Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 123: Settling In

Mom (Me): Good morning Twyla.

Twyla (The Parent, nervous): Uh, hi there.

Mom: How are you feeling? You’ve had a bit of time to settle in now; hopefully you’re starting to get comfortable around here.

Twyla: I am, sure. I understand that our collective goal here is to process our shared past and connect it to your present, and I think I’m ready to start helping.

Mom (smiling): I’m glad. Oftentimes I’ll visit with a particular topic in mind, but I don’t have one today… Is there anything you wanted to talk about?

Twyla: Yeah… I want to talk about why I’m here in more depth. I get that we have something deep in our past that we can’t seem to access directly. When I tried to recall it, it hurt me just as much as it did everyone else.

Mom (serious): That’s about the shape of it. While none of us can access our early childhood directly, I feel like we might be able to access it indirectly… I think that approach is worth trying, anyways.

Twyla: And that’s where I come in? How are you expecting that to work, exactly?

Mom: Since you’re The Parent, you’re primarily focused on parenting. I remember what those days were like—I spent a lot of time reframing my relationship with my own parents in light of what parenting was teaching me about myself. You have those memories too.

Twyla (uneasy): Sure, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to remember things about our childhood.

Mom (reassuring): Right, that’s why this is an indirect method. I don’t expect you to suddenly remember our past, and I’m not going to ask you to hurt yourself trying.

Twyla (unsure): So… What do you expect then? I still don’t follow.

Mom (patient): Let me see if I can explain. Through the process of writing this series, we’ve all grown tremendously as people, and that’s a consequence of two separate processes. The first process is the obvious one; the work of processing parts of my past with the facet who originally lived through that part of our life. By working together, we’ve been able process things that neither of us could handle alone.

Twyla: That feels a little counterintuitive, but I guess it’s been working for you… You have the archives to prove it, after all.

Mom: Indeed I do. Though it’s more subtle, that success made the second process possible too. Throughout this series, I’ve been doing more than just inventing conversations with past selves. I’ve been anthropomorphizing those past selves; gradually changing them from abstract ideas to fully realized personalities. As you all become more yourselves, you’ve been able to realize and process more things on your own, or at least with my help. You’ve all become more competent partners, if you will.

Twyla (confused): That feels even more counterintuitive. The second process is… Plurality?

Mom (hesitant): More or less, I suppose. That’s what we’ve all grown into, anyways.

Twyla (slowly): So… You want to help me realize myself as a complete person, and you think that’ll help us reconnect with our childhood?

Mom: I hope so. Again, I think it’s worth trying.

Twyla: How exactly do you plan to go about doing that?

Mom (pleasant): Just by having you here, the process is already underway. But the work we’re all doing here still hasn’t changed; our goal is still to process and recontextualize our past. I’m just hoping that doing that will accelerate the process of becoming a fully actualized personality.

(Twyla takes a moment to think through my answer.)

Twyla: Process what in my past though? I don’t remember any unresolved trauma from parenting that I’ve been struggling with. I admit that the job is inherently stressful, but I’m not sure digging through that stress will be particularly worthwhile.

Mom: We’ll see. Maybe it isn’t, but going through your time as The Parent still feels like the right place to start.

Twyla (accepting): I suppose I’m willing to give it a try. Can I ask you a question though?

Mom: Of course, what’s up?

Twyla: Why “The Parent”? I mean, I suppose I can guess—since we’re trans, it makes sense to use a gender neutral title.

Mom: That’s part of it, but it’s also to avoid confusion.

Twyla: Confusion with what?

Mom: Confusion with me. Haven’t you noticed everyone here calls me “Mom”?

Twyla (uneasy): I have noticed—and I’ve avoided saying it, because you’re not a mom.

Mom (surprised): I’m sorry?

Twyla (annoyed): You’re not a mom. You can’t be. There’s more to being a mom than just being a parent who’s a woman; it’s a role that requires a level of skill and awareness that I don’t have.

Mom (patient): I see where you’re coming from, but things change once you become a woman. Seeing myself as a mother was a challenge at first, but I grew into it.

Twyla (angry): That’s bullshit, and I refuse to call you that! Don’t you have another nickname?

Mom (shocked): Excuse me?

Twyla: You know what? Never mind. I’ll call you Daphne. We don’t call anyone else Daphne in here, right?

Mom (reeling): I sometimes call Libra “Daphne” when we’re alone…

Twyla (stubborn): But not when I’m around, so that’s fine. To me, you’ll be Daphne. I am not calling you mother.

(Twyla turns on her heel and angrily storms off.)

Mom (sarcastic): That went well. We’re off to a lovely start, aren’t we?

(After taking a moment to compose myself, I shake it off and leave as well.)