Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 50: Dramatis Personae

(Bloom, Libra, and Lark are huddled together, whispering nervously amongst themselves.)

Bloom (High school me): I think we should ask Mom.

Lark (20s me): We can’t just go running to her every time we aren’t sure of something. How are we going to be any help to her in figuring herself out if we run back to her every time we hit a snag?

Libra (College me): But she is us. She’s the main us. If anyone needs to understand whatever’s happening, it’s her.

Lark: Okay, so what is happening? Do either of you know?

Bloom (uneasy): No…

Libra (determined): No, but we’re projections of her personality, right? So if we’re talking about it, she’s thinking about it. Why not just ask her to be here for this?

Lark (exasperated): Ugh, I hate that you’re right. Fine.

Mom (Present me): Clever girl, Libra.

Libra (beaming): Thanks Mom!

Lark (annoyed): Look Mom, we need to talk.

Mom: So I heard. What about?

Bloom: We… We feel different.

Mom: Different how?

Libra: That’s the thing — we don’t really know. We all feel different, but we’re not sure why or even how… It just feels like something’s changed.

Lark: And we’re you, so we figured you must feel different too, somehow. Did anything change for you recently?

Mom: Yes. I think I understand why I wasn’t able to summon your older sister.

Lark (excited): Wait, really!? Does that mean you’ve figured it out now? Let’s do it!

Mom: Not so fast, Lark… I can’t do it quite yet. The changes you all feel are the result of an understanding about myself — something I realized as we’ve been examining the relationships between us. Once you understand it too, then I’ll be able to summon your sister.

Libra: So you already understand what’s changed then?

Mom: Yes. Each of you represents one of my past selves — a rough compilation of who I was throughout a particular period of my life. That’s how you think of yourselves, right?

Libra: Yeah…

Mom: That was my concept of you too, originally. But you’re here with me now, so how is that possible?

Lark (confused): That’s… That’s the magic of fiction, isn’t it? We’re a framing device for you to tell this story. We don’t actually talk to you or each other in real life — we don’t really exist there.

Mom: But you do — it’s the entire reason this series started. The very first scene was a conversation about Bloom discarding a mask that we kept putting on automatically. She was there with me in those moments, even if I hadn’t named her yet.

Libra: You helped me with a mask too. So we’re you from your past, but we’re also you right now?

Mom: Sort of… For example, you’re still college me in a sense, but you’re not *just* college me. You’re with me here in the present, and you occasionally surface in my mind under the right circumstances. You — all of you — are personae.

Bloom (excited): Like the video game! I call wind magic!

Lark (exasperated): Bloom, that’s not… Anyways. If we’re personae, then that means we represent different parts of you? Different facets of your personality.

Mom: Exactly. For me, those facets are contextual — when I find myself in a certain situation, like feeling powerless or chatting with friends, then I slip into the matching persona, often unconsciously. That’s why you’re still here with me in the present.

Libra: I guess that makes sense, but then why give us different ages at all? Why not just talk to yourself?

Mom: Because at different times in my life, different personae were dominant… That is, I used that one more than the others, even though they were all there. Anchoring each persona to particular slice of my past gives me two important advantages.

Lark: It allows you to address your own past in conversation with who you were back then, for one.

Mom: Right… The other advantage is it makes the unconscious conscious. That is, rather than slipping into a persona without realizing, now I notice when it happens, because I’ve given you a name and a face and a personality. I’ve spent quality time with you. And when I notice, I can try to step outside that persona, or better yet, face the world together with that persona.

Bloom: Just like how you help me through tough emotional moments now.

Mom: Exactly right.

Bloom: So I’m a part of your personality, even now… But what part? If I don’t get wind magic, then what do I get?

Mom: For you, it’s the context that I faced most often in high school. You’re not just my high school self, full of potential and now resolved gender incongruence. You’re also The Survivor, the part of me that faces the world when the situation feels dire and yet we are powerless to change or avoid it. You come forward to face the situation and weather the consequences. High school is when I needed you the most — To keep us alive amidst parental neglect, social detachment, and unchecked testosterone.

Bloom (The Survivor): Oh! I feel different — more resilient.

Mom: And you, Libra — you’re not just my college self, eager to learn and meet new people. You’re also The Friend, the part of me that makes personal connections and maintains our friendships. You come forward when we’re bantering back and forth with someone in a familiar way, when we’re meeting someone new, or when we’re reaching out to an old friend. You emerged in college because that’s when we were first on our own socially, with new people all around us.

Libra (The Friend): I see… I feel the connection now!

Mom: Lark, it means that you’re not just me in my 20s, desperate to prove yourself and make it big. You’re also The Dreamer, the part of me that’s always looking for a way to develop and grow into something new. You come forward when we think up a new idea or when we’re starting a new project. You emerged in my 20s because that’s when we were first on our own financially, trying our hardest to secure our future.

Lark (The Dreamer): The Dreamer… I feel so much potential…

Mom: Lastly, it means that you are not just the version of me that emerged when I met the woman I would eventually marry. You’re learning to love beyond yourself for the first time, and learning to grow alongside another person. You’re not just me in my early 30s; you’re also The Companion.

The Companion: I… I am!

Lark (ecstatic): SISTER!!

Bloom (excited): Oooh, can I give her a nickname?

The Companion: Nickname? Sister? What’s going on?

Mom: Okay, everybody calm down. Let’s all take a break for now and give the newbie some time to get acclimated. Bloom, you can help with a nickname once she’s settled.

The Companion: Who are you calling “she”?

Mom: It’s a bit of a story…