before. At the beginning of our roommate relationship, all members of the household had agreed that anyone staying overnight would have to be introduced to the rest of the household. His disregard for something that everyone had agreed to made me feel that my trust in him was misplaced. Soon after this incident, he decided to move out, citing the fact that he didn't feel comfortable having his significant other stay over night, even though the only thing I had asked was to be introduced before overnight visits started. Mr. X over-generalized and assumed that I would react negatively, even after formal introductions were made. He also sent a contaminated message when he informed me of his discomfort. His tone implied that I was doing something to make him feel uncomfortable and that I should not have placed so much value in our previous arrangement because we should trust each other to make appropriate choices when inviting other people into our home.

After his relationship ended, Mr. X once again found himself looking for a place to live. He apologized for his previous behavior and assured me that he placed as much value our friendship and mutual living situation as he placed in his romantic relationships. He demonstrated again, however, that this was not the case. Again, Mr. X started spending more and more time and resources on his new relationship. What made this situation different is that the person he was involved with was on house arrest and therefore could not be introduced to us. Eventually, he began ignoring household responsibilities and became unreliable with his rent payments. This time, my husband made the decision to ask Mr. X to leave, after several failed attempts at trying to communicate our dissatisfaction with the situation. In all our conversations about the subject, Mr. X made me feel like I was being aggressive. He claimed that the reason why I was upset with him was because his significant other was on house arrest and that I didn't understand the situation. He also stated that he thought it was unfair that we were annoyed with him spending money to see his significant other while he still owed rent and utility payments. He argued that he would support me if I were in a similar situation and that he would be understanding if my rent was late because I needed to see the person I was having a relationship with.

After the second round of living with Mr. X, he disappeared for several years. He would contact us every so often through electronic means, and about once a year, a phone call. These calls usually involved Mr. X telling us about something tragic in his current relationship and that he wished he would have just stayed living with us. As the years went by, communication between us made me miss his company, even though he had treated me poorly in the past. Thinking about it now, I feel like he was diminishing his passive-aggressive behavior in order to make his relationship with me more beneficial to him. He often claimed that we were his “best friends,” yet his previous actions proved that we were not that valuable to him. Eventually, his relationship ended and he once again found himself homeless. Even though my husband was the one who eventually put his foot down and kicked Mr. X out the last time we were living with him, he was the one trying to convince me that Mr. X moving in was a good idea. It didn't take much, because Mr. X did a good job of convincing the both of us that he had changed his ways. Again when Mr. X moved in, he was in full honeymoon mode. He politely did everything we asked of him and was conscientious about figuring out how he was going to pay his share of the bills. After a couple of months his behavior began to decline. He became lazier about helping out with the chores and spent most of his earnings on going out to bars. He spent more time surfing dating chat websites than he did trying to find a permanent job. When asked about his lack of concern, he would either assure us that he was “on top of” everything or he would quickly change the subject. Whenever I would try to be assertive with him, he said or did something that made me feel like I was being aggressive and that I should back off. One example is a rather heated conversation with him about ignoring the dishes for days at a time. I mentioned that the dishes were piling up. He responded by stating that he was tired from donating plasma (his only income at the time) and having gone out the previous day. My husband said that doing the dishes was Mr. X' only chore and that he had better start doing it or face the possibility of being kicked out. Mr. X responded with a tirade about not wanting to clean up after us, and that he felt disrespected that we would even ask him to do the dishes when we knew that he was feeling “sick.” Mr. X did the dishes the next day, but they were done so terribly, we felt like it was useless to keep asking him to do the chore. A few days later, Mr. X apologized and said that he would handle the dishes if we didn't “bug him so often about it.” Up to this point, Mr. X had given me very little reason to put faith in his self-management abilities, but I knew also that if I did “bug” him about the dishes, they were just going to be done in a sub-standard fashion. The dishes were only one of many points of conflict between us. I began to feel trapped in the situation because my desire to remove Mr. X from my life was being shot down by my desire to avoid conflict and appear non-aggressive. This time, I was again provided with an easy out. Our landlord did not approve of Mr. X living in our apartment. Due to legal concerns, I had a legitimate excuse to kick Mr. X out. However, while giving this information to Mr. X, he tried to make us feel guilty about the landlord's decision. He insisted that we didn't “talk with the landlord” and that there was a way we could convince the management company to allow him to stay. He also claimed that we never told him that in order for all of us to remain living together, we would need to move into a bigger apartment. When we started living together again, both my husband and I made it clear that moving would have to be a priority and that my income would not be sufficient enough to accomplish that goal. He would have to be able to provide extra income above the rent in order for us to upgrade. We reminded him of these previous conversations. Mr. X then said that he felt that it was unfair that he should sacrifice his social life, when we could have made the current living situation work.

After not living with Mr. X for about a month and a half, I have realized a few things. First of all, I realized that the prolonged stress of being in a perpetual state of conflict with him was negatively impacting my physical and mental well-being. As the months of living with Mr. X passed, I noticed that my emotional state was becoming more negative. I became argumentative with my husband and withdrawn from my peers and family. I was sleeping less and feeling poor physically. I began to miss classes and let my attentiveness to my studies slip. I also took less pride in my work. When Mr. X left, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I knew that prolonged conflict could lead to problems, but I didn't understand how profound those problems could become. The second thing I realized was that Mr. X was being passive-aggressive with me the entire time I have known him. After a class lecture about passive-aggressive behavior, I began to wonder if Mr. X was exhibiting this type of behavior or if I was simply taking him the wrong way. After exploring a few academic journals, I found a paper by Nora J. Johnson and Thomas Klee that explored the topic of passive-aggressive behavior and how it might be predicted in the workplace. They used several models to describe passive-aggressive behavior. The model I was particularly interested in was taken from the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. According to Johnson and Klee: “the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders requires that a person with PA (negativistic) personality disorder exhibit four or more of the following seven criteria beginning in early adulthood and in a variety of contexts:
1. passively resists fulfilling routine social and occupational tasks;
2. complains of being misunderstood and unappreciated by others;
3. is sullen and argumentative;
4. unreasonably criticizes and scorns authority;
5. expresses envy and resentment toward those apparently more fortunate;
6. voices exaggerated and persistent complaints of personal misfortune; and
7. alternates between hostile defiance and contrition.”

This model interested me because it seemed to be the one that fit my observations most accurately. I know that I am not trained enough to make a clinical diagnosis of anything, but everything I have observed while interacting with Mr. X convinces me that his behavior fits this criteria. Researching passive-aggressive behavior and having an understanding of it's definition helped me to see that Mr. X's problems were not entirely my fault. I also can put his behavior into context and am now able to better analyze the behavior of others and will hopefully be able to prevent such a prolonged period of conflict with someone else. I realize too, that I enabled Mr. X's behavior towards me. By not being more assertive, I communicated to him that I was willing to tolerate his behavior. The whole experience has taught me that assertiveness does not equal aggression and that being firm with one's needs and standing up to the resulting small conflict is a lot better than putting up with several years of hurt feelings.

Johnson, Nora J., and Thomas Klee. "Passive-aggressive behavior and leadership styles in organizations." Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 14.2 (2007)