Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 96: Beside Myself

Aura (The Professional): Hey Mom.

Mom (Me): Good morning Aura. What’s on your mind today?

Aura: You are. Or rather, this place is.

Mom: What about it?

Aura: You’ve said several times that it’s a fictional representation of what’s going on in your head, right?

Mom: Right. Things have been tweaked in order to present things more effectively, and I’ve added a sort of narrative arc to my past in order to tell a better story, but that narrative is just as much an attempt to add a sense of meaning to my life.

Aura: So it’s an accurate representation, then?

Mom: As accurate as I can make it. This story is also so much therapeutic journaling for me. It would lose it’s effectiveness if it didn’t align closely to my self-concept.

Aura: I guess that’s the thing that’s been bothering me lately. You claim this series represents you, but you also insist you aren’t plural — it feels like you’re saying we don’t exist.

Mom (surprised): Whoa, what? You exist in a sense, of course you do, but I’m not plural. I explained this back in Scene 39. None of you have your own voices in my head; it’s just emotional impressions. I get a burst of feeling, or I have a familiar thought, or I find myself thinking in a mindset I recognize from my past. We don’t have discussions in my head like we do in this story.

Aura: Yes, I understand we’re part of you, and that we’re not wholly separate personalities. There’s no gap between what we know or remember like there is with some plural systems. But we’re still independent entities.

Mom (skeptical): Are you? The voice you’re speaking with in this scene; it’s my voice. I’m the only one with executive authority here — the ability to speak or make decisions for us. That’s why I can reshape the world at will and teleport wherever I choose and you can’t. Without this fictive layer here, I might get a gut feeling or something, but it’s not a complete thought that I can put directly onto the page.

Aura (insistent): And that gut feeling; that’s something you’ve decided to have, then? That was a conscious choice of yours, to feel that?

Mom: Of course not, gut feelings aren’t conscious choices by definition. You know that.

Aura: I do, but do you? You’re insisting that your executive authority is what makes you… Well, you. Your deliberate, conscious decisions. Those gut feelings you have — the urges you attribute to us kids, they aren’t coming from your conscious mind. They’re not coming from you.

Mom (unsure): What? They have to be; we all make up one cohesive identity. We’re one person.

Aura: One *system*, maybe, since I’m clearly separate from you. I’m sending you messages that didn’t originate in your conscious mind, just like my sisters do. I may not front, but I’m still independent.

Mom: Hang on then, what makes that any different from any other person who gets a gut feeling or acts on a hunch? Lots of people describe those experiences and don’t claim to be plural.

Aura (frustrated): I don’t know that it is different! We both agree that there are thoughts that come from me and a way of thinking that’s distinctly *mine*, don’t we?

Mom (charged): That I’ve *decided* is yours; that I *attribute* to you. Before *Family of Me* I didn’t think that way; all of those thoughts were just one big muddled mess.

Aura: Again, what’s the difference? You still didn’t decide to have those thoughts. You may have chosen to put a group of similar thoughts into a mental box and name it Aura, but that doesn’t give you conscious control over them. You can’t get rid of them either… We talked at length about how you can’t cut parts of yourself away like that, and not for lack of trying.

Mom (shocked): I did… I did say that.

Aura: And you’re clearly better off for it. You just described those urges as a muddled mess — bringing us into existence is what gave you the ability to organize and process them effectively.

Mom (uneasy): That’s true, but… Plurality, really? We only have one member who fronts, and we don’t have any amnesiac barriers that I’m aware of…

Aura (assertive): What, you think you’re not plural enough? As a trans woman, you should know better than that. Does anthropomorphizing certain groups of thoughts as your various daughters help you or not?

Mom: It helps… It helps tremendously. It’s just like you said — from the very first scene, structuring my mind in this way has allowed me to process things so much more quickly and completely than I ever could before.

Aura: So what are you waiting for?

Mom (hesitant): I’m… It still seems unfair or appropriative to take the label of plural when my experience differs so much from that of other plural systems. I just used the term “my,” for example — not “we.” Referring to myself as a singular entity just feels right.

Aura: Maybe you haven’t found the right language yet. Isn’t there a term for systems that aren’t as disparately partitioned; for other personalities that feel more like parts or aspects of a person rather than wholly separate people?

Mom: Yes… Median plural. Instead of calling those different parts “headmates,” they’re “facets.”

Aura: So I’m one of your facets. That feels right, doesn’t it? The term “persona” was getting to be kind of clunky anyways.

Mom (concerned): I suppose it would be easier to refer to this place as my headspace rather than vaguely referring to it as “this place,” too. But I still feel like I’m in charge here, so to speak. I’m still your mother. I still use “I” to talk about myself and expect people to address me directly rather than talking to my facets by name.

Aura (agreeable): I think that’s a median plural thing too; no worries there. Besides, you’re not saying people can’t talk *about* us, are you?

Mom: No, it would feel fine for someone to talk about you by name, as long as they aren’t expecting you to answer back.

Aura: That feels fair, given the circumstances.

Mom (resigned): Okay. Then… I guess that’s it. I’m median plural. Whether I got here by choice or not doesn’t matter, because it describes me accurately and it helps me to be a better person.

Aura (smiling): That wasn’t so bad, was it? Congrats Mom.

Mom: Thanks… I’d like some time to process this. Do you think you could pass the news on to your sisters?

Aura: Of course. Would you like a hug before I go?

Mom: Yes, actually. Yes I would.

(Aura steps forward and wraps me in her arms. I squeeze my daughter hard as she presses close to me and rubs my back gently. After a moment we release each other and Aura leaves to deliver her news while I sit in the feeling of revealing a part of myself I barely realized was there.)