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Stranger in a Strange Land

The label of multiplicity does not sit well on me. It is like wearing someone else's clothing. It fits, and yet it doesn't feel right. I realise I live in a world that needs labels and definitions, so I take this label and adjust it to encompass what it is I am.

From the outside I appear to fit within the paradigm of multiplicity. Multiplicity is simply the existence of more than one within a body, and therefore it would seem that we are indeed multiple. There are many that step forward, travelling from Idia to interact with this world. But that is the issue that has brought me to write this. We of Idia do not belong to the Earthen World. We are but visitors to these lands.

There was a time when we hated using the term 'multiple' to describe ourselves. That was a time of multiplicity as a disorder, a time when it was believed to be merely one person split into many by some trauma. It was a time when most would look at multiplicity as something that needed fixed; they would look upon it with shock and horror and bemoan its existence. This was not the definition I wanted, nor was it the label for who we were.

Recently there has been a movement away from such definitions, a move towards what many are calling empowered multiplicity, and some are now calling plurality. For these multiplicity is simply a manner of being, the plurality of being. It is not saying that multiples are perfect or superior, but just another form of existence, and one for which there is nothing to feel shame about. It is because of this movement that we are now able to use the term 'multiplicity' with cringing at the association of disorders and victimhood.

We feel no shame in our existence, and even though we wonder at the correctness of the term 'multiple' in relation to us, it is one we use with a sense of pride and community. This is not about us distancing ourselves from the world of multiplicity, or deeming it inferior. It is simply ourselves, defining our reality is greater terms, and maybe offering others another perspective to consider.

The Shire is a community that lives within the valleyed lands of Idia. We have lived there for generations, stretching back in time. Little has changed on those lands over the years, and it probably would have remained the same had not the gateway to the Earthen World become open, and a link established between both worlds. It is from this occurrence, the activation of the gateway, that our life of multiplicity started.

Once the gateway became functional we were able to travel to the Earthen World, and found our appearance there was achieved by using the body of a child who had been traumatised to the point of death. We continued her life for her, developing it for ourselves. But in Idia life also continued, our separate lives weaving their way through time.

But the opening of the gateway sent waves of distress and disaster through Idia though, causing much dishevel for a while. But still life existed, in many ways remaining as it always had been. In the Earthen World we learnt to adjust, and it soon became clear that our survival there was based in subterfuge and adaptation.

The Earthen World, and especially the family in which we found ourselves living, did not value difference. It was only the idea of conformity that held weight in the Earthen World. So for years we learnt to conform, to hide away our truth. Even when we first started to identify as multiple we hid our own reality, trying once again to conform. Finally we are giving up on the idea of conformity, and learning to express our true selves. This is where this article comes from, a way to show our reality, to bring out into the open our beliefs about our existence.

We feel our existence in the Earthen World is an accident, the workings of Fate conspiring to make this happen. In many ways it is a mistake. We were never meant to be in this world. In a way it has been a serendipitous event, for it has allowed us to experience both worlds and find pleasure in both lives. But yet no matter how long we spend in the Earthen World we still feel foreign here. We are Idian, not Earthen.

I know that for many this is seen as a fantasy, an escape from the pain of our past. Like a child that wishes they were switched at birth and their real parents will return one day. I doubt I could convince anyone of the reality of our Idian life, and therefore will not bother trying. But know for us it is real, it is not an escape or a distancing. We totally accept the reality of our Earthen life. We know it happened to us and we acknowledge its effect on our lives. We are not hiding in s fantasy world, and we are still in touch with reality. But for us our reality includes the Lands of Idia and the lives we live there.

Because the Earthen part of this dual life uses only one body we exist here as multiple, experiencing the Earthen World from that framework. And yet there is a difference, an aspect that is hard to define. Since our existence in the Earthen World takes the image of multiplicity, we understand and can relate to many of the issues of multiplicity. Indeed many of those issues are ones we share. But there are others, that simply don't fit into our lives, although we understand them.

For instance, the ever-controversial issue of integration. Even if a multiple rejects the idea of integration it is an issue that has to be thought of, that is usually carefully considered before rejection. But for us there is no way to integrate; it isn't even a possibility that we chose to reject. It would be like someone turning up in a small village and saying that all its citizens need to suddenly cease to exist, that there was some mistake and they should be just one person. The idea is laughable, and yet because no one other than ourselves can see Idia, it is deemed appropriate. We were never meant to be one. We were actually probably never meant to be multiple.

Another issue that comes up a lot within the multiple communities is that of co-consciousness; the sharing of identities with others in your system. The ability to know their actions, their thoughts and their memories. Once again we seem faced with the same problem. How is it possible to know such things from someone else? Would I expect to know what my neighbour in this Earthen World knows? It isn't even a possibility, no one says I should have that kind of telepathy to be healthy. But it seems for multiples it is an option and for many a goal.

We might have a similar goal, one where we can share the information when need to know about our lives. This is achieved through communication, not through the sharing of thoughts. By setting up meetings and passing knowledge we are able to develop a cohesive view of our life in the Earthen World. People that experience it are still separate, they are still able to live their individual lives but maintain an overall view of a life that has to be shared by many. Hence major life decisions are taken to the community, and less significant decisions are left to the individual. It is totally acceptable for one of us to decide to go away for the weekend to visit friends, but it is no longer acceptable for just one person in this system to decide to move the body to the other side of the world.

Such issues and their lack of relevance to the Shire seems to separate us from the image of multiplicity. The knowledge that we do not face the same issues tells us that we aren't multiple in the known sense of the word. I do not know what we are, other than visitors that use this body as an interface. We are not multiple, we are just us. We have to live as one, for the fates have arranged that. But we are not people inside one mind, we are not split from a whole, we are not many souls inhabiting one body. We believe instead that we are separate individuals born in another world, using this body to interact with the Earthen World. No one speaks in my mind, no one shares my body. I am a single individual, sharing the lands of Idia with others, and these others also have an interaction with the Earthen World through this one body.

Yet it is only the multiple community that seems to be able to accept us. Or at least some members of the multiple community. Others look at us as if we are trying to steal away their reality, as if to say we are different from them is to deny their truth. This is not the case; I am simply trying to acknowledge my truth whilst acknowledging and accepting the truths of others.

There is no one way to be, no right way to exist. My existence may seem strange, unbelievable, but to acknowledge that it is for me reality does not take away from your own. Whilst others seem to fear my reality, they deem me delusional, they say I am holding false beliefs and need to accept the truth. Multiplicity does not exclude people from being closed-minded; some can only see reality in one frame of being. And when you step outside of that, you risk your reality being denied. To those that will listen, I share my story, my life, and myself. To those that don't listen, I have learned that it is pointless to try to convince them.