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branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
[personal profile] branchandroot
I'm feeling up in arms. I want a damn community for the sane crazy people. Not the utterly bugfuck crazy people who seem to populate the current crazy communities.

In manifesto-writing moods like this I often take a certain satisfaction in bludgeoning people with the extent to which I am sanely crazy, so I think I'll indulge myself in some of that now. Consider yourself warned, dear reader. For such things was the lj cut tag invented.

Poetry is all very well, but I like coherence too. Especially right now. So, contrary to my usual practice, the following ramblings about my internal geography will be as clear as I can manage instead of the usual demi-code shorthand.

Motto: we are all me

First, the vocabulary.

Element: a part of the self that gains distinction and edges, and usually a name though there are unnamed elements. Elements are what might be called personalities, though none are separate people. Remember the motto.

Function: often has the distinction of an element, but does not have the personality aspects. A function is a process.

Surfaced/surfacing: when a particular element(s) comes into the space of I and interacts with the outside world.

Floated: one element is exempted from a given condition that affects everyone else (being drugged or drunk, remembering particular things) in order to observe and act if necessary.

Delimn: the process of removing the edges that make an element an element so that there is no longer such a high degree of distinction.

Integration: 1) when a delimned element merges into a still-distinct element or into General 2) when an element that has previously been out of communication with everyone else establishes communication.

Here we go, then.

In the beginning there was a Primoridal Soup of selfness. LIke a biological Soup, this emotional/spiritual/neural Soup contained a load of basic building blocks in no particular order. Yet. At the core of this Soup was the Core.

Big surprise.

Core is the grit in the oyster that accretes into a pearl, if you can imagine a piece of grit that is also a power plant. Core is basic self-awareness. Core is not only a place, not an element, and not only an energy source. It gives rise to things that are not-Core in response to outside stimulus. Core takes building blocks from the Soup and casts them into some kind of order. Ordered Soup became the General.

The time-frame we're talking here is, like, birth to three as best we can tell.

Then shit happened. Doesn't it always.

The first system element we can identify is Long Term Planning, and the first time we remember it in action was around about age four. I had some very good friends at Nursery School, and LTP made templates of those relationships and stored them away to use later.

As shit continued to happen over this handful of years LTP also made the decision to protect some parts of the self from the world's shittiness. This was probably partly where the Youngest Ones came from. This was also probably when I first became a location.

You see, I, for us, is not an element. I is a space. It's where the General touches the outside world.

So, at this point LTP arranged for I to be a bit apart from the general General, and for the protected parts to move deep inside General where they wouldn't get hurt.

So far, so standard, really.

Well, shit continued to happen, which is unfortunately more standard than not. As time went on more things needed to be protected. The Youngest Ones, who varied in number and ranged in age from zero to five or so, Core Sexuality, they went all the way inside and were completely shielded. Some, like the Idealist, were selectively shielded but did spend time surfaced. This, of course, affected what she remembered, because we weren't in strong enough communication to share all memories at the time.

As for the actual traumas, we didn't think it was fair for any one element to have to have custody of those so we put them in the Memory Box, instead, which was kept on the psychological equivalent of a back shelf. Everyone knew it was there, but no one had to know what was in it, specifically. Worked quite well.

This does not mean that all was sweetness and light. The longer we had to deal with a bad situation the more we had to evolve elements that would ensure our survival. The Angel came in then (her name source is VW's Angel in the House, who gives everything to everyone else and does nothing for herself). We were all pretty out of touch with each other, too. LTP put several mechanisms in place to carry us until it was safe to start working on the problems, but they weren't perfect. The only high energy element to surface was the Intellect, and while that meant that life could be processed in a fashion it was still an incomplete fashion without the contribution of the other high energy elements. Some of whom genuinely didn't exist yet.

Also, we put up a one-way mirror underneath I. Anyone who was surfaced was temporarily unaware of anyone else's existence. Only temporarily, of course, but still. The surfaced elements more or less used I as a prosthesis to interact with the world with some degree of continuity, but there was an inevitable loss of memory that went along with this temporary dissociation from everyone else. Occasionally that made our reactions a bit inconsistent.

No one ever noticed anyway.

One of the things we had the most problems with was boundaries. For a long time we didn't have any to speak of and tended to identify extremely strongly with anyone who engaged our sympathies. That was a function. It was absolutely exhausting, and probably our single greatest triumph after establishing communication was establishing firm boundaries. But that was later.

So on we all went like this until college.

Now, the thing to remember is that there was not some kind of original ur-personality off of which others split. Rather, there has always been Core and the General, and out of the general have arisen different elements as they have been needed. Long Term Planning kept track of everyone, with the assistance of Maitenance. (Maitenance, by the way, is the one who keeps track of the kind of information we're writing down now, though Maitenance is not currently surfaced, not least because Maitenance has partially delimned. Just so you have a sense of how complex this is.) Thus, when we finally got somewhere we could be relatively safe we had someone who knew what to do next.

This was good, because the first thing LTP did (at least I think it was LTP's doing) was to smash the one way mirror. It was a meditation exercise at the end of a Yoga class, of all things. The instructor said to visualize moving up. I never liked that, it felt weird, so I went down instead. And fell into the middle of myself. Not that anyone close to the top really understood what was happening.

About a year and a half later we opened the Memory Box. That was not a hugely fun summer, let me tell you.

It wasn't until our Senior year that we really found a therapist who had any inkling of what was going on. That was when we established communication between the Youngest Ones, Thirteen and the Mother. (You know, the Mother delimned some time ago and I can't pin down when; irritating, but it does often happen like that. We're only concious of it happening if we happen to query that element while it's going on.) That was the start of getting the ball really rolling. A year later we found Stone, who is one half of the Center. The other half, Nova, had to wait because to be honest a lot of us were kind of freaked out by her for a long time; she didn't integrate until we started Tai Chi and she had a safe channel to emerge into. She and Stone together really rock at it.

It still took a handful more years to find a therapist who was genuinely helpful in the whole process, but we spent the time well. We're very, very good, by now, at listening inside. Sometimes, especially with the non-verbal elements like the Youngst Ones, it's a sort of Twenty Questions process. I call it echolocation. All the exploring means that we have a very fine map of our internal geography, except that "map" is a totally inadequate metaphor for something this fluid and multi-dimensional.

The current anatomy starts with the Core. There are four high energy elements that have particularly strong connections to Core: the Center that is Stone and Nova, the Intellect, Core Sexuality, and Goodness. Stone and Nova got an extra boost recently when the Youngest Ones delimned at long last and integrated to the Center. They are now ageless and they give the Center a huge amount of power. This was an unspeakable relief, because the Youngest Ones have always had veto power, which could get awfully troublesome at times. There are also still special purpose elements, of course, though their composition tends to shift with time. And then there's the General, which is probably as close to singularity as we'll ever get.

After all, there are a lot of advantages to multiplicity and we communicate well enough for it not to present any countervailing problems. We are extremely strong this way. We like it.

And you know what I would like to see more of? People like me. People who make it work, however and whatever it is. People who do not wallow in disorder. To coin a phrase from Ani, every weapon is a tool, if you use it right.

So get a grip and use it!

So, there you go, the intro to that book people keep telling me I have to write.


Date: 2004-02-19 11:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joriel.livejournal.com
I tried to follow it all! *trying to grasp her friend better* I think, in the end, in my poor head, be you made up of many parts or just one, you are still the entity Emily and I will learn and follow as best I can along the way. :)

Sometimes I get confused, it's not big secret your a lot more conventinally educated than me(But I have my little associate's degree and am damn proud of it) and sometimes I get a little intimidated by that, but i just remind myself that you like me and my street wisdom and that I do have things to offer too. :) Hehe. But it's good to admit that I get a little lost sometimes in your phrasing, (but not often, I am much more educated than I tend to let on, years of growing up in NJ, where being dumb for some reason was attractive).

Funny, you set me free in ways no one in a long time has. And not by doing anything, but just because I can say what I mean and dont' have to spend ten minutes internally self-editing before I speak. Remind me to tell you the story of Carlys, I think you might find it interesting, but it's not something I display in front of strangers. It's just for you. : )

And I hope you get through the weekend okay! And I'm here if ya need anything, even just to talk. I can also be reached at 419-424-3669 since you don't want to give away the online secrets. Hehe!


Date: 2004-02-19 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joriel.livejournal.com
*Hugs back* I just hope it all goes peacefully for you!

Date: 2004-02-19 01:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spade.livejournal.com
I was going to ask you if you could post or e-mail something like this, but I was still trying to figure out what exactly is was that I wanted to know. And this, I think, has brought up more half-formed questions that I want to ponder. Can I pick your brain later? If I can figure out what it is I want ask? ^^

'Cause I've always been interested in how people think, and what they think about things, and what makes them react in certain situations the way they do. And not in the 'this chemical causes this emotion' sort of thinking, which all my psych classes seems intent on doing. It was always kinda frustrating trying to talk to someone with the textbook vocabulary they taught in school, because everyone has their own vocab for their parts and how they think, if they've really considered it at all.

And, like Jori, I'm always impressed and interested when you or Em writes out a long post. It's the way you form ideas and present them, and shows an intellectual level that's interesting and sometimes a little intimidating. ^^

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