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
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.