States of Being

Guest article by members of Netdancer

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A while back, we wrote this for non-multiples interested in multiplicity.

This document is an attempt to clarify some things about multiplicity that are very important. A lot of this information is drawn from our personal experiences, some things may be drawn from knowledge of how the psyche works in the human organism, and if we draw on any 'official' information or printed materials we'll provide sources. This is probably an ongoing work that will change and evolve over time. The target audience for this is nonmultiples or people just exploring the fact that they may be multiple. I/we would like to note that we're going to use 'Collective' to mean 'A body containing more then one person.'

The first thing we'd like to talk about is Individuality. In some Collectives there are very sharp dividing lines between people, and the experience of one person is not the experience of all. In some Collectives, there are fuzzier lines, with a lot of co-awareness and shared input. We are the 'sharp dividing line' type, so most of our 'voice of experience' will be about that. In us, people are totally separate and individual. One of the problems we've observed that people who aren't multiple face is this awareness that one body can contain many people. The responses I've seen vary from deciding that all the separate people are just 'fragments', somehow less then the Birthperson to flat-out refusal to accept that the Others in a Collective exist.

It is terribly painful and invalidating to be told that you are not a real person, or to see by the actions of others that they just cannot grasp the fact that each individual is a different person. Imagine a room, filled with people. All those people are separate. If I call for an internal gathering to talk about something, that is exactly what I'd see. We are separate, and as individuals we are whole in and of ourselves, with all that being a person involves. Please treat each person in any Collective you know as a individual person first and as part of a multiple system second. It matters very much, sometimes to the point that a 'dark' or disruptive person will stop being so at least long enough to talk if their individuality is accepted and they are asked what the problem is and what they need and what they want.

Another consideration is that if someone tells you that they are something, laughing at them or ignoring them or being rude enough to tell them that they aren't is also very invalidating. If someone says they are eight years old, treat them as a child. If someone tells you they are a vampire, or an elf, or a dragon or a demon, they are telling you that because that -is- what they are inside their Paradigm. They're trusting you with the information.

The next thing is a lot trickier. Inner Worlds. Some Collectives have them, in great and glorious detail. Some have a small space, like a house or cave system. Some have no Inner World at all. All those things are valid. So someone's Inner World could literally span worlds, with cities and wilderness. Or it could just be a 'feeling inside' that people are there, or anything in between. Sometimes an Inner World will have laws that function there, even if those laws contradict what is known and accepted in the Outside World as scientific fact. Remember, we are dealing with the mind and soul here, and both are infinitely malleable. So if our Inner World is a place where magic is real and people can fly if they have the right powers and you just might meet a vampire, that's what things are like for us. It isn't a role-playing game or a fantasy, not a made up place at all. That world is as real as the one you see and touch and interact with every day.

Sometimes events in the Inner World can affect what goes on in the outside world. If there is a death in the Collective, or some sort of strife and turmoil, it is possible that it will show in how the body the Collective shares responds. There might be bad dreams, flashbacks, bad headaches, illness. Sometimes when things are bad Inside, the Collective just wants to hide until things get better. This is not intended to be an insult to outside people, nor are they faking what's going on with them or exaggerating what's going on. It is possible that people outside could help with this sort of thing by helping make the Collective feel safe and protected. For us, making the environment calm and putting on music and feeding us tea and offering contact would all help. We might be unable to accept contact, but knowing it was offered helps anyhow. Also events in the outside world can impact on a Collective's Inner World, causing internal disturbance. If the Collective you know tells you things are going on Inside, take them at their word.

It can be very tricky to have a relationship with a multiple system. There are a number of people involved on that side of the equation, and what is true of one may not be true of everyone. It is quite possible to have one person in a Collective as a lover while the others are indifferent to you or even hostile to you. It is possible to have a situation where everyone in a Collective wants to pair-bond with you or at least be friendly. The number and shades of nuances and situations are as infinite as the number of mood-states a person can have. Communication is a key element for success in this kind of thing. Talk a lot. Ask questions if the Collective is comfortable with that. Tell them how you feel. If you're unhappy with things, talk it out. In a way, a relationship with a multiple is a lot like a poly relationship and has many of the same considerations about the need for rules and an understanding of where the boundaries are.

I/we suppose what we wanted most to say is: We are real. We are separate people and deserve to be treated as such. Every one of us has wants and needs, hopes and fears, dreams and nightmares. We have a world Inside us, a place that is as real to us as your home is to you. We can't just ignore that world blithely and only pay attention to the mundane affairs of day to day life. It is part of us. It is as real as we are. This is no game, no charade, this is life as we live it and as we understand it. Sometimes life is painful. Sometimes it if filled with joy. Being a Collective entity complicates things a little, but not so much that we can't want to love and be loved. Speaking for ourselves, we want friends, we want lovers, we want work that we can do that interests a majority of us. Collectively, we're going into the future with whoever wants to walk that way with us.

Netdancer Collective

Multiple Personality and "inner" worlds

Click here to read about the concept of inner/other worlds, not just in multiple systems
More on worlds from Pagmies collective
More on personal worlds and gateway systems from Pagmies collective
Homeland Pagmies describe their world

Worldbuilding Links

Fantasy WorldBuilding Questions These are good for any type of world, not just fantasy literature types. Go through and try to find the answers to each of these questions. They may help you create a world, or see more clearly a world you already have.

Constructed Worlds at Wikibooks

Insights and guidelines to the art of world creation This was originally for designing RPGs, but has many pages of useful information.

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