They’re just numbers for most folks. But for ‘me’ they are bits and pieces as well, stuck in certain times and places. As best I can tell, they were supposed to be transitory alters to act as a bridge between one major “DID system (complete with ‘host’)” to another ‘newer’ one that was being built. It takes time to build another, and you don’t know what you’re fixing to go up against in your new environment. So like an old kit bag, we’d ‘pack’ the old one up from the environment we were leaving, and build another later on suited for the new environment we’d be in – hopefully for an extended period of time. Sometimes it’d work out. Other times it wouldn’t.
But either way sometimes we’d have to build an ‘alter’ which could function in ‘two worlds’, maybe more. Only after we’d arrived at our new (and hopefully permanent) environment would we look around and build a system to match. Tada! Brand new alter, host, and ‘system’.
It is by looking across life can I see the ‘stitching’ of events and places and the resultant hosts (and their systems) that were developed to meet those new and sometimes challenging environments. These ‘stitches’ it appears, were sometimes in the form of alters – ones to handle the transition from one system to another. Imagine patches of cloth. Imagine putting two together. You use one alter – one thread – to stitch the two. So we often did: when we were switching societies, cultures, groups of friends; going from military life to civilian world was often such a transition (and sometimes it lay just outside the door; all the more reason for rapid change). For some a more or less ‘permanent’ personality was made – a bit more than a persona, a bit less than a person.
But a flexible alter that wasn’t ‘locked’ into a single state was needed to handle the whole. A host. But hosts break down. They can become unsuited to the environment – or their environment changes. Maybe in a day, maybe in a year. Or, as we were, yanked from one to another, sometimes within just a few hours. From where we lived to where we lived NOW – and that was subject to change.
So we shut them down. We do whatever we think is needed in order to ensure the overall security of the system and body as a whole. And sometimes that means scrapping the old and in with the new. One door would open and another clang shut – on an alter, perhaps, or a whole host of them. A ‘system’ would collapse. And ‘we’ needed someone to hang around, a manager of the house, so to speak, while we went through this ‘change’ – an entire system being scrapped at the back of my head, and then ‘bang!’ – snatch the underpinnings from under one host and give birth to another instead. Boy, how we used to make their heads spin . . .
In order to imagine it, I suppose you’d have to understand it, and here’s the best I can do. Imagine yourself surrounded by four cultures, maybe more. You have the ‘family’ sub-culture – and perhaps a sub-culture within that (inside/outside immediate family members); you’ve got this ‘military’ thing – whang, bang! – you open up the door and you are in a military environment – Cold War, Europe, on a small army base overseas – then having to change again when you walk out the main gates – walking through some town, making like you’re one of them . . . the Germans always said I’d make a good German . . . I had the looks, to boot . . .
What do you do? Especially an abused preteen who knows waayyy too much about the wrong things, and not enough about some things, too – a father absent more than home, and when he’s home he’s really not there; a mom who scorns him, thrashes him within an inch of his life, who’s the scorn of his mom’s rejection (and rejection of all things male, too) – thrust into these societies without support, just knowledge, and told: Learn to adapt, make friends; do what they do . . . with no idea how. Schools switching more than seasons, friendless walking a strange land . . .
Then yanked suddenly from that and dropped into south Augusta (Georgia, that is) – not far from the road where “Tobacco Road” lays (the real one, the one in the novel) – only a poorer story. A really rural (and redneck) area, away from everything – the ‘military’ is gone, the base is gone; he’s living on civilian land with these folks he grew up with, but they have either left or changed. Everything had changed.
That’s what a temporary alter is supposed to do: take things in stride, handling them, take a sharp view; step back and observe, decide what to do – (“How to become” I hear in my head) – and make a new system suitable for this place because we’re gonna be here a long time – possibly. (or that’s what our parents told us) –
The fact is, we were rerooted before we’d barely begun, moving to another place, another neighborhood . . . in white-town middle America, Southern style, middle class income living . . .
and so 13 had to start all over again. By this time he was already ‘overextended’, beyond his limit; warranty expired, efficacy date gone; couple that with a new school, parents getting divorced, a violent brotherhood . . .
and so he broke again; separating ‘himself’ into two halves – one “The Protector”, something he named “Machine” – and separating the emotional sides and ‘parts’ of him, he “put them in there” while ‘he’ went about mapping a new system. As a result he became logical and cold . . . a conscious decision on our behalf. To protect the whole . . .
I suppose at this point you could say true “dissociation” had set in. We were like that for a long time.
turned out to be a mistake in the end, but 21 was built to handle that one.
It was a hellofatime.
~ thanks for hanging in there if you have . . . we’re using the blog as a workspace, solving our own problems along the line. We’ve been working with “13”, one of our ‘textbook’ alters (and there’s an internal pun there – 13 loved to read & was somewhat educated, tho’ in the wrong things sometimes) – who’s a bit of a writer himself (and got himself some poems published by Time’s “Fragments” a long time ago) . . . short story author, somewhat of an artist . . . but emotionally flat. Just anger and a somewhat unstable attitude at this point. We’re dealing with it and ‘he’ wants to be let out, and we’ll see how this goes . . . stayin’ safe, ya’ll. 🙂