Monday, August 15, 2011

'They Are One' - James' Blog Post

This is a post James (@mr_jmm) did on his blog where he writes about us, a couple of days ago.
We haven't the energy today to add any more to job and all that. Hopefully something in it make sense...or something. That wasn't supposed to sound mean.
They Are One
They are one. There are nine but they are one. When I look at them I see one. When I think of them I think of one. When I speak to them I speak to one (as in I speak to them as if they are one). They are Frank (Frank is a specific alter but also the name by which the "collective" is known) - though some alters object to that.
When they speak of themselves they say "we" and "us". When I speak to them I say "you" not "you's" or "you all". Mostly, there are exceptions if I need to clarify after a conversation about the DID for example.
When I write though I say "them and "they" not "she". And if I speak about them I say "them" or "they" also. But this about how how I am, how I perceive them when I am with them.

But I find myself more and more wondering "who's here / there". I look at them a lot. Normally it's to try and figure out what they're thinking, a futile task I assure you, but lately, especially as I get to recognise the switch and even specific alters, I do wonder. They know I do this and they're not happy about it. They may write a blog about it themselves.

Why do I do this? I've written before about the recognition of specific alters and how that makes it sometimes feel "normal" to use names. It's alien to me to not use names when I speak, especially when being intimate (that doesn't always mean sexually). For example, I was with Emmie a lot recently and we were stood together in the shower, talking, looking at each other, holding each other. I knew it was Emmie and they knew I knew. Right then and there it was just Emmie.

They are one. I love them as one. I love the "whole", the "collective" (yes, it is a Borg reference but let's not go down the whole Star Trek / Borg Queen path...). But no matter what I say, what they say there are nine. Nine individual personalities. All unique, all "complete". If you could take an empty shell and insert any one of the alters you would have a complete person with their own personalities, their own uniqueness, their own traits, their own accent and mannerisms, their own thoughts, their own views, their own memories. Everything that makes up a persons personality. There is no escaping this fact and I don't want to. I've never shied away from this and I've never wished for it be different.

So we have this conflict (of interests???). I do, I have to, see them as one. Of course and I won't change that view point. It doesn't matter who is here at any given moment they are simply "Frank (et al)" / "Frank Ly". But, as I said to them a few days ago, if I am going to learn and understand everything there is to know about them I have to also recognise that there are nine. I am NOT asking to speak to each individual (though that would make it easier) but I need to be allowed to treat them as individuals. It's no different, I said, than if they want to get to know me they need to see every aspect, every side, every face, every front of me just I do them. Then there's the matter of ages and feelings towards me. Bethany is 6. Six. I am most certainly not going to treat Bethany the same I would Frank or Emmie. When Bethany is here I treat her and talk to her like I would any young child (if you know me you'll mean that is more about language than any form of patronisation). I speak differently, I act differently. I wear clothes for example when we go to bed. I don't touch them in any intimate way. She does kiss me but it's soft, little kisses and I don't force anything. I don't even see the 32 year old fully developed body either.
That's an extreme example but serves the point very well I think. I could equally have used Sam to same effect.
Another point I raised was that, bearing the above in mind (that to know the whole means knowing the parts - hideous metaphor) I need to know I'm right about who I think is here. I don't want to end up thinking the wrong thing about the wrong alter. They have said themselves the problems and upset that can be caused when I get it wrong so it is important that I get this right. This is more important when I am writing although I have been given a lot more allowances when writing for mistakes than I have when I am speaking.

It is a contradiction; I see them as one but I spend a great amount of thought wondering which specific alters are here. I wish I knew what they were thinking more. Something else, more often I've noticed they referring to themselves as "I". Frank does it a lot and Emmie does too. I did question them about it and they said that ... [memory failure]... something along the lines of that they are individuals and if they are alone and they are speaking of themselves then it is "I". That they only say "we" if they are talking on behalf of everyone or it is something shared by everyone. This of course makes perfect sense but it's still something that seems new to me and it's not as black and white as this. Not everyone does it and even those that do aren't always consistent. I am NOT making a complaint, honesty, it's just an observation and certainly nothing that I think should be given any thought.

How do I proceed? Don't know. We had a brief chat about this but I don't recall any conclusions, it was just a general talk. I'll never stop seeing them as one I know that. And I suspect that over time this fascination with knowing who's about at any one time will fade. Not through lack of interest or caring but just become less... required?? I'm not good at explaining things sometimes. Will try again... As it stands I see one but I am very very conscious that there are nine and of the fact that there are such noticeable differences and because it's new to me it's still on such a conscious level. Over time it will become less of a conscious thing. Is that any better? Probably not.
I do still feel that I need to get to know the individuals in order for this to happen. It's not going to be quick or easy but I feel I need to do this. This will annoy some a lot more than others. It will be up to them how and to what extent they allow this. I will continue to take things one day at a time.

An attempt to look at this from another angle: Why not stop with this? Why not ignore that there are others? To answer this, let alone actually do it I would have to ignore how disrespectful and insulting that would be but lets run with it...
For some reason I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a friend about how I deal with the whole DID / MPD thing and I said something like it being no different to any other woman with all the mood swings and inconsistencies they typically have*.

I can't actually think of a reason not to do this (treat them as one in every sense) other than the disrespectful nature of it and the point I made earlier about having to be careful with the younger alters. But again I could still respect that and not think of it as being because a younger alter is here but just that "Frank" isn't feeling "in the mood".
Question: If they were in a wheelchair, should I ignore that fact and carry on as if they could walk? If they were blind should I ignore it and treat them as a sighted person (crossing the road??). If they were unable to feed themselves for any reason should I ignore that and treated them as if they were capable? Of course fucking not. Ok then, going to scrap that idea completely (not that I was giving it any real thought, just wanted to try and see this from both sides).

To summarise then, they are one. I see and treat them as one. Except when I don't. They asked me why it's so important I know who is 'there' and the answer is because... because... for fuck's sake... what is the answer? See above I guess. I don't have a simple answer, an answer that will make them say "oh, well that's ok then". At the risk of sounding egocentric or self-important (in short, an arse) I am in a somewhat unique position and this is relatively new for them. Maybe a few rule breakages are what's required...
Right now I can't think of anything new to add to the answer. Maybe re-read the post again.


*[EDIT] In an early draft I added the line "It's just this time they have names". Re-reading that last line I realise that it could easily be taken the wrong way. For the benefit of those who have already read this post I need to clarify that part: Each alter does NOT represent a "mood" or vice-versa. That is inaccurate and not what I meant at all. It was merely a simplified statement explaining how I perceive them as no different to any other girl. What I meant is that as far as the change of personalities is concerned, that is, the dealing with the switches (the change from one alter being executive / in control to another) is no different / worse in my mind, as far as I see it, as going out with anyone else that has mood swings. For example, you try going out with a nurse who's just done a late / early double shift. Again, let me clarify that I am not saying that a switch in alters means a switch in moods, it doesn't, and again, an alter is not represented in any way by a "mood", it is just a very simplified comparison of changes in personalities. The use of the word mood was wrong but at the time, in the full conversation I had, it worked as an example; unfortunately it just didn't translate well here.
I'm not convinced that this edit clarifies it very well, please, if it's still unclear what I meant say so.

1 comment: