Dec. 9th, 2012

houseofchimeras: (Z - Harpy and Owl)
Date First Written: December 2012

When you get any group of people together - standards and ways of working together start forming. Agreed upon ways of living and working around each other and outside the group even are some aspects of rules. Sometimes they come in the form of unspoken agreements all the way to laid out rules and regulations that are more or less set in stone for the group to adhere to. Multiple systems are no different really. In fact, the only real and major difference is that rules and agreements within a system involves the same body rather then say a house, apartment, or work space. For a multiple system, the act of sharing a body can easily make things more complicated in a number of ways. As a multiple system we have had to learn to work together and set up understood ways of how we should go about things as well as things to avoid in our actions.

Its not easy being a system. In our earlier years there was a lot of back and forth issues. Each of us had our own ideas and we did not know how to work together. It didn’t help that throughout much of early life and into our early teens we remained in denial about being multiple and tried to dismiss the idea for as long as we could. So early on we had no rules set down and everything was really chaotic for us. As we have gotten older our system cooperation has grown. It had too. We had to learn how to work together and find out what worked for us. It was also not easy due to us being so different causing us to sometimes butt heads at times early on. It took us time to get ourselves into order.

In our own system, we work as a pure democracy and so we go by majority consensus of things. Each of our opinions concerns are weighed equally together and we try and go with the wishes of as many of us as we can. None of us are more important than anyone else. We are equal as far as we are concerned. We can’t always get what we want individually or when we want them, but we all have to do what will be best for everyone. It might take time and some fair lot of compromise, but we try and make it work for the best of all of us and to listen to each others concerns to the best we can. As part of our system organization we try and balance around making everyone one of us in on our system as happy as possible without inhibiting or hurting anyone one in our system. We also have to keep in mind always that we have to continue to be able to stay in the closet to people outside our system.

In our system at least, we’ve yet to ever formally sit down and write out any formal rules for in our system. This is mostly due to all us knowing the jest of the rules overall without it ever having to be exact and to the point. We have worked on and agreed upon these rules over the years and so nowadays we know  these stances without question. This is because many of our system rules and procedures are mostly expansions upon common place house rules or rather common sense ideas in our mind. We consider our body simply another place where we live just in a much more literal and very important living space since.  In fact, we have a running in-system joke that the bulk of our rules can be summed up by that poster “Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.” (You can tell we are education majors can’t you?) The joke isn’t fully accurate but idea of simple phrases much expanded upon is still there. A strong sense of working together (as a functional multiple system) as best we can and trying to enjoy what we have (being a natural multiple system). Compromise in one hand, and taking what cards we are dealt in the other. Through these two things we have come to be able to work as a system and from that be able to be a family. Life long friends. Siblings. Headmates.

In our system, we try to have a formal meeting every so often. We often refer to them as Council. We can easy all talk to one another through our mental network even if we are in completely different areas of our innerworld, but it is nice for us to come together in one spot in our innerworld for a while specifically to talk about matters and relax around in company of the whole system. During this meeting we might catch-up on current issues and affirm our agreement on what we are going to do about it, and to talk about new issues and discus what stances we should take. These meetings also allow for us to ‘bond’ and catch-up emotionally with each other. They allow us to specially all get together and enjoy each others company.
We only have one body and so we only have a finite amount of time in the day to do any thing. We have only so much time to do anything any given day, and can’t be in more then one place at once to boot. We only have one body and so we can only have so much time working at our job(s) too. Yet, each of us very well often have different ideas on what to do with our time and money. While fronting we have things we both need to get done and want to get done. From this, we not only have to manage and agree upon how we will manage our time while we our fronting between us but also how we will manage our own time to ourselves. What each of us need/want to do as well as what we individually want to use that time for.

First and foremost we have our responsibilities - our work, our university classes, our chores in our home, our bills, and so on. These responsibilities are ingrained into our system rules. We have to function in society together and that goes above and beyond our individual rights and wants. We have outward and everyday responsibilities that we have to deal with, no second questions or guessing about it. This is one of our strongest ad oldest rules that we hold to. We take care of our system overall first and insure our lives together. This fact of our system rules holds strong that all of us have to keep and abide by responsibilities.

After our responsibilities, we have our free time and some extra income which we have to take everyone into consideration. With us, when it comes to buying things any one of us, what we do is similar to what any group of people might do. So much of our money that doesn’t go to bills or needed goods we put into savings but we allow us some ‘spending money.’ In our system rules, we stand by that if we want something we have to work for it rather the just take but not give something in return. If one of us wants something, they have to put forth the effort to earn it in time - by fronting while at work or what not as well as waiting patiently in consideration for each others wants and also what it is exactly they want to begin with. Some times some of us have to wait for some time to save up money for something any one of us want, and some times there are things any of us can never buy or get due to any number of circumstances - but what we have set up now nonetheless seems to work out for us for the best.

One very important thing in our system is something we have to refer as ‘keeping the mask.’ That is, to not let it slip that we are multiple either involuntarily (an accident) by not paying attention to what we say or how we act, nor to not to ever intentionally come out to someone as being multiple to someone without express agreement and foreknowledge to everyone in the system. We have agree on who we are going to be out or not out too. This rule at its very heart also demands that we be able to pass as singlet to people who are not in the know. We have to be able to function in society, and multiplicity is not something that is readily accepted among the majority as it is seen as a abnormal or only linked to the disorder, dissociative identity disorder. That means we all have answer to our body’s name and physical gender whether we like it or not. That also means we have to have ’our story straight’ in front of people we are in the closet too. Meaning, we all have to answer the same questions with the same answers over and over again. For example, one of us can’t answer the question of what our favorite style of music is, only to have another in our system contradict this answer right afterward. To prevent this, as part of our ‘mask’ we have agreed upon ’facts’ about us that are made up of what each of us actually thinks but in a general ‘soup’ if we can get away with it. For example, each of us in our system are generally fairly neopagan in our beliefs though a few of us are much more agnostic or atheistic; and so what we present ourselves as outwardly is a general or eclectic pagan with a lot of skeptical leanings. This compromise both allows all of us the most freedom in how we interact with people but it also acts as a net to catch any slips of the tongue any of us might make. We follow this along other topics -that ‘we’ are just genderqueer, that ‘we’ are asexual/pansexual, saying that ‘we’ just love all kinds of music, saying that we are just a jack of all trades, master of none when it comes to as much as we can. To say that ‘we’ like a lot of different things. This way of doing things seems to be the best way we can come to be able to keep ‘our mask’ and be able to pretend to be singlet yet be as open about our thoughts and interest to others as possible.

Tolerance and acceptance is another ‘simple’ concept which goes a long way in our system. It is a big pillar in our system rules due to our such big differences. Each of us are very different people and so we can (and once did, plus still at times do) clash. So tolerance and acceptance is a strong rule for us. Each of us have our differences between us and among us. So tolerance and acceptance are high on our property. As part of functioning, we have to work together and we can’t work together if we always argued or butted heads over differing opinions and views. Each of us have to accept that we do not necessarily always agree on anything and everything, and we should never feel forced to change others views onto ours. We have to learn to live with out diversity and so that is what we strive to do and continue to work toward within our system.

So really, like any group of people we have our rules and agreements, its just that ours are a bit different and internally complex. They aren’t set in stone on paper but they are still ingrained in our minds. Our rules as a system are ways that we have come to be able to function better, it allows us to know what is excepted from all of us and allows us to know to act and react to the world around us as a cohesive group rather then all of us trying to pull in different directions but never get anywhere. Our rules give us solidarity, and given we are sharing a single body, that is very important to us indeed. 

- Z

July 2014

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