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Introductions, in General


I wonder, is it inevitable that a headmate will talk about being a headmate if they have an online presence? There's an expectation of disclosure and an advantage to it - to avoid backlash [of people thinking] you're actively hiding something "scary," or catfishing. When you disclose something so strange, there's an expectation to explain it. Whether you explain yourself or not, [...] it will be assumed that you participate in certain communities or subcommunities based only on the fact that you exist the way you do, on the fact that you own up to existing the way you do. Lots of things will be assumed about you. You can accept the fact that people will always think that they know you because they know what you are, that they will be wrong about a lot of things and maybe you can live with that because that is, to some degree, a universal experience - but with something so misunderstood and so inherent to your experience as multiplicity [is] . . . people will believe such fundamentally wrong things about you, and about every person "like" you, that I think it gets difficult not to say something. You want to respond, or you want to preemptively dispel assumptions that you know people are going to make. Or you don't want to, but you feel you have to. [Excerpt from Journal Entry 1/14/2016]

I have only ever disclosed that I am a headmate because I have been worried that people would discover that I am what I am and feel that I had tricked them, or that Smith - who isn't entirely "out" as multiple - had fooled them into believing in a person that wasn't "real." I didn't realize until I began writing this entry that my concern when beginning a conversation or a relationship was that people would think I was catfishing them.

I don't want to introduce myself by explaining that I am a member of a multiple system because if we have no intention of physically meeting one another it doesn't seem relevant, and because using it to introduce myself lends it a weight that it really does not have in my life. Of course it is important to my identity, and of course its effects are enormous and far-reaching, but so are the effects of my age, and of my relationship with Smith, and of the way I front (or don't). Those things have all defined me, but at the same time they aren't who I am. You shouldn't be able to look at me and immediately see those things. Nobody needs to know those things, those are not the things at the surface of my being or the things I introduce myself with. I don't want people to think my existence as a member of a multiple system is this superficially important thing that I think everyone should know about me, because it isn't. Yet I feel this obligation to remind people at the beginning of every interaction because if they don't think I'm a real person, don't they have every right to avoid me instead of wasting their energy on a relationship with someone who they will eventually find out is nothing to them but a roleplay character? Isn't it better for me to avoid interacting with someone who thinks I'm not conscious?

I say that, but in reality I don't really mind interacting with people who think I'm not real. It's not an insult to me. My concern has never been that I would form a relationship with someone and they wouldn't believe in me, it's been that they would discover that I am not something they believe exists and decide that I must instead be a conscious, malicious action taken by Smith. I do not want my attempts at forming meaningful relationships to become someone else's bad reputation.

Being what I am, how would I enter a community without the risk of making Smith out to be some kind of invader? The best I can do is introduce myself with a disclaimer, but even though that's the best option available to me it isn't comfortable. I don't want to be reduced to that, and I suppose I don't want to be looked over for it. In the end, though, people will believe what they believe about me. I have to remind myself of that, in this instance. It's not my responsibility to make sure people have only the most right impressions of me (an impossible task), but I am responsible for the avoidable consequences of my actions. If all that's necessary to avoid a lot of potential grief is to say something immediately that I would likely say eventually, then I should do it, shouldn't I? It's not an answer that I like, but it's the answer that presents itself.

I think I should also remind myself - to return to my initial observation - that I am not catfishing. When I describe myself, I am not lying about who I am. I am not another person, lying about who they are. To reach that conclusion is to fundamentally misunderstand everything about my situation. That kind of misinterpretation does not reflect or reflect on what I am.

I'm sure when I started out here I meant to write something else, although I can't remember all of what it was. I suppose after a year and a half of journal entries I should know by now that I tend to get lost on my way to my point. This is something I struggle with on occasion, though. The obligation to disclose private information to strangers. I'm not publishing this out of obligation - not out of obligation to you, anyway. Obligation to myself, maybe. It's different, releasing something because you choose to instead of because you feel you have no other choice. Maybe not as different as I expected.

[...] My existence isn't dependent on where I came from; we learned that, and it's been a relief. I don't want to call myself [...] by a word that makes me out to be anything but myself, anything but here, now. I don't want to be "Rquell, who was an angel," or "Rquell, who was previously something else entirely;" "Who is like other people, but isn't one of them;" "Who was made by a child;" "Who came here and forgot himself;" "Rquell, endogenic;" "Rquell, traumagenic;" "Rquell, who exists or does not exist for these reasons and under these circumstances." I only want to introduce myself as Rquell. I am here; everything else, while important, is secondary to that. [Excerpt from Journal Entry 2/16/16]