[Image description: A picture of a white genderqueer person with pink hair—that is, Kerry of Plures—sitting at a computer, reading a Tumblr post by ‘megadouche80’. The post says, ‘LULZ MULTIPLICITY IS AN IMMATURE FORM OF ESCAPISM AND YOU NEED TO GROW—.’ Kerry says, ‘Cool story, bro. A bit too hard to escape being so busy.’ ]
I’ve noticed a few posts going around claiming that multiplicity is a form of escapism, and that plural systems—especially those with fictive or otherkin members—should ‘grow out of it’ and achieve self-actualisation. I take issue with this for several reasons. For one, the people claiming this assume that plurality is a choice, or that it is always an induced reaction to trauma. The idea that plurality may be natural to the systems in question just doesn’t come into play here, and that makes me raise my eyebrows a bit. There haven’t been conclusive brain scans saying that ‘omg plurality isn’t possible’. For us, describing ourselves as separate people with individual identities, interests and behaviour patterns is more convenient and logical than trying to claim that we’re all a single, extremely erratic individual, especially when each person in our system is internally consistent.
We’re actually more functional and co-operative now that we know that we’re plural. We’ve been out to ourselves, and online, as plural since the end of 2006, so we’re not exactly new to this. It’s been over five years. Over the past five years that we’ve known ourselves, we’ve learned who we are as individuals, and have taken our skills, talents and interests and have applied them to goals that are far more defined than what we had before we came out. Knowing who we are has made it much easier for us to simply live, and…claiming that this is just a silly charade for super happy fun times is condescending and insulting. You don’t live our life, so don’t claim that you know exactly why we exist, and why we deal with our existence with this philosophy.
In our case, we just don’t have the time to sit around roleplaying, as these people seem to imply we do. We’re full-time students. We work on campus. By the time we come home, we’re tired enough to just sit around on the internet and click about interesting websites. There’s just not enough time or energy for any of us to roleplay being who we are. Considering that we actually interact with very few people as individuals, except on the internet (and with each other within headspace), it doesn’t make sense to claim that we devote our entire existence to roleplaying and having Super Happy Fun Tiemz being plural. And right now? Noël and I are really the main ones spending time actively talking to people on the internet, while others tend to be around more when we’re dealing with offline stuff, or prefer to talk to people at front within headspace without getting involved in some activities.
We’re simply a co-operative group of people who happens to share brainspace. It’s not a flaw; it’s not a pathology; it’s not something we want cured. It just is. For us, our plurality is a form of neurological variance. The fact that it is variant doesn’t mean that it’s a problem for us.
Even for those systems who have originated through trauma, their plurality doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily using it to escape obligations. Many trauma-based systems have worked out ways in which system-members can co-operate and help each other with daily life tasks or hard situations where the main frontrunner would have significant difficulty coping.
Do some systems have issues? Yes. Are there problems within the multiple/plural community? Yes. Does that mean that plurality itself is necessarily the problem? No. That’s like claiming that because there are Black criminals, the entire Black community is toxic. Or that because there are a few women that have poorly regulated responses to upsetting situations, the entire population of women is emotionally unstable. It’s stereotyping, not reality.
You can be plural and responsible. You can be nonplural and irresponsible. Plurality, responsibility, fictivity and maturity are not mutually exclusive.
~Kerry, for Plures House